Friday, 16 March 2012

Flames of War Version 3 Rulebook

My hardback copy of the new Flames of War rulebook arrived yesterday.  It's comes in at a hefty weight and in three parts.

No surprises with the main rulebook as it's identical in content, barring a brief history of the war and some maps, to the small A5 paperback edition.  The page numbers also match up perfectly - not a big deal now, but as more and more rules questions are answered, this will prove very handy.  Another nice touch is that each page has the topic covered printed along the outer edge, helpful while flicking through the book.  It's of the same high quality to other recent hardback rulebooks (Grey Wolf, Red Bear etc) so I've no complaints there.  It does smell a bit weird though. . .

The Forces supplement looks like it's a straight 100 page update of Fortress Europe. Thirteen army lists ported over from the old supplement with updated points costs.  My knowledge of the Flames of War isn't encyclopaedic enough to spot all the changes, but there's nothing obviously amiss here.

Having said that, all non-German lists are rated Confident Trained, whereas I thought there was more variation in FE.  There are no surprises in the choice of army lists (no Commandos, Fallschirmjager or Guards lists for instance,) but there are small arsenals for each nation with updated mortar and breakthrough gun profiles for the British and Americans.

The Hobby pamphlet is a scant 40 pages covering all the usual hobby stuff, choosing an army, painting, playing a game, FoW website etc.  It is nicely laid out and very well written, but there's absolutely nothing here for an existing player or experienced wargamer. Actually, for this reason, I think it was a great idea to include this separably from the main rules.

I really like the aesthetic Battlefront have chosen for the new edition, the red and stone scheme is much more atmospheric than the old scheme. Although there is a lot of recycled content, there is some loverly new artwork here and the hobby section in particular features some great photos. The design and layout of the new rules is also a great improvement over the previous book, the text is easy to read and the overall layout is much more logical than the last edition.  Both Battlefront and the community have talked about the number of  diagrams and summary/checklists used in the rules, but it's worth repeating here that they greatly improve the process of understanding and using the rules.

Overall, a nice package at a nice price.  I'm not sure how much use I'll get from the two supplements, but both are well done and I'm happy they're there (remember there were no army lists included in the V2 rules.)  And although I have an A5 rulebook, I much prefer having the hardback to actually study the rules properly, but that might simply be due to a combination of age and eyesight!

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