Firestorm-Bagration Design Notes
By Ken Camel
Welcome to Firestorm, I promise it will broaden your tabletop horizons! The subject of Battlefront’s first major campaign game is the massive Soviet Summer offensive of 1944 in Byelorussia, called Operation Bagration. In Firestorm—Bagration, the individual Commanders and Generals along with Firestorm Troops brings this historic campaign to life. Firestorm includes a simple set-up, diverse playability, critical logistics, and operational planning actions that do not slow down the overall campaign.
Your armies will encounter river assaults, armoured counterattacks, armoured penetrations through wood and marsh, along with encirclements, breakouts, and desperate retreats as they fight along the 125 miles from Orsha to Minsk. You will put yourself in the role of a German or Soviet General while throwing your Flames Of War army into the maelstrom of the Eastern Front. Battlefront’s Firestorm—Bagration Campaign game captures the enormity of Operation Bagration. You will make decisions akin to real generals and decide the locations where you will fight. Every battle counts towards victory or defeat.
The Campaign Map is divided into historically important areas. The many strategic rivers of Byelorussia define the borders of these areas. These highlight the strategic value of the cities and rail lines that are crucial to successfully battle across the Byelorussian countryside
While developing Firestorm—Bagration we ran into some interesting challenges in simulating the 3,000,000 soldiers involved in the campaign. One solution was that we could use a massive amount of counters on a huge map. However, this proved cumbersome in many ways, so we chose to remove the massive infantry formations on both sides and let your Flames Of War companies represent them on the map. We maintained the historical ratios of tanks, artillery, and aircraft along with offensive capable units (Tank, Mechanized, Cavalry).
These are brought into the game using Firestorm Troops. Though abstracted in one sense as individual platoons, Firestorm Troops represent the real world equipment percentages in the Operation Bagration.
Logistics proved essential during the historical operation, so we designed a critical yet flexible supply system into Firestorm—Bagration. With a good supply line intact, the Germans can develop a credible mobile defence with interior lines capable of defeating Soviet spearheads. The Soviets must also build a secure supply line or their huge offensives will grind to a halt before the gates of Minsk. Special engineering troops allow mobile attacks and counterattacks through the wilderness so that the Soviets can launch surprise offensives against German strong points.
When we were playtesting Firestorm—Bagration it often mirrored the historical Soviet armies bursting through the front lines and rapidly advancing towards Minsk.
But a responsive German defence can halt the offensives and slow the tide. By playing with a clever mix of strategy, manoeuvre, and tactics both sides have a good chance of winning the campaign.
Firestorm also contains The General’s Wargame. This feature allows you to play individual battles using Firestorm—Bagration. It simulates many games to build a sense of how the campaign ebbs and flows and still gives representative results similar to the real campaign, so generals can test their grand strategies either by themselves or head to head against an opponent. The General’s Wargame can also be used with Firestorm—Bagration as a hybrid to simulate more players and games if the number of players in your group is low.
The campaign system is very open. It can be as historical or open as you like based on how your group enjoys playing Flames Of War. You can tailor your campaign to how your players play, how many tables you have, how often you meet, and what size armies you wish to play with.
Firestorm opens many new ways to enjoy your Flames Of War miniatures. From campaigning across hundreds of miles of terrain with millions of soldiers, to pitting your small band of partisans against the local Polizei, Firestorm delivers the tools to expand your favourite hobby. With all that said I hope you enjoy Firestorm—Bagration and I look forward to building more campaigns for Flames Of War!
Total War Design Notes
by Phil Yates
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