March 30, 2013

NATCON - FOW Tournament AAR Day 2

Day 2 at NATCON 2013 is over and its been a mixed bag for me.  Managed a 7-1 victory playing Hold the Line but also recieved two 1-7 beatings defending a Fair Fight and a Cauldron.  The first beating I chalk up to a simply lack of movement within my army, that and a poor decision regarding the deployment of a reserve platoon of StuGs.  The second was due to Tigers failing Storm Troop rolls 3 turns in a row when facing down a horde of Panthers, not good.  The main cause of both losses though was the better decision-making of my opponents.
The FOW side of the venue, a few random DBM games in the background

The day got me thinking about the whole tournament scene, why I take part in them, what I want from each event, my goals and what I dont enjoy about them.  How has NATCON shaped up after the first two days.
WHFB at the back and Warmachine at the front
What do I like about Tournaments?
Getting a lot of games in a short space of time
Normally I get one game a week between March - October each year at my local club alternating between FOW and WHFB.  A few years ago I was also picking up the odd extra game of Warmachine during my lunch hour at work, and the odd weekend game of WHFB - but these were with friends no longer living locally. Tournaments give you 5 games in 3 days, and NATCON has 8 in 3 so a big tick there.  If you want to really get to grips with the rules of any game then throwing yourself into a lot of games in a short space of time is a great way to go.

Playing on terrain covered tables
If there is one thing that makes a game of anything that much better its having a table full of fantastic terrain.  You can't go past tournaments for seeing a huge range of all the best terrain pieces and some fantastic set ups, not always favourable but always enjoyable to have your models running around in.  NATCON tables this year have been extremely good making full use of the latest BF terrain, pieces from alternative manufacturers and a lot of custom built stuff.  NATCON has had great tables in spades.

Managed to win No Retreat on this one
Lost Hasty Attack on this one
Close run loss 3-4 with Encounter on this table
Managed to win Hold the Line on this one as defender
Played Fair Fight on this one
Played Cauldron one this one as Defender
Playing against new/different armies
My first tournament Runefang IV for WHFB was a huge eye opener for me.  Seeing all of the fantastically painted armies at that event, the basing and colour scheme ideas people had really fed my enthusiasm for the hobby.  The same applies at every tournament.  While NATCON has been a bit disappointing in that respect as I have seen most of the armies there before I did see quite a few new ones (new to me) today.  The WHFB field was pretty good and the Panzer Company I lost to playing Fair Fight was absolutely stunning.  Constantly amazed by the ideas some people have for their figures.

Talking to other gamers
Have to admit talking to people isnt my strong suit and I'm a self confessed wall flower who tends to avoid conversation in most circumstances.  But you go to tournaments to meet people, talk about the hobby, get new ideas for army lists, discuss tactics and rules, get ideas on painting/modelling and just to talk crap with people who share the same interest.  As I said I'm not the most conversation orientated person out there but it is nice to see the same faces at all of these events and to come up against them in games.  Gamers are by their nature friendly guys - its only the DBM people that freak me out a bit, they seem to take things pretty seriously.

And of course I like win. Unfortunately I don't do it enough, not nearly enough.  But I get the odd victory in and even when I don't I get a lot of satisfaction out of a hard fought draw and even a well fought loss.  Some of the best games you have can be those where you get absolutely annihilated.  But in the end I do like to win, only managed one Top 10 tournament finish so far, would like a few more.

What don't I like about Tournaments?
The food
I do try I've even started making and packing a big lunchbox and bringing a lot of healthy snacks with me to each event.  But no matter what you do you spend every gaming weekend consuming far too much Coke Cola, Coffee, Chocolate, Confectionary and Takeaway food.  I tend to get back after each event feeling like I have Caffiene and Sugar seeping out of my pores.

That being said Wellington/Hutt Valley events are fantastic for having food/drink organised at each venue.  Some extremely nice ladies at NATCON provided all the necessities but I do confess I brought far too many slices and cans of Coke off them and not enough Sandwiches.

Being away
Ok not having 3 kids jumping on me all day is nice but you know I love my kids and my wife and I don't tend to settle well when I'm away and usually spend Day 2 of any event walking around like a Zombie as I can never sleep when I'm away from home.

What do I want to achieve at each event?
At least one victory
I like to go away with at least one good win at each event and hopefully a couple of close ones, or reasonably good draws.  Managed two wins so far at NATCON so not to bad for me.

Learn something new
By this I mean a better way of building a list, using a particular unit, tactics against various armies and/or in various types of scenario.  One of the great things about playing against so many different people, particularly more experienced players is you pick up a hell of a lot.   You also learn new painting techniques and get ideas for how to base/model units.  Learned a fair bit about how to use Recce at this event.

To get better as a gamer
Basically whether I win or lose a lot of games if I can get through a tournament without making the same silly mistake(s) over and over again, by pushing my opponents in new ways, and by playing smarter then I'm happy.  The more you play at these events the better you get as you figure out to do things better.  Although to be honest I'm still far too straight forward in some respects with WHFB where I basically plonk my guys down and go straight up the middle (or left or right if I want to spice things up).  Learning to calculate the odds and playing for points are skills you develop with tournament gaming - when I first started out I just like to shot and hit stuff (still do) but winning games and events requires a bit more than that.

NATCON 2013 is my 20th tournament event (14 x WHFB, 5 x FOW & 1 Fields of Glory) and so far its ticked all the boxes.  Would be happier with another win today but the loses were a fair result of how each game was played, the balance of each list and the relative turn of events.  That and I got out played in each game.

March 29, 2013

NATCON AAR 3/8 - Fallschirmjager vs. IS Tankovy Company

Hasty Attack (Defending)

Game 3 of Day 1 from NATCON up against Daniel Shepards Soviet IS2 Tankovy Company which consisted of 10 x IS2's, a massive pile of artillery and a big platoon of infantry and not much else. 3 games and not a single aeroplane in sight... but IS2 are nasty enough.

The terrain set up - one objective in the trees bottom left, the other (the one we fought over) is bottom right.  The rocks in front are impassable to tanks coming from the top of the picture. 

 For deployment I put down both platoons of FJ and the Tigers.  I placed my first objective in the centre of the board with Daniel putting one on the extreme left and one on the extreme right.  The terrain set up meant that the left hand one would not be a good proposition for his tanks with a lot of slow going, difficult and boggy terrain.  Consequently, I took a gamble and put the Tigers in the middle and one FJ Platoon on the right hand objective.  The 2nd FJ Platoon I kept as an immediate ambush in case I guessed wrong in which case I could stick it on the left hand objective.  Tiger skills were Motivate on 2+.

 My opponent deployed... well... I'm really not sure as he never rolled for reserves and I really didnt notice this until about Turn 3 by which time his tanks were basically in my deployment zone.  But either I missed his reserve roll in Turn 1 and he got all of his tanks on or he simply deployed all of his units at the start of the game by mistake.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt as he appeared to be a new player (judging from his game play) and I'm sure it wasn't deliberate - but is something I should have picked up on. 
Lovely paint job on these

Opening Turns 
IS2’s advanced in a big group down the right flank and around a narrow gap by some impassable terrain. Actually a big mistake on my opponent’s part as it meant only 3 of his tanks were in a position to fire on my troops. Soviet artillery fire killed a few FJ while the Tigers manoeuvred to better firing positions against the IS2’s.
Achtung der Panzer kommt!!!!
The first Soviet assault fails costing them 3 IS2's and me 4 FJ teams
Middle Turns 
As the IS2’s advance around my flank an FJ Sniper keeps the rushing infantry pinned down and out of the battle, slowly whittling them down in the process. The IS2’s assault the dug in FJ and fail badly. Despite only having 2 Panzerfaust equipped teams 3 Soviet assaults fail and the first IS2 platoon is destroyed. The remaining Tiger knocks out a couple more IS2’s before it is destroyed in return.

More Soviet assaults go in and more IS2's get blown up.

End Turns 
Things get confusing here. The Sniper is killed and the Soviet infantry advances toward the SE objective. Nebelwerfers and the FJ shoot up the Soviet infantry reducing it to half strength. Meanwhile the StuGs have arrived from reserve and have rushed forward to combat the IS2’s getting through a couple of Soviet artillery barrages in the process.As the StuGs and IS2’s manoeuvre to get better firing positions on each-other the IS2’s come too close to the FJ CIC whose Panzerfaust takes out a couple more of them including the Soviet CIC.
The FJ hold on as long as they can but the pressure is too much. After repelling multiple assaults from the Soviet tanks and 1 from their infantry they are finally forced to withdraw only the CIC and 2IC left.


The Soviet infantry is wiped out by Rifle/MG fire from the FJ after fleeing a failed assault.   The single remaining IS2 backs itself into a corner even after destroying a StuG. The remaining 3 StuGs flank it and then destroy and the Soviet forces with only their artillery left flee the battlefield.
Final act of the game the StuGs surround the sole surviving IS2 and eventually finish it off
I have a sneaking suspicion here that we weren't playing the assault phase correctly, at least not in terms of how far back teams are supposed to withdrew when an assault fails.  Going to do some reading after I post this to double check.

Final Result 5-1

NATCON AAR 2/8 - Fallschirmjager vs. US Infantry

Scenario - No Retreat (Defending)

Game 2 up against Ken Camel an extremely nice guy from Canada, well everyone from Canadas nice really, but Ken is too and good to play against.

The terrain - US deployed to bottom of picture, you can see the objectives at the top
The US forces consisted of:
US Recce Platoon
2 – 3 big US Infantry Platoons including an Assault Platoon
A section of 90mm AT guns
A Platoon of Priests
and some 155mm Artillery

Opening Turns 
US Recce teams rush through village denying the ambushing StuGs a safe place to deploy. US Infantry swarms forward and artillery begins to range in on the dug in FJ. An FJ Sniper briefly holds up the advancing US infantry. Rocket fire pounds several US platoons but can’t inflict any casualties and the US troops are motivated enough to continue on. The only US casualties so far are a couple of Reconnaissance vehicles. The ambushing StuGs pop up but deploy to close to and in LOS of the enemy’s 90mm AT guns losing 2 of their number.

Theres go my plan of attacking the Artillery for easy points, look at those AT guns
The US infantry horde begins its advance
Damn - that Recce stops me from putting the StuGs in the village
So I deploy them in the cornfield next to the objective instead - not a good idea in hindsight
US Infantry moves house by house through the vilalge
Pinned down by Rocket fire do I attack them or sit tight?
Middle Turns US infantry begins to advance house by house through the village. Rocket fire and HMG from the StuGs pins them down long enough for the Tigers, just arrived from reserve, to move into the village. However the US 90mm AT guns are sighted well and the Tigers have very few safe avenues of approach; the StuGs unable to hit the US infantry which has now dug in move to the flank and begin to fire on the US SP Artillery.

The end is nigh - US infantry take both objectives and repluse my assaults
End Turns US infantry resumes its advance through the village and toward the wheat field as US artillery fire takes a huge toll on the dug in FJ. Defensive fire proves ineffective and the FJ are wiped out and pushed out of their defensive positions in the wheat field. The remaining reserves arrive and rush forward to recapture the lost position. Tigers and StuGs provide covering fire but cannot pin down the US defenders and the assaulting FJ are decimated as they try and fail to attack their positions. Meanwhile the US infantry advancing through the village open fire on the Tigers with their Bazookas knocking out one of them, while more Bazooka fire destroys the remaining StuGs. Both objectives originally held by the FJ are now in enemy hands and there are not enough troops remaining to retake them. The CIC opts to withdrew from the battlefield surrendering the village and the battle to the US.

Final result a well deserved 6-1 to Ken

NATCON AAR 1/8- Fallschirmjager vs. Panzer Company

Day 1 at NATCON is over and its a been a long day but an enjoyable one.  3 games down with 1 win, 1 loss and a 3rd game that I could call a draw but have just realised I stuffed up from the start and should have lost regardless.  You should spot the mistake in the first AAR for that one.  Just 5 more games to go over the next two days.  Interesting mix of armies on display although the variety isnt that great as I have seen most of them before.  The WHFB field was far more diverse with a number of players I hadnt come across before as well as many regulars fielding different armies than their norm.  Also a huge Warmachine complement (not enough Menoth players though - never enough heretic burning religious fanatics around when you need them), as well as the usual complement of alternate rule sets, retailer displays and bring and buy tables (which have already cost me $30 for a couple of Flak 88's for my DAK Panzer army).  Anyway onto the action

Defending vs. Panzer Company 

Not quite sure how to write this one up now.  In reviewing the photos I realised that I deployed illegally at the start putting 2 Panzer Platoons and a FJ Platoon on the table initially when Infantry Companies are only allowed to deploy a single Armoured Platoon in the first instance.

The extra Platoon I deployed the StuGs played a fairly important role in the first few turns and dictated how my opponent moved to a degree and I am sure he would have played differently had I had a different platoon on the table.

Going to see the TO tomorrow and get it sorted maybe get the result changed so I dont get any points for the game, will see what he says.  It was a loss for me at 3-4 but still thats 3 points that I may not have gotten quite so easily had I deployed properly....

.... anyway if we review the game as it did go this is what happened.

Opening Turns
Tigers dominated middle of battlefield forcing enemy PzIV to shift to West and attempt end run around the hill dominating the middle of the battlefield. Tigers opened up on enemy assault guns while StuGs moved up road with intent of attacking NE objective. Tigers had gotten very lucky with their Tiger Ace Skills rolling a 6 for the Platoon, then a 5 for the Platoon Commander and 4 for the Platoon giving the Platoon re-roll misses and the Commander ROF 3

Middle Turns Enemy armour continues its flanking manoeuvre while a platoon of heavy self-propelled anti-tank guns comes on in reserve to the NW. The Tigers unwisely switch fire to the flanking PzIV’s allowing the enemies assault guns to focus their fire on the StuGs. A Tiger is then knocked out by the enemy SP Anti-tank vehicles and the StuGs unable to advance against this new threat withdraw to defend the SE objective. All of our remaining reserves arrive the FJ Platoon occupying positions around the SE objective while the Nebelwerfers and AA Guns dig in to the right of the Southern objective.

The Tigers switch their fire back to the enemy assault guns to cover the withdrawl of the StuGs destroying the remaining enemy vehicles and killing their 2IC. The flanking enemy armour continues its advance using the village buildings as cover. Rocket fire destroys one tank while the remaining Tiger kills another. As the FJ dig in around the two objectives the enemies long range AT guns score a major victory when they knock out the remaining Tiger tank. A second enemy PzIV platoon then arrives from reserve. This advances toward the retreating StuGs and knocks out both of the remaining vehicles. 

End Turns 
With all of our armour destroyed the two enemy PzIV platoons advanced toward the objectives. They continue to whittle each of the FJ Platoons down with HMG fire. Long range AT fire also destroys the rockets and the company is now at less than half strength. The FJ Platoon led by the CIC is nearing half strength and the CIC opts to assault the enemy armour which has come to close to their prepared positions. The assault goes in but a large number of FJ are killed by defensive fire before the CIC and FJ Platoon commanders Panzerfausts can destroy two of the enemy tanks. The 3rd enemy tank attempts to join the assault but bogs down crossing some hedgerow and is destroyed by the Fallschirmager.

Things get crowded as all my scattered reserves come on in the same place

Deployment area doesn't stay crowded for long after the Nebs are taken out


While the enemy armour is gone the FJ have suffered heavy losses in destroying them and their morale breaks. Below half strength and with their CIC fleeing the rest of the FJ follow suit and the battle is over. It wasn’t until a few hours later that I realised I could have used my 2IC to make the company morale check that I thought I had auto-failed because of the loss of my CIC and more than half of my platoons.

Anyway regardless of this error and my major one at the start the final score was 3-4

March 26, 2013

Dwarf Quarrellers & a Dwarf horde list

Finished a quick paint job on the 20 Quarrellers that had been sitting on my shelf for the last year or so getting them ready for Runefang; and because I had time another 10 or so Hammerers giving me 40 of each troop type. Paint job is pretty basic and I havent bothered about minor details, layering and highlighting as these guys will occupy the 2nd/3rd ranks of other units so wont be seen as much.  But they still look ok.


Got a comment on my Dwarf tournament list post from Jonah asking if I run my Dwarfs in a horde formation.  Since 8th Edition I have always run my Hammerers that way relying on their Stubborness to help them stick around - my figuring is that any extra attacks/wounds gained through the horde rule outweighs the CR lost through the absence of extra ranks.  Warriors I run 6 wide and 5 deep, or 5x6 depending on what I'm facing if I want to ensure they are stubborn.

The comment did get me thinking about whether a horde list would work.  Comp restrictions mean I cant take 40 Hammerers (35 hits the 450pt unit max).  But I can beef up both of my Warrior units from 30 to 40 bodies, the cost is one of my two units of Quarrellers - the resulting list looking like:

w. Shield, RO Stone, RO Spellbreaking (x3) 
 w. MR Gromil, RO Resistance, RO Cleaving
40 x Warriors
w. Full command, GW
40 x Warriors
w. Full command, GW
18 x Quarrellers
w. Musician, Shields
30 x Hammerers
w. Full command, MR Grungi
w. Engineer, RO Forging, RO Burning
Organ Gun
Organ Gun
w. Engineer, RO Accuracy, RO Penetrating

TOTAL 2,400pts

Without the 2nd shooting unit its weaker particularly as I have given up my standard unit of Miners and the Ranger upgrade to get to the horde size units.  But if I drop the Veteran and Musician I can upgrade one unit to Warrior-Rangers and not breach Runefangs 450pt unit maximum - dont think many people would like to have a horde of 40 GW armed Dwarfs plonk down 12" in front of them.

Might give it a go before submitting my list to see how it works.