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Posts Tagged ‘Flames of War’

It was a big weekend for me, hobby-wise! On Saturday, my gaming group celebrated the launch of Flames of War version 4 by putting on an event at our local Hobby Town store. I think it was a big success, and there were a number of newcomers who wandered in and shared in the fun. We had a number of new starter boxes, so some of us were busy sticking Grant and Crusader tanks together, while on other tables, people were taking the new rules for their first official outing.

Then on Sunday, a couple of us got together to play our first Sharp Practice game. It’s been our intent to do some AWI gaming for several months now, but for one reason or another it hasn’t happened. Finally, the stars aligned, and we got some small forces onto the table, along with some fantastic scratch-built buildings made by Randy and a Cigar Box terrain mat provided by club member, Tom.

Freshly glued tanks duke it out using the new rules and stat cards

Taking the Sharp Practice rules for a brisk Sunday afternoon walk.

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My buddy Tom and I played one of the WWPD Firestorm Bastogne campaign games yesterday, with me playing as the 101st Airborne, against a tide of German infantry. With the scenario special rules only allowing infantry and man-packed gun teams, this was always going to be a meatgrinder!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, while I am sure I’m in the minority, I do not like WWPD. They place far too much focus on aspects of the hobby that I dislike. But, that being said, I did enjoy this game, and appreciate them running a campaign.

Easy Company digs in around the objectives in the town.

Easy Company digs in around the objectives in the town.

The Germans advance, armed with a mix of Rifle/MG and Assault Rifle teams

The Germans advance, armed with a mix of Rifle/MG and Assault Rifle teams

As both teams blast away at each other from the cover of their positions for several turns, the road separating them became a killing ground

As both teams blast away at each other from the cover of their positions for several turns, the road separating them became a killing ground

Casualties start to mount on the Airborne reserve units.

Casualties start to mount on the Airborne reserve units.

Despite receiving an avalanche of fire, the Germans risk everything in an all-out assault.

Despite receiving an avalanche of fire, the Germans risk everything in an all-out assault.

After at least three full turns of all-out firing, the game came down to the Germans braving death or glory in an assault on a pinned down LMG unit. The risky moved paid off, with the unit of Grenadiers effectively chewing their way up the thin green-grey line of paratroopers, and seizing the objective.

I look forward to playing the next campaign turn soon!

 

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“Why do all my generals want to destroy my bridges?” 

– Generalfeldmarschall Walther Model

 

Yesterday, the game group got together to fight our Operation Market Garden summer campaign finale – The Battle of Arnhem. This would follow a long tradition of day-long Flames of War mega battles the group has played, and for my money, was the best yet. On with the photos!

Initial setup, with my Fallschirmjager at the bottom. Their objective to cross the bridge only hindered by countless dug-in British paras.

Initial setup, with my Fallschirmjager at the bottom. Their objective to cross the bridge only hindered by countless dug-in British paras.

Tom's awesome metal toy bridge was the centerpiece of the action. With masses of artillery support on both sides, the devastating bombardment template was frequently on hand.

Tom’s awesome metal toy bridge was the centerpiece of the action. With masses of artillery support on both sides, the devastating bombardment template was frequently on hand.

A view from the bridge...

A view from the bridge…

With such a big table, the artillery ranges were put to the extreme, with shells whizzing high from both sides

With such a big table, the artillery ranges were put to the extreme, with shells whizzing high from both sides

The allied reserves race to push into the city.

The allied reserves race to push into the city.

My fallschirmjager AT guns gradually suffer a battle of attrition with the well protected Paras

My fallschirmjager AT guns gradually suffer a battle of attrition with the well protected Paras

More troops come into reserve, gradually pushing back the brave defenders

More troops come into reserve, gradually pushing back the brave defenders

Breakthrough guns take a withering toll on the allied defense.

Breakthrough guns take a withering toll on the allied defense.

Axis Commander Randy gleefully dials in another massive bombardment.

Axis Commander Randy gleefully dials in another massive bombardment.

As the main line of defense is pushed back, the axis roll forward.

As the main line of defense is pushed back, the axis roll forward.

On the opposite side of the table, the German stronghold is attacked fiercely from every angle.

On the opposite side of the table, the German stronghold is attacked fiercely from every angle.

With one combined push from three Axis commanders, the Germans push across the bridge to win the day

With one combined push from three Axis commanders, the Germans push across the bridge to win the day.

After several hours of hard fighting, the Germans emerged victorious, but it was a very close game, and I hope everyone else had as much fun as I did.

One of the interesting aspects of a game this size, are the distances involved – as you can probably tell from my photos, I really was only focused on my own sector of the table, with little real knowledge of what was happening on the other side of the bridge. This made for some tense decisions for both teams, and an ever-evolving plan.

Thanks go to Tom and Kevin for offering to be overall commanders for both sides, during the campaign. I can’t wait to play again soon, and really have an itch to put my Russians back on the table!

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This weekend, my buddy Wes and I played out a Flames of War game for our game club Market Garden campaign. With Wes’s Canadians winning the initiative, we fought a battle for the contested city of Eindhoven.

 

Initial terrain set-up on an 8x4 foot table.

Initial terrain set-up on an 8×4 foot table.

German HMG teams dig in, covering a wide field of fire to defend an objective.

German HMG teams dig in, covering a wide field of fire to defend an objective.

On the opposite flank, the only unit of German armor struggles to make any headway in the face of dug-in heavy AT guns.

On the opposite flank, the only unit of German armor struggles to make any headway in the face of dug-in heavy AT guns.

Despite the odds being in their favor, a platoon of Shermans is bailed out, and subsequently destroyed in an assault again the German HMG's.

Despite the odds being in their favor, a platoon of Shermans is bailed out, and subsequently destroyed in an assault again the German HMG’s.

The Canadians won through, splitting a wedge between both sides of the German forces, taking the middle objective unopposed.

The Canadians won through, splitting a wedge between both sides of the German forces, taking the middle objective unopposed.

 

Full credit to the Allied general, but with the width of the table being so large, coupled with my reserves coming on from random table edges, meant the distance my infantry had to run across was too great to stop the armored advance calmly cruising down the center of the table. Next time I’ll be taking more tanks!

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The local game club have been playing a summer Flames of War campaign, and yesterday my friend, Wes and I played through a game. Using the Firestorm: Market Garden campaign system, we fought over the recently captured Valkenswaard Road, with my Grenadiers trying to push Wes’s Canadians back, and halt the Allied advance.

It also happened to be the first game played in my new game room. I’m still in the process of unpacking, re-organizing, and ultimately building a new table, so forgive the mish-mash of terrain used!

Initial dispositions. Playing the “Free for all” scenario, our goal would be to capture the two objectives placed in each others’ deployment area.

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One of Wes’s Sherman platoons makes a dash down their right flank, while a rifle platoon uses cover to defend an objective.

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Despite mauling a beleaguered Grenadier platoon, the Firefly failed it’s bog check on the hedgerow, and without being able to withdraw from the assault, was lost.

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Using the church and surrounding buildings as cover, one of the Canadian rifle platoons contests an objective. If the game would’ve lasted a turn or two more, this could have been a bloodbath!

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Wes’s remaining Sherman’s managed to significantly out-manouver my Panther’s, pouring a rain of shells into their sides and rear. Somehow, the German armor managed to survive, camping on the objective for a close, hard-fought win.

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After months of anticipation and planning, I just wrapped up my very first visit to Historicon, here in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

While I was beginning to have doubts that any event could live up to the hype I’d built up in my head, it truly was a most rewarding experience that I’ll never forget, and hopefully I can come back some time.

I thought I’d post a day-by-day account of what I got up to, as well as plenty of photos.

Thursday:

Woke up full of hope and excitement at 3am only to have American Airlines completely FUBAR the day, almost making me give up on the whole thing. Didn’t land in Virginia until 2am the following morning. Say no more.

Friday:

With less than four hours of sleep and two ridiculously early starts, I sleepily made my way to the convention for the first time to participate in the Bolt Action Tournament sponsored by Warlord Games. I played three great games against some very friendly opponents, and although my Soviets managed to lose all three, I had a great time. I guess I could’ve blamed it on lack of sleep, but I think my list needs a pretty serious overhaul. Too many foot-slogging rifles, and not enough punch or maneuverability. I do like the overall infantry horde theme, it just seems to disintegrate before my eyes all the time.

After a brief wander around the Wally’s Basement flea market and the truly mind-blowing vendor hall, I decided to head back to the hotel for some sleep, intending to start bright and early the next morning.

Saturday:

With a clearer head, and a spring in my step, I hit the show early, credit card in hand ready to make some purchases. I won’t bore you with the details, but I bought a ton of Bolt Action minis, including Pegasus Bridge, and a few other bits and bobs. I finally got to see the Flag Dude’s booth in the flesh, and it truly was amazing. I’d seen his super realistic looking flags online, and didn’t think they could actually look that good without some fancy model-work, but they were as good, if not better in person, and the Flag Dude himself was a really nice guy. I bought a bunch of ACW flags and have a feeling they’ll be all the motivation I need to focus on my 15mm Union and Confederates once again.

An observation I had – I was expecting that Historicon being the mother of all game cons, there would’ve been some pretty serious deals or discounts going on, but everything seemed to be regular price which was kind of disappointing. Now, the vendors are one thing, I know it’s a low-margin business, but most of the prices at the Flea Market were laughable. There seemed to be two groups of sellers – those with masterpiece armies costing hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and those selling piles of scrappy unpainted junk for equally exorbitant prices. On the plus side, if the prices were reasonable, I’m sitting on a goldmine!

To round out the morning, I entered three minis in the Wargames Illustrated painting contest. None of them won, although I can’t say I put a tremendous effort in. Now I know the level of competition, I’ll stand a better chance next time. Some of the other minis, particularly in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi categories were very good indeed.

I spent the afternoon learning a game I’ve wanted to get into for a long time; De Bellis Antiquitatis, or DBA. Playing with Romans and Gauls, I found it to be a rather unique set of rules; easy to learn but difficult to master. I’m definitely going to invest in a couple of armies at some point, but first I need to track down the rules, which apparently have been out of print for some considerable time. The fact I still hear gamers talking about this system is a testament to how popular it must be, so watch this space for updates when I finally track down everything I need.

After another hour or two perusing the vendor hall, I went to a microbrewery called The Blue and the Grey – very nice cherry ale! Then I headed back to the show for an intriguing pick-up game called Trouble at the Spyglass Tavern; a swashbuckling, treasure-grabbing pirate jaunt run by a game club from Maryland. There were nine of us each controlling a band of pirates, and while nobody managed to escape the tavern with the booty, I had a lot of fun leaping over bar counters and sword fighting other sea dogs.

Sunday:

I arrived bright and early once again, but sadly the steam had certainly run out of my fellow gamers, and there was hardly anyone there. I had one last wander around the vendor hall, and chatted with rules writer, Ernie Baker about his latest game; All Quiet on the Martian Front. I got the impression this was the new and shiny darling of the game convention, and there was certainly a lot of buzz about it. While I was reluctant to make an impulse buy, I’m kinda-sorta regretting it now, as the Tripods were super cool, and while I’m not really into Steampunk at all, it’s certainly the closest I’m going to get to playing something roughly to do around World War 1.

And with that, Historicon was over! I spent the rest of the day visiting the USMC Museum, which was absolutely amazing, and spent the following day visiting some American Civil War battlefields – Chancellorsville, Wilderness and Fredericksburg. Besides being inspirational for my wargaming hobby, it was extremely interesting to learn some valuable US history. I highly recommend visiting them if you haven’t already.

Enough chatter, on with the pictures!

 

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I played a couple of Warhammer Ancient Battles games at the weekend, down at the Strategicon convention by LAX.

I took my Early Imperial Romans, and while they didn’t do a lot of winning, they certainly had fun solidly marching in a massive block straight down the field at my opponent. I made the mistake of not taking any missile units at all, but got some archers to paint up for the next time I play.

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There was also a big 40K Apocalypse battle going on. Not sure what to think about it – I guess it’s cool. On the other hand, I’d probably have more fun playing with GI Joes.
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Also got some inspiration for a desert themed board. Watch this space!
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