Sunday, 15 January 2012

Another Week, Another Lot Of Progress...

I think I must be ill. I'm posting for the second time this month and for the second time I've done a significant amount of painting (note that 'significant' for me is the same as 'a little bit' for other people). Not only that, I've played another game.

Flames of War

I have a funny relationship with Flames of War. Even when others at the club were playing it a lot, it took me a long while to dip my toe in the water of this game. I have to admit that this was mainly to do with the fact that WWII just doesn't interest me as a gaming period that much, and I also didn't have the knowledge to know where to start.

This all changed when we had a club swapsies night a few years ago and I swapped the Dwarfs from the Battle of Skull Pass set (unpainted), the Dwarf Army Book, and some Star Wars Miniatures spaceships for 8 painted Panther Tanks. Suddenly I had a full (very full) Flames of War army and so I started to play, and I actually found that I really liked the game - it plays better that it looks.

However, this still left me with a dilemma. It turns out, rather unsurprisingly, that 8 Panthers does not a balanced force make and I repeatedly got smashed to bits by artillery or swarmed by infantry. However I didn't know how to expand the army as I'm a bit funny about building optimised historical lists. Although I did some more swapping and painted up a single platoon of infantry, I just couldn't find a direction for me to hook my interest in to.

Fast forward three years and shortly after our excellent Christmas game (reminding me what a good game Flames of War is) I'm doing some research into VBCW and I come across the Hallamshire Battalion (a local Territorial Regiment) and their actions in Normandy and I discover that the Hallams ran into SS-Panzergrenadier-Regiment-26 in June 1944 and that the German unit and its supporting tanks could be represented (in part) by the models I already owned. An army had finally picked me (see Cheaphammer Rule #1).

I little bit more digging revealed that Battlefront had kindly made available a free PDF Briefing on their website that would suit my purposes perfectly and so without spending any money, I suddenly had a project.

I already had my tanks (of which I probably won't use more than three) and six stands of infantry painted, and so my first port of call was to paint up two more infantry stands and three command stands so that I can field a Panzergrenadier Company at its simplest level.

Following this I also needed to finish off the basing on the rest of the infantry stands, which was little more than adding flock in some swirly patterns.

A HQ, two platoons of five stands of Panzer Grenadiers, and three Panther A tanks suddenly gives me a force of 925 points. A couple of Panzerfausts makes it 945 points, and finally a Sniper gives me 995 points of painted troops.

I quite pleased by this as I've never been able to field a 1000 point army before as the Panthers' cost is too prohibitive. I've usually been restricted to games of 1750 points. I'm looking forward to a different dimension to my games of Flames of War and I can now expand the force one unit at a time according to the historical OOB. I suspect that next will be a platoon of pioneers from the Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment-901 who were stationed alongside Regiment 26 in the action at Fontenay-le-Pesnil. This is mainly because I've already got the makings of a Pioneer platoon.


Thursday also saw me play my second game in the club's Bloodbowl league. I was down to 11 players as one of my linemen was missing the match and I was up against the league leaders, Craig's Chaos Dwarfs.

Slann Frogcisco 49ers 2 - 1 Karak Dur Bruisers (Casualties 0-1)

Travelling away to Candlestick Pond, it seemed like the Bruisers brought the entire population of Karak Dur with them to a very loud match (Craig got +2 Fame) and initially it seemed like the 49ers were overawed by the Bruisers' travelling support, slipping and tripping during the opening phases (double 1 on first roll of match) as the polyglot opposing team bore down on them and threatened to turn the ball over for a touchdown. However, some desperate hopping saw the Frogs manage to switch the ball across the field and run the ball up the field to register the first score halfway through the first half.

The teams set up again and the first of a series of extremely wayward kicks (it seems flippers aren't suited to the task) saw the ball pitch up in the opposing end zone. The Bruisers pushed forwards leaving a lot of space between the Hobgoblins with the ball and the rest of the team. Into this space hopped pretty much the entire Slann team who rushed down towards the ball carrier. The big-nosed greenskin tried to pull off a throw to his team mate up field, but fumbled allowing the Slann Catchers to scoops up the ball and rush en masse to the end zone. The 49ers were 2-0 up with two turns remaining in the half.

Another, even worse, kick resulted in a touchback and the ball being handed to one of the Bull Centaurs who proceeded to very simply power down field by himself, batting the Slann out of his way as he went. At half time it was 2-1 to the 49ers and the surprisingly free scoring game was poised on a knife edge. The Slann knew that they were struggling to stop the free ranging Bull Centaurs and the Bruisers were concerned that they had not been able to remove any of their opponents from the pitch. Things were tense...

Indeed, they were so tense that emotions boiled over in the excitable crowd and the away fans began attacking each other, with Chaos Dwarfs blaming Hobgoblins, Hobgoblins blaming Chaos Dwarfs and Bull Centaurs just enjoying a good ruck. The enigmatic Slann fans looked on rather bemused as they were used to showing their support with polite (if slappy) applause. After the riot calmed, the second half was allowed to begin, although almost half the time on the clock had been lost.

Once again the 49ers kick was sliced into a corner and the touchback was awarded. Again the ball was handed to a Bull Centaur who snorted his pleasure at another imminent score. However, the Frogcisco coach had an ace up his sleeve, and as the four legged beast powered up the wing again, a bolt of lightning arced out from a tame wizard in the crowd and brought the juggernaut thundering to a halt.

Things then got desperate. The 49ers scooped up the ball and bounced it to the other side of the other side of the field, Hobgoblins in hot pursuit. The Frogs then formed a cage by hopping into the centre of the field, and were quickly set upon by Chaos Dwarfs. The few Slann that could escape the maul then leapt over to the right to form another cage, this time incomplete. The terrifying form of a Bull Centaur came galloping around the rear and brought the ball carrier to the floor.

What followed was a series of handling errors as both teams grappled for the ball. The Bruisers failed to get to the loose ball and so the Slann again scrambled it up and attempted to throw it down field, only for the pass to go wide and bounce at the feet of a Hobgoblin. Blocks were flying all over the place as the greenskin grabbed the ball and attempted a desperate last ditch throw to the Bull Centaur, which also failed. the game still wasn't over, and the 49ers once again treid to move the ball to their man waiting for a pass to seal the game at 3-1. However, once again the pass was failed and the result remained as it had at half time.

A tough game where I have to admit that the combination of a riot, a wizard and Craig's inability to inflict meaningful damage kept me in the game. Despite the appalling opening for me, it also became apparent that when the dice are kind, Leap an Very Long Legs is an awesome combination with AG 4 as I was constantly able to get out of trouble. I think I only threw three blocks all game and without the wizard I would not have been able to do anything about the Bull Centaurs.

I got away with that one, even more than last week!

This weekend has also seen me knock up a very simple turn marker for my Slann Bloodbowl team. A simple construction using the standard from a skink unit from my old Lizardman army and a two-pence piece. All I need now is a score marker and the team will be complete.

All in all a very productive week for me. If I keep this rate up this is likely to be my most productive month since I started the blog. I've got another game of Bloodbowl too, this time against Aneurin's Vampires. Aneurin has been getting soundly stuffed in his opening games and has been complaining about a lack of Team Value. I suspect that my purchase of a Blitzer may present him with a significant amount of inducements to spend and so I'm not overly confident.

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