Monday, October 29, 2012

How Should Flamethrowers Work?

Untitled 22, Brian Smith
Sandy here. HighlanderBurial asked how Flamethrowers would work in Close-Combat, and by extension, the rest of the game. Let's get that discussion started!

GW has 2 distinct styles of 'Flamer'. One-piece Aliens-style, and the backpack style. Should they be different?

Ok, to start things off, there's not just one kind of Flamethrower that we can point to and adapt to our rules. There's at least 2.

Propane Flamethrowers

These are the flamethrowers that you usually see in movies like 'Aliens' or 'The Thing'. They might be in a 1-piece gun unit (above), or they might have a small backpack tank to feed them.

From Carpenter's 'The Thing'

Instead of gasoline or napalm, they shoot ignited streams of propane or natural gas. In the real world these are used for controlled brush burns and heating applications like melting deep snow. Propane is preferred because while it might light something on fire (the eggs below were obviously doused in something flammable), it won't leave a pool of burning gasoline behind. Making them safer and more predictable to use.

Their range is close enough to the traditional GW teardrop template, that we might as well just go with using it to represent the stream.

The Assault Flamer model (no fuel backpack) shoots a standard GW teardrop template.
These would seem like a good choice for close-combat operations in an alien-infested future. Assuming that you can get a shot off without hitting your friends. They would also have enough of a fuel reserve (because gasses compress better) that we wouldn't need to worry too much about ammunition usage.

Military Flamethrowers

These Flamethrowers are an entirely different beast from the 'safe' propane types. They use a canister of compressed gas (small middle tank) to expel Gasoline or Kerosene at much longer ranges.

The fuel doesn't burn as cleanly either, and will almost always leave burning pools behind when fired at low trajectories.

So how do we represent this monster?

The Heavy Flamethrower could shoot a large GW 'Apocalypse teardrop template.
An obvious choice is the large GW Apocalypse teardrop. But that requires folks to buy an Apocalypse template pack. Which is an additional cost. Though I do want to use the other templates in that pack too for things like mortars and very large artillery blasts.

Let's assume that we go with it.

Either or both flamer types could leave burning markers behind. Should they?
We could even have either or both types leave burning templates behind. Which would be both difficult and dangerous terrain. The small blast marker is a bit bigger than the end of the teardrop, but you get the idea.

There's also the issue of reliability. Particularly on the heavier version. The wind can really push the stream around.

So let me ask some questions of everyone:
  1. Are you comfortable with the horrific size of the large teardrop?
  2. Would you buy the Apocalypse template pack to play our game?
  3. Should the number of shots be limited for flamers? Which ones?
  4. Should we have burning areas left behind?
  5. Should the fat end of the template 'scatter'?
Number 2 could be addressed with some free templates that you could cut out and use. Though we might run into legal problems with copying the barrage template that has a to-hit system built into it.

For number 3, we could either not worry about ammo, track ammo (messy), do a Necromunda-style ammo check (also requires another marker or model removal) for them after they fire, or do what Flames of War does and only let flamers fire once and then remove the model.


BTW: Even if you don't comment regularly, speak up! We want to hear everyone's thoughts. Not just those of our own little group. :)

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