Thursday, 21 July 2011

List writing and tournaments

Hi guys, Griddon here. In the wash up from Breakout and in subsequent games and list building activities I've started to wonder a bit about my approach. I thought I'd muse the subject for public consumption ;)

Breakout was our first tourney and running it gave us a good opportunity to stand back and watch some of the games. I think until now Mat and I have been comfortable in our own small meta pushing round pretty historically accurate and fluffy lists while learning the game and having some laughs. After Breakout I realised that this approach probably wouldn't wash in the FoW tourney scene unless I liked getting walloped in every game. (And believe me, I don't! :) )
When I consider my past tourney games playing 40k, most tournaments had composition scoring and that allowed me to take some sub optimal choices for personal flavour and get some level of handicap to help me match the pace. As we've previously discussed here at Bunker3030, Flames of War is a superior system to 40k ;) The balance across the lists is good and as such I don't really see the need for composition in tournaments. However, this is a bit of a double edged sword. While balance is good, you do need to ensure you aren't handicapping yourself with poor synergy in your list and ensure you're ticking those 'sensible' staples of list selection such as even numbers of platoons. This doesn't necessarily mean you can't run some historically accurate lists. Sure you can and there will be plenty that tick all the 'sensible list' boxes and perform well. There may also be a good number that just don't work well in the tourney meta. I think the 654 Schwerepanzerjager list wouldn't enjoy an average tourney and yet it's precisely these kind of lists I'm attracted to. WHY!!!!???

Leaving the Breakout tourney I found myself thinking about how to harden up my Brits to compete and started writing endless lists ranging from adding 4 more 6 pdrs and dropping the Vickers platoon, to total rewrites changing to Confident Veteran and packing more smoke and templates. I was a little disheartened I suppose. I guess I just have to decide whether I want to be serious about FoW tourney play or whether I'm happy milling around playing mostly social games and going to the occasional tourney with a list that takes my fancy.

I'm working hard on my German list at the moment. Whilst I declared that my list was final in my recent post here I have to confess I'm already altering it! This is in part to help me meet a deadline to make my first tourney in September and also because I just don't think my original list would have punch. I'm presently keeping my list options wide open as I don't know if I'll have time to get everything done. So, I have in my mind a few lists scaling up depending on what is ready. Starting out with a 4 platoon list incorporating 2 tigers and 6 Pumas to add to my 10 PzIVs. If I get more time I'll get some Panzergrenadiers and Nebs in and swap the Tigers for some Nashorns. If I get all the time I need then I'll be playing Lehr with Pumas, Panzergrenadier Lehr, an 8.8, nebs and my 10 Pz IVs. We'll see. Anyway, I guess this was a nice segway to some photos of work in progress on the Plastic Soldier Company PzIVs. Still to do some weathering and sealing.

Over to you guys. How have you found the FoW tourney scene and your approach to list writing? Do you run different lists for social games or is your FoW experience always centered on lists that you know will compete well in the tourney circuit?



  1. I pretty much agree with your view, although I do not have that much experience with FOW tourneys.

    I find myself dropping machineguns in favor of other platoons that are more cost effective... is that realistic? I don't think so. Not to mention that I am contemplating the use of 4 x Brummbars, yes, right...

    This being said, the lists end up pretty much balanced if you take a bit of everything, and the word is that it is what the top players do... they don't necessarily try to "optimize" their list but know well the game, have a plan and win.

    I thus would tend to think that one should play what he likes rather than aim at a hypothetical "killer" list that may, might help him win the games.

  2. I find that for torneys I have gravitated to lists that I think will give me a good chance at winning at least a few games. Out side of Torneys I am very random and try out all sorts of variations. I play best when I take a list that suits my style of play....which is typically aggressive from the get go. But it does not mean I always go for Tank lists. My defensive play is less than averagely good in my opinion. So like many gamers HMG platoons are rarely seen in my lists.
    I am likely to start making and gaming lists with Fortifications in the near future. There are a lot of them now (mostly Late War) and it may create a few considerations in list building. What to include to take on bunkers.
    Typically I consider...some good regular Anti Tank, Smoke/Arty template, some Mobility, and possibly an AT unit for taking out high armoured tanks.
    I run with units that I know well (Stats, Special rules, how to use them well with other units etc). These are usually units taht I like in any case.

  3. From my experience with the game, it always pays to have the right weapons for the enemy you face. Not facing infantry? Leave the machine guns at home. Are facing infantry? Make sure you've got them.

    Personally, I like developing a core force and then customize with a unit tweak. I play infantry mostly, and I always take maxed-out minimum platoons before I load up on support units (this is my anti-cheese factor), I try to make sure that I can take out the strongest enemy armor I may face, and I always make sure that I've got at least one maneuver element.

    For tournament play, you must know what each unit is supposed to accomplish in your force. While I won a defensive scenario by charging the attacking Grenadier Guards armour with my infantry, that's not usually going to end well. Know what units are your hammer and which are your anvil, but be ready to change the plan if opportunity arises.

    Nick blogs at