Eusebius Rex here with some basic analysis of what army lists came to Nationals and how the factions ranked.
I like the history behind FoW, but the very active tournement scene (3 in Austin, Texas this month alone) really drives me to improve my game. I like to look at how my faction and favored lists compare to other competitors out there, so here are some basic stats I did out of curiosity.
One of the hottest debates in FoW – just like any wargame – is who the ‘best’ faction is. After the FoW Nationals I made a spreadsheet to breakdown the very basic info provided. Let’s see if this helps us determine which faction is most favored and how balanced Flames of War really is.
Now, the list names have a lot less info that one would think. For instance, there are a LOT of different Brit Rifle companies – 51st Highland, Italy Vet, CT from Fortress Europe, Tyne and T’s, Guards, ect. They actually do have a bit of differences in the support options, special rules and Morale/Skill ratings, but all are simply called Rifle Companies on the results chart. The one Polish company is also a Rifle company and operates very similar to other Brit CT rifles but gets a reroll for Platoon Morale checks. So take this with a grain of Salt
Basic Faction demographics:
– 90 total players
– 28 Germans
– 2 Finns (that scored in the 50s) – which are very close to Germans in armament and doctrine
– 30 total Axis – which is pretty low considering typically it is about 50%
– 28 Soviets! – Here’s the Allied growth!
– 14 total Brits + 1 Polish for 15 total w/ Brit armament and doctrine (the Polish list really are British in all but name)
– 16 US
So this is an interesting breakdown – 1/3 Axis, 1/3 Soviet, and 1/3 Western Ally – for all attendants. We are certainly seeing FoW switch from an Axis vs Allies game to an Axis vs Soviet vs Western Allies game.
Top 10: 4x German, 4x Brits, 2x Soviet
Top 20: 6x German, 7x Brits, 7x Soviet
There was also a German at #21, so the conclusion is that the top competitive players were 33% of each Germans, Brits, and Soviets.
The Brits were predominately Infantry companies (all but 2), though some would have qualified as mech depending on the list. British Rifle Companies typically do fairly well and in my opinion that is mostly to do with the British Bulldog special rule (rerolling motivation in the assault phase). This certainly proves that British players have the ability to do well with ‘normal’ lists. Noticeable absent were any Brit Paras or other elites despite them having a major book release (A Bridge too Far) and some free pdf attention lately with British Commandos. Those were probably absent because of terrain considerations.
The soviets were almost 1:1 split between infantry to tank lists with Tanks and Mech dominating the top overall Soviet scorers. I am surprised with how many Soviets showed up and how well they did – though I really shouldn’t be. The Soviets have gotten a lot of attention with a myriad of list (like 5-6 tankovy list) available in the last 2 years. They are perhaps the newest of the big factions Late-War because their lists have been trying to fix a perceived lack of competitiveness since FoW’s Version 2 release and so Soviet companies have gone through point and rule modifications perhaps more than anyone else. It is quite noticeable that there isn’t a single Sapper Battalion list. Those dudes are some of the best AT infantry out there and I can’t help but wonder why they are missing from the Nationals scene altogether. The Soviet heavy armored list likewise did not make a showing, but I doubt the boards were free from IS-2, ISU-122, and ISU-152 tanks. I’d guess that most Soviets took some Tiger killers.
The Germans were actually infantry heavy by 2:1 – this is somewhat a surprise considering the openness of the boards and the typically German dominance in long range shooting. However, since they really didn’t perform that well I think the AT balance may prove to be shifting in the Allied favor. Pioneer lists were popular, but that is nothing different and I’d wager that most German lists brought Pioneers in support. Analysis of German lists also suffers from generalities, the SS list especially as Wiking and Totenkopf were probably popular choices but could be configured almost exactly the same. Nice to see German Grenadiers and Pioneers do well though. Just goes to show that some of the simple lists from Fortress Europe are still very competitive.
Where’s the US? Of the 16x US players, the highest was a Tank Company at #23 – he must’ve been one helluva player as US Armored is usually not top dog for US players. All but 4 US players were in the lower half and dead last was an Armored Rifles player – definitely some surprise there as I’d have thought they could do pretty well. The not so surprising was the mid/low performance of the Rifle and Airborne companies as they typically lack in reliable maneuver units and on the rather open boards of US Nationals and probably got shot up at distance. I would like to know how many US players took turtle lists and how many took good combined arms lists. I thought that US Airborne with XXX Corp Allies from Hell’s Highway could have done fairly well as it is mixing some of the best Allied elite infantry with the best Western Ally tanks. I’d also like to know if any of them put points into 155’s with AOPs and how that did at 1500 points. It could be that the US suffered a lot from Blue vs Blue Allied matchups. The 3rd Infantry Division and 1st Special Services Force list from Dogs and Devils are still fairly new on the scene and I think these two elite and assault driven infantry lists will eventually equip US players with some good rules and units to get more on par.
Good to see Germans up there at #1 (yep, I’m a German player). However, Brit rifles at 2 and 3 means that the Brits are probably doing well for competitive lists. The performance of the Brits and the 1:1:1 split among 3 of 4 major factions really does a lot to challenge any notion of German Dominance in FoW. Nice to see Tankovy having obviously done fairly well despite them having to play against a lot of Western allies and there plethora of man portable AT as well as their typical nemesis – the Panther tank. There was undoubtedly a lot of Blue vs Blue here and I would really like to know results of faction vs faction engagements. I am particularly curious to see how Brit Rifle Companies (yeah, rather ambiguous again) did against the equally varied Tankovy lists.
So – the 30 million dollar question – is Flames of War balanced better than other wargames you play? What is your take on the US seeming to do so poorly? Do you think there is a player bias towards more powerfull factions? How do the terrain and list taken to nationals compare to your local metagame?
If a prospective player – does the performance at Nationals effect your decision at all on which faction to play?