Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Getting things right

Hi all. Griddon here. I read a forum post recently where, responding to a new player asking for the low down on Flames of War, a guy highlighted the difference between a 'recreationist' and a 're-creationist' and how their approaches to the game may vary. Which one was I? I thought I knew but then considering my first efforts at building a Flames of War army I might sit somewhere between the two.

A re-creationist would place high importance on accurately representing their chosen regiment. A recreationist might only care for the rules or the game play. A re-creationist might get annoyed playing an opponent with an unpainted army and sweat at the prospect of someone running an Italian list against an Eastern Front opponent. A recreationist wouldn't care - they just want to roll dice. I'd consider myself more of a re-creationist. I like the 'look' of a battle as much as actually playing it. For me, there really is some reward to seeing nicely painted minis amongst nicely finished terrain.

When I set about designing my Irish Guard list, I wanted to make sure I respected the method of warfare employed by the Guards in Operation Garden and pick appropriate units for a column march. In retrospect I didn't pay too much attention to how my Irish Guards should look when I put together the shopping list for my entire 1750 list. I ordered the standard late war rifle platoon box. Seemed sensible. It's a late war British infantry list. Right?

Late War British Rifle Company
Erm no. Sadly not quite right.

As someone pointed out on my painting blog, during WWII Irish Guards wore the Mk II helmet and not the late war Mk III helmet as featured in the box. Is this correct? Well, I've seen quite a few photos of the Irish Guards in Holland and it would seem so.

MkII Helmet
Mk III Helmet
With a game that is based on stuff that actually happened, how important is it to be perfectly correct in the detail you apply to your models? There are quite a number of factors and at the end of the day it should always be down to personal choice. I like Flames of War because it's a relatively cheap miniature based table top game to get into. Having three fully painted late war infantry platoons that aren't deliberately specific to any unit is great for variety. With a few support options swopped out, my Irish Guards can be 15th Scots partnered with 6th Guards Tank Brigade in Normandy for example.

A selection of my British late war infantry stands.

However, there are people in the hobby that are sticklers for detail. The pure re-creationists. I note some tournaments even have a 'historical accuracy' bonus score for armies that are correctly represented on the table top. I'm not sure how far that would extend and whether penalities would apply for incorrect helmets being worn for the chosen regiment and theatre.

At the end of the day my personal preferences are for my opponents to have painted armies and I'd prefer to see some semblence of historical accuracy to the list design. I also really like to have good quality terrain. However, for me, a history quiz the game isn't and I'd probably not even notice small details like uniform types, braid colours or helmet styles. As such, I'm happy to sit somewhere between the two classifications.

What's your view?


  1. I tend to be like yourself. I give much time to making my models look good and complete on the table. I feel let down when my opponent has the silver surfers on the table.

    I like to accurately portray my units but at the same time I leave some wiggle room so I can field units from various time periods ...

  2. I'm like you Jmezz, I like my models to be as accurate as possible, even going sa far as making them unit specific. But that's my taste's for my own forces, I'm not really fussed regarding my opponents historical accuracy, just as long as they are painted ;)