FOW Campaign Weekend

Today we have Kristian from Denmark telling us about a fantastic Campaign Weekend.  

Greetings everyone!

My name is Kristian Lyngvald and I’ve been playing flames of war for a bit over 5 years.

In my daily life I work in the Danish army as a Medic and with logistics in an armoured infantry company. I am a Afghan and Kosovo veteran and through my almost 12 year career I’ve have worked in Light Recce, in a medical platoon, and twice in an armoured infantry company.

I have always been interested in military related history since my time in college (easiest comparison to the danish equivalent called “Gymnasium”). I have read a lot of books on the WW2 subject in my spare time from both perspectives. Therefore when I discovered Flames of War through a friend that some of you may know called Benny Christiansen, he writes articles for ”No dice no glory”, I was really exited.  We used to play a lot of 40K together but when FOW was introduced to me I almost immediately switched all my focus to FOW.

The fact that you can play and reenact historical events and really go into detail with everything from the correct markings on the vehicles to the diorama on the bases is, for me, alpha & omega.

And the fact that so many things that they have incorporated into the game are from the real battlefield is really amazing. As a professional soldier I can really relate to the importance of pinning the enemy before an assault; fire superiority is key along with the fire and manoeuvre concept. The fact that you can’t bombard the enemy too close to your own position is so cool! In the Danish army the minimum distance before it gets ”danger close” is 600 meters.

Through the past five years I have been part of the Danish national ETC team and the best result that we have ever gotten was a 7th place out of 26 teams, which for me is a great achievement due to the fact that the Danish population is only around 5,6 million people, so there are not that many to choose from. I think that the Danish FOW community across the country is around 100-200 players with different levels of commitment to the game.

Team Denmark at the ETC

For me ETC is more like a sport and a lot of players in Denmark like to play FOW for the historical part. I like both sides of the coin though. We don’t have many ”blue vs. blue” tournaments, but when we do make tournaments its mostly ”red vs. blue” and the correct books are pitched against each other. For instance my favourite theatre of war is Operation Market Garden and therefore, for the past two years in commemoration of that, I have been hosting a Market Garden tournament in our local gaming club in Herning, Denmark. In this tournament we pitch the two books ”Bridge by Bridge” and “Market Garden” against each other.

The Danish Community has really taken in V4, but there are of course a lot of ”nay sayers” who do not like it, and in my opinion it is the same pattern in every tabletop game when a new version arrives. I am generally positive regarding the new version and for me as a competitive player I think its healthy for the game to get some changes once in a while. It causes you to have to be creative again and think in new ways. Also when it comes to recruiting new players the new system is in my experience easier to teach them.

I posted a picture on Instagram the other day from our annual campaign at Østerskov boarding school in Hobro,Denmark, which is one of the main events of the year in the FOW calendar in DK.

Might have been awkward with the newspaper if the attack had gone poorly at the event!

Here the aspect of reliving history through our common hobby is really important and the main goal of the event. It is not a tournament where there will be announced an overall winner, for example. Its a campaign where you fight on either the Axis or the Allied side. It takes place during a weekend from Friday through Saturday. For the past eight years it has been a campaign with an element of ”realtime” which basically means that we have two command HQ; one for the Axis and one for the Allies.

Before hand we have chosen two generals to lead the the attack or they have volunteered. Then, prior to all this, the theatre of war or campaign has been chosen by the TO. It could, for instance, be the battle around Nava, Market Garden, the Normandy campaign and so on and so forth.

The Generals would then have from around 12-16 players on each side representing different divisions, this means there are a limit on how many people who can play tank company, infantry company, etc.  If the the certain area didn’t have a specific type of vehicle despite the fact its in the book, ”Grey Wolf” for example, you cannot use them in your list.

The two HQ have a separate room each, where we often decorate them with different historical items. Typewriters, propaganda posters, flags etc. Then there is of course the most important thing the maps. On these maps, which are historical, each sector is divided into small squares or hexagons. They represent actual tables to play on, which basically means that if there is a city in that area you play on an urban themed table. Both sides doesn’t know were the opposite sides units are located until they come into contact.

The Generals plan their attack.

The different types of units ( army list ) can then be moved around on the map by giving them an order and sending them by a note to the gamemaster who is located in his own room. To symbolise the mobility of the different types of units an INF list takes 15 min to move and a Mech 10 and a Tank 5 min for example.

Here is an example on how it works.

The Allied General wants to send the player playing the 50th  British INF DIV into the area marked on the ”real life map” called outskirts of Caen ( Delta12) he sends a runner to the gamemaster, who then moves the players marker on his ”master map”. He will then go into the German HQ if he can see that there are German units in that sector or the adjacent one and ask him what his reaction will be. He might then choose to send in his player playing the Panzer Lehr division and the gamemaster will inform both sides that they are to play on table D12 which is a bocage table for instance.

The different Sectors are worth different points, which is decided prior to the entire campaign, where historical importance is taken in to consideration.

The Allies were hoping for a straight flush!

This means the two players have to go and fight it out in realtime, which means they will fight until one side is declared a winner through the normal rules. The actual scenario of the game might be determined by the game master to represent a pincer move on the general map (real life map).

To spice things up some of the sectors on the maps are supply areas and therefore if you don’t control enough of these the General can not issue a munition card to all the players on his side.  This means that for instance if you are out of munition you can only fire at half ROF rounded up.  This is to represent one of the key factors in war that is often forgotten when you play, which is logistics. If you look at an army there are in most cases more soldiers ”fighting behind the front” than on the front-line it self.

The total amount of points each players use can be divided into two lists. The full strength list could, for instance, be 1200 points and the decimated list could be 900. The reason why we do it like this is to represent the fact that a normal game would be too time consuming, when it is real time we play in.

If we use the case from before, the player commanding Panzer Lehr might have won the game and will now, along with his opponent, have to roll to see if the platoons he lost in the game might be permanently destroyed. This is determined by rolling a dice where the winner gets to ”decimate” destroyed  platoons from the campaign. The loser can do the same thing on a 5+ to the winner.  This means that if you have too many destroyed platoons you will have to play with your 900 point lists until you will get a new supply card from your general. Which can be achieved by securing objectives or issued by the gamemaster.  In addition, to represent the effect of rapid movement or clever tactical decisions by the generals, the nearby sector of D12, which might be D13, could have finished their game faster and the general now hasthe option to send the winner from sector D13 onto the battlefield arriving from reserve as normal through the scenario rules. This can only be to a limit of two players on either side.

I dont fancy the chances of that Infantry Pltn much.

The generals also have the option to give additional support through off board artillery cards or air support. The support can also as easily be withdrawn from an ongoing game to another more important game on the map.  We typically play from 20.00  friday evening to 02.00 and then starting up the following morning at 09.30 to 22.00. If a game wasn’t played to a finish Friday night the will continue onwards the next day.

During the weekend there is food included in the price for participating and because its on a boarding school we borrow the students dorm rooms that are home on vacation for the weekend.

There is also a small bar where beer, snacks and soft drinks can be bought. The entire event can be summarised by one word called Hygge in danish. Its a word we use to describe when we are having a good time with our friends and family.

This year ( the 9th time) we did the campaign a little bit different though because we did not have enough people to help out the gamemaster. So Helge Macintyre the captain on the Danish ETC team and a good friend of mine, came up with another idea for our campaign. It was a way to still have a chance to host our beloved campaign weekend.  Instead of it being in real time we did the campaign in two stages; with two games Friday evening/night and three during Saturday.

I hate it when I forgot to defend an objective.  Obviously the German Schnapps was kicking in.

The first was the Normandy invasion from D-day+1 to the destruction of the Falaise pocket.   We used an actual map of France divided into different sectors worth points after historical importance.  The players therefore had to make two different lists worth 1400 points; One list to be used Friday, which had to be from either Overlord or Atlantik Wall ( Digital lists included ) and one from the other late war Western front books for Saturday. It was not mandatory though, so if you wanted to use the same list from Friday through Saturday you could do that.

The way we then decided who would attack where, and so forth, was determined by a clever system invited be my friend Morten Peter Schmidt who also is part of the Danish ETC team.

The system works in this way;

(This next section is taken from our forum and written by Helge MacIntyre using Morten Scmidts system)

Friday the 9th there will betwo games (yes we begin at 20.00 and end the gaming day around 02.00 )
Friday will focus on the breakout of Normandy and the battle for France
Will the allies be able to follow Pattons route of lightning Conquest, or will the Germans stop the breakthrough and prepare Festung Paris for an epic confrontation

Books (Army lists) allowed on Friday are:Atlantik wall and Overlord
Only 1 formation is allowed

Saturday
Battle to reach the Rhine
the allies will try to break into Germany, crossing the Rhine would be a major victory to the allied forces. The German wolf lies in wait.. preparing for the moment when the allies have stretched their supply lines too much before springing the trap.. crushing the western allies

Books (Army lists) allowed on Saturday:
Atlantik wall, Overlord, bridge by bridge, marked garden, Battle for the Bulge, the Ardennes offensive, bridge at Remargen, and Nachtjäger. the digital versions if any are allowed.
You can keep the list from Friday if you prefer not to change a list during the campaign
Only 1 formation is allowed

Attackers and defenders will be decided on the campaign map.
In the beginning there will be far more allied attackers, but during the campaign, the axis may gain the initiative.
In the first round Friday there will be very few axis attacks

The method of deciding which side attacks is randomly predetermined… there will be a number of tokens equal to the number of players, they will be numbered from 1 to the number of players (let us for this example say 24 players = numbers 1-24)
The numbers 1-12 will be attackers the numbers 13-24 will be defenders.
Depending on the strategic situation on the battlemap the tokens will be divided either evenly or with attack favour to one side in two piles.  The players now randomly get a token form their side’s pile. The players with low numbers are attackers, the players with high numbers are defenders.  The team general is allowed to swap tokens between two players once per gaming round; so the general could swap tokens between a fortified list with an attack counter and a tank list with a defence counter.

Now the individual battles are assigned.  The player with token number 1 goes first, attacking in an area on the map where the team general wants an attack, the opposite general now chooses one of his players with a high number to defend that area. Then the player with Token no. 2 is set to attack, and an opponent is found as before.

Supporting a battle.
If a game has been resolved very quickly, the victorious force can support an allied player in an adjacent area on the map to do this the general has to authorise this attack, and then the player may join an ongoing game.  Only the 60% part of the force that would not normally be allocated to reserves may be used, and if they had sustained casualties during their own game, these casualties remain during the supporting action.  A supporting formation arrives either from normal reserve zone, or if there are none of these, then from the edge where the side deployed from.  The Supporting formation will arrive as reserves from the next turn of their side. rolling two dice for reserves, and adding dice for the following rounds (These reserves are separate from the original players reserves)

The boards were themed to the different sectors.

The General
Each side choose a general from amongst their ranks.  He (Or she) in in charge of the supreme strategy of their side. He can send his troops into decisive battles or he can waste crack formations in worthless swamps  to him belongs the ultimate glory of victory or the shame of defeat.  The general also participates in the games, but he has a stricter time limit to his games, as he has to prepare for the next round (generals games will be reduces in time limit by 15 minutes.  When the time is up, if no decisive winner has been found, the referee/judge will decide if it would have been a win or draw with 15 minutes more of gameplay)

Conclusion

This system turned out really well and everyone had a really good time. Regarding the armies they must be of course be painted and no proxies are allowed.

During the entire weekend people are really keen on making the atmosphere as good as possible and also with the historical perspective in mind. Some people go all the way and dress up with either berets, caps, helmets or even entire outfit with uniforms. It is not obligatory but helps making it more cool!

Each command sector we had some liquor for the Allies it was good whiskey and for the Axis it was snaps, so that before a battle we could make a toast to victory! And for some might get some liquid courage. In the Allied HQ we also listened to Eisenhowers speech to the expeditionary force before the actual invasion of Normandy to get people in to the right mind set.

Oh dear someone gave an Officer a map.

I personally played a Churchill list through Friday and the Normandy campaign and switched to a Canadian infantry list from the Market Garden book Saturday morning.

I really had a blast and won all my games and did my part to help the Allies win in the end. The skill level of players varied a lot on both sides and contributed to make the event exiting and nerve racking at some point during our battle of the bulge.

Category: AARCampaignFlames of War

Tags:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Article by: Mark Goddard