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Archive for January, 2012

This past Saturday, my local game club, Ordo Ineptus, hosted a FoW tournament – Late War 1750pts. No doubt the 6 inches of snow that fell the night before impacted the turnout, however six of us battle-hardened generals ventured out to let battle commence.

I ended up sticking to the previous list I posted a few weeks ago, taking a Russian Strelkovy horde with three attached IS-2’s in support, along with a handful of other armored nasties. Interestingly, everyone else elected to take infantry companies too I believe, albeit with plenty of armored support. It seems taking an infantry list allows the greatest flexibility in terms of supporting options.

Unfortunately I was too absorbed in my own games to take photo’s of all the various battles, however here’s a game-by-game account of how I did.

Game 1 – Strelkovy Vs. British Guards

My opening game was a Meeting Engagement against the massed guns of Tom’s British Guards Rifles. This was the army I was most apprehensive of squaring off against, having lost pretty convincingly to a similar list in a practice game. It didn’t help that I’d consumed vast amounts of coffee earlier, causing my to be completely wired.

The first couple of turns were fairly uneventful, which if you’ve got masses of infantry like me, trying to survive those first bombardments is absolutely critical. My overall plan was to use my armor as the hammer and my infantry as the anvil, squeezing my opponent between the two, while never committing enough all in one go to make an obvious target.

By Turn 3, the center of the board saw some assaults break out, with one of my Strelkovy companies miraculously surviving a double-wide artillery template, and two bouts of machine gun fire with the loss of only one stand.

Turn 5 rolled around and something I hadn’t anticipated occurred – we ran out of time! The judges ruled a draw on account of me destroying one platoon of infantry and one of artillery, and Tom of destroying one infantry company, and one Shraf company. For those astute Russian players out there reading this, the flaw in this verdict may be obvious, alas, it never occurred to me until much later in the day, in fact too late. More on that later…

Game 2 – Strelkovy Vs. US 101st Airborne

My second game saw me take on the role of defender in a Fighting Withdrawal. Heaven knows how an infantry company is supposed to weed out a dug-in horde of Soviets in a handful of turns, in fact I could see this being just as difficult for me on the attack against dug-in Fearless Veterans.

Needless to say, George’s tough-as-nails paratroopers made the long trek across the board, weathering the hail of field guns, mortars, and heavy machine gun fire well, but in the end it was just too much. Too make matters worse for him, I flung my IS-2’s down the right flank and aimed them squarely at the US 105’s. There’s nothing like three of the heaviest tanks in WW2 baring down on you to make you question your plan. The overall outcome was a pretty convincing win for me, but it was a great game all-told.

Game 3 Strelkovy Vs. US Rifles

The last game of the day was upon me, and with a win and a draw under my belt, I was feeling pretty good about the overall proceedings thus far. My biggest concern prior to the event was being able to hold my concentration, but I was having a good time and looking forward to the end result.

The name of the mission escapes me, but it’s the one where you split the table into quarters and the attacker brings delayed reserves in from the opposite edge of the table. This was the mission I was most worried about (so worried, that I forgot the name of it apparently) as it was in this mission that I suffered the only loss with my Strelkovy in our warm-up games. Fortunately, I was the defender this time around, which set me a little more at ease…

…At least until a swarm of Sherman’s and Stuarts bared down on my left flank, machine guns blazing. From the beginning of turn one, bases started to be removed at an alarming rate as my infantry were mowed away. I’d elected to hold all my armor off-table in Delayed Reserves with the intention of them racing to the rescue if necessary later in the game, and by turn three I was really feeling the pressure.

All was not lost, however. Despite losing infantry in droves, nothing my opponents’ US armor threw at my IS-2’s was able to cause any damage. After surviving a series of side armor shots from a couple of tank destroyers and 76mm Shermans, they were fortunate to come out unscathed, return crippling shots, and resolutely park themselves on the objective. Job done. Another win to the Red Army.

With two wins and a draw, it all came down to two other competitors in the tourney, Tom and Rod. After a more nail-biting climax than my own last game, Tom emerged the victor, leaving him and I with the same record. First place would be decided by whoever had the best painted army, and with my Soviet mob being painted in a suitably rapid fashion, the honor quite rightly went to Tom, with me snatching second place.

But wait…

Hark back to my first game, where Tom and I both destroyed two platoons each, emerging in a draw. It didn’t dawn on me at the time, but one of my destroyed platoons was the Shraf company, AKA, the meat shield, AKA the platoon with a special rule that says they don’t count in any way to the number of platoons destroyed. As stupid as it sounds, I literally forgot the rule that would have allowed me to win not only the game, but the tournament. The lesson is clear here, remember your special rules!

Still, no time for sour grapes. It was a fantastic tournament, and an unforgettable series of games. I’m already looking forward to my next competition, although I think I’ll give my Soviets a rest and try something different. Watch this space.

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The dust has settled on a fantastic Christmas and New Year, so now it’s time to start fresh in 2012 with some New Years’ resolutions.

Last years’ ongoing objective was to break into starting a Russian army in FoW, something that was challenging mostly because it involved exploring a piece of WW2 I had no knowledge of. 12 months on and I’m still learning, but have a sizable Soviet force to show for it, and am planning to compete with them in my first tourney at the end of the month.

So I built the army, now they need somewhere to fight! Yes, objective number one is building an urban city gaming board primarily with a Russian flavor, but able to represent somewhere like Caen or Arnhem too.

I took advantage of the winter break to get a jump start on some of the terrain, planning out various features like ruined buildings, rubble piles, hills and of course, the table boards themselves. More to follow on this in a separate post soon.

My second gaming resolution is intended to be more long term. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m becoming more interested in Napoloeonic era wargaming. I already dipped my toes in the water with some 6mm models a few months ago, and they’re great, however I’ve come to the conclusion that at such a small scale, they’re really not much fun to paint. I’m planning to get hold of some 28mm figs, from Victrix or Perry Miniatures and try my hand at them, and I’ve also ordered Rick Priestley’s Black Powder rulebook.

The last resolution I have is something of a wildcard with a FOW theme, namely adjusting to the new version 3 rules coming out next month, and getting hold of as much Battle of the Bulge stuff as Battlefront sees fit to release. Both plans are little more than rumors at the moment, but I’m still excited to spend my hobby time with them.

Here’s to a happy gaming new year, it’s sure to be an exciting one!

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First of all, Happy New Year! (More on all things Resolution-based later…)

I ushered in 2012 by feverishly painting and basing my Russian Strelkovy Company, and then taking them out for their first proper game yesterday – 1750 points-worth. Paint-wise they’re certainly presentable, but not quite finished. I’ll post more final pictures soon.

So, how did the Soviet horde perform? To be honest, the troops performed admirably, it’s their leadership (i.e. me!) that was lacking.

My first game was against a US Armored Rifle Company, AKA two small ARP’s and a great big chunk of Uncle Sam’s finest artillery. We played a simple encounter, with my solid khaki wave of infantry slogging across the table, with the odd armored vehicle cracking open Sherman tanks here and there. In the end I came out on top, superiority of numbers playing a big part in the outcome of the game.

My second game was a different matter altogether – Breakthrough with me as the attacker, again squaring off against a plethora of artillery, this time of a British persuasion. Having only a single quarter of the table to deploy in, I opted to hold both my combat platoons off-table as delayed reserves, reasoning that the amount of space 28+ stands of infantry takes up would be too easily swept away by so many artillery barrages. Things started off relatively well, losing a base here and there, and winning a pretty significant assault with my three IS-2’s before they got too full of themselves out in the open and failed a morale test. From here it went from bad to worse. My plan seemed to crumble and eventually, with one Combat Platoon still off-table, I failed my company morale check and it was over.

So where did it all go wrong? Two main reasons really; too much reliance on my heavy tanks, and generally a lack of concentration as the day wore on.

First let’s talk about the tanks. I’ve played a few games with the IS2’s and they’ve absolutely dominated proceedings. Even with their singular rate of fire, they’re still virtually indestructible, but yesterday I learned just how far they can be pushed, with one bailing to heavy artillery fire, one being destroyed by a 17pdr AT gun, and the remaining one failing its morale check. Without the heavy tanks,  it highlighted how fragile my other armored support was, especially the SU-76M’s. Still, it was a lesson learned, both not to foolishly expose my armor, and more importantly not to rely on it so much.

The second cause of my demise was lack of concentration. I don’t suffer from ADD or anything, but my mind certainly starts to wander, thinking about dinner, noticing its getting dark earlier, heck even just thinking about how to improve my army – by about turn 4 I’m practically just going through the motions. Granted I hadn’t planned on playing two pretty large games yesterday, but if I’ve any chance of doing well in the tournament later in the month, I’m going to have to anticipate staying sharper for longer.

Now, let’s see if I can tweak my list at all…

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