Playing with the Big Boys Now

Gale Force Nines new game “Clash of Steel” has just launched, involving an alternative history in which World War 2 stopped for a bit in 1944 but then resumed a few years later. It turns out that in that pause, all the nations decided to develop some very silly tanks and other armoured vehicles.  Anyway, that game is out now, (or possibly coming soon depending on where you are in the world,) and they have made lots of shiny new plastic kits to go with it. To coincide with this, Battlefront have decided to release a Late War Leviathans book to allow you to use those silly tanks in your games of Flames of War, should you desire to.

That book isn’t out until later this year, but BF will soon make a free PDF available that has a selection of those rules in it, and that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

We’re going to need a bigger boat

The first thing the PDF mentions is that there are two ways to use it:

  1. Just play a normal game of FoW, but add in some big tanks
  2. Play a “Big Game with Leviathans”

Number 2 is actually a slightly modified set of rules; for a start you get more points, (which will be needed if you want formations of big tanks), but more importantly it limits how many points you can spend on non-leviathan units to 25% of the overall game size. This means that if you decide to bring a formation of British Centurions, you don’t need to worry about having to face approximately 5,000 Romanian toasters – or possibly R-35s, (but of the 2 I suspect the toasters would be more effective).

The other vital thing to mention here is want counts as a leviathan; all the big new silly tanks do of course, but a lot of things from existing books can also count as Leviathans: Tiger 2s – Leviathan, Comets – Leviathan, IS-2s – Leviathan, Jagpather – Leviathan, SU-100 – Leviathan.

You get the idea – basically any really big, points expensive tank from the other books get the Leviathan rule. It’s nearly all German and Soviet stuff, the British just get Comets, (which let’s be fair is pushing things), and the Americans don’t get any at all. But that’s what you get when you decide to mass produce tanks that look like bars of soap in stead of having the overcompensation barrel girth contest of other nations.

This is on top of the units in the PDF, so don’t worry, the Yanks still get their super-duper Pershings.

Personally, I think this set of rules make things very interesting. You can just use these rules to have games where you field a Jagtiger company against an IS-2 Battalion and not have to worry about your opponent bringing 10,000 Romanian pebbles with the word tank written on in crayon, (or R-35s, but I think the pebbles would be more effective).

So that’s that then, my conclusion is it’s a nice set of rules for using the big tanks that saw service at the end of WW2, no need to talk about anything else.

What’s that, you want me to talk about the silly tanks? Are you sure?

Well, okay then.

Pick and Mix

Each of the 4 big nations, (sorry Romania, but I dream of the day you get a Leviathan that’s a 100mm cannon mounted of 4 T-38 hulls lashed together,) get 1 force organisation diagram that basically lets you have free reign on what you take. You get a HQ that has to be one of the silly tanks, 2 platoons of silly tanks, a couple of optional platoons of silly tanks and then some optional AAA. Some spice things up by adding “normal” tanks that count as Leviathans as discussed above.

Born and raised in (not) South Detroit

The HQ is a 1-2 of a bog-standard normal Pershing, T28s or T29s.

The T-26 super Pershing is the same as the one you can get in the American Bulge book, and the M26 Assault Persing is just a regular Pershing that ate all the pies and is now slower but Front Armour 16. Things only start to get silly with the T28, T29 and T30.

I’m not going to go into these too much, as I hope to do a full Tank Rank article in a week or so that rants… er I mean discuss their pros and cons. But as you can see here, it’s basically a fat Pershing with a big gun and looks like  2 bars of soap mating.

The T30 is just one of these but squashed and with a bit more armour and boom.

Extra stiff upper lip

Back in Blightly, we get the much more sensible Centurion, which very nearly saw active service in the war, and the distinctly less sensible Tortoise, for when a British engineer saw the American T30 and said “Hold my ferret”.

The Centurion 1 is just a nice well-rounded tank; it doesn’t have silly thick armour, it’s bang maker is powerful but not excessive, and unlike the some of the other Leviathans, it doesn’t move at the same speed as continental drift. As I said earlier, it very nearly saw service in the war and it shows. It’s just a great tank and, this is in no way impacted by the fact its one of my favourite tanks of all time. Points wise in the game it’s also very reasonable; it’s only a couple of points more expensive than the Comet. The Centurion 3 is exactly the same – it just has a more powerful gun and costs a few more points.

On the other hand, the tortoise is very much a Leviathan. It’s made from re-enforced unblowupium, with a front armour of a frankly absurd 21, but it’s not as slow as you would expect. One of the nice things is that it’s main hole poker is RoF 2/1 and doesn’t have slow firing, so can put out a decent amount of fire.

WW2 – Team Yankee

The Soviet special purpose tank regiment differs from the others in that it doesn’t allow you to take any of the “normal” leviathans. Also the new Leviathans in this PDF are not that excessive; we have already seen 2 of them in Fate of a Nation as some of the older tank options, but here they are shiny and new.

The IS-3 is just an IS-2 with more armour, nothing special there. Similarly the T-44 is just a T-34(85) on a chunkier hull providing more armour. The T-54 is the grandad of the one from Team Yankee so most of you will know what to expect here. It’s fairly quick, is fairly well armoured and has a decent gun, with the only issues being its RoF 1/1 and slow firing, but I’m afraid that’s the future of Soviet tanks.

The ISU-130 is the opposite of the IS-3 and T-44 with its same gun on a bigger hull – it’s an existing ISU-122 hull with a bigger gun jammed in. Exactly the same as the ISU-122 with just AT 18 and 8” more range.

The ugliest tank ever contest

Last and very much least we come to the Germans. When we think of late war leviathans, the ones that spring to mind are the crazy ideas that German designers came up with that got Hitler all excited.

As you can see by the diagram you get a lot of things that already exist as the Germans had a thing for thick armour, big guns and a weight that meant that normal bridges couldn’t support them.

The only new ones are the Panther 8.8 and the Maus

The Panther 8.8 (2nd place in the worlds ugliest tank contest) is just a normal Panther with a new turret and bigger gun. Its now AT 17 and looks like it’s wearing a comedy noise.

Finally, we come to the pièce de resistance, (at least until some deranged model marker knocks out a Ratte,) the hideous poster boy for Late War Leviathans that is the Maus.

Slippers are available at the Tank Museum Bovington unlike a Maus

I mean just look at it, it looks like those novelty tank slippers you can get but made out of carboard. Actually, the slippers might be better.

Stats wise, it’s the beast you would expect; the 7.5 cm might be a bit pointless, because if you’re firing at some, the AT 7 would hurt you either winning really well or loosing terribly.

It’s also, as you would expect, stupidly expensive – in a normal game of FoW you could just about fit 4 in.

More to come… at some point

And that’s it, no missions or anything else. Just the Big game rules and the 4 different Formations. Now as I said at the start this is just a small selection of the book that’s coming out later this year,. so it’s all subject to change, and personally I’m hoping for a few more interesting things, especially for the Soviets, as their stuff isn’t as bonkers as the rest. My friend is hoping for the Black Prince for his British, and of course we all want that 100mm cannon mounted of 4 T-35 hulls lashed together for the Romanians.

4 thoughts on “Playing with the Big Boys Now

  1. I have one question for this “clash of steel” / “leviathans” thing:
    If its set in 1948 where is the M48 Patton ?

    But anyway…
    The way to get big tanks on the table with points looks good, particularly for Team Yankee. I think the Firestorm Games / Armageddon group in Wales ran some tournaments for TY using this method last year, but maybe the percentages were a bit different.

  2. Whilst I don’t think I’ll be investing in Clash of Steel (I prefer more rounded games myself), it’s nice to see you guys taking a light-hearted approach to the whole thing. We’re all just interested in having fun with our toys, after all. The Centurion is a favourite of mine as well – just a shame we didn’t have them on D-Day.

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