Sunday, August 19, 2012

FoW at Call to Arms, Wellington.

I was going to do a full post tourney report, but to be honest I am mentally buggered, so here's some pics for you to enjoy, mostly from the 'beauty pagent' ...

My Lehr Panzergrenadiers

Wargamers tottie , as objective markers!

Aly Morrison, the Perrys and me.

Aly Morrison and the Perrys had been visiting with Peter Jackson with a view to work on the new models for the Hobbit movie. The guys came along to the tourney for a look. Great to see them there, even though I don't think there was any Lord of the Rings gaming going on...

Game 1 : 'Losing Draw' vs Ken Camel's American Rifles in Encounter, 2-3.

Game 2 : Win vs Sam Page's British Armour in No Retreat, 4-3

Game 3 : Win vs Russell Briant's Soviet Tank horde in Cauldron, 4-3

Game 4 : 'Winning Draw' vs Bryan Thomson's British Mechanised in Fair Fight, 2-1

Game 5 : Loss to Benjamin Lindsay's Panzergrenadiers in Fighting Withdrawal, 1-6.

Final points 13 scored.

What did I learn?

In Mobile missions like Encounter and Fair Fight, I can play a fairly tight game, generally defending reasonably well, but struggle to break out and attack in these missions, especially in the face of roaming armour or AT with decent lines of fire...

Despite the speed and manoeuvrability of this force, I rarely get it across the table in one piece, invariably the half tracks get blown to pieces half way across the board, with bodies spilling out all over the place.
That knacks the whole attack and weakens me in the defensive, then, potentially resulting in a big loss...

Consequently I now play these missions defensively...

I can defend fairly well, dug in infantry with AT weapons are tough to shift backed up by the Panthers, but Cauldron is horrible, especially with 20 + T34s coming at you from all directions. It was a miracle I hung on to win this game.

Its the attacking missions I struggle to get consistent results... sometimes I can get it right, other times it just turns to custard.

The last game against Ben was just awful. (Just to clarify, I don't mean anything negative against Ben here who played a good sporting game, rather more my awful performance!) The mission forces Ben to cover the width of the board... so I load one side with everything. Greater numbers should work right???

I even get across the board OK, recce forcing his ambush a long way away (which still claimed a panther in the rear), and my AA dealing with aircraft. I am across the board in two turns, 2" away from his dug in line of panzergrenadiers, facing him down with 4 panthers, 10 half tracks and 2 mobile AA half tracks and 3 recce motorcycles, my nebs are still working and I am now too close to his troops for his aircraft to be effective... Sounds good so far...????

 I pin him down with neb fire after lifting gone to ground with Recce, and chance my arm with a mounted assault, to the flank end of his line... Boom ... despite pinning him down, a panzerfaust from his CO or 2iC hit and the 'pinned MG fire' blasts them to pieces too forcing back the assault... I am now left with my arse hanging out...

I had thought about waiting a turn and dismounting half the grenadiers thus being able to assault with more teams, but was concerned Ben would just open up and mow them down with MG fire in his subsequent turn...

I fought on over the next few turns and eventually captured the end objective but had taken crippling loses, and with time running out I went for an all or nothing final go at the centre objective with the two remaining Panthers... Again I pin with the nebs, and still lose a Panther on the way in to a panzerfaust, my last Panther makes the assault and rolls a 1... Ben motivates against tank terror and the panzerfaust sees to the last Panther... F@#K!

Ben starts his next turn and pulls the objective out from under my feet that I had just captured, as I knew he would.

Game over...

Now if I had done this on the other end of the board, Ben wouldn't have been able to pull that objective, but it looked a much more difficult approach to me, and I had hoped I could force the issue early with greater numbers on the easier looking flank... it was not to be...

Ah well...

I REALLY need to learn how best to build up an assault with these armoured Half Tracks...

I came 25th of 28 players, I think...

The worst of it is... I take forever to 'come down' after one of these events, mulling over everything that happened and trying to figure out what I should have done...this tense state of mind, results in lets just say, a short fuse, and a resulting degree of 'domestic disharmoney'...

I have always been more a painter, than a clever gamer, and I am just not sure I am cut out to be a tournament player... especially as I'll probably be sleeping on the sofa tonight! ;-)

Back to the paint brushes... at least they can't roll a 6 against me!

[Update, another minor thing I just noticed - I forgot to take the infantry teams for the dismount option for the recce motorcycles. I don't think I would have used them this way, though it may have given me another small dimension somewhere to do a little mischief... in 4th game against Bryan, they were awful close to getting round onto his 25pdrs holding an objective...]


  1. Cool pictures of you with the Perries!

  2. That's a really interesting report, Scott. I wish I had had the chance to get to CTA this year, but it was just not to be.

    Great picture with the Perrys and Aly. I did meet them for half an hour late this afternoon when I popped into the game at Terry's place ... hopefully might catch up with them during the week.

    You had better learn to hide the mulling over from SWMBO - else your partaking in further events might be limited !-)

    1. LOL, yeah that issue has already been discussed... trying to weigh up the balance of the amount of pre-tourney practice games for the tourney, the commitment to a weekend away from family, the chance to get a lot of games in and learn from their experience, compounded with the stress and mental strain of the event and the emotional roller-coaster as dice and games go your way, or don't, seeing how you are doing compared to your mates as the tourney progresses, and then the post event wind down... I am sure there was supposed to be some fun in there somewhere...? ;-) Will I do it again... I'm not sure!

  3. Now that all looks mightily impressive; yes a few more games could have gone your way, but you did get your photograph taken with the Perry Boys! A Great post Scott.

    1. Thanks Michael. Yeah you are always left wondering what might have happened had the dice been kinder at different times... Yeah the Perrys and Aly were certainly a highlight for the weekend!

  4. Nice write up with some lovely pictures.

    Gaming wise I think I fall into a simular camp to you. I can defend well enough to win most defensive games I play but I do find attacking alot harder. I guess it's just a case of getting out of the comfort zone and to play a more attacking style and try and learn a thing or two...

    1. Thanks Ben. Yeah I need more practice in the attack, and learning the subtleties of getting assaults set up and timed just right, and identifying which are the best platoons to assault with in a given situation.
      What frustrates me with this game is that you can plough across the table en-masse, then have to attack piecemeal one platoon at a time... still I guess if you could attack en-masse it might make defense impossible?

  5. Great looking games, and the terrain set up looks so nice. Wow - you guys are spoiled over there having VIPs show up like that. Best, Dean

    1. Thanks Dean, yeah a lot of great and varied terrain to play over, the organizers did a cracking job, of setting up and running the tourney.
      Its always nice to hobnob with the 'hobby celebs', and Aly and the Perrys were very approachable and friendly. Top fellas!

  6. Nice write up and some very inspirational pictures of the different armies.

    1. Cheers Jerry - the standard of the armies on show was very high, which added to the visual appeal.
      I loved some of the efforts the guys went to with some their objective markers; from saucy gals, to a downed Me262, and Cossaks celebrating round a campfire doing highkicks. Great stuff!

      Oh I should state Andrew Stanton won best painted for his Armoured Train, which was impressive. I knew it would get a lot of votes, so I voted for Russells high kicking cossaks! His tanks were well done too.

  7. I should also comment, the tournament was a dead heat between Messrs McBeth and Hill. They had the same points at the end, and the further break down of numbers of wins and 'draws' and losses etc, still couldn't separate them.

    It quite literally came down to a final dice off, rolling 2d6 (the wargaming equivalent of a penalty shoot out)- in which Mr McBeth triumphed with a roll of 7 to Mr Hills 6!

    John Murrie (StumpyHeaven blog) won best Historical Account, and Andrew Stanton won Best Sport, though all players were to be commended in this respect.

    Well done to these guys, and all the guys I played against, for making the games memorable! ;-)

  8. Two wins, two draws (but FF so you both 'lose') and a straight loss attacking in a DB vs some very experienced players in that field. Looks like you did well, Scott. No doubt you'll do better once you get more play in. I really like events for the quality of play and tend to pcik up a useful lesson or two from players I wouldn't get to meet otherwise.

    Attacking can be tough - but you have a great Ironman army there and there is nothing more fun than getting an attack to come off... VPs as the primary score system can be rough but hopefully with practice you'll learn to mitigate lost platoons too.

    I say 'hopefully' as I never managed to get my head around the idea. Sorry to see there is a little stress after the event. I can just see another of my wife's patient lectures about how my toys may be taken off me if I am getting wound up lol.

    1. Thanks for your constructive comments Jamie, it's appreciated.

      Yes its good to get the chance to play against better players, and you do hope you come away from it with something from the experience...

      I did find it a little unnerving playing against Ken to start with, having seen him in the WI magazines before, so knew I was up against an experienced player!

      I quite like my list, and some of the other options I have come up with for it, but I begin to ponder its merits. I played or noticed several 'infantry' armies, that had more tanks than I did, being mechanised... and that infantry army is going to defend in three of the five mission played through the tourney, where it could be argued it favours the defender...

      I may have to take a closer look at Infantry based companies in the future...

      Another interesting point was that with several groups of players coming together, you notice how differing interpretations of the rules emerge...

      One such concerned smoke templates - I'd always played it that if the nose/turret of your tank is sticking out then it has normal line of sight out of the smoke. Others played it that if there is any part of the tank touched by the smoke, then its line of sight for firing is also affected. That seems overall harsh to me, and greatly increases the effective 'cover' of the smoke. It would be good to get formal clarification of this one...

      Another thing to crop up was that my group has always seemed to play that your own vehicles from one platoon, give cover to other vehicles from another platoon, behind them. I think this has always just been a common sense approach from how things actually look on the crowded table top... but strict reading of the rules proves this not to be the case... another harsh lesson learned at the tournament!

      Your wife sounds a lot like mine ;-)

  9. POST tourney Tactical thoughts...

    My basic plan, in mobile battles, had been to try and have a GPG platoon to either flank, and Panthers centrally placed to 'dominate' the centre.
    Whilst this seems to work to an extent, where an opponent had two armoured groups, they would be at me from two sides, and eventually flanks shots against the Panthers could occur.
    I think what I may try next time is to leave one GPG and the Nebs on one objective dug in GtG. They'll be left to their fate, but if my experiences are anything to go by, they'll take a long time to shift... while I move everything else against the opposite flank objective.
    It might work, I guess depending on terrain and what I am up against... that's the thing with this game, so many variables...

    As for the actual attack (and attacking in Defensive scenarios in general), I think I need to either advance the unmounted troops across the board, by terrain hopping, then call up the half tracks for the assault at the last moment... Or use the half tracks to get half way across board to a piece of covering terrain, and let half the guys out, then try and move up into an assaulting position, hopefully covered by smoke...

    I'm still keen for more games of course, just to try these things out... Ever pondering , ever tinkering...

  10. The scores on the doors:
    McBeth, Simon 24; 5 , 3 , 4 , 6 , 6
    Hill, Steve 24; 5 , 3 , 4 , 6 , 6
    Vaodanovich, Tony 23; 3 , 6 , 3 , 5 , 6
    Haycock, Mike 22; 3 , 5 , 4 , 4 , 6
    Stanton, Mark 21; 3 , 4 , 6 , 3 , 5
    Tyson, Damien 21; 4 , 6 , 5 , 3 , 3
    Waetcher, Paul 20; 3 , 6 , 2 , 3 , 6
    Bailey, Bede 19; 2 , 6 , 5 , 2 , 4
    Ward, Tim 19; 3 , 5 , 3 , 2 , 6
    Mudgeway, Brett 18; 6 , 5 , 4 , 2 , 1
    Stanton, Andrew 18; 3 , 4 , 4 , 2 , 5
    Briant, Russell 17; 6 , 1 , 3 , 5 , 2
    Lindsay, Benjamin 17; 1 , 2 , 6 , 2 , 6
    Murrie, John 17; 2 , 1 , 6 , 2 , 6
    Shirley, Rob 17; 6 , 6 , 3 , 1 , 1
    Trott, Brian 17; 6 , 1 , 6 , 3 , 1
    Wansborough, Cameron 17; 3 , 6 , 2 , 3 , 3
    Van Rossum, Gavin 16; 1 , 6 , 3 , 5 , 1
    Olds, Andrew 15; 1 , 1 , 6 , 5 , 2
    Camel, Ken 14; 3 , 1 , 1 , 5 , 4
    Fletcher, John 14; 2 , 2 , 1 , 5 , 4
    Pearce, Bob 14; 5 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 3
    Van Olphen, Andrew 14; 1 , 5 , 6 , 1 , 1
    Bowman, Scott 13; 2 , 4 , 4 , 2 , 1
    Thomson, Bryan 13; 6 , 2 , 1 , 1 , 3
    Hart, Warren 12; 2 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 6
    Page, Sam 12; 3 , 3 , 1 , 4 , 1
    Shepherd, Daniel 6; 1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 1

  11. Hi Scott

    What a great write up. I too have yet to calm down and return to normal operating levels. There is something about table top wargaming that excites me like nothing else. Both nights I had trouble sleeping.

    That last game was great and TBH I thought your tactics were really good. For the assaults you had recce remove g2g, arty to pin and mech to assault. What did you do wrong? Twice I miraculously managed to pin your assaults with just 7 odd dice needing 4+ requiring 5 hits to pin. The never missing Panzerfausts are not so fun either.

    V3 MG teams with their ROF2 when pinned are really something. When you have a HMG around too with it's ROF3 when pinned it is going to be tough. They are close to unassailable in my opinion bar Russians with QoQ.

    Had you attacked down the other flank perhaps things would have been better. But there was a lot more terrain. So may have had to dismount and attack through the woods.

    The biggest problem with mech is that you have to attack infantry by default. If your opponent is veteran or a Russian Strelk army you are in for a hard time. Even more so when its blue on blue and they have MGs and Panzer Fs

    That said though V3 mech has a lot going for it. All that firepower in one platoon. However I had always had more luck with regular infantry.

    In my first tournament I got well smashed but learned allot.

    Hope to meet in the future for more games!

    1. Hi Ben, thanks for your input... your side of the tale, makes the defeat easier to swallow... I was wracking my brains to think what I should have done instead... other than attack down the other flank... the only other thought I had had, was when that initial assault went in, should I have instead led the way with the panthers? The MG fire would have been ineffective, and it would have come down to two pinned panzefaust shots to stop their assault... would you have rolled two 5+'s out of two? Who knows... Then I 'swing' and ... depending on what you managed next, I had my CO their to reroll a failed motivation... but next question... do I try and continue the assault with the panthers, or break off through you, and then do a follow up assault with GPGs...???

      The reason I didnt go in with the Panthers first, is most of my practice games were with Paul Waechters British Airboure, and everyone of the little buggers is at least TA3, more with the PIATs. I have learned the hard way NOT to assault with tanks... but perhaps there is a time and a place for it...

      Thanks again for your reply and thoughts, it really has lifted my mood.


  12. Scott, don't worry, I haven't yet been brave enough to try a mounted assault in V3, I have plenty of experience of it in V2. No matter what you do sometimes the pinning dice will come through, sometimes they won't, you might be able to put good odds on it not happening but it does. It's no different from any other action and luck plays a part in many devastating turns both ways, good and bad. Don't over analyse your decision, what would have happened if the pin didn't come through?
    One thing you could have done with all that MG fire was smoke with the nebs to cut down even further the chances of being hit, particularly by pinned fausts and then pin with all of your MG fire. It's a much better way of using the assets you have in the right sequence.



    1. Hi Steve, thanks for your input. I played the situation through again tonight myslef, and pretty much that was the trick... smoke with nebs and pin with my MG fire, then assault... the 1st GPG did damage but were beaten off with failed motivation, but the second follow up GPG that was tight in behind the first, mopped up... so it could have worked... if the dice had been kinder!

      I think what did for me was I had used up all my luck getting across the board unscathed and shooting down his 'flying tank' aircraft on the way! ;-)

  13. If it makes you feel any more better get this.

    In 2010 Call to Arms I won first place with 28 from a possible 30 points. I was confident I do well this time too.

    First game of the 2012 torne (2011 I was in Germany)... I play V a Blood Guts and Glory force with Paton. I have on the table 3 platoons, the rest in delayed reserve. 2x infantry platoons on and nebs.

    My opponent a relative newbie to FOW, has armored rifles. He gets a rece move with this tank destroyer escort platoon and a spearhead because of Platoon which is a large armored rifle platoon with all the extras.

    He goes straight for the less terrian'y objective and assaults by turn 3, and assaults again on turn 4 with the amoured rifle and rece platoon of 2xM20s and a jeep.

    I get zero reserves, and fail platoon moral and company moral..

    Game 6-1

    Well played sir well played.

    Good times.

    1. I hadnt realised you were such a successful player, in the past!
      Oh well, I got beaten by a Master then. Thats OK :-)

      Oh yes, I do know that damn Yank player; Brett - he's the other of the trio of Kapiti players we have... Him, me and Paul.

      You always have exciting games against him, he is NEVER one to hold back... playing Patton really suits his style... ;-)

      BTW I found one of your dice in my dice bag, let me know your addres and I'll post it out to you.


    2. Scott

      Just keep the die prisoner for now. I can live with 15/16 and then when we meet next torne you can give it to me then.



    3. OK Ben, it will have pride of place alongside my Wehrmacht forces in my display case!

  14. Nice write up Scott was good to meet you at CTA albiet only briefly and I have to say your army looked even better on the table than it does on your blog. Your opponents for Games 1 - 3 were mine for Games 3 - 5 and I can sympathesise with your game against the T34 horde. You mentioned looking at infantry companies but honestly if you like the PzGr/Pz route then stick with that and just keep playing it.

    Infantry are solid on defence esp. FV but are very hard to attack with something I had to do in the No Retreat scenario. With Tournaments just keep attending and you'll get better. I spent a long time getting my butt kicked at WHFB tournaments before I got used to things - it can be a steep learning curve but its also a fast one.

    What amazes me though is how many of these guys have multiple armies from different nations and they know the little tricks for all of them. Hope to see you again at another event - think ValleyCon (Natcon) is the next FOW one in Wellington

    1. Many thanks John, good to meet you too. Your army was very fine too, love what you did with the camo on the Jagdpanthers and nice to see these behemoths getting an outting :-)

      I do like the GPGs, but may dabble a bit with the infantry and just what options you can throw together. But as you say practice makes perfect and theres bound to be a knack of using them 'just right'. I think the key seems to be dismounting at the right time, and perhaps keeping the halftracks there as fire support as the infanty advances...

      I'll have a look at ValleyCon, though if I am to go, I think the missus will be taking the kids away for that weekend! ;-)

  15. Great post, Scott. Yes, tournament play has its very own dynamic and it can be quite a pressure cooker at times. I myself have learned to steer clear as, like you, I can get a bit amped-up over the whole thing. All this being said, you got to hang out with the Perrys and Aly Morrison which is pretty darn cool!

    1. Thanks Curt. Pressure cooker - what a great analogy! I am sure I could feel the steam coming out my ears for most of the games I played! There were no easy rides I can tell you... Yes definitely a cool moment with Aly and the Perrys. Considering they sculpted my favourite range of models, the LOTR range, made it doubly cool!

  16. Hi Scott,

    Writing about your games is the bast way to improve in my opinion! My first two events (way back in 2005) were with German Armoured PzGrens and I came third to last and last. The learning curve with them is huge. I actually sold that army and went to US Paras and had some good fun with them. Last year I went back to my first love and low - they were much easier to use once I had a few hundred games under my belt! There is a report here which I wrote that you may get some tips from:

    As for being 'up', this is a problem I still have with events! I was up at 5.30am on Saturday, just could not sleep and was really looking forward to seeing everybody and getting some games in. I've actually been sick before (at the World Champs last year) just from the excitement and nerves before the games. What can I say, I'm addicted! ;-)

    1. Hey Bede, thanks for your thoughts. I often wondered if I am trying to learn the game with a tough army to use and to get right? But hey, Gods love a trier ;-)
      Interesting to hear you had a similar start, and I guess most newbies are going to get trounced playing in this field... other than that bugger Mudgeway! ;-)

      Hopefully I'll improve with more practice.

      Thanks for the link, I'll check that out...

      I think if I going to stay on the tourney circuit I'm just going to have to accept there will be a certain level of mental angst... and that the other family members might just as well take a weekend break away together that weekend! ;-)

      Oh, sorry about being grumpy about that vehicles and cover query, I think I was probably feeling the strain at that point! ;-)

    2. No drama Scott - seemed like the normal player angst to me. I see where you're coming from with the smoke rules as well and it is indeed any part of the tank or team. Almost every tournament game I have I learn something new. I've had a couple of 'player moral fails' over the years but seem to be getting better and better. The worst in me comes out when I think somebody is trying to cheat!

      My wife is going away next weekend to see her family in Invercargil so I'm on deck with the little one. Quid pro quo rules around this place!

      I forgot to say this morning that the mental angst does decrease the more tournaments you play in. The first few are hard work - your brain is doing overtime remembering rules etc. As they become more fimilar things become a lot easier and you wont be so tired/grumpy. It is especially so when you know the missions in advance and you can prepare a little deployment plan for each one. Saves stress on the day!

    3. Thanks for your understanding and empathy!

      OK, that smoke coverage rule is going to make things more interesting, as it greatly increases the 'area effect' of the template...

      [one thing bugs me a bit about smoke in the rules - in reality you would fire smoke and advance into its concealment, but our game forces you to move first, then hope your smoke ranges in... if it doesn't, then your arse in hangin' out... perhaps that could a be change for 'V4' ? Allow smoke only, to be fired before movement?]

      Yes you raise a good point there... I am trying to remember all the rules correctly, and keep my play up to speed so I am not holding up experienced players, and then figure out the tactics that will work. Its certainly a mental juggle!

      I was wondering if you guys over at the Hutt wouldn't mind entertaining me to a game every so often, just as a way to play more varied and experienced players, with a view to learning how better to play the game? If so drop me a line at the email link under the pirate picture at top right of blog.

      Look forward to hearing from you.
      Thanks again,

  17. Hi Scott, I can't speak definitively for LW (since I kinda avoid it atm, if I can) but I think that German mechanised infantry is a whole different creature under the V3 rules than it was previously.

    In the past, higher costs and the fact transports counted as losses made a force based around them "difficult" - though US mech inf, German HT Aufklarung and even the recosted Rota Razvedki were better. Now, HT mounted Germans have lost a lot of their disadvantages.

    I really love their MW incarnation (where you can attach in ATGs) but AFAIK the LW Panzerlehr version is also considered a very competitive army and even the base German mech inf is nowhere near as tough to run as once it was. So if you like them, then I don't think you will go far wrong in persevering with them, and tweaking a bit. Still YMMV etc

    1. Hey Jamie, I must admit I want to play about adding in the Lehr GPG Heavy Platoon, and upgrading the command platoon Half tracks to 3.7cm to give me a bit more firepower, that may scare away the light armoured stuff like enemy half tracks with 50cals and light tanks like stuarts.

      Of course you make one change like this and the whole list dynamic can change... Still that's part of the fun of listing building. I had a great list ready to go before the event, but was concerned it wouldn't deal effectively with Soviet heavy tanks which I feared coming across so I changed a whole load of stuff around to take the Panthers which hadn't actually been my first choice...

      I am looking to get into MW Eastern front with my Wehrmacht forces, and am happy that after a little research, 95% of the troops I have done are good for '43 onwards, with the Ausf D half track variant having been introduced, so I don't need to go and buy a whole lot of new Ausf C half tracks... plus the tri-colour camo-scheme was being used from '43 too, so I am good to go... The only things I don't seem to be able to use MW are my Jagdpanthers, and maybe the pumas?

  18. Pleased to report 'domestic bliss' has returned AND I have even been given a leave-pass to attend NatCon over Easter at the Hutt if I wish!

    I'll be buggered! I may have to get that written in blood on vellum parchment before I believe it! ;-)

    But reality dawns - can I manage 8 games over three days! And an 8.30am start each day in the Hutt, awww that's gonna hurt, I'm not a morning person, at the best of times! Wonder if I can rig up a IV coffee drip in the car for the drive over? ;-)

  19. Nice groups of tanks there. Plenty of eye candy on this page t today. I know you didn't win, but as you said you learned a great deal and have identified your weakness. Great that you got to hang out with the Perry's.

    1. Thanks Anne, yes that's one of the highlights to these tournaments - seeing a whole load of great looking armies assembled, and a chance to chat to the guys about how they achieved a certain look. I loved the snow effect on Bob Pearce's Panzer army.


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