In the rear, with the gear – Reserves in Flames of War.

Hello there! Those of you that know me, know that I have a soft spot for tanks – it’s one of the things at really appeals to me in the Flames of War hobby, and the bigger the better – be they German Tigers, Russian IS-2’s, American Pershings or British… Comets?


Anyway, one downside of such points heavy lists and units means that when you have reserves, each platoon is a big chunk of points (which sucked in V3) but with the new 40% rule, that’s potentially a great thing. I’m also one for having my whole army on the board, if only because I’ve spent such effort painting it, it’s a sin to leave them sitting on the sidelines!

So, what’s my V4 take on reserves? Well, as I’m sure you are aware, At least 40% of the total points of the game must be kept off the board in reserve requires it. You roll for these units to arrive in the starting step, as per the rulebook – It should be noted however, that you roll for reserves After choosing to pop your ambush if you have one, you can’t wait to see if you are getting support before springing that nasty surprise! If the dice gods are unkind, you could be waiting three turns to get a single platoon on the board (and that’s from when you start rolling if they are delayed reserves)

Around now you’ll be really wanting those reserves…

So what’s the best way to avoid the battle being over before you have your whole army on the board? By not having reserves of course!

With the advent of the more missions packs, it’s taken me a little while to get used to what each of the three stances mean with respect to the likely hood of playing each mission, so in a rare outbreak of ‘Math-hammer’ I’ve broken down the probabilities of each mission being selected for each stance (Attack, Manoeuvre and Defend), and if you will be playing a role that has the reserves rule for that mission. I’ll provide the full data in another article, however, assuming your opponent has an equal chance to choose Attack, Manoeuvre or Defend, the probability of you having reserves is:

If you choose
Attack – 41.67%
Manoeuvre – 66.67%
Defend – 86.11%

In other words, if you’re attacking, in over half your games you won’t have to worry about keeping stuff off the board – PANZER VOR!

No, they’re definitely Panzer Thre…oh. I see!

However, even that said, you’ll still have to deal with the dreaded 40% reserves in those 41.67% of games.
What’s my advice? Only put one unit in reserve!
Or at least, the smallest number of platoons you can. I always work out what my 40% reserves points total is, and try to get at least that number of points in a single platoon, without going too crazy over it – no point sticking more points off the board than needed. Of course, this is easier with heavy tank companies, but it means that I’m guaranteed to have my whole Army on the board by the third turn of reserve rolls. Loading up that single platoon also means that it’ll really pack a punch, and keep your opponent on the back foot and worrying when they’ll turn up – which could be turn one if you’re lucky!

A Grant platoon arriving from reserve to keep the British objective out of German hands, at least for another turn…

If you take anything away from this article, think about what platoons you’re going to put into reserve when you’re building your list. There’s nothing worse than waiting until the beginning of the game and finding that one platoon you want to keep in the rear is only 39.99% of your points total, meaning you must have even more points off the board to nudge it over the 40%.

Happy reserve Rolls!

2 thoughts on “In the rear, with the gear – Reserves in Flames of War.

  1. Dear Fez,

    Exactly my thought on the subject. The first moment I found out about the 40% I instantly thought… Yumi,.. max a platoon the be the dread 40% and that’s it… (and this was last year when we all played early war, because we know why 😉 ). The guys at the club were not with me on this matter and I didn’t understand why. It seemed legit for me to have all of your force on the table, even from turn 1. Then we started playing MW, and here, the same thing… pack a platoon of PZ 3’s and that’s your 40 points, or get your tiger with the lil Pz3 and tier aces and that’s your 40 points. But do you see something similar in my two examples? You can do this only with the Germans. I will explain more… I’m playing Americans in MW because they got bazookas :D… but if I make a 40 points sherman platoon… that is a total dumb… when I could 1 4 tank lee platoon and 1 full stuart platoon in this points… I hope you get my idea… The 1 platoon 40% is great for the so expensive German armies… 🙂

  2. Teodor, the single platoon option is great for those like the Soviet and German’s who can make it work easily but with the American’s it is certainly a more challenging its impossible with British and Italians unless you take allied formations but the general point Fez is making is that you need to think about what to pick in a list as you may need to deploy a lot of platoons in reserve and should be prepared for it.

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