Friday, October 29, 2010

Conquest Demo Game

No gaming to report this week, I've been catching up on some work and preparing for university exams that start next Monday.

Thought I'd include a few photos I took of the excellent 28mm Napoleonic's game run at Conquest by the Southern Strategists using Black Powder. These guys put on a demo game every year and this one was fantasic! Both terrain and miniatures were top notch.

Absolutely lovely home made buildings.


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.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FoW: US Paras vs Panzers- FW

Kent and my final play test tonight before Conquest this weekend. I've been mulling over ideas and thought I'd try the following out:

1x Para HQ + 3x bazooka 90
12x Paras 345
9x Paras 255

3x 57mm AT Guns + jeeps 125
3x 105mm Artillery (CT) 90
3x Shermans (1x Firefly) 285
4x Shermans (2x fireflies) 390
Limited Typhoons 170


The main change was dropping the second battery or 105s for some AT guns, my thoughts being that if coming on from reserve I'd rather have the gun shields of the 57mm AT guns than 105s without gun shields. I was also toying with the idea of a full 105 battery but thought I'd test this version out and was happy with it. If I did the full 6 gun battery of 105s but I'd lose my bazookas and feel that the bazookas should come in handy. The main weakness is the small sherman platoon- I will need to be careful with that!

Kent took a very similar list to last week but had worked out the points better so got the panzerewerfers:
  • 2x panzer IVs
  • 3x panzer IVs
  • 4x panthers
  • 3x hummels
  • 3x panzerwerfers with extra crew.
We decided to do a fighting withdrawal as that's the last of the defensive missions Kent hasn't tried lately. If we had time we were also going to try an FFA but ran out of time for that.

My objective was in front of the central crops, Kent placed his near the top wood and the other near the Sherman in the bottom right corner. I placed my artillery and infantry covering the two far objectives, the small sherman platoon and 57mms covering the other. As you can see Kent deployed in the far corner.

My small para platoon dug in behind the objective. The objective marker is a goliath- best thing to use them for :)

Panzers prepare to advance!

Here they come!

My small sherman platoon tries to make a diversion.

Kent looking nervous as the panthers close in on the objective.

With good reason! I smoked a panther and ambushed two others with the Shermans. I KOed 2x panthers but the smoke template meant I managed to not hit the side armour of a third due to being outside 6"! 2 bazookas and an infantry team assault and all hit the panther which passes all saves, then its motivation test and breaks off! Uh oh!

Kent's new smoke templates. I wonder if being Vets in the woods (5+ to hit) will save me?

No it won't. 2 dead, 1 bailed and the unflappable survivors flapped off (again!)

On the other flank 2 Shermans get behind the Germans- the third had fallen to a hummel barrage. I managed to bail a panzerwerfer which failed to remount for 3 or 4 turns :)

Time on target- 6s to range in and then hit- the panther failed its save and is destroyed but the last panther stayed!

The hummels get the firefly but the commander stays.

The last panther falls to an infanty assault.

Running out of time the panzer IVs decide to take on the paras!

The first assualt goes well for Kent- both my platoons fail motivation and retreat. In my turn I withdraw the 105s and the two infantry platoons rally and assault the panzers- destroying them all.


So at this point its about game over, right? Wrong. Kent sends forward the hummels so my infantry move out to take them on! A hair brained scheme but hey, they are hummels! What's that noise...panzerwerfers! (Kent's new smoke/artillery markers are pretty cool!)

The 2iC and Shermna continue to trade shots- well the panzer dies, the sherman is shooting at the panzerwerfers and finally kills another one.

And it goes horriby wrong. Charging forward my imptuous infanty get mowed down by hummels and pinned (5 hits!). Turn 7 and then turn 8 Kent nails both platoons killing all my teams and forcing me to take a morale test (company commander and the sherman being the only teams on table) to save the game! I rolled a 5!

Result: 4-3 to the paras.


The game should have been a walk in the park for my list and Kent's worst nightmare! 4 panthers are tough, you need to kill them all to force them away- or so it seems. My biggest mistake was charging the hummels, I should have hunkered down and won the game the easy way but 4 bazookas in the two platoons, what could go wrong?

Ah well, at least I'm getting my crazy ideas out of my blood now (I hope). I liked the balance of this version and was glad I had the 57mm AT, even though all they did was miss the HQ panzer IV and then retreat off the board. The extra bazooka teams were handy and between Kent passing far to many top armour saves vs bazookas and total failure of my typhoons to spot or hit anything, I'm now expecting big things from both troop types as the dice gods now owe me big time!

Bring on the weekend


Thursday, October 14, 2010

FoW: US Paras vs Panzer Company

Kent and I managed another game at TAG last night. He made up a list on the spot as I had misread the RoH book and had chosen a trained German SS list and not followed the diagrams
so modified it with the models he had bought along.

Kent's Panzers (1750 pts)
  • 2x Panzer IVs
  • 3x panzer IVs
  • 4x panthers
  • 3x nebelwerfers
  • 3x hummels

I decided to take:
US Paras (1750 pts- Hells Highway)
  • HQ + bazooka
  • 2x full strength para platoons
  • 3x Shermans (1x firefly)
  • 4x Shermans (2x fireflies)
  • Limited Thunderbolts

We decided to try Hasty Assault so I got to defend. I deployed a 105 battery behind a hill a full para platoon defending the main objective and shermans + fireflies in immediate ambush- which came on to protect the para’s- and didn’t shoot!

Kent removed his objective near the para platoon and deployed his panthers, HW tanks and nebelwerfers.

As you can see my infantry are in the near wood and objective and 105s are in the distance.

And from Kent's side. He deployed out of LoS near the objective I had placed.

Game on!
The first few turns were pretty uneventful, I fired a few artillery barrages- when an observer had line of sight, but with little impact. Likewise several flights of thunderbolts roared in but either failed to spot and panthers in the open or else their bombs fell wide of the mark.

Yes, that is a flight of three thunderbolts failing to spot the panthers!

In reply the nebelwerfer's killed a para team.

On the second turn the panzer IVs arrived and started moving towards the objective thich was only protected by the 105 battery. Nervously I awaited reserves to help out but the firefly platoon was ordered to redeploy to assist.

The panzer IVs fan out.

The Shermans regroup and one is bailed by the nebelwerfers.

Those panzers are getting a bit close, where are our reserves?

Guys, I think the hummels have arrived! 3 Shermans are caught under a template but all roll 4s and are only bailed! Was I lucky, or Kent unlucky? A bit of both I guess!

Reserves at last! My small sherman platoon arrives in the nick of time and only manages to bail a single panzer IV!

Then loses its command tank! (the other Sherman passed its save)

The other shermans take up a hull down position vs the panthers! At long range this isn't going to be easy!

Rather than waste shots on the panthers the shermans knock out the company commander and 2iC panzer IVs!

A sherman smokes a panther and the para's assault and kill it- the surviving panther backs off.

The perfect assault! The following turn the 2x 105 batteries smoke 2 panthers and the paras charge in under the cover of smoke. However, I only manage to bail the panther that is in the clear. Kent attacks with a panther and a couple of observers and kills 3 teams, even with the company commander re-roll I retreat. The bailed panther then remounts! So much for the perfect assault!

The surviving paras are caught in the open- 9 hits, I fail 7 saves! Only the company commander (who was forced to attach) survives and he fails his morale test too and flees. I've now nothing that can contest! The game has just been turned on its head!

On the other flank my other para platoon assaults the panzers and kills one- the survivor stays put. I want a victory point damn it!

The sole surviving panzer IV destroys my last 2 shermans from the small platoon! Arrghhhhh!

In my next turn I assault the panzer (again) and it stays to fight a second round. In 2 rounds I managed 7 hits, including 2 from bazookas! Kent saved them all then retreated, having killed a couple of stands in DF and counter assault!

Yes that panther is contesting....just. My last firefly bails it and so saves the game. A turn or so later it is destroyed by a time on target barrage.

Now things get silly! I try every try every trick in the book to keep the game alive. My paras are maximising their command radius to jsut contest. 2 dead panthers, one bailed, one okay = no morale test! @##@$###@!!!!

[Edit: actually I think I am confusing my thoughts with an earlier situation where I had 2 bailed and one dead- probably after my failed assault and as I recall Kent did pass his motivation test- as required].

The last turn- I'm down to a handful of infantry (who pass their motivation to stay on he board) and Kent has a single panther over half way. The club was closing so we had to call it- after Kent failed to finish off my platoon. Game to the defenders- just!

What a crazy game! Beforehand neither of us thought too much of Kent's list but by the end of the game Kent was very happy with it. Those panthers were nasty. I should have taken 2 in my assault and probably won the game easily at that point but lady luck decided to favour Kent. From there it turned into an artillery duel.

Kent decided half way though (once I started dropping smoke on everything) that that's the role for his nebelwerfers too in future to close down threats to his panzer IVs- probably a good idea but I don't want to be on the receiving end. Those hummels were nasty they hit hard and killed 2 shermans, and nearly took out a whole a platoon- the only thing that saved me was eventually sniping one with a sherman so Kent was forced t re-roll hits!

MVP probably went to the artillery as it kept me in the game. I think I will take both tank platoons at full strength so to do that its either lose the air support or 3 infantry stands + bazooka. At this stage I think I'll lose the air support.

A fun game, it really swung one way then the other and both of us had our chances to clinch it.

Hasty Assault
We've played this a few times lately and it is growing on me. The attacker has to treat it a bit like cauldron- deploy with the thought of an immediate ambush (i.e. using cover as much as possible) and then on your frist turn organise your attack.

It has made for some close games with the defender stretched waiting for their reserves and the attacker also needing to take their time rather than bum rush an objective early-although that could also work in the right circumstances.