New recruits – Late War Starter Sets

Build it and they will come

Kevin Costner

The importance of easy entry

A good starter set is vital to any game.  Just look at the market and you will see that wargames are blooming with so much to choose from.
In a competitive market, buying into a system can be a important decision.  People only have a finite amount of time and money each month, after all.  Mid War had the very small starter sets for El Alamein and Stalingrad, but lacked a really meaty set that two players could share out, in the same way as other main stream games, or even v3’s generous Open Fire set.

Hit the Beach

Hit the Beach is going to solve the lack of a meaty starter set and is essentially revisiting the old Open Fire Set with some different tanks.  Model wise you get;
– 3 x Panzer IVs
– 2 x Pak40s
– 2 x Grenadier platoons
– 8 M4A1 Shermans
– 1 x US Parachute Rifle Platoon

First off we know from Faceboo (due to a pre order going up online) k that the box is $50 US.  Wow, that’s cheap!  UK price is TBC but its likely between £40-50  It really is an incredible deal given that a box of five Sherman’s costs £30.

But what does all that equate to in terms of points?

German

The Germans come in at 45pts, almost half a full point game.  With two sets (split with a friend) using the Grenadier force org you can make

  • HQ of two SMG teams
  • Three full strength Grenadier Platoons with fausts (the formation only allows 3)
  • Four Pak40 7.5cm guns
  • Five Panzer IVs (the most you can have as formation support only allows a single platoon)

All that runs you up to 71pts.  Add in a box of Neblewerfers and three StuGs and you are at 100pts with a pretty rounded list.  

Of course, Tigers are also an option for quickly adding points and combat effectiveness!

US

This is rather tricky because Fortress Europe doesn’t have the points for 76mm Shermans or Paras.  Therefore pending the US book we are going to make some worst case (ie lower point cost assumptions).  A 76mm Sherman is better than a 75mm due to FA7 (well in all other versions) and a better gun.  Therefore, at a MINIMUM, it has to be 1pt more than a 75mm Sherman.  In all previous additions Paras have been 4+ to hit, fearless and veteran.  Therefore they are much more expensive than the basic trained, aggressive US infantry. 
A British platoon (Careful confident trained) is about the same size as a para platoon and has closer stats.  Therefore I am going to assume at a MINIMUM its 1pt more.  That brings the US list in at 43pts so probably not a bad guess.  Fingers crossed the Hit the Beach set has the full card for the Paras and 76mm so that we can integrate them into Fortress Europe before the US book in July.

With two sets (again split with the same friend as the Germans) you could get:

  • HQ of two Sherman 75mm
  • Four Sherman 75mm
  • Four  Sherman 75mm
  • Four Sherman 76mm (Note, the assumption is you only get one platoon, as in previous editions)
  • A Parachute Rifle platoon (only one available as a formation support choice).

That comes in at 64pts, give or take based on my minimum estimates.
With a box of M10s and two boxes of Priests, you have 100pts give or take, with a cheeky tank force packing bags of high end AT, great infantry and two veteran self propelled artillery templates with 3+ Firepower.

In short I can see splitting the set being a popular option and with only two boxes you have a rounded force ready for the battlefield.

Starter Armies

The Fortress Europe book has also revealed the contents of the new starter armies and they are much bigger than the Mid War versions, with guns, tanks and infantry in them.  They are an army in themselves. 

Price wise is still rumours, however what I can say is that is that if those rumours are true they are in my opinion very cheap and again amazing value, with a huge saving on buying it separately.

British

Perhaps one of the best sets in my opinion with really nice tank force, with careful ratings backed up by 17pdr tank destroyers (AT14), recce, infantry and artillery.  

HQ of two Shermans
2 x Shermans & 1 x Firefly
3 x Recce Stuarts

Supported by
4 x 25pdr
4 x M10 (17pdr)
3 x Carriers

3 x Churchills 
1 x full motor rifle platoon

Total = 87pts

A respectable starter force, although perhaps lacking in core.  Easily rectified with the purchase of a box of five Shermans (which also make Fireflys)

HQ Troop of 2 x Shermans
2 x Shermans & 1 X Firefly
3 x Shermans
3 x Recce Stuarts

Supported by
4 x 25pdrs
4 x M10 (17pdr)
3 x Churchills
1 x full motor rifle platoon

3 x carriers

That’s 100pts from a Starter army and a boxed and if you drop the carriers you can upgrade another Sherman to a Firefly, but that leaves you at 99pts.  A small but highly capable force with a lot of AT14 shots and great artillery.

Soviet Union

The basis for the Soviet force is a T34 Tankovy.  
HQ of a single T34 ( 85mm )
3 x T34 (76mm) & 2 x T34 (85mm)
5 x T70s

Supported by
4 x SU85
3 x KV1 
4 x Katyushas

Total 73pts

Not as much as the British but still a lot of units.  Again, the issue is lack of core units, so again that’s where we will focus with the purchase of 5 x T34s and a box of SMG infantry. Also we switch to the Hero force as its works better if we are aiming this at new players with minimal purchases to make a rounded force.

HQ of a single T34 (76mm)
1 x T34 (76mm) & 2 T34 (85mm)
1 x T34 (76mm) & 2 x T34 (85mm)
1 x T34 (76mm & 2 x T34 (85mm)
1 x full Hero SMG Company with flamerthrower

Supported By
3 x KV1
4 x Katyushas
4 x SU85s
5 x T70s

That’s 99pts right there and your formation has five core units, backed up by a salvo template, 3 FA9 tanks with TA2 (great for assault) and a reasonable assault infantry unit that hits on 2+ in assault and has a flamer to pin the enemy.  Considering how many Soviets you get at 100pts, being able to make 100pts with a starter box and a pair of extra box sets is pretty nice.

US

Like the British the US set is based on the venerable Sherman and is constructed on the Fortress Europe list so I’m not using 76mm for simplicity.

HQ of two Sherman 75mm
3 x Sherman 75mm
3 x Stuarts

Supported by
1 x Full Armoured Rifle Platoon
3 x Priests
4 x M10s

Total = 62pts

The least points so far but unlike the British these guys have an aggressive rating on their core troops and infantry.  As with the other armies core is key so a purchase of a box of Shermans is vital.  Also I am going to add in an Open Fire set due to the value for money and a box of M10s

Sherman Formation
HQ of two Sherman 75mm
3 x 75mm Sherman
3 x 75mm Sherman
4 x 75mm Sherman

Tank Destroyer Formation
2 x Stuarts
4 x M10
4 x M10

Supported by 
1 x Full Armoured Rifle platoon
3 x Priests

Thats bang on 100pts and still leaves you a spare parachute rifle platoon and the option to field 76mm Shermans (the sprue allows you to make both) when the US book drops. I’m guessing the Para platoon is less points than a full armoured rifle platoon so switching that out will allow you to upgrade a platoon of Shermans to 76mm.

I think this is a really good list, eight careful M10s is a massive threat to armour and can open up German Panzers while the Shermans bring the assault home backed up by the Armoured Rifle platoon which can also lock down an objective.  The Open Fire set is  incredible value when you need to buy Shermans so its seems obvious to do it (plus it gives you the basis of a German army).

Germans

The Germans are always a tricky force due to their great stats but high costs, they are the elite nation of Flames of War.  Lets see how their set stacks up;

Mixed Panzer Formation
HQ of two Panzer IVs
3 x Panzer IVs
2 x Tigers 

Supported by
2 x Stug and 1 x Stuh
1 x full Armoured Panzer Grenadiers with faust
2 x Flak88s
3 x Nebs

Total = 91 pts

Hands down the value winner for a starter set almost a full army.  All you need is more core and again the open fire set is going to do that and provide you loads of other options, giving far more than 100pts

Mixed Panzer Formation
Hq 2 x Panzer IVs
3 x Panzer IVs
3 x Panzer IVs
2 x Tigers

Grenadier Formation
HQ 2 x SMGs
Full Grenadier Platoon with faust
Full Grenadier Platoon with faust
2 x Pak 40s

Supported by
3 x Nebs

Thats 99 pts packing elite tanks and a infantry formation that gives you the flexibility to attack or defend locking down your objectives in meeting engagements while your armour goes on the attack.  Plus you still have Stugs/Stuhs, armoured grenadiers and 88s to switch around and make a different force.

Conclusion

Battlefront have really bought into the idea of making entry to the game easy and importantly affordable.  While some sets are better value than others all of them can be made to viable 100pt armies with only two more boxes, or less in some cases.  I can see these being hugely popular and show that the now large plastic range has now born fruit allowing varied and comprehensive starter sets completely in plastic.

Go get some plastic glue and clippers; its going to get busy!




Category: Flames of WarLate WarList DiscussionReviews

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12 comments

        1. That’s quite a points reduction from the 33pts for 3 in MW! Sounds like I can afford to buy some more Churchills!

  1. Thanks for the great summary. Conspicuously absent here is the “Fury” 2 Player Tank Starter Set. Any news on the contents and price range of that box?

    1. From memory it’s 2 tanks a side. I don’t really see it as a starter set Hit the Beach is the real starter set. I don’t really get the Fury set I can’t see what niche it accomplishes.

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Article by: Mark Goddard