Creating and Running a League

Today my article isn’t on what’s new, an AAR or ways to model or paint your miniatures. Instead, today I’d like to talk about encouraging players to get involved with playing Flames of War.

Now, unlike some of the guys, I don’t have a friend with a big barn or live near a local gaming store but I do have some materials left over from the last Battlefront Hobby League programme, a reasonably nearby very active gaming club where they play lots of different games (Guildford Games Club) and quite a lot of terrain and models etc, collected up over the past 40+ years! So this summer I decided to try and encourage a few more of the club members to give Flames of War a try.  This article is going to cover what I did to get this set up, organised and run.

From experience I know this sort of thing can be quite a lot of effort on the organiser and that often puts people off setting up organised play.
Another issue is that organisers often get a bit ambitious in what they try to do, There’s nothing worse than having a campaign which is a bit too open ended or complex to track.
Finally you need to level up the playing field between the experience levels of the participant; you want something that gives everyone a chance.

A Matter of Timing

So my first step was to pick a period.  As this summer’s gaming followed the recent Mid War revisit to North Africa and knowing we had a few North Africa campaign fans and people who had got some new starter armies. even if they were still in boxes at the club. I decided on starting there. So Mid War North Africa would be the theme for the activity.

Work in progress as one player decided to do a Burmese themed Force

The Butcher’s Bill

Next up I spent a bit of time thinking about game size.
I had a careful look at the Tobruk and Kasserine starter boxes and they all contain about 60 points of models; pretty much all tanks so quick and easy to get a basic paint job on and not too many odd rules to learn. This wouldn’t place too much of a burden on any new players and splitting a box between players would keep the cost down for any one without an existing force who wanted to take part.  In fact that’s what I did; splitting the Kasserine box (kindly donated by Battlefront) with me taking on the Americans and a new to mid war player taking the German half of the box.

The Kasserine box Germans hiding from the American ARP!

The Big Picture

So I had a period and a points total, now I wanted to create a bit of a narrative story for the campaign and tie that to how the whole thing would work over a period of time. Looking at the actual historical events I wanted to base the campaign on something flowing so I decided to use the battles of 1941 across Cyrenacia as the theme for the games.  This period is  known as the “Benghazi Handicap”, as it reminded the Australians involved of a horse race with the Commonwealth armies racing to stay ahead of the Axis forces across 600 miles of Libyan/Egyptian desert ending with Rommel beseiging the port of Tobruk. Now this narrative suggested to me a flowing series of engagements across a sweeping front so how was I going to create the sense of this on a gaming table?

A pic illustrating the single themed table

Playing at a club has a few advantages, but the one I was going to make use of was space and notably the ability to set up a single long table and theme the terrain right across it.  For individual games, this was then subdivided into a number of sectors.
With the small forces involved I had already decided to make the playing space just 4′ x 4′ so I could make up quite a few tables with my terrain collection.

Battle Plan

Next up, to simplify setting up, I decided to use a fixed scenario.
As I wanted this to be a flowing game, I decided both sides would need to have an objective and, as the forces are small, Reserves wouldn’t be wanted. After a bit of tinkering, I came up with the Guild-fomm scenario. This is a modified version of the standard Dust Up scenario, without the Reserves and a six turn game length limit, this served several purposes:

Guild-Fomm Scenario Map
  • Both players have objectives so would both attack and defend.  Creating the sense of a swirling battle.
  • It was a Meeting Engagement which felt appropriate for the campaign theme in general.
  • It doesn’t need Battle Stances
  • The scenario was turn limited to encourage players to act decisively to secure a result before they run out of turns. This also created time for more games, which is always good.


So I have a narrative, force sizes and a scenario, but how to end the campaign? I could simply have said it will end after x weeks. Instead,  as the forces were small, the campaign would end with a multiplayer mass game, bringing all the payers together in a single, super-sized, game.
To accommodate that, in the final week the table grow to an 8′ x 6′ size on which again the same scenario was played.  This gave plenty of room to deploy the armies into, but at the same time kept them close enough to ensure the players could rapidly get to grips with each other. This time players would have to work together to achieve victory or not.

The combined Allied Forces (SA Rifle Company, Indian Rifle Company,  British Honey Company and the American Kasserine box (M3 Lee Company)

Keeping Score

So now all I needed was a way to track the game results and hobby progress. For this I used a simple tracker, writing down the games played each week to avoid repeat match ups, keeping a note of how far anyone had got on a new project; bonus points were on offer for painting a new force or providing a short narrative story about your force. This approach benefitted newer players as they had new models to paint whilst experienced players typically used their existing collections but had an advantage when it came to game play.

A scene from the final game, this is what happens when your attack isn’t coordinated

In Conclusion

For our campaign players built and painted four new 60 point forces (1 Italian, 1 British, 1 American and 1 German) and we had six participants overall. So why not gather a few friends and give this type of gaming a try and let us know how you got on.   Bye for now, Martin.

2 thoughts on “Creating and Running a League

  1. Hi Martin, thanks for the tips, I am trying to teach my sons & the ideas for a 4’x4’ and the scenario are brilliant!

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