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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Third Edition Book Bundle with Green Artillery Template and Range Finder

Just the other day I received a copy of the new Third Edition Book Bundle (FW003), which includes the Version 3 Hardcover Rulebook, the Forces book, and the Hobby book. In addition to the bundle, I also got my hands on the hot new Green Artillery Template: Imperial (AT001I) and Green Range Finder: Imperial (AT002I). These new items should be in stores now and are always available off of the Battlefront Webstore.

Starting with the Artillery Template and Range Finder, they are near identical to the current "smoke" ones that exist, but they now include the updated ranges along with movement types vs. surface type, and a new little helpful reminder for tank command distances on the Range Finder. The Artillery Template is similar to the previous rendition, but now harks back to the original version where it is a solid sheet of plastic instead of having space cut out. The new template includes the full Artillery Sequence listed out on it in addition to the Ranging In table, Template Size table, and Roll to Hit table with all modifiers associated. Both of these templates come in a darker hunter green, almost similar to a Dark Angels Green (to borrow a known color to myself from another well known gaming company). While this color may look nice from afar, I personally find it to be a slight detriment as it can obscure the view of models below because of its darker opacity, along with all of the text sometimes picking out models may be ever so slightly a challenge depending on how far above the table you need to hold it if buildings or trees are involved. While I personally would prefer a more clear color for easier model identification, the additional information is beneficial but over all I would say it rates somewhere in the high-mid range of my rating scale, a solid 9 out of 14+ guns firing, if only the opacity was slightly better it would be a significantly better review. Needless to say, if you do not own a Range Finder or Artillery Template, or even have lost or damaged your own, these are a must with the additional rules directly on the templates.

The new Hardcover Rulebook is a nice piece to add to your collection. The nice part of this book is that it is identical to the Mini-Rulebook, and so page 88 in one of the books translates directly to page 88 of the other. There are no difference in rules but rather a larger version of each page and in a nicer binding. I am preferential to hardback books and so I would prefer to keep the Hardback Rulebook handy, but can see the merits of the mini-Rulebook for it's reduced weight and ease of transportability. But the Hardcover Rulebook is not the only selling point of this bundle...

The Hobby book is also included in the Third Edition Book Bundle, where it covers more of the hobby aspect (how obvious) portion of Flames of War. The Hobby book walks you through the different ideas behind each of the factions, helping to determine which force you want to start with. It also takes elements from the Art of War books as it covers modeling tips from cleaning the toys to base blending techniques. Along with the modeling tips, painting guides are spread throughout which include one for each army, with their color list along with potential alternatives for hastening the painting process, along with tips on shading and highlighting. Things such as list building and table making are included to help new players get their first few battles in or give ideas to those looking for new methodology to what they do. This Hobby book truly represents a 10,000 ft. CONOPS view of everything that represents Flames of War and the hobby, a great place for new players to get ideas and veterans to reflect.

The final book to the bundle is the Forces book. To put it simply, the Forces book is an updated Fortress Europe for Version 3. With that being said, the Forces book goes much deeper, with new rules, point costs, and layout schemes of all the generic armies that we have come to know and love. Each page is stocked full of excellent pictures with reference charts pertaining to each unit, from armor value to the AT/FP ratings. The new layout if fantastic, with the HQ purchase right on the Org. Chart page and bits of information spread throughout. If this is the new format for all Flames of War Intel Briefs, then I am certainly excited. For those with the burning question, all points in the Forces book are identical to those in the D-Day set as well as the Eastern Front set, even with the additional and updated rules applied such as Priests with Breakthrough Guns.

Over all the Third Edition Book Bundle is an excellent set, on par with any of the hardcover sets that Battlefront has produced. It is a must have for new players and veterans alike. With the amazing and new format of the Forces book, the useful and interesting articles of the Hobby book, and the staple of a Hardcover Third Edition Rulebook, what isn't there to like? To rate this bundle, I can think of nothing better than 2 out of 2 Pz. VIII Maus(s)

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