Friday, January 30, 2015

Flames of War in the Classroom

I must start by saying World War Two is not my favorite era for wargaming.  I have been and probably always will be a horse and musket type of guy.  But the kids that come to my wargaming club are World War Two enthusiasts.  So, perhaps the most selfless warmgaming act I have ever done is to purchase, paint and base a load of WWII vehicles and figures for my students.

Last spring I sat down to watch the many videos available on Flames of War.  I spent hours studying the rule book and tried to fight out some solo actions on my personal gaming table.  But no matter how hard I tried, neither my desire nor my ability to grasp the rules improved.  But I had all of these figures plus terrain, so I couldn't just drop it.  What would plan B be?  Well, if I do say so myself, I struck upon a genius of an idea.  Why not turn things over to my students and have them teach me?  One of my charges is also a teaching assistant for me during one of my classes.  I handed him the rule book and told him about the videos and told him it would be up to him to teach the rest of us.  To my pleasant surprise, he took up the challenge with relish.  Over the last few weeks he would use his time in my class to take out a small portion of troops and vehicles and teach himself the rules.  Today was the payoff: he led a small group of us in a small encounter after school.  He did a tremendous job.  He was thrilled to have the opportunity, the other seven students began to get the feel for the rules, and everyone had a great time.  As for me, I sat back and just watched it all happen.

One of the other students in our group has already picked up the Flames of War starter box and today he brought in a few of the vehicles that he has painted himself.  He did a really good job for one of such a tender age.  He's hooked.  Perhaps the others in the group will follow suit.

Here are a few pictures of today's action.  The objectives were two small farm buildings and adjoining fields.  Each side had a platoon of tanks, a platoon of mortars and two infantry platoons.

German panzers approaching the objectives.

American Shermans doing the same.

American infantry moving across in the open, bunched closely together within view of the German mortar platoon.  A hard lesson was learned here as teams melted away on each turn.

The action from my end of the table.  I was a happy spectator.

Germans moving into a field.

The German mortars, commanded by our lone female participant, did most of the damage on this day.  They can be seen in the foreground.

We were only able to play for a little over an hour, but in that time we completed three and a half turns.  The Germans clearly did the most damage.  Two of the Shermans were flaming hulks at the end of the game, and several stands of infantry had been removed as a result of some excellent shooting by the German mortars.  The axis casualties were very light.  It is safe to say that by games end we all were much more comfortable with the mechanics and eager for another go.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea to do that with the pupils! Looks great and your terrain and miniatures are so realistic - splendid effect.