Purchase these Items

Products mentioned in this Article



This Means War! Total War!:
Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
with Jökull Gislason

The play test group I lead in Iceland (Einherjar) and I have played a number Total War game; in fact for the last three years I have hosted such a game on my birthday. I enjoy themed battles and so far we have played the second Battle of El Alamein: The Crumbling, The Battle of Minsk 1944 and now Gazala: The Cauldron. The purpose of Total War is to bring the group of players together and do something totally different from a standard game of Flames Of War. Hosting and playing in so many of these Total War game we’d thought we’d share our experiences with you and offer some guidelines as to how to approach your own Total War battles.
Total War
The complete set of the Total War rules can be found in Normandy Battles: Wargaming D-Day & Beyond.

Learn more about Normandy Battles: Wargaming D-Day & Beyond here...

This Means War! Total War!: Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
Think Big!
A Total War battle plays very differently from a regular game of Flames Of War. Distances are greater so units need to be deployment in positions to provide better support for one another and half measures will only end in distant. Be sure to deploy your units as far forward as possible; units placed near the back of the table will waste too much time try to get into the fight than actually fighting. Total War also forces you to change your perception of size, do not think in terms of platoons. In a regular game, a strong platoon can carry out an effective attack but a single platoon nowhere near strong enough to go toe-to-toe an enemy that is battalion sized. You must think in terms of company strength. A good attack might involve a majority of your striking forces. Yes, you will take losses but so will the enemy. A FlaK platoon of two 88s is formidable but if you swamp it with all of your Grants you will take them out, even if you lose a platoon or two. Holding back out of range will not win you the game.

This Means War! Total War!: Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
Be Decisive
Plan how you are going to win and execute it. You need to secure and hold the objectives in your deployment area and at least one in the center of the table/No Man's Land. Your plan should focus on grabbing at least one of the other objectives and possibly roll up the enemy’s flank. Go in strong, it is very easy to lose your best formations in trying to put out fires at every hotspot on the table but if you do this you will lose the initiative. Once an objective is secure, secure it properly. You fought hard to capture the objective and leaving it vulnerable to being contested by a pesky recon unit doesn’t make much sense. Send a strong force forward not a single platoon, unless that side is secure. Remember that odds carry the day. Two companies will win when faced with a single company so it is a question of tactics and attacking the enemy where they are weak. Remember, the enemy will have to respond to your attack just as you need to react to their actions. So grab the initiative and make the enemy respond to your actions.

A word of caution however, if you go constantly after targets of opportunity the enemy will slowly bleed you white in a battle of attrition and you will then lack the firepower to be decisive. Due to time constraints a Total War battle will be around eight turns or just a few more. So if you act with too much caution you will find that the game is over before you can carry out your plan.

This Means War! Total War!: Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
Need For Speed
A Total War involves a lot of units, so act fast. You can’t waste too much time worrying every detail or pondering every situation you might be faced with. Pick a platoon and move it. Make each adjutant responsible for his own force and move everything at the same time. In your opponent's turn designate one team member to oversee the enemy’s actions in that particular a section of the table. Do not try to micromanage everything and it is not the responsibility of the Army Commander to oversee every move. This only slows the game down and makes it less fun for everyone involved. Set time limits if necessary, in fact keep them short; 10 to 15 minutes for each side to move should be more than enough time if everyone is on the same page. This ensures the game remain upbeat and action-packed. Just think of the added urgency as part of the Total War experience. Do you think actual commanders always had the time to micromanage everything? Another good rule is to have each player command his force and make decisions for it. Having an overall commander is helpful but he should not be allowed to have total control of every detail on the battlefield, their role is to provide general directions, such as; Attack the left flank., or Take out those 88s. then leaving it to the adjutant responsible as to how to best carries out that order and archive the desired outcome.

This Means War! Total War!: Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
Have Fun
Never forget that Flames Of War is just a game; and you should play to have fun. There is nothing wrong with wanting to win but the first priority is to have fun. Bold, decisive actions make for a more enjoyable game for everyone even if your side loses compared to micromanaging everything and not to taking any risks whatsoever. The more exciting the game is the more fun to be had and the faster time flies, so act boldly! The goal is having fun. So try to be friendly and fast in your actions a possible. A Total War battle gives you a chance to play to play Flames Of War very differently than at other times and bring into play new elements. It is also a great testing ground for super units like an IS-2 Battalion, a King Tiger Company or full artillery batteries. Do your research before the battle and make sure the other players know their part. Try to clear up any potential misunderstanding before the battle. If you are running a themed event make sure players know as much about their armies as you can since many might be using unfamiliar forces and as a player it is your task to prepare yourself. The more work you put into it, the more fun the Total War battle will be.

This Means War! Total War!: Guidelines To Approaching Your Own Total War Battles
Total Victory Mission: The EINHERJAR Variation

Total War Reserves

All reserves arrive from their edge. We also determine in advance what companies if any arrive from reserve. In the last battle both sides had to select one company to start in reserve. This gives a fixed reserve base and is useful. The company command teams arrive with the first platoon and we have a special rule that the company cannot be broken until all of its units have arrived. It would be to gamey if a lucky air or artillery strike could take out the first platoon and remove the entire company from the game. Also any commander bonuses like re-rolling the reserve dice only work for that commanders company unless he is a higher command team and then it works for every one of the same nationality.

Reserves have their place in the Total Victory mission. But the rules allow for certain units, mainly reconnaissance and some elite units, to arrive from any edge but we found that this can have too much a profound effect on the game.

Preparing For Battle
7. Starting with the attacker both sides now alternate placing their Companies, one company at a time. All teams, including independent teams are placed within 32”/80cm of their Command team. Both sides must keep one company including all support units in reserves.

In my play test group we have found that making one side place all its units at once followed by the other gives the later too much of an advantage. To speed things up the responsible commander for each company can place platoon commanders and other players in his team can then set up the unit. The other side can meanwhile prepare the company they intend to deploy to be ready for deployment.

Beginning The Battle
2. Both sides roll a dice and the higher sides starts.

One of our group members had a brilliant idea, since the sides were even with four players per side all players from both teams rolled a die each and then added them together. The side with the higher total had the first turn. This involved everyone from the start and adds to the enjoyment (especially when one of the Axis rolled a Tiger Ace Skill dice as a joke).

~ Jökull.

Last Updated On Thursday, January 24, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront