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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Brett's Brawlers Contest Winners

By Mitch Reed

On this past November 11th we commemorated the 97th anniversary of the guns falling silent in 1918; this date also reflected the closure of the contest for the Brett’s Brawlers box set.  With so many folks reading the article I thought we would have been flooded with responses; and I was way off.  However we did have three great responses and added a 3rd place award, and that mission will also be published by Battlefront.

Without further ado here are the winners:

First Place: Chris Huhn for “Counteraction”

Second Place: Nic Pacholski for “Capture the Tank”

Third Place: Mark Holmstrup for “Unsupported Flanks”

I do plan to detail these missions as they closer to release, so instead of a review I wanted to give some background to the 3 winners above and speak a bit about playing Flames of War in the Great War Period.

While four people ranked the submissions (with the same results) the winner is someone who is known to those of us in the Northern Virginia area.  Chris Huhn is the owner of Huzzah Hobbies in Leesburg Virginia and is well known to those of us who play FoW.  In an interesting note, my first ever game of FoW was at the Cold Wars Tournament many years ago.  The scenario was the first tank on tank clash in 1918 from a mod he created from the FoW rules called FOW1918.  Chris created this mod in 2006 and host games at Huzzah every so often, and FOW1918 covers the entire war and has all the major nationalities present in the game. 

Some other info on Chris:

Years playing FoW:  Since first edition

What makes the Great War period appealing to you?
I am drawn to it for many reasons. First, infantry tactics developed and evolved along with the weapons. It was a global war with so many Nationalities, many that people aren't even aware of and lastly the outcome influences world politics to this day.

What is one thing you would tell others who have not played the GW period yet in order to get them interested in it?
 It has a different feel and infantry rules the battlefield.

Favorite GW list: I like them all (his favorite from FOW1918 is the Turks)

Other games you play? FoW WWII, Bolt Action, & Blucher

In second place was Nic Pacholski whose capture the tank mission is one I am looking forward in playing.  Nic based his scenario on the capture of “Mephisto” a German A7V, which was taken by Australian and British troops in 1918.

Location:  North Bend, WA

Club (if you have one):  I'm not part of a club, but my good friend and perennial FOW adversary Erik Strom always provides me with a challenging fight....

Years playing FoW:  I started playing 3 1/2 years ago when 3rd Edition was released.

What makes the Great War period appealing to you?
 I enjoy learning about history and the Great War supplement provided a great introduction for me to better understand the history, weapons, and tactics of the period.   I also like to model and GW miniatures provide some unique painting options and patterns for uniforms and camouflage.

What is one thing you would tell others who have not played the GW period yet in order to get them interested in it?
The smaller battlefield size and focus on infantry engagements help make GW games feel intense and cinematic.

Favorite GW list:  French Companie de Fusiliers. 
What other games you play?  X-Wing and a variety of boardgames.

Any other info? 
John Kennedy is the owner of The Panzer Depot (in Kirkland, WA) and is a big supporter of Flames of War.  When I was first learning to play, the Thursday night crew over there helped teach me the rules.

Finally we have Mark Holmstrup who’s ‘Unsupported Flanks” mission was based off of an actual battle fought by the US 369th Infantry Regiment (the Harlem Hell-fighters) during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of 1918.  While not revealing too much, I think Mark will be very happy with one of the digital lists that will be released in the future.

Location: Dallas, Texas

Club:  Lone Star Historical Miniatures
Years playing FoW:  3

What makes the Great War period appealing to you? 
I love that BF created period-specific rules for GW that really captures the feel of the conflict.

What is one thing you would tell others who have not played the GW period yet in order to get them interested in it? 
The GW has all the things you love about FoW but with unique twists on the game that gives GW its own flavor.  And, the games are not static at all!

Favorite GW list:  Haven’t tried it yet, but I think the Stosskompanie list will become a favorite.

Other games you play? FoW was the first miniatures game I ever played.  I’ve tried other games since but they just haven’t held my interest as well as FoW has.

Any other info?  First GW game was for WWPD’s Firestorm Villers-Bretonneux campaign this past summer.  Loads of fun!

Photo above from Mark Holmstrup

The comments the three winners made about gaming the Great War is something I have written about in the past as well as told others about.  The GW period is a real test of how you handle infantry in the game.  I have run an all infantry list in the past (British Paras) yet it was nothing like the challenge offered in the GW period.  Think of running your favorite WWII list without tanks or an artillery battery; how well would you do?  The speed of tanks in the game gives the player an asset that can cover up a mistake in most occasions and an arty battery can hold any part of your enemies force at bay during the whole game if not outright crush them in the case of arty park. 

The other fact these three players bring up is how interesting the Great War is.  I may have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.  If you feel the Great War isn’t interesting or something you could become interested in I would strongly recommend listening to Dan Carlin’s “Blueprint for Armageddon” podcast.  Dan, who mentions he is a gamer in the podcast, is like the “shock jock” of historical podcasters; his delivery and style shows his passion for the subject and emphasizes to the listener why this period is the most important era in history.

So with the “Tanksgiving” sale offered by Battlefront for the next few weeks, I would recommend picking up a Great War army, you will not be disappointed after you have played it!

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