Tuesday, January 7, 2014

One Sided Games, Fun For All?

I managed to get in a couple of games over the last week of my Christmas / New Years break and both of which felt like really one sided affairs...

Pushing up and popping my Feat
First up was a game of WarmaHordes vs Tony. Vod (as he is locally known) is a playtester for Flames Of War and an exceptionally good wargamer (better than me to be sure), known for playing hard, knowing his opponents and finding holes to exploit both in terms of the their army and the rules!

I took the opportunity to roll out eBaldur to help me prepare for Ides of March (in March...), with Megalith, Wold Guardian, Woldwatcher, Woldwyrd, Druids and Shifting Stones. Tony took eVayl, a host of heavy Warbeasts, Spawning Vessel, Martyrs and Shepherd. We were playing under some time pressure so we opted to go straight assassination rather than digging out SR2013 and picking a scenario. We both pushed up the table, Tony used his range to deal out some damage, I ran up and popped my feat hoping that he would take the bait and rush in. Tony used his speed and powerful ranged game to deal out some more damage whilst keeping his distance. By this point I controlled 3/4 of the board and realised that by not playing a scenario we had stacked the deck completely in Tony's favour (he could maneuver and trade board space for time, whilst I had to have an engagement to try to win) so I went for the hail Mary and threw my Wold Guardian and eBaldur into combat - too little and too late as even though they were able to deal out a lot of damage and kill two of the three heavies, Tony was able to finish the game next turn with his assassination.

Given the one sided nature, was the game worth playing? Absolutely! Not every game goes your way and it is important to play games where you are on the back foot because it lets you work out things with your army that you otherwise may not try. I also realised that I need to get a lot of practice games in before Ides because I have forgotten how eBaldur plays after not taking him out of the box in 18 months.

The German/Finnish first turn
On Friday Wayne and I headed round to the American Embassy (otherwise known as Steven and Andrew's place) for a doubles match up - Kiwis vs Americans and 1000 points per person.

Wayne took two heavy KV-1e companies and a Motorstrelk company, whilst I took a pair of T-34 85 companies and a small platoon of BA-64s. On the other side of the table Andrew took his new Finnish Winter troops with a pile of infantry and a captured SU-152, whilst Steve took three Jagdtigers, Wirbelwinds and 37mm AA guns. For the mission we rolled up Surrounded which resulted in our tanks stuck in the middle, Andrew and Steven opted to deploy in one corner with a forest anchoring their line and advancing out from there.

T-34s pile in to the forrest trying to score some points
Steven and Andrew moved the Jagdtigers forward to be able to shoot at both the T-34s and KVs, perfectly maneuvering them through a combination of "turning to face" when shooting, and Stormtrooper moves to not only hit their pick of targets but also keep their (relatively) soft side armour safe. Wayne pushed the KVs up as a distraction whilst I moved the T-34s around the side. I managed to get to the forest in their deployment area and knock out the defending SU-152 with only a couple of casualties. Andrew had dug his infantry in realising that as long as they did their job of stopping the T-34s from flanking the Jagdtigers the game would be theirs. I knew that I would never get to the Jagdtigers and that my only option was to try and break either Andrew or Steven'companies so where I could I picked off (or tried to pick off) the smaller platoons and eventually threw my tanks into a desperate assault trying destroy and infantry and AA platoon defending the forest - sadly 3 out of the 5 T-34s bogged and that was essentially all that she wrote. A follow up assault from the second company did a little more than kill a couple of teams and my company left the field with only the 4 BA-64s remaining.

I think we all knew how the game was going to pan out with Steven's Jagdtigers being basically unkillable given the forces we opted to take (guess Wayne or I need to paint some 152mm artillery!) so I asked myself the same question though - "was the game worth playing once we rolled up the mission?" and my thoughts were yes. Partially for the same reason as my game vs Tony that you do not always have a fair fight on your hands and the challenge makes you think outside the box, but also because of a few other reasons
1. I have only played Surrounded a handful of times so any exposure to how other players tackle the mission is good.
2. I have four Jagdtigers somewhere deep in the painting queue and it is always nice to see something you want to paint in action to help inspire you to move it up.
3. Since it was a relaxed afternoon game we were just throwing dice, talking smack and discussing rules (i.e. the game was a backdrop to a social few hours!)

With a couple of social games to start off the year hopefully this will set the tone for more to come over the next 12 months. I might even manage to win a couple.

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