Friday, March 22, 2013

GW vs. FoW

I consider most of my gamer interests to be on the fringe. That being said, I do try to follow the more mainstream games by news and message boards.

This month's whiny, ranting debacle was Battlefront's Flames of War.

I almost got engrossed in reading page after page of people complaining that BF were self centered bastards who didn't really care about "the game."  That the price of models were way to high.  That the game was not historically realistic.  That everything was geared towards tournaments, from point list.  Wondering why the SS have multiple and there's little love for the Russians.. or their Romanians.

All I could do is giggle.  It's nice to see historical wargamers admit to their own "evil empire, just role-Playing and CCGs have Wizards of the Coast and Fantasy/Sci-Fi Minis have GW.

Every whine and rant could easily be interchanged with a 40k version:

"All the rules and lists in the supplement are to make the company money."

Until we get minis produced by Franciscan monks with a vow of poverty, any decent company wants to maximize profits.   Units are produced to maximize profit margin.  Why shouldn't they add 10-20-even-30 percent to the price of a guaranteed seller, if it won't put a dent in the overall sales?  New rules are designed with the next "wow" factor.  I'm sure someone else has done proper comparisons between the 40k Codexes and the latest FoW supplement.  FoW does have the advantage of limiting its tournaments based on Early, Mid, and Late War era equipment, but every addition amps up the coolness factor.  What works for teenager fanboys works for middle age fanboys as well, the later just won't admit it as quickly.

My favorite quote from all the conversations, "Nazis always sell."  That explains why some low volume armies are neglected.  Germans and Space Marines get constant revisions.  Romanians and Eldar always get the short end of the stick.

The big difference is 40K's background is entirely fictional, whereas FoW uses units that partook in this small engagement known as the Second World War. Again, new source books have been known to be "rife with historical inaccuracies." This is a true but laughable complaint, as some of the larger tournaments were known to field more King Tigers than were ever produced. For one, its a tournament setting. Second, Battlefront is trying to sell minis, so the correct but obscure Italian tank destroyer isn't going to be cost effective. If you really want to field that unit in a friendly games, there are plenty of 15mm companies that focus on lesser known troops and vehicles... and all at a cheaper price

Game play:  This layman gamer only has the vibe he picks up from watching games, but FoW has one advantage:  the troops move.  Most tournament AARs I've heard on What Would Patton Do certainly mention at least one unit making some significant movement across the board.  Tanks and artillery may need to stay in position depending on scenario, but some infantry or combined arms is making a charge or and adjustment to said charge.

From my time watching 40k games in stores, on WarTV, and other online sources, my opinion of the game can be summed up in this video.

Contrary to what appears to be the GW player opinion online of "This is TEH AWESUM!"  I can only liken that board to a Wal-Mart parking lot on Black Friday... with only a little more vehicular weaponry.

It is true that a considerable amount of action took place on the above board, but it's like watching trench warfare from space.  And in the smaller game I've watched online,  I can throw in a load of laundry, vacuum the house, and come back to the exact same battlefield, only missing five figures. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not disparaging either game.  They certainly aren't my cup of tea, but I do love the Rogue Trader elements of 40k, and FoW introduction of some form of historical wargaming into the average FLGS has to be applauded.  I just can't tolerate that certain percentage of the base complaining about the inevitable.  Prices are going to go up, rules are going to get Munchkinize, quality is going to suffer.  They might not be Hasbro (actually one of them is), but WotC, GW, and Battlefront are not boutique games compared to the gamer hobby as a whole.  You get a whole different set of pros and cons versus playing The Sword and the Flame, Kyromek, and the original Highlander CCG.  If you can't accept them, there's plenty more fish in the sea and dice to be chucked.

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