The Road to Berlin – Late War

For those of you not tracking the Flames of War webpage just dropped a massive bomb of information, not only about next year but out to until 2022!  If you haven’t see it, Peter the Battlefront Chairman/ head huncho can clue you in with his video here

Also further detail and a Q&A is here

Now Battlefront cover everything in quite a lot of detail, so there is no need for me to repeat it here in my own words.  Instead lets look at what this means for players.

Learning Lessons

First off I think the plan that has been presented shows players something really important.  Following on from the comments and apologies made about the way MW’s release was handled in 2016, Battlefront are showing that they are taking on comments from across the community.  Now that doesn’t mean this will fulfill what every single player wants, everyone is different and has different views, but their actions show they are listening and enacting what they can to make Late War a strong success.

For a long time (way before V4) players had been asking for better communication an idea of where the game was going.  Well here it is, a road map for the next 3+ years!  Now this is a long time and I am sure somethings will change (as with all plans) but I like the way this has been addressed.  In short its expectation management.  It’s an honest statement of whats coming, whats not, and why.  Sure people will say where is my Italian Book and why cant I play all my armies right away. However it comes back to this being a business and Battle Front needing content for years to come, not just in 2019.  

The forces in the books appears broader and the mix of veteran and trained forces is really welcome, and again something commented on as lacking in MW.  BF have also taken on board comments about command cards, so expect them to be packed with extra options, formations, units and characters rather than the rarely used things like formation commander upgrades etc.  In short the nations forces will be bigger and more varied, but as per the FAQ don’t expect everything to be present, BF wont be releasing almost every vehicle and unit of LW as they once did, although the books do have more in them, eg Beach Landings and airborne scenarios adding themed flavor that was perhaps lacking a bit from the initial desert books (although perhaps dealt with better on the Eastern Front with city fights)..

MW saw a great step forward in plastics and after some teething problems the new plastic infantry has really come on and the FJ look pretty impressive.

The ‘Hit the Beach’ starter set is something we have wanted for since V4 dropped.  Other game systems really benefit from a large 2 player starter army set, its a fantastic way to get new players into the game, and get them on the road to collecting.  While it had its place I was never a fan of the small starter sets for MW, they just didn’t give you enough to experience the fun of FOW.  I do hope the new set has a cool box exclusive model like the V1 rocket in the old ‘Open Fire set’!

I remember someone directly asking Peter at the Open Day if the relationship with Vallejo could be renewed and he said they were working on it and acknowledged the issues with the current sets.  As someone who does tons of painting and uses Vallejo for 95% of it, I am very excited to see them come back, it just makes life so much easier for players.  Quality paints for quality models = win.

Vallejo is set to make a very welcome return.

The Journey

Battlefront are very much laying out their pitch for Late War in an open and honest way, referring it to the ‘journey’ they would like us to join them on over the next few years.  For me the key part of this language is that we are very much starting again, as with MW this isn’t a conversion its a reboot.  Existing Late War players have to be prepared to shelf some of their collection and accept that most will come in time but equally the new stuff will offer new opportunities options and community events.  For me, yes I am sad in a way, I have literally just painted a 1945 US Armoured force with Jumbos & M4A3 Shermans, and while things like the attached Armoured Rifle Platoon and Mortars will be usable in Normandy and Fortress Europe I will have to shelf the rest until the Battle of the Bulge.  As I say that does sting but equally when I sit back I know I am into FOW for the long run and i’d rather have a viable sustainable business model for FOW rather than drop of all my toys now then have Battlefront struggling with sales.  Bottom line if you release the big key units up front in Fortress Europe what are you going to have in the theatre books?  So yes while part of me looks wishfully at my Comets I get why Battlefront have taken this line, and i’m pleased they have been upfront about it rather than leaving us guessing.

Army Card packs will allow you to use your MW collections (with the odd extra unit for Brits and Russians) in Late War so you can immediately join in Late War.

Equally the ‘journey’ has opportunities as well.  Fundamentally it lets us focus on one theater at a time and getting the most out of it.  Normandy is my favorite period of WW2 and spending a year on it with unit releases, scenery, community events and online campaigns.  Of course if you don’t like the D-day campaign and purely want to hold out for Eastern Front you can use your MW forces crossed over into Late War with Fortress Europe, fielding them against either the Germans from the D-Day Book (plus SS later) or with the MW equipment in Fortress Europe.  I think that puts us in a better situation than when MW came out and Eastern Front players were stuck in a limbo.

Going Forward

For me this is a great way to end the year.  We as players know whats coming for Late War, we know whats coming for Team Yankee and we know whats coming for Mid War.  Will it please everyone, well no, but then I don’t think there is anyway to do that.  However I do think Battlefront will please the majority and that they have learnt from the somewhat painful birth of V4 and want to make Late War a huge success, while continuing to support Team Yankee and Mid War.  

As always we will be keeping track of the developments and all the news and developments in 2019.