For this game the table will be far more open, with far fewer hedgerows lining the roads, just two wood templates and only a few buildings. This is a more traditional approach to table top terrain I think, far more practical if less realistic, with each piece of terrain clearly defined according to FoW V4 rules. The standing crop fields for example are no longer contained within tall hedges as before, but still offer concealment to troops within it. The outskirts of the small village are now more open and sight lines are also more open, offering opportunities for longer range shooting. Having got over the temptation to cram everything onto the table I now feel I can run through a solo game to get to grips with V4.
FoW 4 does make some changes to the previous version, much has been simplified to speed up play, hit allocation is one example where you now simply declare your target team within a platoon and that team takes the first hit with other hits allocated to next nearest etc. The dreaded Bogging checks become Cross checks with a slightly better chance of passing, and formation commanders can issue a 'Follow Me' order to gain an additional 4" of movement if within 6" of a unit. Aircraft rules have been bought more into line with the game with streamlined shooting, fighter interception and flack rules. The assault rules also look to have been tidied up.
So with the table set up as below my youngest daughter diced for sides and placed a couple of objectives for the game. Forces are two late war armour based armies with infantry and artillery support. I'll roll for air support each turn and will be using my Typhoon & ME 262 models, although I'll use the 'Stuka' stats for the latter until I can find something more suitable!
US to move first, it's a simple straight encounter game across a fairly open field, the tall hedgerows remain in the box, the standing crops offer concealment and soft cover, the ploughed fields offer soft cover, the woods are also soft cover and require a cross check to enter, and the railway embankment also requires a cross check to move across. Buildings of course are hard cover, I simply had to get the church on the table although the model will be much enhanced once rubble sections have been produced as per those made by James at The Mad Tin Hatter blog, well worth checking out, a great idea.
Images show the table before move 1, Dining room booked until Sunday so I can leave it set up and take my time. All terrain items from my collection are as follows:
- Baseboards by Total Systems Scenic 'space saver' boards. I resisted the urge to add hills at this time although I do have a lot of matching hill pieces.
- Rural roads, cobbled roads & rail sections are 'Battlefield in a Box' range.
- Buildings by 4Ground MDF kits.
- Trees and wood templates by S&A Scenics.
- Fields made from door mat and carpet tiles recoloured and flocked.
- Wall sections by 'Small Terrain Miniature Scenery' (eBay)
Battle report and pictures will follow, possibly broken down into a couple of posts.
Edited to add a few deployment shots, Turn 1. Deployment is difficult when playing solo, so both sides move onto the table and the shooting can begin in Turn 2. Things look pretty linear but that quickly break down as the game develops. The Germans are massing on the right for an attack on the village, StuG's advancing supported by the Panzer Grenadier platoons with mortar sections. On the Allied right the M10 tank destroyers have advanced in open ground, their recce advancing to find targets while Stuart light tanks move up to protect their exposed right flank. Panzer IV's move toward the woods, they will make short work of those Stuarts if they can get through the woods quickly. Sherman's advance across the entire front.