Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fate Of A Nation - Arab-Israeli Wars

Ever since Pete mentioned the idea of doing a Vietnam game as a Wargames Illustrated "exclusive" all those years ago, I have been quietly hoping and not so quietly agitating for an Arab-Israel version of Flames Of War. Earlier this year I got my wish and so for the past few months Phil has been busily studying every AIW book on my shelf, plus a few more to get his head around a conflict that has kept the attention of the world for so many years.

Best of all, with a lot of guidance from James I was able to paint all the Israeli vehicles in the book (which is one of the reasons I have been a little quiet on the blog since I had so little I could share). I still have a few more to paint for the next Wargames Illustrated deadline in about 3 weeks as Casey and I are going head to head in a battle report (Casey painted all the Egyptians in the book). Really looking forward to putting my Magach and M50/M51 Shermans on the table!

The commercial plug... Fate Of A Nation is coming out FREE with Wargames Illustrated 312, on shelves late September, so tell your retailer you want a copy because once the copies of the mag run out, thats the whole print run of the book gone (as far as I am aware!).

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Panzerschreck 2013 Report

I was planning on posting up an event report, but ended up putting on the Flames Of War site (whoops). So here is a copy and paste for posterity...

It seems like only a week ago I was getting ready for Panzerschreck 2013… oh wait a minute it was only a week ago! How time flies when you are having fun. Lets wind back the clock a little then and see what happened.

Wayne, Phil, Mike and myself hit the roads and drove down to Palmerston North. I know for some people being stuck in a car for 7 hours can be painful but for me it is part of the whole experience of the trip, talking about what armies people are working on, other non-Flames Of War games (yes we do play them when we get a chance), and a little bit of “life-in-general” conversation that you never seem to get around too at work. We did of course take a 10 minute break at the National Army Museum.

Turning up at the venue the following day we were greeted by so many new (and some old) faces, with over 40 players at the event. Looking around there were definitely some dangerous combinations of players and armies but Mike and I were feeling confident, after all our combined army had gotten better with the changes in V3 and was capable of dealing with a variety of threats, ticking the Recon, Heavy Artillery, Breakthrough Gun and Whopping Big Tank Gun boxes!    

Round One: Vlad’s Hippo Battery
(Nick and Tim).

A nice way to start the weekend, a couple of old school FOW players with Hungarians (lots of tanks and some heavy artillery) and Romanians (infantry backed up by artillery). This game was to set the tone for the weekend (spoiler alert, the tone was pretty sad!). Turn one, we advance, shoot some stuff, their turn one they drop artillery on a King Tiger… it dies (1 in 10 chance), they drop another battery of artillery on a second King Tiger… it dies (1 in 30 chance). Okay, so that leaves it up to the Hungarians to get the job done..

The rest of the game was dominated by the guys pushing forward in the middle with their infantry and Panthers whilst my Zrínyis pushed around the flanks. In the end we just ran out of time and settled for a 3 all draw. The most notable part of the game was watching a Zrínyi and a Nimrod have a 1-on-1 fight where neither could manage a hit on the other.

Round Two: Arnhem Cycling Club
(Joe and Cameron).

The guys brought along a couple of massive Para armies (one British and one American), backed up with 75mm light howitzers (and 5.5” guns on call). Playing Counterattack we thought we had an advantage as it was going to be a long trip for the infantry across some pretty open terrain. My Zrínyis made a run for the objective whilst Mike tried to pick off the artillery. Joe and Cameron pushed their American infantry across the table as fast as they could whilst the Brits went to ground inside their deployment area (protecting an objective and their artillery). 

The Breakthrough Guns of the Zrínyis took a terrible toll on the US Paras but in the end we timed out and took a heavy loss. Our biggest mistake was underestimating the size of the table (we were playing a 4’x8’ table) and not being able to rain down artillery shells around the objective (very silly mistake).

Round Three: Krazy Ivans
(Derek and Josh Forrester).

I’ve played against this father and son combo before and they are great guys. Playing Fighting Withdrawal they spread their army (and it was massive) across the table and kept a T-34/85 Company in ambush. I have a terrible record with Fighting Withdrawal and always feel like if I had one more turn I would have won. This game would be no different as the Zrínyis pushed around a flank shielded by the recon. Derek held back with his ambush meaning that I was reluctant to commit, all the time buying time for his army to withdraw.

The King Tigers skirmished with some ISU-122s but in a continuation of Mike’s terrible dice he failed many of his Firepower tests whilst Derek’s crews were keen to get back into the fight, further holding up the advance of the Zrínyis. In the end we made it to the objective, ISU’s destroyed, T-34/85 Company down to a couple of tanks, infantry company down to a few stands, but they all managed to pass their tests and hold on for a stubborn victory. Sinking like a King Tiger in soft ground we were well out of contention now and we would now be playing for our honor tomorrow rather than a podium place…

One of the traditions of Panzerschreck is the Saturday night BBQ so Derek and Andre (not sure what South Africans know about cooking meat over an open flame…) headed out into the darkness to cool us a meal. Meanwhile Mike and I quizzed Wayne about his day of gaming (playing 28mm Crimean War) thinking that we could raise our spirits with talk of his customary bad dice. Sadly for us Wayne’s dice had been on fire, with his freshly painted Russians doing the business and winning the day.

Day two and after a good nights sleep we were ready to make a comeback!

Round Four: The Silly Hattalion
(Issac and Rob).
This was one of the lists we heard about before the event, Romanian infantry and artillery with Soviet Engineer Sappers. Playing Dust Up we knew that the guys would attempt to push up through the middle (where there was a large town to move through safely) and via the flank with their reserves. This would stretch our ability to defend everything at once. In typical fashion Mike’s King Tigers were keen to leave the heavy lifting to the Hungarians as his Firepower tests failed him once again.

Rob’s Sappers made a push for the center objective but a dashing move by my recon platoon contested the objective. Sadly we timed out before Rob could take the objective and before we could break their armies (both of which were on the cards) resulting in another draw!

Round Five: Kapiti High Rollers
(Paul and Scott)

Final game, our luck would be about to change surely! The guys had a British Para Company (once again supported by those dreaded 5.5” howitzers) and a British Guards Tank Company that would not threaten Mikes King Tigers, however the 17pdrs would cut straight through the armour of a Zrínyi. Cutting to the chase we traded shots for a few turns with both sides rolling terribly before we managed to turn our luck, kill the first Sherman/Firefly platoon and push the Paras off the front objective. A final assault from a platoon of Zrínyis broke the infantry platoon and secured the objective (although the platoon did die in the effort). Finally a win….

In summing up our games it felt like (unlike two years ago) we were missing that little bit of luck to push us over the edge. We also made silly mistakes in each game which cost us dearly. However we did have a lot of fun and got to catch up with some old (and some new) friends making it a very fun weekend! Time to start planning for next years Panzerschreck perhaps!