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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hellfire and Back

I finally got my copy of Hellfire and Back and can't wait to start getting some games in with it!  This is the latest book for Flames of War by Battlefront Miniatures for those of you living under a rock.

By now you probably know most of what there is to know if you cared to find out, but I'll cover some quick bullet points of things I found interesting:

  • My god, their 8 Million Bayonets table is harsh.  It was always fun to say the Italians sucked in mid war, but in early war they truly do!
  • Due to their suckiness you can get a serious horde going on.  The Carri list can have 16 M14s, and 12 tankettes for less than 1400 points.
  • The Fucilieri strongpoint list looks fun.  I am sold on all of the fortification lists, they seem like a blast.
  • The Bersaglieri are gonna be tough.  Small units, bad ratings, no integral AT?  Ouch.  But they do get a lot of good support.
  • Overall the Italians look like a lot of fun!  I'm gonna have to start adding Fucilieri to my collection!  It never ends.
  • The Panzers are *expensive*.  BUT they have a ton of flexibility with only 1 required combat unit.  The Panzer IIIs are ROF 3, AT 7, FP 4+ which is just mean in early war.  But they come to just over 150 each! 
  • Captured panzers!  The panzer III units can replace one panzer III with a Stuart, Crusader, Matilda, or Valentine.  The Matildas are of course wildly expensive, but the English don't have much that can touch em.  
  • You can't get nearly as many Panzer IIs as you can in Blitzkrieg- the Mittlere list can only get a single Panzer II unit.  The Leicthe Panzer unit can get 2.
  • Schutzen/Panzerschutzen are about what you'd expect.  Similar to Blitzkrieg- with ATRs and light mortars added.  I am looking forward to running these guys.  Many support options
  • The stutzpunkt list looks interesting.  Core combat unit is essentially a schutzen platoon with trenches, wire, and mines.  Additionally, they have a pak 38 nest and a 5cm nest.  Those should give the brits the business!  They also have a compulsory 88 nest.  It's expensive as all hell, but looks cool!  They also have a boat load of armor support- this could be a mean list!
  • Infanterie list.  I didn't spend too much time looking at this (didn't get a chance to crack the book until late) but it's basically confident trained german infantry.  Plenty of good support of course- could be a good list!
  • The British BAR actually seems like it could be a very fun and playable list.  It's a lot more pricey than the BK version, and thus a bit harder to "optimize".  I don't see it as being quite the killer as the BK version, but it could still be mean.  It has more support options (plus captured italian tanks!).
  • Crusaders and Stuarts.  Both of these lists are fairly standard, but they look like a ton of fun!  The Crusader list can have A13s mixed in as well, which saves you some points over going all crusaders.
  • Infantry Tanks- As usual they look pretty decent, just expensive.  You can have Matildas and Valentines mixed in the same squadron.  I'm fairly certain this is the only place you can get a MkVI C in the entire British arsenal (the 2iC).  Lots of support, but you won't have many points left for it!
  • Rifle Company- fairly standard british rifle company with 8th army, guards, and Indians.  
  • Commonwealth Rifle Company- again fairly standard, with New Zealanders, Australians, and South Africans.
  • Div Cav- Australian or New Zealand.  Lots of carriers, light tank mk VI Bs and captured italian armor!  Fun looking list.  Mechanized, but gets the "swanning about in the blue" rule which lets you move an objective up to 12" before the game starts.
  • Armored cars- what's not to love about those antiquated rolls royce and Morris CS9s?  Also get the swanning about the blue rule.
  • Tobruk Strongpoint- awesome Australian fortification list.  Similar to the German stutzpunkt except much lighter on AT.  Can use captured italian 47mm gun nests- they're only ROF 1, but they get semi-indirect fire.    Can have a "platoon" of all fortifications- HMG nests, mines, wire etc.
  • The book itself is, as usual, awesome.  A LOT more history has been crammed into this book than any other.  The graphic design is top notch, battlefront continue to improve in that regard.  Great maps, and a full timeline view of the campaigns.
  • Lots of cool new terrain guides and new terrain features.
  • Plenty of gorgeous pictures
  • The fortification deployment rules are really cool.  Basically they're deployed in "strong points" that can't overlap with other strong points- which captures the flavor of the strongpoint idea well.
  • 3 new missions!  One for 2 strongpoint lists facing off called "Over the Wire".  Very cool concept- it's a very confused night fight with twisting fortifications all over the place.
  • Witch's Cauldron which is very very similar to the unofficial mission Counter Attack
  • Dust Up- which has been in pdf form for a little bit.  Sean and I have tried it out twice now and it's pretty decent.
  • Painting Guides as usual

In closing- I've been waiting for this book for a long time.  Normally that much build up can only lead to disappointment, but so far hellfire has not failed me.  I am really quite impressed with it, and cannot wait to start putting brush to lead to add some new troops!  I'm gonna have to give it 12 out of 12 L3/35 tankettes.  I have no real gripes with it, or even minor complaints.  If I could just get a solid desert campaign book out of Battlefront, my life would be complete.

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