Once I have collected a bunch of stuff I then start the process of building an army. Since this approach is model and collection driven rather than army list driven it is not uncommon for me to have a fairly crappy army when I start out. Over time I will then add more models to try and fill the gaps.
This time I want to start with the army that I would like to build, and I think can get the job done, and then start collecting the models. Since this new project will be based on a new concept (for me) I would like to build an army that is completely fresh and new.
My approach will be to follow these steps.
- Determine the period
- Determine the nationality
- Determine the army type
- Set a point limit
- Develop the army list
- Collect and paint the army
The first thing I need to do is to select a period. As we all know FoW is divided into three periods of the war - early, mid and late. My collection is currently focused on mid war armies set in the Mediterranean theater. I currently have British Infantry Company (Africa), British Infantry Tank Company (Africa), Panzer Company (Africa), Schwere Panzer Company (Sicily/Italy), Fallschirmjager Company (Tunisia/Sicily), US Tank Company (Tunisia/Sicily). In addition to all this I have also collected some Soviet tanks for some kind of army as well as some Gebirgsjagers. With this major mid war focus I really need to switch periods in order to do something new. Now some of the armies I already have can do double time as either early or late war forces. My British work for early or mid and my Fallshirmjagers can work as early, mid or late but both of these armies were originally built as mid war forces that as evolved over time.
So the decision is between early and late war for the period. For a lot of people this might seem like a no-brainer, late war is way more popular with FoW players and has the most army and list options available. There is also more models in production to cover this period. Battlefront has produced several hard back and soft back books to cover the late war period and most theaters are now done. It turns out that this large volume of work is actually a negative for me. You see, in order to make a proper evaluation of my late war options I need to purchase 4 hard back books as well as a couple of soft backs just to see what is available. That is nearly $300 that could be spent on models.
Early war has a few advantages for me. The first is my local likely opponents have early war armies already built or in process. But a few of them have yet to move to late war so I have a better potential player base. I also already own all three books for the early war period so I can make a better evaluation of my options. Fianlly, late war is a bore...Tigers and Panthers...dull.
So early war it is!
There are several nationality options available for the early war period - Polish, British, French, German, Italian and Greek. Each of these nationalities has several special rules and army list options. In the effort to do something 'new' I will not be building another British force. There just is not enough differences between early and mid war British for this to be interesting. That combined with the fact that my collection can already be used for an early war list takes the British off the table. Poles would be interesting but two of my friends either already have Polish armies or are planning to build one. Three of the same army in such a small group of gamers is not a good idea. The Italians and Greeks are Mediterranean armies and I want to move away form that theater for a while so they are both out.
That leaves Germans and French. Germans in the early war period have some cool equipment that is not available later in the war. Their special rules are basically the same as mid and late war so playing early war Germans is similar to later periods. The grey paint scheme for vehicles and lack of camo give early Germans a unique look. My friend Tim is working on a Czech Panzer Company so there is some overlap within my group but not enough to be an issue.
The French are a very different army than just about anything in the game. All their gear is new and interesting as really no one else in the game uses it. The paint schemes are also different and interesting. The French special rules, such as High Command and Trench Warfare, make playing the French a new experience. The prevalence of one-man turrets means that French tanks are unlike anyone else's. My friend Mike has a Compangnie de Combat (Tank Company). I don't get to play against Mike very often and if I did I would likely bring my Fallschirmjagers so overlap here would not be an issue. The French have another advantage - I have always wanted to do early war French for WW2. This not just true of FoW fbut for any WW2 game I have played. I started collecting French in 28mm but never had enough to play a game with.
I am going with French.
Now I need to spend a little time thinking over the various army and list options so that is all for now. Check back in for part 2 at some random point in the future.