Home Forums Modern Fistful of TOWs 3 and the $20 Challenge

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  • #57907
    bishnak
    Participant

    Bishnak, if I remember from your blog you’re in Canberra? I’ll be heading down for CanCon next year (likely Epic Armageddon), but would have time for a mini-bash. How about we both have a crack at this, and the winner takes both forces? 😉 Hell, we could even put together a small terrain pack each to go with our army. So, theme for the Imagi-Nations… Similar conflicts for inspiration in brackets.

    • Middle Eastern (Arab-Israeli Wars, Iran-Iraq War)
    • South East Asia (Vietnam, Malaysian Confrontation)
    • Cold War Gone Hot (Doesn’t have to be Imagi-Nation)

    Will you pick up the Gauntlet?

     

    hey Splod,

    Sorry I just saw this (I wasn’t cowering in fear, I promise…). Challenge accepted!

    We’ll coordinate the game itself closer to the date, but in the interim, let’s build the armies.

    I’m happy to go freestyle within Thad’s rules above (1975 cutoff, imagi-nation, etc). I don’t think there’s any need to restrict the region. The FFT3 points system and scenarios balance pretty well in my experience. But the main reason is I haven’t even started to think about the equipment combos I want to put together, so don’t want to restrict my imagination (and fiendish army construction)!

    Suggest we give ourselves a few weeks (end of Feb?) to place the order, then post it up here in early March to let each other tremble in fear at what we’ll be facing?

    We can discuss the mechanics of the game itself (points limits, etc) at a later stage. To keep things relatively balanced though, I’d propose we would randomize a scenario, terrain, attacker/defender etc for the game. Armies could then be selected from within our available purchased miniatures pool, to the agreed scenario point value.

    Thoughts?

    Bish

     

    bish
    http://tinytanks3mm.blogspot.com.au/

    #57909

    I’m already violating some of those rules in a small way, so feel free to do so, too. As Matt says, as long as it isn’t crucially game-changing, it should be no trouble.

    In my case, I found out a certain piece of kit actually dates from 1979, which was quite shocking to me. But give that similar and actually better (and more expensive, in FFoT points) kit was available in 1970, I feel I’m on pretty solid ground letting this one silde. Imaginations and all that….

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #57910

    I do think we should aboid using airpower, advanced composite armors, advanced munitions and stuff like that, because then compition becomes too random. You buy attack helicopters but I didn’t buy anti-air? That’s it for me, this game….

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #57992
    Splod
    Participant

    Thoughts? Bish

    You’re on! Random scenario, terrain, attacker, all that gumph. Sounds good!

    I’m about to spend a month over in WA so won’t be able to show actual progress until mid March at the earliest, but I’m sure I can get a blog post together with my thoughts at least.

    Spent last night poring over the lists, trying to see what inspiration could be found… As it happens, lots of inspiration!

    #58050
    Jesse Escobedo
    Participant

    As a newb to all this, is there a size of base available on picoarmor that you guys would recommend? They do not appear to have 5/8″x1″ or 3/4″x1″.

    Thanks,
    Jesse

    #58052
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Litko Game Accessories will have a wider selection of bases.

    https://www.litko.net

    However, any scheme will work so long as it’s relatively consistent. I’ve had success cutting my own bases from thin PVC sheet, and I know Thaddeus likes regular 1mm chipboard for his bases.

    #58064
    Splod
    Participant

    Bloody Hell.

    I knew people spoke of the smaller packs not being economical, but $3 for 5 miniatures is ridiculous when it is $3.50 for a pack of 15.

    Going to have to rejig my plans a bit, as I had in my head that I would be able to pick up a few smaller packs to pad out the interesting choices to get me to the $21 mark.

    #58099

    You can go up to 21.50 to facilitate the purchase of two small packs.

    Again, as long as your purchases don’t drastically  change the combat value of your armies, feel free to swap about. I am building two armies from odds and sods lying about my bits box. If I were doing it strictly to the letter of the rules, for example, I’d have one type of armored car. In fact, I have two essentially equal armored cars because I had eight of one type left over from one project and seven of another left over from a second project. So fifteen functionally equal armored cars it is: a pack’s worth.

    Why are the small packs so expensive? Because everythhing comes pre-packed from Poland, meaning the Johns have to rip open packs and repackage your figs by hand to get those small packs.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58107
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Personally, I prefer to buy only full packs for that very reason, and I never seem to have regretted having extras for this or that project close at hand.  However, for people who might be doubtful about the scale and only want to “build what they buy,” to contain a project like this, it is an option.

    My Bordurian and Syldavian armies are a proof of concept for this, since it’s experimental at this stage. My Bordurians have an armored regiment with an attached motor rifle battalion (abbreviated and with less equipment, as befits a second- or third-tier power), a recon unit, and an armored artillery battalion. Total clock-in is $21.40, with no extras.

    #58126
    bishnak
    Participant

    Bloody Hell. I knew people spoke of the smaller packs not being economical, but $3 for 5 miniatures is ridiculous when it is $3.50 for a pack of 15. Going to have to rejig my plans a bit, as I had in my head that I would be able to pick up a few smaller packs to pad out the interesting choices to get me to the $21 mark.

    Yeah, you have to make more hard choices than you’d think! I had some options in my mind and then sat down and priced it out and it couldn’t be done. The part pack prices are the killer – you basically need to work out an ORBAT based on full packs to get a decent amount of troops. So I need to re-think things too.
    Not knowing the battle size doesn’t help. I’m starting to think we need to put a ballpark figure on it so that we have an idea what sized force we’re aiming to field? This would basically be the upper limit for the attacker (randomly determined) in the scenario (randomly determined). The defender usually gets a percentage of this total.
    My mate John and I played a campaign a while back using the FFT campaign system and scenarios. For individual battles we had an upper limit of 7500 points. This seemed to work well, resulting in forces of up to Brigade size for poorer quality Soviet-style troops and about battalion size for western style troops. I think this is about right. The only thing is, the period of our campaign was present day, so the more modern troop types were more expensive in points values. So for the timeframe up to 1975, I’d suggest revising the upper total DOWN to 5000 points. Thoughts?
    Now that I’m thinking through the detail of the challenge, there are a few other things to clarify. I’m currently working on the assumption of bases being single vehicles or infantry bases of 4-5 minis? Does this sound right?
    Otherwise, @Splod, I have an alternate proposal for our own personal challenge? I’d be happy to agree on using multi-basing for each platoon base. You mentioned in an earlier post that the attraction of 3mm for you is multi-basing? I also usually multi-base my minis, so it would make the minis useable with my existing forces before and after the challenge (when I win!!). My minis are generally based 4 AFVs to a base (anywhere from 3-5 is fine)  and 20-30 infantry on bases averaging 40mm square (more detail on my basing system is on my blog if you need precise details).
    Believe it or not, you can still get a reasonable number of multi-based forces for the $21.50 limit if we’re playing a game in the range I suggest above. Each pack of 15 AFVs will net you about 4-5 bases of AFVs (about 1.5 companies) and 3-4 bases of infantry (1 to 1.3 companies). Some examples:
    • at the top end (mini-numbers wise), you could do a full Regiment (!!) of Soviet Style Tanks (albeit with very little to no support) – 3x 30-tank battalions if based in six half-company stands (each of 5 tanks) per battalion. If you reduce each stand to 4 minis, you would only need 72 minis (5 packs), so you’d have a pack freed up for some support (eg. 2x 3-mini part-packs each for a platoon stand of BRDM recce and an ATGM platoon?, or a full pack to make a regimental BRDM-2 ATGM company of 3 platoons).
    • A more balanced force could be 4x packs of tanks (= 60 tanks, in 2x battalions) and a pack each of BMPs and Infantry (enough for a MR Company to support one of the battalions, plus a recce platoon).
    • Or two packs of western style tanks (=30 tanks = 7-8 platoons), plus two packs of APCs/IFVs (again 7-8 platoons), plus two packs of Infantry (I’d buy a pack of Inf and a pack of Support weapons, again for about 6 platoons of infantry and a couple of support platoons). This could give you two infantry companies (in APCs/IFVs) and two large tank companies, along with some mounted support (eg. ATGM, HMG, Recce, Engineers) platoons. Basically a combined arms battle-group of 4 companies plus support.
    My gut feeling is that by using single-basing we’d either end up not being able to field the majority of the minis purchased in the game, or otherwise with massive (up to divisional sized!) formations on-table if everything was fielded. From experience, I think the latter would be unworkable in FFT, which plays well up to about brigade level before it bogs down.
    Let me know what you think?
    PS – For those using the FFT system, remember to adjust the points value for Quality when pricing your forces. It can make a big difference if they stray either side of Average quality.
    bish
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by bishnak.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by bishnak.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by bishnak.

    bish
    http://tinytanks3mm.blogspot.com.au/

    #58130
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Ok, I’ll be “That Guy” and say that if it were easy, it wouldn’t be a “$21 Challenge.”

    I have found it quite doable. It’s not 100% cost-efficient but less-than packs let you build about a brigade/regiment with supporting units. And as it’s only $21 an army, I think trying to make it out of whole packs isn’t necessarily the goal I originally had in mind when I proposed it – it’s making budget and aiming for an FFOT-sized force.

    If you only use full packs you’ll radically overshoot your mark, and end up with a lot of extras. Again it’s not what an experienced 3mm scale collector would do, but for purposes of the project the goals are slightly different from what you might do if you were just bulking out your own already-established forces.

    I think the spirit is pretty flexible though – if you want to multibase your units, I say go for it! Part of the fun will be seeing what people come up with as they interpret the challenge!

    #58138

    Multibase if you like! I don’t think it will make much difference. However, one of the goals of the challenge is to show people how easy it is to get a lot of troops onto the table in a short time, cheaply, using 3mm.

    Single basing will net you a reinforced regiment or brigade-sized force, which should give you all sorts of options to play with on the table.

    Basically, you’ll buy a tank pack, a carrier pack and an infantry pack, minimally. You’ll need some artillery, unless you want to go with an off-map battalion as your only support.

    Remember, you CAN kit-bash and modify, so APCs can easily become mortar carriers and ATGM carriers.

    You can also build 120mm mortars with a bit of plasticard, a paperclip and 3 figures stripped from an infantry stand.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58145

    By the way, we agreed that you can buy as many figures as you like for purely esthetic purposes. So if you want to up your purchases by three or four times to do multi-basing that is quite alright – as long as you can show you could make the same army with 21.50 USD were you to use one casting per stand.

    If you do that, though, you might not want tomput your army into the winner’s kitty as youd be losing a substantial amount of cash. And that’s fine, too.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58183
    bishnak
    Participant

    Ok, I’ll be “That Guy” and say that if it were easy, it wouldn’t be a “$21 Challenge.”

    I have found it quite doable. It’s not 100% cost-efficient but less-than packs let you build about a brigade/regiment with supporting units. And as it’s only $21 an army, I think trying to make it out of whole packs isn’t necessarily the goal I originally had in mind when I proposed it – it’s making budget and aiming for an FFOT-sized force.

    If you only use full packs you’ll radically overshoot your mark, and end up with a lot of extras. Again it’s not what an experienced 3mm scale collector would do, but for purposes of the project the goals are slightly different from what you might do if you were just bulking out your own already-established forces.

    I think the spirit is pretty flexible though – if you want to multibase your units, I say go for it! Part of the fun will be seeing what people come up with as they interpret the challenge!

    I have no problem with the $21 limit but you seem to have missed a key part of my post. My point was that the points value of the game should be specified, to provide some sort of guide for the participants’ purchases.

    As I said, if single-basing you could buy the equivalent of a Division’s worth of stuff for $21. But that doesn’t mean you should (how would you know?). If the actual game is going to be points limited so that you can’t field your whole division, what’s the point? You’d just end up with a whole bunch of minis you can’t field, which to me doesn’t seem like the point of the exercise. If I’m going to buy and paint them I want to know I’ll be fielding the majority of the minis?!

    If the game is going to be of a points value that encourages about battalion to brigade size (and that’s what I’d personally recommend for FFT), then it would change my purchase and force composition drastically. Just because I could buy a couple of Brigades worth of stuff doesn’t mean I should. If you’re playing that level of game with FFT, be prepared for a looooong (and to me, less enjoyable) game, which I don’t think is the aim of this challenge? 

    The size of the game is crucial to knowing what to buy that is likely to be actually fielded on the tabletop. Instead of purchasing 6 full packs to mass out a large (Division size) force for higher points game, I’d probably go for a purchase of, say, 3 full packs and some part-packs. This would give me more variety for a smaller game, but wouldn’t be how I would go if I don’t know whether the actual game size will pit my battalion sized force against a tank Division! Bottom line is: if I don’t know the size of the game, I don’t know the size of force I’m likely to field, and I don’t know what I should buy.

    The multi-basing thing was for my specific challenge opponent only. I wouldn’t expect everyone else to do it. And I wouldn’t expect anyone to spend more than the allocated $21 on a force they are going to hand over if they happen to lose in the challenge game. The single basing concept for the challenge is fine for those who normally play that way, and for beginners to show them how cheap and easy it is to start with 3mm minis (I agree, it is!). But for existing players with multi-based troops it doesn’t make much sense. My opponent had previously expressed a desire for multi-basing so I was suggesting an arrangement that might work for the two of us. But I’m not going to field my multi-based troops against single-based ones. For a start the base sizing would be very different, and secondly it would offend my sense of aesthetics. So I think we either both multi-base or neither of us does.

    JMHO.

    bish
    http://tinytanks3mm.blogspot.com.au/

    #58258

    Bish, I think we can safely say that the size of the game will be brigade-sized.

    Single basing will allow you to buy 60 tank platoons and 15 infantry platoons, if you buy nothing else. I suppose if you want to go really low tech, you could use tank riders and buy 60 tank platoons and 30 infantry platoons.

    With small, six-base battalions, that would give you 15 battalions, so not enough for a Soviet-style division and with only a off-board artillery battery in support.

    This could be an interesting force if one called it, say, the Huang Empire and gave it Vietnamese infantry and boatloads of Chinese T-55 knock-offs. Hordes away!

    Personally, my mixes are one or two packs of tanks, one or two packs of carriers, one or two packs of infantry, an artillery pack, a truck pack, or an MRL pack.

    If ypu want to do a maximum quality, highest-tech allowed force, you’ll probably get a reinforced battalion on the table. Say a Chieftain Squadron with an infantry and recon company attached.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58259

    Here’s a fun 21 dollar army:

    Six 6 tank, 3 infantry stand T-55 battalions, the infantry riding the tanks.

    Three T-55s converted to bridgelayers.

    Three T-55s converted to armored carriers by dremmeling down their turrets (good luck with that, btw).

    Three engineer stands.

    Alternatively, cut off some of the T-55s’ barrels, add on a bit of short plastic tube and make them into an infantry support variant.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58271
    bishnak
    Participant

    Bish, I think we can safely say that the size of the game will be brigade-sized. 

     

    Yeah ok, I’m not going to swim against the tide and ask for a points value any more. I’ll work on building a force of brigade sized or less.

    As I pointed out, brigade-size is about the upper limit you can do with FFT within a reasonable 3 hour game. The examples you gave are impressive in terms of number of models you could buy. But when you point them up for a game you would not be able to field them all. And even if you could (presumably a high point game), the game would be unwieldy and take a long time. But go for it.

    Anyway, onto another question:

    I am starting to work out my force and models to buy, so wanted to clarify the rule you proposed for artillery for the challenge. When you say “For scenario points purposes, you can buy one off-board artillery unit of up to four batteries“, I’m assuming that in FFT terminology you mean:

    “For scenario points purposes, you can buy one off-board artillery Fire Group (real world Battalion) of four Fire Units (real world Batteries/Companies)?”

    And you go on to say that if people want to field more artillery, then they effectively lose this ‘free’ artillery and have to purchase the minis for all of their artillery? So since we’re doing 1:1 basing, I assume each model would represent a Fire Unit (battery) in FFT3 terms? So a pack of 12 models would allow you to represent 12 batteries (a full real world Brigade/Regiment), arranged as either:
    • 4x Fire Groups, each of 3x Fire Units (models = batteries). (ie. 4x Fire Groups each with no Availability modifier).
    • 3x Fire Groups, each of 4x Fire Units (models = Batteries) (ie. 3x Fire Groups each with a +1 Availability modifier).

    Is this correct?

     

    bish
    http://tinytanks3mm.blogspot.com.au/

    #58292

    I think the best answer to the points question is use whatever limit you and your opponent can agree upon. In fact, use any rules you can agree upon! 😀

    Regarding the off-board artillery, I want people to be able to buy up to a battalion’s worth. So yeah: four batteries/companies would be your upper limit. If you want more than that, you have to buy it. And you don’t get a “free” battalion: you can buy that off-board battalion only if you have no substantial artillery units in your force (beyond, say, one stand of 81-106mm mortars per battalion). So if you buy a pack of 15 non-mobile artillery pieces, you can give yourself five three fire unit off-board battalions.

     

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58477
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    I got my Litko bases in the mail today, and 5/8″ x 1″ x 3mm is an excellent and very comfortable size!  A tad thick but that’s okay, it gives the base extra tooth for picking up and moving around.  I also happened upon  a cache of modern Soviet units I had from an ill-fated project early in my 3mm career, who are going to be my first force, the expanded 1st Border Guards Tank Regiment of the Bordurian Democratic Republic.  They’ll abide by relative cost rules for the numbers in packs I would buy, I’m just not buying new what I already have laying fallow.

    Hopefully that’s enough in the spirit of the thing for everyone.

    Amaïh, Plekszy-Glâdz!

    #58479

    Well, that’s what I’m doing, twice over, Mr. Average. I do have an army I want to buy from Pico Armor however.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #58486
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    Likewise! I want to arm the Syldavians with a mix of German and British equipment.

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