Monday, March 9, 2015

Should Battlefront's Fulda Gap Actually be in 6mm?

by CaulynDarr

Solving the case of the hidden rebel base was his last great mystery.
I googled "Flames of War"+"Fulda Gap" the other day looking to see if any news about Battlefront's new game has snuck out.   Curiously, one of the top results is a micro armor scenario out of Wargames Illustrated called Fulda Gap: The Bear Stikes.  While you could just write that off as coincidence--the Fulda Gap is a well known strategic area in cold war battle planning--it got me thinking.  Could Battlefront's new game actually be in 6mm and not 15mm as assumed?   Sources are saying no.  But I think my reasons are still good for why they should.

While Battlefront's bailiwick is 15mm, and I'm not denying that 15 mm modern armor would look really impressive on the tabletop, 6mm makes a whole lot more sense.  The first big reason is game scale considerations.  15mm on a 6x4 table works pretty well with the technology of WWII.  For modern combat, even though basic infantry engagement range is basically the same, all other interactions are going to be at much greater distances.  Better optics, thermal sights, computers, and laser designation is going to force ranges into the game that the scale is not going to support well. Movement will be wired too.  Modern armor movement will put all but the fastest WWII tanks to shame.  Models that can move anywhere and shoot anywhere on the game board can make for some weird game-play.  

6mm would solve all these issues. you'll get the abstract ranges for shooting and movement that make for good game play.  You'll also be able to include more of the really neat modern elements right on the board.  Ones that would have to modeled as off board assets otherwise.  That way your A-10s and long range artillery are actually persistent units on the table and not just glorified counters and templates respectfully.  Otherwise, they are going to end up with what feels like a clunky re-skin of Flames. 

OK, yeah, that's all about how it would be smart thing to do game wise, but why do I think BF might actually be going that direction? 

The announcement didn't include any art or photos relating to the new game.  Neither did the FoW pacific expansion or the modular building line.  I think this was to keep competitors in the dark while still building interest. They don't want Plastic Solider Company to preempt their releases with more affordable alternatives.  These alternatives to BF's products has been a thorn in their side for the last few years.  

FOW:Pacific is pretty safe.  There's many directions BF can go with the units involved and companies like PSC won't be able to cover all the bases before it's released.  Tanks weren't that important in the Pacific Theater, so it would be all about infantry models anyway.  And they probably don't want their competitors to have products compatible with their new modular building system on release day.   They're just bad at marketing.

Fulda Gap on the other hand...  There will be Abrams and T-74s.  If PCS was inclined, I bet they could get some of the major units to market in 8-12 months time.  Zvenda already makes these in 1/100 as well.  But who's got modern armor in 6mm?  GHQ.  Maybe a few garage shops.  Basically the type of competition BF blew away when they first came out with FoW.  It's a great opportunity to flank their competition with a new product no one is prepared to answer for.

They are also promising units for all the major factions.  That's a lot of models even when you consider the homogeneous nature of more modern armies.  It becomes much more simpler when you release a single sprue with a mix of Abrams, Bradleys, and Paladins on it.  Their FoW range is so huge they are having problems keeping it stocked consistently.  A 6mm game could be construed to require fewer SKU with smart packaging.

Then there's the perceived decline of quality in the FoW offerings of late..  I've observed that rules quality takes a big dip when the devs are working on something big and interesting in the background.  It happened with the later first edition Warmachine books when they where developing MKII, and it could be happening here as the designers are putting together an entirely new 6mm rules system. They're just bad at games.

BF has also tried two modern-ish Flames of War re-skins, and both have not been super popular to my knowledge.  Would they bet the plastic farm that 3 is a lucky number, or go in a new direction?  Roll those dice! BF has been trying to branch out these last few years.  Since all gaming companies eventually become GW, it is about time for Battlefield to put out their own Epic.    



  1. I dunno, GHQ's 6mm minis are excellent, ready and waiting for something like this to happen...

  2. I will prefer to play Fulda Gap in 6mm, much like I find Arab-Israeli Wars more interesting in 6mm. Of course, still using plain 'ol FoW rules, and even the same ranges. at 6mm, you can make a lot more areas to hide, and maneuver.

    Someone on the WWPD forums this morning commented that JP confirmed that Fulda will be 15mm.

    I'd still prefer to do it 6mm.

    1. Is there a source on that? Otherwise: sad face. So many good reasons to do it in 6mm, so many bad reasons to do it 15.

    2. JP on the BF forums:
      Posted By John-Paul on 09 Mar 2015 05:38 PM
      Definitely 15mm. We will have the first of the plastics to show off next month and they are looking very cool so far :)

    3. Dumb. Sad face indeed. Article updated.

    4. It's like they want PCS to keep punching them in the junk. On the plus side more evidence to my theory that all game companies eventually become GW.

    5. If we get into any moderns, unless 15mm knocks my socks off HARD, or several others in the area start collecting, I'll just buy the FoW Fulda rules, and get GHQ 6mm stuff. a $75 army is easier to pay for than a $200 army, which is still much easier to justify buying than a $1000 GW army.

    6. I could see us going 6mm as a small group. As much for cost as for lessened "hobby" requirements.

      FWIW, ranges and speeds in WWII Flames are nearly as ridiculously low as 40K. Once you've got arty on the table with ranges of less than 84" (table diagonal), you've pretty much thrown realism out the window already.

    7. I'd like to see what they got before I decide. If the models are nice enough, and I can build an army for roughly $200, I'd be up for 15mm.

      Still left wondering why they announced the game without putting out any pics or artwork. The only accompanying images are of random factory workers. Battlefront is just so weird sometimes.

    8. Maybe they're going to war with the army they have?

    9. Ha! Nice one!

      Rumsfeld really is the most thoughtful moron ever to walk the earth. :)

  3. Firstly-

    Yes, cuz ranges on those tanks is insane, and they'll hafta make design concessions as is.
    Also- 6mm is da shiznit.

    OhMyGawd I can't wait. I sure hope BF doesn't screw it up by dividing it into periods ('80 to 85, 86 to 89, or whatever), or blowing the balance like they did with Late War.

    Here's hoping!


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