We’ve seen three Flames of War tournaments so far with War in the North coming up very soon. Down in the secret Warhead bunker, the pre-tournament plotting saw wild and unfounded talk of total infantry dominance. Flamethrowers were fueled, assault guns began revving their engines, hopes were raised and…. a load of tank lists suddenly appeared. I thought it might be interesting to check the stats and see what’s actually happening.

We’re relying on the results of three tournaments so we can expect some kinks in the early stages but I think it’s worth the effort. I’m avoiding all mention of players and focusing on lists to avoid wandering anywhere near the awful concept of player rankings.

1) What’s the most popular nationality?

This was a easy one, it was ze Germans by a massive margin. The Western Front is very strongly represented in Ireland. The Americans also do well. I’m guessing that since the game has begun to expand massively since the release of the v.3 rules, the American/German focus of the last few books has seen most people focus on those nationalities. The availability of the new PSC kits also makes the German lists quite cheap to build.

The newer Market Garden compilation (British/German) and incoming Ost Front in Germany books (Soviet/German) should see the balance swing again as newer Soviet and British lists appear. I would hope to see the Germans remain steady on 50% as it lets us run more “no blue on blue” tournaments.

2) Who wins most of their games?

Two points to make here, firstly, I’ve treated all losing draws as losses, secondly, I have not taken into account the margin of victory. Consider it a rough guideline rather than an exact depiction. We’re dealing with a very small sample size here so we can expect the results to shift dramatically over time. I would expect to see the Soviets to continue to sit behind the curve and the Americans to stay slightly ahead of the others.

The core American lists (2ID/ARP/TDC) are very forgiving but the new tank destroyer rules might undermine them slightly. Subjectively, I noticed that the American lists did tend to drop down the rankings due to scoring 4-3 narrow wins rather than 6-1 slaughters.

3) How much variety are we seeing?

We’re seeing an incredible amount of list diversity. The thirty forces submitted for the three tournaments come from twenty-two different army lists. Even when the forces come from the same list, their composition is extremely varied. For example, the SS-Kampfgruppe Peiper entry above represents three very different forces, one based on King Tigers, one based on Panthers and one based on the humble Panzer IV J.

We’ll wait for the results of the next tournament before digging more deeply into the infantry vs armour debate.