Monday, March 13, 2017

FOW V4-EW/LW - First Impressions

My copy of the Flames of War V4 EW/LW rules arrived on Friday, and while we haven't put it on the table yet, my general first impression is favourable. Here are a few observations from reading it through, many of which are good things.
  • You have greater freedom than ever to operate out of command, but it has the potential to go horribly wrong once you start getting shot at. If you split a platoon you are probably asking to lose it.
  • While the consequences of failure are less significant than they used to be, tanks are much less likely to be able to successfully move through difficult going. Assaulting into woods on a 3+ cross check is going to be a very different proposition to doing it under the old 2+ bogging check.
  • Weapons platoons are more important now than they have been since Support/Combat platoon ratios were removed in V2. Since Support platoons don't contribute towards Formation Last Stand, stacking a list with divisional support is going to make it fragile. It's going to take a bit of gametime to work out what impact this will have on Early War tank lists at the 1000pt level usually played here, as (with the exception of the Germans) they generally don't have any Weapons platoons available to them.
  • Another potential impact on small games: I usually run pairs of anti-tank guns, but this doesn't seem sensible under V4 as the platoon will be testing as soon as one is lost.
  • Mortars are going to become more popular due to their low price, increase in FP, and being Weapons Platoons. This is despite losing their reroll on the first attempt to range in. Nebelwerfers have lost their primary advantage of not suffering a To Hit penalty for failing to range in on their first attempt.
  • Significant changes to the rules for flamethrowers to bring them into line with normal shooting. They now have a normal roll to hit rather than skill checks to hit. The addition of Breakthrough Gun to their statline means that teams hit by flamethrowers now get rerolled successful saves instead of being automatically destroyed. Balancing this, they no longer appear to be single use weapons, and there is no longer a restriction on movement prior to shooting.
  • Curious that going to ground does not improve survivability against artillery. The only difference between being caught moving in the open, and being dug in, concealed and gone to ground, is the Firepower roll. Combined with rerolling made saves under repeat bombardments, it looks like a deliberate attempt to make infantry easier to dig out, and is a big change from the previous philosophy of artillery being largely ineffective against entrenched infantry. 
  • I note that Spearhead doesn't stack like it does in TY: the move cannot be made if the Spearhead unit is placed outside of its normal deployment area using the Spearhead rule. The rule as a whole is very restrictive, and in most missions it is either not able to be used due to the layout of deployment and objective areas, or is only useful for cribbing a few extra inches of deployment area. Reconnaissance doesn't seem to be as important in this game as it was in previous editions.
  • Struggling to get my head around the logic of the air support rules. Your flight has a number of planes that is determined by the level of air support you purchased, but the number of planes has no impact on the effectiveness of the air strike. The only benefit of a more expensive level of air support appears to be that it may last a bit longer in the face of anti-aircraft fire. 
  • Staying with the topic of air support, Typhoon rockets used to have AT 6 FP 3+, which has now been mapped to AT 3 FP 3+. This feels a bit light given their reputation, and is probably not at a level where I'd feel the need to bring Wirbelwinds to the table.
On the whole it feels like a good upgrade, and I'm looking forward to getting the chance to try it out.

1 comment:

  1. I'm quietly confident that I'm going to enjoy V4. I've had nothing to do with it so far, so am interested in the reviews. From what i've seen so far, it looks different but cool.