August 5, 2013

Call to Arms and why FOW needs a weather component

Had another think about FOW and my experience at Call to Arms on the way home from work today in particular about my list and the game itself.

Improving FOW Scenarios
In regard to the game FOW relys heavily on scenarios and the use of objectives to determine winners and losers.  The majority of these are pretty good with an even mix between those that favour the attacker, the defender or both sides eveningly.  On the whole I enjoy most of them but do - as an infantry player who is nearly always the defender - have some favourites notably No Retreat and Fighting Withdrawl.  Both seem to always lead to some very interesting games.

But at tournament level these scenarios can get a little stale if not mixed up and I think its time that tournament organisers looked at a couple of simple steps for improving overall gameplay and the level of realism in the game by introducing a random element to each game.

FRACAS is going down that road this weekend with 3 games utilising the winter weather rules found in the various Battle of the Bulge books and some army lists allow 'Night Attacks' to be utilised further complicating any battle. I would really like to see an additional layer added to this - weather and seasonal variations.  It could work something like this:

The TO rolls a D6 at the start of each round and consults the following chart to see what the effect is:
    1. Damn its cold
    2. Who put Sobel in charge
    3. Time to wake up
    4. Bed time boys
    5. Wheres my umbrella
    6. Damn its hot
    Damn its cold
    All battles would utilise the winter terrain, LOS and battle rules from the Battle of the Bulge intelligence briefings.

    I can't see anything
    Despite the CIC's best efforts his Platoon commanders have all failed map reading 101 and deployed their men in the wrong positions.  All deployment for this game is randomised i.e. like the scattered reserves rule 1-2 deploy in left hand third of board, 3-4 in the middle third, 5-6 on the right. 

    Time to wake up
    First 3 turns utilise night time rules, the sun comes up and all subsequent turns use standard rules

    Bed time boys
    First 3 turns utilise standard rules, the sun goes down and all subsequent turns played under night time rules

    Wheres my umbrella
    The battlefield is drenched in a massive downpour.  All vehicles treat terrain as though it were slow going (max 8" move) unless fully tracked.  All wheeled vehicles must make bogging checks when moving on anything other than a paved road.  Only fully tracked vehicles can double-time but are classed as unreliable while doing so.  All enemy teams > 16" away count as concealed regardless of terrain.  Air power still available but must range in for all targets including those in the open. Minimum of 2 aircraft needed to attack and all hits must be re-rolled.

    Damn its hot
    Treat battle like some uber-extreme fight in the desert.  All vehicles count as unreliable when doubling due to effect of heat on engines.  Infantry cannot double-time and digging in requires two successful skill checks due to hardness of ground, Pioneers only need one.

    At present all FOW games are played as though the sun is shining and there isnt a cloud in the sky which to me just isnt right. Even during summer a large proportion of battles would occur during poor weather and in less than optimal conditions and the game should reflect that. 

    I would also really really like to see a City based table top i.e one completely covered in buildings and nothing but buildings alah Stalingrad  Doubt verymuch that we'll see this sort of thing but it would make things interesting.


    Red Dog said...

    Some great ideas there John. Weather would add a lot of interest to the same old scenarios. Scott, Brett and myself are looking at a few ways to change things up and come up with some new ways to play the game too. Sounds like we're not the only ones!

    Coxer said...

    I think these are all great ideas, having played with the winter rules a couple of times, it really favours infantry though imho.

    SO I like having situations where maybe the tanks have the advantage over the infantry weather wise.

    Scott said...

    Yes indeed, agreed. Good ideas.

    I'd also like to see missions where you get 'points for trying'... in several of my games, I was contesting the objectives, but just didnt quite manage to get over the finish line, and although you've given the enemy and damn good bloody nose, you come away with a 1-6... maybe some way of getting points over a period of turns where you contest? It would of course skew all the victory points requirements, but would make an interesting change...

    Scott said...

    Interestingly I did find some of these weather ideas cropping up in the Firestorm campaigns we tried, and also issues relating to being out of supply - vehicles running out of go-go juice part way through the game! That keeps you on your toes to be sure!

    John Murrie said...

    @ Coxer - I think summer campaigns would favour tanks. Maybe with rules denying infantry GtG in the open, making the ground to hard to dig in, or extra movement.

    @ Scott - I totally agree with the points for trying concept. Scoring is one thing WHFB definately does better than FOW in that respect. Our game for example came out 6-1 in my favour but it didnt reflect the actual state of the game or the way it played out. 40k use a slightly different system involving points for objectives, warrior kills, first blood etc - I think something similar would be good.

    And the idea of limited supplys would be a fantastic idea - many vehicles only carried a limited amount of ammo for e.g. so this could be included. Platoons that have to conduct multiple rounds of defensive fire for e.g. could be reduced to 1/2 ROF for the next turn.

    Think I'll work on some ideas and talk to the club about hosting another event with these sorts of additions included. Only thing is how well recieved would they be?

    Scott said...

    May not be well received from the tournamant scene, but I think for friendly games its will certainly add some much needed spice...