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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's Your Objective? Part 1

Editor's Note: Introducing the fabulous Craig Baxter of Frozen Gamer AK who's agreed to write some regular articles for us!
Thanks to I got back into Flames of War about two and a half years ago.  I had played previously on and off again prior to that in a tournament that was held annually at “Brimfrost”, our now defunct local convention, and occasionally if there was club play.  Flames of War gaming seemed to cease when one of the pillars in our gaming community and subsequently the owner of most the 15mm terrain moved to Colorado.  The Flames of War community more or less dissolved.  I continued to collect 15mm World War Two and played a lot of Blitzkrieg Commander.  When I got back into Flames of War I had plenty of figures, but I was lacking one major piece required for every game, objectives.  Since other rule systems don’t use objectives like Flames of War do I didn’t have any readily available for use.
Other than collecting your army, objectives are arguably the most important models you put on the table each time you play Flames of War.  Since Flames of War missions and scenarios are based around the taking and holding of objectives, failure to have an objective can result in an inability to play, or at least some improvisation that looks awkward on the tabletop.  I have seen the stray artillery piece, two medium bases of random figures back to back and even cut out paper used when someone doesn’t have or forgets their objectives.  While this can work in a pinch, it also detracts from all the hard work you and your opponent put into painting your armies and building your terrain.
Every time I start a new army I build new objectives for that force.  I like to have my objectives match the army’s style and theme.  From the uniforms to the flock, I build my objectives to be a part of the force to ensure they look like they belong with the army they go with and the part of the war they should be in.  I also like my objectives to be dynamic or themed to give them character.   Objectives don't have to be boring.
My Mid War Germans for example are based around a Stalingrad 1942 theme.  So the bases are intended to resemble rubble and urban debris, the uniforms match the uniforms of the Army, and any extra bits I find or attempt to resemble items found in the besieged city.

Extra bits are one of the most important parts of any good objective.  As you can see from my Stalingrad objectives I have includes bits to resemble an “Urban German Command Post”, a “Factory Fight” over diesel generators and even a Monument dedicated the “Sacrifice of the Soviet Soldier”. These extra bits can be found through a variety of sources.  I personally like to get mine from online and local model railroad store and find that HO scale most accurately matches Battlefront sized figures. 
Battle Honors Figures and HO Cow

I also get bits from all the kit and stowage pieces included with any good battlefront model as well as from other companies who manufacture 15mm figures (like Peter Pig and Baueda).  It’s important to remember that when trying to find extra bits from other companies you should browse all their ranges.  This can include, but is not limited to, sci-fi, fantasy, ancients, ACW, WWI and modern ranges.  You’d be surprised how many extra goodies you can find in those ranges will work for WW2.  For example the women in my “Ladies of Sicily” objective for my MW Ghurkas/Brits in Italy come from Old Glory 15s civilian pack for ancients and the pig in my “Babe” objective, for the same army, is HO scale live stock. 
I also heavily rely on other companies for other figures to use on my objectives.  I used the Surrendering Germans from Peter Pig for two other Stalingrad objectives I created.  Photobucket
These American Objectives also have a lot of bits from Old GloryPhotobucket
Peter Pig also has medics, dead, wounded, Brits drinking tea and other fun ranges which can give a lot of character to the soldiers you put on your objective.
Once you have assembled all your bits and have an idea you want to put it all together in such a way that the objective is either telling a story or is something worth fighting over.  Here are my objectives for my EW Greek Army.  I call it “Live Like a Refugee” and my intent was to have it represent the mass of refugees that were displaced during the war. (Figures are from Peter Pigs PBI Civilian Range).
Here are a few other objectives I have created for various armies over the years that use some of the strategies listed above.
“Death of a Cow”
Battlefront figures and HO scale cow
“Going Commando”
Battlefront figures and bits

Battlefront figures, Rebel Mini’s Figures, and Old Glory bits
You probably have noticed I usually have more than two objectives for most of my armies.  I like having more than two objectives for my armies.  For the armies that have fewer than two objectives I plans to build more.  I do this for a couple of reasons.  First there is a couple of missions where you may need three objectives.  Second is sometimes you or your opponent might forget one or more objective at Home and its good to have a spare in the wings.  That and I am addict to building objectives.
If you are not confident in your modeling skills or lack the enthusiasm to build your own objectives its okay.  There are plenty of companies that make premade objectives or pieces that can be used as objectives.  These usual come preassembled and sometime are one cast.  Battlefront, Escenographia and Baueda have great looking premade objectives and even Peter Pig has a couple of pieces that can quickly be glue to a large base and painted.
In Part Two I will take you through the steps of building an objective from inspiration to finished product.
“Craig Baxter is a miniature wargamer from Anchorage, AK.  When he’s not contributing to he is busy blogging, painting, modeling and rolling dice.  You can find more of his work and articles at”


jmezz382 said...

Craig, Bravo ! I love the unique look to your objectives. Great work

kbdrand said...

I used to make my own objectives, but I got tired of people wanting to replace them with flat objectives to stand models on the objective so now I use the Battlefront flat ones.

Joyous_Oblivion said...

@kbdrand Sadly this is where I fall in as well. I love the open-ended option for objectives but inevitably people just want a flat objective.

Steven MacLauchlan said...

I too love making objectives, but have switched in a big way to the BF flat ones. They "print" better in batreps as well.

Scott said...

The best objective I ever saw at a tournie here in NZ and was of a landed flying saucer with a martian talking to a German officer figure, in a very 'the day the earth stood still' moment... it was just cool and nicely echoed all the crazy UFO conspiracy stuff about Germans getting a technological hand up from aliens...

For my own part, I use flat card markers; German Balkencruz and British Roundel respectively.

I wouldnt mind making some themed pieces but can never come up with any decent themed ideas. Defensive ones are 'easy' I guess; spare HQ elements etc as a command popst or whatever, but what do you attack towards to capture? Thats the one I cant figure out, as in reality your own troops probably havent got there yet (thats why you're attacking that way), so your own troops would look out of place, so therefore you need troops to match your opponets army - hard when you play against several opponents and differing armies... ammo dumps I guess fit the bill?

jester_prince said...

I had an idea for a WWPD themed objective I was going to enter into the competition they held, it was a radio hut set up under a camo net, 3 chairs, a bottle or two of Beers on the table and a crate with some vintage playboys in with "Lukes stash" stencilled on the side. Never got around to making it.

grumpus said...

Very cool objectives!! I've seen scenic objectives set down with a flat marker right underneath it, so when things get hot, you just lift off the main marker.

The Kiwi said...

Great post. Keep up this type of content. A collection of excellent and original objectives.

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