Mid-war Monsters Design Notes


Mid-war Monsters Design Notes

With Phil Yates

Mid-war Monsters was an interesting project to work on, and has an equally interesting story. The idea started about a year ago when I was daydreaming about how cool it would be to have models of Porsche’s Tiger for my Afrikakorps force and how a model of the M6 heavy tank might actually get me off my behind and making an American force to oppose them. This led to the idea that we could make four mid-war experimental heavy tanks, one each for the Americans, British, Germans and Soviets to go with the upcoming rewrite of Afrika and Ostfront.

Well, one thing led to another and John Matthews took the idea and expanded it to a range of 18 models! The next task was to pick which 18 we would do. After everyone threw their picks into the pot (including some that I’d never heard of in 35 years of research into WWII tanks!), we managed to agree on which tanks they would be without too much trouble. Of course, a number of cool options like the Panzer II J and the T7 ‘light’ tank had to be dropped in the process, but I think the book ended up with the really interesting ones. 

We did a lot of research to find plans, histories and statistics for the selected tanks. 

Some were easy to find, while others like the T55 and the TOG2* are so obscure that, even though they were built, we couldn’t find out much about them! The book tells you what we found out–their histories and their characteristics, and adds a short section called Combat Service on what might have been if they had actually fought in any numbers.

Once we settled on the models to make, we had to decide how they fitted into Flames Of War. By and large the question of their game statistics was fairly simple to sort out. The real question was how does it impact people’s gaming. 

Combat Service
Breakdown Rescue Mission

The most important thing we wanted to make sure of was that historical gamers wouldn’t have to face these ‘fictitious’ tanks unless they wanted to. As a result we said they couldn’t be used in normal tournaments, although you can hold specific tournaments for Mid-war Monsters, and made sure that players got their opponent’s agreement to use them in their day-to-day games. That’s not to say that we think that these monsters unbalance the game in any way, just that we don’t want to force them on anyone.

Those who do decide to play with these interesting vehicles have a wide variety of options available to them, ranging from the impenetrable armour of the KV-5 to the irresistible gun of the Sturer Emil, by way of a light tank armoured like a Tiger heavy tank, an armoured car as heavy as a Sherman tank, and a holdover from WWI! You can either field a single platoon of Mid-war Monsters as an additional Support choice for your normal force, or you can replace existing platoons with the new ‘improved’ versions, or both together.

I wrote improved in quotes because there was a reason that most of these tanks never saw large-scale production. While they had improvements over the existing models, they also had major flaws. Most were slow and underpowered, unreliable, or otherwise mechanically troubled! This is reflected in their characteristics in Flames Of War.

That leads me on to the two missions included in the book. The first is Breakdown Rescue. It starts with one of the monsters broken down just outside enemy lines. The owner’s forces are racing forward to protect it as it limps back to safety, while the enemy try and capture it for their own scientists to study.

Sturer Emil tank-hunter
KV-3 heavy tank

It gets really interesting if any of the other tanks in the monster’s platoon get knocked out and have to be protected too!

The second mission requires the players to get their monsters across the table and on to the objective where they will be able to support or oppose a major breakthrough. Lots of challenges and interesting tactics here!

If I may say so myself, I think it’s a great book and adds some really fun twists to mid-war gaming!

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