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""Fixing" Flames of War Rules" Topic

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Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 8:59 p.m. PST

Hi all. A friend and I were discussing ways in which we could make FOW Rules better as we see it. We came up with:

1. Allowing a unit that did not move to take an ambush(opportunity fire) counter, which it could cash in to fire at any time during the opponents move. It stops the teleporting from cover to cover without getting shot move.

2. Deploying artillery off board and just assuming that it can hit anything on the table. It can still be hit by counter battery and air strikes.

3. Allowing only one attempt to range in to encourage shooting at stationary large targets rather than trying to "snipe" tanks.

Obviously we would be using these for friendly games. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Any suggestions such as burn the rule book, while amusing, will not be helpful.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 10:19 p.m. PST

I'm on V3, and have no intention of "moving on up" to V4. Take that in mind.

As for "opportunity fire", it's there, but subtle.
I would love to hear anyone justify opportunity fire, "in real life". It should be a snap decision, and since FoW uses D6, I can't see that working. You would have to add a +1 at the very least to hit.
But, when an assault is taking place, there is defensive fire. Isn't that opportunity fire?'
When the Hun fails his Stormtrooper move, isn't that opportunity fire?
It's not as easy as one would think.

McWong7313 Sep 2021 4:29 a.m. PST

These changes add a lot more rules which would slow the game down significantly, which is counter to their objective of delivering a 2.5 hour game. That's not saying these are bad ideas/mechanics, but it runs against that goal.

McWong7313 Sep 2021 4:31 a.m. PST

V3? What was wrong with V2?!?

Apart from daisy chain defensive fire, that sucked big time.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Sep 2021 6:57 a.m. PST

I also play V3 heavily modified. in addition to Opportunity Fire, I ditch the IGOUGO turn sequence, in favor of a 2-phase turn where each platoon's phase is determined randomly (fog of war). You can get all my tweaks here:


Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Sep 2021 9:25 a.m. PST

>I'm on V3, and have no intention of "moving on up" to V4.
Seems this is rampant on this site. Call me in on this train, too :-)

Preparing a Juno Beach con next year, probably for V3. I will take a deep look into the modifications mentioned here.

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2021 2:48 p.m. PST

Thanks for the replies.

John I also used the term ambush fire. For example an anti tank weapon in cover waiting for the right moment to fire. In FOW, the incoming tanks get to fire first. Really?

McWong that's why I said that I would use them for friendly games. For me length of game is not really an objective unless we go over 4 hours. But I only see the ambush rule as taking much longer. Ranging once for artillery fire is quicker within a turn but mean that artillery takes much longer to have an effect. It was what was used in V1.

Extracrispy some well thought out ideas. It also reminded me that v4 doesn't have artillery observers so will need to account for them.

But to go against the group mind I found v3 tedious when I read it. For instance has anyone ever successfully figured out the hit allocation rules? I've seen an A3 flowchart to follow to work this out.

Disclosure: We are playing Battlegroup at the moment but I think it's slow. Best played at platoon level or lower IMHO.

Wargamer Blue13 Sep 2021 3:56 p.m. PST

V1 was the best version.

McWong7313 Sep 2021 4:33 p.m. PST

V1 allowed three attempts to range in, that's never changed.
Taking that away, you'll likely find arty is over priced.

Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2021 6:16 p.m. PST

McWong I just checked and you are absolutely correct. I've misremembered – must be old age setting in. Why did I think that artillery was much more effective in v2? But I wasn't intending on using points.

Wargamer Blue I played lots of v1, went off the game in v2. I think that plugging the loopholes in v1 made v2 more clunky. Or may be I'd just got used to v1.

Wargamer Blue13 Sep 2021 9:48 p.m. PST

I played mostly V1. Then all the know it alls got into the game from around the world and had stuff changed up to v2. I lost interest. Missed v3. Glad I did because it looks over complicated with too many rules. Got back into v4.

Col Piron14 Sep 2021 3:01 a.m. PST

But to go against the group mind I found v3 tedious when I read it. For instance has anyone ever successfully figured out the hit allocation rules? I've seen an A3 flowchart to follow to work this out.

Someone has made a list building flowchart for V4 , as its not as easy as V3 . huh?

kcabai14 Sep 2021 8:52 a.m. PST

Opportunity Fire, not only is justified in real life but is a valid tactic that is taught by every military force. (Includes infantry as well)

There entire concept of using stand-off ranges is based on opportunity fire. Although we call it overwatch. If units are stationary they start to sight in on high speed avenues of approach or possible terrain that could base enemy fire positions. This would be at a minimum checking the range, all the way up to range cards, bore-sighting, and distributing fields of fire. As well selecting TRPs for artillery.

On the move in enemy territory, the preferred method is bounding overwatch. One platoon or section mores to a terrain feature while the other remains stationary and covers their advance. They then leapfrog the process.

Wolfhag18 Sep 2021 6:13 a.m. PST

kcabai makes some valid points. I think he's a former tanker.

I'm not real familiar with FOW but there should be an easy way to implement what he described. For defenders to have specific identifiable terrain points "ranged in" on allowing a higher chance to hit on the first shot. The TRP (Terrain Reference Point) would allow an effective immediate artillery barrage when a defending unit reaches that point or passes through. You'd have to limit how many TRP's a player could have. A defensive barrage and FPF are essentially a TRP to call in immediate fire.


kcabai18 Sep 2021 6:15 p.m. PST

Wolfhag, is correct. Once in never out. Generally speaking a Combined Arms Team will defend a 3KM. (Varies for terrain and visibility) Each of the 3-4 Plt Ldrs will identify 3 or 4 TRPs, on their Range card. This is incorporated to the Team Commander's Plan of Fires, and he may add some. This information will then be passed on to the supporting battery who will do the ballistic calculations for each one. In a perfect world the Team will have an FSO (Fire Support officer Attached) from the supporting Bty/BN. FPF (Final protective fire) is the same, but usually danger close.

In an even better situation they would fire spotting rounds on the TRPs to turn them into Preregistered targets. (Even though those solutions will change based on atmospherics. This method is best suited for an immediate "Fire for effect" as opposed to walking the rounds onto the target.

TRPs are also used during an advance to apply fires to attack potential defensive positions, along the route of advance.

Overall TRPs cut significantly cut down the time for response. As opposed to doing grid fire based on a 6 or 8 digit map coordinate. And then develop a firring solution. It is also acceptable to request a mission close to the TRP ( Fire Mission: TRP 5A 500m south) BTW Tibor says "Hi" from Gencon.

Wolfhag19 Sep 2021 12:20 p.m. PST

The way the Marines coordinated recon patrols with artillery was to get with the arty commander and mark off TRP's on a map over lay along the patrol route (TRP Alpha, TRP Bravo, etc). Usually the patrol leader would give the battery commander some SWAG too.

While on patrol, the arty unit would keep one tube dialed in on the TRP at the patrol leader's request, normally the closest one he is to. When the patrol bumped into the enemy or a target of opportunity, they call for a barrage at a TRP with an offset: "Fire TRP Charlie +100, -200, 3 rounds HE fire for effect". Would be 100m north and 200m west from the TRP. The patrols position was reported in the same way not using map coordinates because the enemy would be listening in.

When the round was fired the arty unit would radio, "Shot" to confirm a round is on the way and then "Splash" to give the patrol about a 5 second warning to get their head down before the round impacted. If the patrol wanted another barrage that was on target they'd radio back, "Repeat".

When patrols engaged the enemy, a barrage was designed to suppress the enemy so the patrol could break contact. A big advantage was that arty 105mm units at a Firebase had months of experience to get the range on almost any location with enough accuracy not to need spotter rounds. That's why an immediate FFE worked.

This is all from memory about 50 years ago so correct me if I got it wrong.

This should be something that you could abstract into a game, I do.

Tell Tibor I'm jealous but am packing and moving to TN on Friday. Are you guys playing his Prowling Panzers?


torokchar Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2021 1:18 p.m. PST

Opportunity fire is a MUST – how many times my opponent "charged" over open ground to shoot at me point blank or close assault without having to worry about someone shooting at him – not very realistic in modern combat. I would allow "ambush"/Opportunity fire at no cost to the opponent – its always allowed.

I also hate it when my opponent measures his move from my unit – I would somehow introduce no pre-measuring into the game – seems like every weapon system in FOW has a range finder!!!

I have not played Flames in 10+ years for these two reasons. I would rather play something else – and my Large Russian/Italian/USA and British armies collect dust.

Wolfhag20 Sep 2021 9:20 a.m. PST

I can feel your pain.

kcabai wrote:
There entire concept of using stand-off ranges is based on opportunity fire. Although we call it over watch. If units are stationary they start to sight in on high speed avenues of approach or possible terrain that could base enemy fire positions.

I think this falls under Situational Awareness (spotting, detection and reacting). It is best in the direction you are looking or the gun is pointing (over watch) and decreases to your flanks and rear. Poor SA comes from suppression, outflanked/surprised, being buttoned up and poor training. Poor SA means slower reaction time as there is a delay in noticing and spotting a threat giving your opponent the initiative to shoot/move first or being completely surprised.

The other part of opportunity fire(engaging a target for the first shot) is how quickly you can get your gun on the target, estimate the range, aim and shoot. It normally takes 10-15 seconds depending on threat direction, over watch, optics, fire control, weapons platform performance and crew training. A target moving at 25kph will move about 100m in 15 seconds so it could move into and out of the shooters LOS before he can get a round off.

However, it could take only a few seconds if the target popped up in your gunner's sight (over watching) or bore sighted and has the range already dialed in because it was pre-measured.

Ambush Fire would be acquiring a target at long range and then holding fire until it comes closer, turns for a flank shot or halts. It can choose to shoot at any future turn.

My opinion is that a 1:1 low level combat game should be a time competitive environment. That would mean some record keeping, some method of keeping track of the time, timing of weapons platform performance, and a simultaneous movement system. IGYG and unit activation's creates more of a chess like game environment. Time competitive is more like a video simulation. They both have completely different strategies and tactics.

The timing for engaging a target with follow up shots would be the historic rate of fire modified by the crew type. Switching to a new target you rely on your Situational Awareness.

In a time competitive game environment (not real time like a video game) you would eliminate the need for initiative determination, unit activation, special opportunity fire and over watch rules, orders phase, and IGYG move/shoot sequence as timing would determine the sequence of when actions (orders being executed) would occur.

The game would revolve around individual units reacting to threats in their LOS (SA) and how quickly their crew can execute an order. Better crews are quicker, poor crews slower. If you are quicker than your opponent (better crew and better SA) you have "seized" the initiative without a special rule or die roll. Just as in real combat, as soon as your crew executes/shoots another move or shoot order is immediately issued (no orders phase) and the player determines how long it will take to execute.

You could use historical timing variables for rate of fire, turret traverse speed, crew reactions, etc with a minimum of abstraction.

kcabai will correct me if I got any of this wrong.

This is probably off topic as you'd have to completely re-write the FOW rules to make this happen.


kcabai21 Sep 2021 6:54 a.m. PST

Wolfhag, well put. SA or spotting. is often not represented well, if at all during games. Coupled with the inane movement speeds vs the firing rates, makes certain games poor representations of mobile combat.

Troops fight the way they are trained. For the US, in the 80's, an example is the 10th engagement on TT VII. (Tank Table Seven-individual tank crew qualification) The setting has you stationary in a hull down position. Overwatching a sector to your direct front. There are 3 enemy tanks between 2,500M and 3,000M (one or more in the woods). They are pop-up targets that will appear when the engagement starts. You have 8 rounds. The minimum time is 45 seconds for qualification, hitting the nearest vehicles first. Max score is achieved in 30 seconds or less. At the Battalion level there was a 75% rate of max scores. This is done twice a year, summer and and winter.

Later versions of the table, with the introduction of the M1, would also require a position displacement after the 4th round.

I am under no illusions that a range setting differs from a combat setting. But results from the Gulf war often show they were very, very close.

The time competitive system is the closest way to recreate actual performance. We experimented with that in the early 80s. Tanks like the M1 and Leo 2, rewrote the books.

Wolfhag21 Sep 2021 9:47 a.m. PST

Thanks Kevin. The game I'm working on is time competitive using each units individual OODA Timing Loop. The timing synchronizes rate of fire and movement rates on a second to second basis. While it sounds complicated, it simpler than using traditional rules. The infantry, artillery and air units work the same way.

Is this one of the gunner qualifications you mentioned?


kcabai21 Sep 2021 10:28 a.m. PST

Nice chart, but this is a few pay grades above the tank crew men. They are focused on the P/H (Probability to hit) as opposed P/K (Kill). Once the target ceases to be a threat, move to the next. (Brewing up, cease firing/moving, crew bailing, etc). Our Bible was FM17-12C. I could only find a 1961 version on line (see p. 322) My memory was a little off, it is TT VIII, not Vii.

PDF link

Just found a 1943 version.

PDF link

Wolfhag22 Sep 2021 6:50 a.m. PST

FM17-12C is the one I used for determining the different fire control times. Players can spend less time (Battle Sight) to shoot but with an accuracy penalty.

It's interesting to see what the training standards are to establish a base line for performance. Better crews are quicker, poor crews slower.

"Unfortunately, impacting rounds are felt before the sound of the enemy's gun report, because the speed of the round is greater than the speed of sound. Therefore, a tank commander eyes are more important than his ears. As a result of rounds exploding in the vicinity, one doesn't hear the gun's report at all in the tank. It is quite different whenever the tank commander raises his head occasionally in an open hatch to survey the terrain. If he happens to look halfway to the left while an enemy anti tank gun opens fire halfway to the right, his eyes will subconsciously catch the shimmer of the yellow gun flash. His (the tank commander) attention will immediately be directed toward the new direction and the target will usually be identified in time. Everything depends on a prompt identification of a dangerous target Usually seconds decide. What I said above also applies to tanks that have been equipped with periscopes."
Quote from Otto Carius Tigers in the Mud

Usually seconds decide, that's what I'm trying to portray in the tank and infantry game.


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