by Chris Fretts
I find list building to be one of the fun challenges of playing Flames of War. Finding a list that suits your playing style will increase your enjoyment of the game. It can be frustrating for a player to fight both his list and his opponent on the table. Hopefully a well-designed list will help you be competitive in a Tournament. I don’t feel like there are any lists that will win always –it always comes down to who is playing the list, your Opponent and his list, the mission and the table. Here are some of my thoughts on list building.
In a Tournament setting, you need to have a list that can have a chance in all the missions. Especially in a 3-round tournament you don’t want to go into that event having a mission where your force has no chance of playing a competitive game, much less winning. My objective in any game is to have fun and a well-built list will help to make that happen.
I’ve been playing French in EW since the Blitzkreig book came out. They have lots of good choices and I have played many types of French lists over the years. However, my favorite is the French Colonial Infantry Company. The Fearless Trained Infantry who hit in assault as veterans are great in both offense and defense. Adding the 25mm guns from the HQ to the infantry gives them a decent AT punch defending in assaults. And the Supply Carriers are a must.
• Must be able to attack and defend
• Must have at least two mobile units
• Must have Recon to push back Ambush and do Eyes and Ears
• Must have an answer to Tanks – especially those with 6+ Armor
• Must have an answer to Japanese Night Attack
• Must work in Missions with Reserves and Mobile Reserves
• Needs at least one Smoke Bombardment Unit
• Needs at least one Bombardment Unit to Pin Infantry
Looking at the components of the Company from the Adepticon Tournament, this is how they work to address the above list.
As mentioned above, the 25mm AT guns both increase the number of stands in the infantry platoons for morale as well as giving them some AT punch since they have no other integral AT in the platoons. The 81mm mortars typically are that 9th platoon and are great for smoke bombardments – vital for the trained infantry to get in for an assault.And then there are the Supply Carriers. Attaching one out to the infantry, 25mm AT or 20mm AA platoons give units in those platoons an additional 1 to their ROF for one shooting or assault phase during the game. This can make a huge difference in pushing back an assault. I have gotten quite good at pushing back both infantry, especially Japanese, and tank forces needing those two hits with those Carriers attached to either my infantry or gun platoons. I have also used the Carriers in attack in those situations where I need to pin that platoon before going in for assault – upping the ROF to two shots per stand is a big help in getting more hits.
20mm AA Platoon – Fearless Trained - HE and the ability to have a Supply Carrier attached makes them a decent anti-infantry or AT defense backing up an infantry platoon. As many Axis players take Stukas or other Air Support, this is also a good answer to that threat.
25mm AT Platoon – Fearless Trained - No HE but with ROF 3 and a 6 AT means they can be a good AT defense against lighter armored vehicles. Attaching a Supply Carrier means a minimum of 2 shots per gun. Don’t forget it also makes them ROF 2 when firing as a rifle team at infantry.
Deep Reconnaissance Platoon – Confident Trained – Recon is a must in any force. Generally I prefer two recon units to push back ambushes and use eyes and ears on enemy platoons. That’s not possible with this list. This is also a good mobile unit in the force in both attack and defense. I try not to regard this unit as an AT asset. The AT6 FP5 gun is a disappointment most of the time though can be used in conjunction with the Lafflys to force some double bails. Otherwise their machine gun support fire and their ability to force a Tank Terror roll when backing up the infantry platoons is another important role in addition to their Recon duties.
Self Propelled 47mm Anti-tank Platoon – Confident Trained – I lose this platoon in many games but it is vital to this list. The AT9 can punch through many of the EW Tanks or at least stands a good chance of a penetration. Unfortunately the 4+ firepower can mean lots of bailed out tanks at the end of shooting. This can mean a level of return fire, especially from German tanks with Protected Ammo, that can destroy these lightly armored (0-0-0) units after one round of shooting. Coming out of ambush with ROF 3 per gun is great. Moving into shooting at ROF 1 means that taking five of them is a must.
So, now open up Forces of War, Easy Army, Army Builder or your book and a paper & pencil and start playing with Army lists. Figure out what you want your list to be able to do. Once you have a list you like, play it several times to learn its strengths and weaknesses. Make adjustments as you try it out against different forces and in different missions. Learn how to get the most out of it and above all enjoy the game.
Chris is an avid Flames of War player. He is instrumental in organizing tournaments and events, notably three individual tournaments at Gen Con, in Indianapolis. Chris has been the number one ranked player in the WWPD National Rankings for the past year. Although a fierce competitor, Chris is an incredible sportsman and always treats his opponents with the utmost respect on and off the gaming table. His enthusiasm and passion for the game continues to strengthen and grow our community and we are proud to have him as a contributor to WWPD