Sunday, October 24, 2010

Conquest 2010

This weekend was the 8th Annual Conquest, the oldest South Island Flames of War Comp and I'm pleased to say Ive been to all 8 so far- having participated in the FoW comp seven times and run an Arnhem multiplayer (FoW) demo once.

I was a bit disappointed with the numbers this year. Only 10 players making it the smallest Conquest yet. A lack of information on the FoW comp before hand may have had something to do with it but being a long weekend a few of the regulars weren't present as they had other commitments.

Each of the tables had a preset mission:
  • FFA
  • Encounter
  • Breakthrough
  • Fighting Withdrawal
  • Breakthrough Assault (from Stalin's Onslaught- the table I provided)

Was a bit surprised to see FFA AND Encounter in 5 rds (maybe that's why 7 armies were tanks and only 2 of us took infantry companies!) but the tables were well designed for both- lots of hedges, woods and fields and so made for some close and exciting games.

This year Stephen did a random draw with each players choosing a letter- A-E moved left one table, F-J moved right. With 5 axis and 5 allied though didn't really see why it wasn't simple Axis vs Allies to avoid the sci-fi match ups (but that's just me) :) That being said though it was the first blue vs blue comp in along long time so would make for some interesting games no doubt.

My force: I took the same para list I played vs Kent the other night and don't think I'd make any changes to it- it worked well!

Hell's Highway- 82nd Airborne
1x Para HQ + 3x bazooka 90
12x Paras
9x Paras

3x 57mm AT Guns + jeeps 125
3x 105mm Artillery (CT) 90
3x Shermans (1x Firefly) 285
4x Shermans (2x fireflies) 390

Limited Typhoons 170

Total: 1750

Scoring was 3 for a win, 1 for a draw and none for a loss with BF scoring to settle ties. I liked it except don't feel that playing for a draw should merit more points than a loss and both should be 0 (or 1) as draws should (IMO) be discouraged.

Round 1: Breakthrough vs Kent (panzers)
Ha! Kent round 1- get the local derby out of the way early. After some woeful luck with airstrikes in our last few games 2 typhoon attacks in the first 2 turns destroyed 2 panthers so made me very happy. The first 3 turns my guns and tanks stayed gone to ground as much as possible negating the panthers (and to a lesser degree artillery). My paras eventually were assaulted by the panthers and killes them then my tanks controlled the game and killed the hummels, and panzerwerfers followed by the panzer IVs.

My typical defence- I gave 1/2 the board to Kent to do as he pleased but would have plenty of opportunity for side shots so he was forced to take on my interlocked defence sooner or later- I also went to ground and didn't shoot for several turns making his panthers next to useless.

The typhoons finally pay off!

My 2iC and HQ platoon bazookas forced Kent to deploy his company commander to stop me racing after his panzerwerfers with 2x bazooka teams!

The only platoon to deploy in the other quarter- they are a move away from contesting the objective that was just out of shot- and have just destroyed the 2 remaining panthers! Not sure why Kent assaulted them but he did!

Game 2: Encounter vs Dave E (Herman Goering Panzers)
Dave usually plays Speerverband and usually plays defensively- not this time. He caught me by surprise by sending the stugs, bergpanther and panthers towards an objective, forcing my paras to back peddle into some woods and by turn 2 he was threatening the objective. His plan came unstuck when my first reserves arrived where I wanted and moved to take rear shots on the panthers, killing 2 and bailing another. A Para assault finished off the panthers and then carried on into the stugs. My shermans moved to his objective and MGed his mebelwerfers and their pak 38 to kill those as well. With me on the objective and his other stug platoon nowhere in sight (and no reserves) Dave surrendered. 6-1

Command stugs and bergpanther threaten the objective.

Dave pushed his panthers too far forward, my Shermans drove past them and took them out with rear shots, then my paras finished them off!

The stugs were hiding from my artillery- My 57mm AT guns are hidden in a wood with an objective behind them- the tanks needed to come within 6" to shoot at them. Plenty of terrain on this table.

Who's ya daddy? The pak 38 had killed 1x Sherman the previous turn (rear shot)- the MGs on the Shermans accounted for all the non dug in guns and I used shooting too successful to grab the objective. The paras weren't too far behind the tanks.

Game 3: Breakthrough Assault vs Stephen S (Guards armour)
My first Blue vs Blue game in along, long time. Being tanks Stephen attacked and made a valiant effort. However his guards infantry were pinned a couple of times and refused to unpin which slowed his chances to removed the minefields. Our priority and limited air support was woefully absent for most of the game. For me my highlight was tactically using smoke to hide half a pltoon of tanks while I shot the other half to pieces, a tactic that worked a couple of times in this one and really helped minimise my own casualties. I also spent a lot of time remaining GtG to avoid his tanks. To his credit Stephen got across the minefields and into infantry assault with my para platoons but I had too many troops left and slowly ground him down.
6-1 to the paras.

Note: Day 1 all defending players won the Breakthrough Assault but I think this was because the attackers spread themselves too wide and allowed the defenders to engage with most of their guns or tanks- Kent and Jamie were both to show how limited the attack to a very narrow front would prove successful for tanks in this mission the following day.

Stephen's Shermans advance on my Breakthrough Assault table.

Add ImageI had a slight accident with this table on Friday. Thursday night I decided to replace the PVAswamp with resin and though the current sand and PVA mix would seal it- wrong! Friday morning the "water" had eaten though the bottom of the polystyrene leaving big holes- which luckily were fillable with plaster so no permanent damage done- the resin looks much better, next time I'll seal with plaster first!

A breakthough at last- the Shermans drive over the minefield- which the infantry remove the following turn! At this point I smoked the rear two Shermans and finally let rip with my 57mm AT guns which were concealed (and gone to ground) in the treeline- 2 Shermans died. My own tanks turned up about now to add to the carnage and I repeated the smoke and shoot trick a couple more times- the infantry eventually assaulted but there were too many paras who destroyed them.

Look are you sure they're Germans? They sound and look funny, but I'm pretty sure those aren't tigers! We justified this game as a friendly fire incident near Nijmejen while our Comms were down!

[Day 2]Game 4: FFA vs Poochie's Grenadiers
Poochie and I have had some great comp game- he plays aggressively and is very hard to stop when he gets on a roll, with the only other infantry company and more troops than me this was going to be interesting- a FFA in the bocage!

Poochie was running
  • HQ mortars
  • 2x grenadier platoons
  • full pioneers
  • 2x 75mm IGs
  • 3x pak 38s
  • 3x hornisse
  • 1x tiger
  • 4x nebels
  • sporadic stukas

I got lucky early on and destoryed 2x hornisse and nebelwerfer to an airstrike we then traded air and artillery blows for quite a while before the tiger advanced- my Shermans had gone to ground ASAP but as Chris got the first turn one was bailed by a long range hornisse shot (the first of several failed FP rolls for the hornisse).

Stukas fail to spot my infantry- the 57mms covered the objective- they were very valauble by doing this and I was very pleased to have them!

You can't see me! The stukas fail to spot my GtG Shermans.

Shermans cover the other objective- IIRC an airstrike finally spotted my tanks and destroyed one!

Eventually we both moved out and the assaulted each others infantry- I lost two platoons, Chris two and his last hornisse (to my artillery). As we were running out of time the game really opened up and eventually time was called but we carried on, neither accepting a 3-3 draw as an honourably result! The game finally ended with Chris' nebelwerfers ranging in and killing or bailing my last 3 Shermans which had bunched up to try and finish off his last infanreryt platoon (3 1s for top armour saves) and as my company commander had also gone it was a 4-3 to Chris. A great game that we both tried our damnest to win. In the end though, his last few stands of infantry wouldn't fail their saves but my but my tanks did!

A great game that easily went 20+ turns and was a well deserved win to Chris, it was an interesting game that ranged from a long range sparring to no holds barred knife fight at the end.

Game 5: Fighting Withdrawal vs Dave Dreaver's Guards Tankovy
Dave filed a fun force- our last three comp games have come down to last turn motivation tests to decide and I've come out on top each time but each game has been a nail biter and so was expecting the same again. Dave took a FE Guards tankovy based on the models he had so it was not the most powerful tankovy on he planet but an interesting force nonetheless:
  • 5x T70
  • 5x T34 (2x 85s) + tankos
  • 5x T34s (1x 85)
  • 3x KV 85
  • 2x 45mm AT guns
  • Tank Rider company
I got to defend so put my 2x firefly platoon in ambush.

Dave loaded one flank and went for it. Typhoons gutted one tankovy on turn 1 and as he closed my ambush and 57mms took care of most of the T70s and the other platoon. I charged his AT guns as they moved forward on the other flank (with my other infantry platoon and small sherman platoon) and slowly ground the Russians down. 60mm mortars, airstrikes and 105s (firing smoke to disrupt his fields of fire) started to control things and in the end the infantry Soviet were forced to attack non pinned 57mm AT guns and my big infantry platoon- and were repulsed twice. However, I had to kill every single infantry stand to get the platoon. About turn 3 Dave had a great round fo shooting an bailed 2x shermans and killed a firefly but they stuck around- the next turn I passed my skill test and withdrew the battered survivors to deny him a point.

It turned out very one sided from there and I eventually broke his company on turn 5.

4x 6-1 wins and a narrow 4-3 loss to come second overall to Jamie (Xelee) who had a draw in the Encounter vs Kent to claim the 1st place with 4 wins and a draw. Both Poochie and I managed 4 wins.

Final Comments
A fun comp and all tables were enjoyable and challenging to play on- both the FFA and Encounter tables made for fun games where both tanks and infantry had a decent chance and seeing that I was running infantry for that I was glad.

Both Kent and Jamie won attacking on the Breakthough Assault table with armour and I think it was because they analysed how to best attack it and minimised shooting by attacking as wide as possible on one side. I like it as it has fortifications but not too many and being preset with objectives etc the set up is no slower than a normal game, but adds another type of challenge to the mix.

The paras performed better than expected and was very happy that I added the veteran 57mm AT at the expense of the second artillery battery- this and the extra 3 HQ bazooka teams were very, very useful.

As I said earlier it was disappointing that this was the smallest FoW comp at Conquest yet and I just hope that we can get more info out before hand next year to try and get more people along. I'd be more than happy to help with the side of things if it would mean we get can drum up more support.

I did manage to pick up an early war French Armour box set so time to get into the early war madness and start practicing for Valleycon next year. I've a French infantry company of the old figures that I've had lying round for six or seven years so its time I got my A into G and got them painted too.



  1. Great report with some interesting games :).


  2. Great AAR.
    Congrats and Well done.

  3. I hope you gace Kent a stern talking to on the way home! :)

    That is the oddest way to do a draw I have seen, possibly the worst of both worlds.

    Rushing in late as I did, I just assumed in was Axis-Allies except for Dave D (didn't really think about Stephen's list). If you are going to have blue on blue, then at the very least he could have doctored the final rounds so we played each other (while you still played Pooch)? That is what would have happened at any other Chch event.

    Oh well, that's Conquest FOW for you. I don't think it is a matter of willing helpers - we fell over ourselves trying to sort scoring, matchups and tables/missions last year - it is that the TO is 'locked in', only communicates via Tim and will unilaterally change already advertised details. So he will not announce anything and it is hard for anyone else to promote things... when they do not even know what they are promoting.

    I did gently say to him, that he really needs to do some announcing and communicating for the event. I am not 100% sure he is aware what other TOs do.

  4. Cheers Guys

    Well done Jamie.

    Once the draw was made and we learned that A-E would play F-J Chris swapped to ensure that we got to fight each other as we were looking forward to one of our legendary grudge-matchs.

    I guess your match up and mine could have swapped in the last round as you'd already played Chris and we could have had a final as the three of us were all on about the same number of wins going into the last round.

    Lack of info on the standard forums was perhaps the main issue as the likes of Nick didn't bother coming down as there was no info about the format, points or era readily available. I don't mind coordinating with Tim, Stephen & the CHCH guys to put stuff on the BF forum (for instance)and leave Stephen H to the running of the event on the day which seems to be all he is interested in doing. I've discussed it with him in the past and he sees himself as the umpire NOT the organiser and I wonder if the lack of numbers was due to a lack of guidance/direction about the format etc.

    Apart from that minor issue the rest of the weekend ran smoothly, fun games on great tables so can't really ask for more than that!

    Enjoyed all my games and my paras fought hard, was glad I had those 57mm AT guns to cover objectives- damn handy things and won't be losing them from my force in a hurry.


  5. The organisation of the event was not an issue at all for me this year. I managed to stick to my resolution to pay no attention to format. I was just there as a local extra to make up numbers, play some games and have fun.

    Which I did!

  6. That was a damn good game Craig, probably still leaves you a couple ahead on our tournament balnce sheet however!

  7. I am getting the same feeling about Natcon FOW. So far there is an umpire but not info on who the umpire is.

    I didn't even know conquest was offering FOW this year. All the info on the forum did say it was on. I don't feel like I should go out of my way to find this info.

  8. I hope to coordinate next year to get info out to people and drum up support for it

    Stephen S is in charge of NATCON and I hope will start getting info out soon.


  9. Thats good, he asked for some feedback on Natcon 2010 a few months ago so I hope he takes my suggestions on board.

  10. Stephen S takes feedback on board and always runs a good event, trying to make improvements all the time. He does a great job even though often it is because he's the only one that "volunteers"s to do it!

    I've suggested for NATCON he have a couple of designated player umpires for each comp to make decisions during games and that their decision is final for that game and maybe any disagreements be dealt with later- there are plenty of very experienced players that could do that role.

    I think you set the benchmark at NATCON this year Nick (as did all the Valleycon committee)


  11. Hi Nick, I agree that you absolutely should not have to go out of your way to find out information, in this day and age. That I attended at all was purely down to Stephen S (who had nothing to do with the formal organising, he just makes sure things actually happen) having a chat to me at the club. It takes more than the one announcement of period and points.

    I would say that this tendency leads me to be sure there will be a NATCON announcement soon, but by now I am sure you have seen it already.

    He solicited another round of feedback earlier today. It will be ongoing.