After another hiatus due to excessive festivity, I'm back again with a mahoosive post about my doings in wargaming. Be warned, this one includes bucketloads of photos, two game reports and two (count 'em) lots of painting progress. Yup, I've got my mojo back.
First, I'll begin with the club's big Christmas bash, a six player game of Flames of War. Later one I'll introduce my now completely painted Slann Bloodbowl team and the opening salvo of this year's league campaign. Finally, my VBCW B.U.F. unit have now received some motorised transport.
Flames of War
We decided to play a big game of Flames of War for our Christmas all day bash for several reasons. Firstly, it's a game that most of the club have armies for, secondly we had enough suitable terrain to fill a big table and thirdly it's a game that many of us haven't played for a while.
We were playing the Total War (is that correct?) scenario from Das Book and each fielded 1000 points. The setting was late war on the western front, with the Germans facing down a combined command of British and Americans. As you can see below, the terrain was fairly open with lots of fields roads and hills in the centre, and woods and marshes on the flanks (out of picture). The objectives were spread across the table but there was a concentration in the vicinity of the ruined church and so we were all pretty sure that this was where most of the action would be.
The forces were as follows:
Allies: U.S. Paratrooper Company (Matt), British Para Tank Company (JP), British Armoured Company (Trev, CinC)
Axis: Heavy Panzer Company (Me), Grenadier Company (Stuart), Grenadier Company (Craig, CinC)
With the concentration of objectives around the ruined church, both Stuart's and my commands were deployed opposite it. Facing us were Matt's paratroopers supported by some British light tanks. Our centre and left flank were manned by Craig's hodge-podge force and he was going to go toe to toe with both Trev's tanks and JP's paras. To our rear was our only artillery, a detachment of Nebelwerfers. However, our major advantages were the fact that were had armoured superiority in the form of my four Panthers and Stuart's King Tiger, and also for some reason the airborne allies had been deploy without air support and so our Stukas could run amok.
The game began with Stuart and I making a big push for the church and capturing the objective there (something we wouldn't release all game). My Panthers managed to snipe Trev's HQ tank and so began the great duck hunt as I would look to shoot at any armour that revealed itself, in full knowledge that I was immune to anything but the M10's to the front and my guns would mash anything they hit.
Although he initially didn't advance his infantry, Matt began a flank attack with the tanks the British had loaned him (something I had feared) and so I had to send my StuGs after them. In combination with the Luftwaffe, I made short work of the medium tanks (please don't ask me to name them) but didn't realise quite how fast the pesky little Tetrachs were, and I was quickly flanked and savaged by the nippy little buggers. Matt's tanks actually succeeded in their flank attack and managed to capture one of our objectives by the end of the game, but took too long for the Allies to amass many victory points from it.
Matt then began his assault on the church with his Fearless Veteran Paratroopers. I've faced these fellas before and know how difficult the are to stop. However, I'm usually playing with tanks, it turns out that infantry supported by Panther MG's can actually pin and whittle down the toughest of troops over time. I was worried for a long time, but Matt's assault never hit home and eventually they were driven away from the church.
Over on the left Craig assigned his Marders and infantry the task of battling the Paras in the marshes. Although the Para infantry are good, there weren't many of them in a tank company and weight of numbers eventually told and Craig was able to capture the objective he was after.
In the centre things initially looked bad as we were heavily outnumbered and an early barrage from the British artillery and tanks took out an entire platoon of Panzer IV's. However, after machine gunning the U.S. Airborne for a couple of turns, my Panthers turned their attention to Trev's tanks and swept one of the two central hills clear of tanks.
This not only allowed the King Tiger to begin a slow advance to capture the central objective, but also destroyed the tanks that were close enough to hold it and so reduced the amount of points the Allies were getting per turn. The King Tiger was eventually popped by the M10's (not sure of this detail) but they in turn were bitch-slapped by my Panthers.
We called time at that point but the Allies were not only behind on victory points, there were also close to breaking properly as all three companies had taken a mauling. In contrast, although I'd lost one of my platoons, the infantry companies were still strong and had the game continued we looked good to sweep them from the field.
All in all a great game, mainly for the company. Flames of War is a funny game in that it plays more exciting than it looks. It was nice to get a game again (it's been over a year since I last played) and it was interesting to see just how powerful my Panthers can be when they are in support rather than having to do the attacking themselves. It's actually got me looking at Flames of War again and you may find me blogging about it again soon...
I love this game. It's the single most tactical and engaging tabletop game I've ever played and it stirs the deepest reactions in me (I've been know to be a bit of a whiner when the dice go bad). Therefore the start of a new season required a new (well, almost) team. And so I sat downto do some painting this weekend to finish of a team I began two years ago: my Slann team, the Slann Frogcisco 49ers (I'm congenitally required to use bad NFL puns to name my teams).
I first used this team in an abortive league two years ago and I found them difficult to use due to their lack of the core skills of Block, Dodge, Pass, Catch and Sure Hands. This means that they are very vulnerable to bad dice and bur rerolls quickly. Last time I got the wrong team set up and was struggling from game one. This time I've ignored the expensive Troglodyte and Blitzers for know and focused on playing a fast strategy that prioritises my Catchers.
So I needed to paint two more Catchers and so I got the remaining six models painted this weekend. Two Catchers, two Blitzers, a Lineman and a Coach (who'll be used as a reroll marker). here they are:
Last week also saw me play my first game of the season against Matt's Chaos team, the Shadowlands Chargers. I forgot to get a picture of them (something I want to do for each report), but I'll get one when I next see him.
Slann Frogcisco 49ers 2-1 Shadowlands Chargers (Casualties 1-1)
A clumsy and nervous first half from the 49ers saw the ball dropped or fumbled four times as the Chargers bore down on them ominously. However, despite their slippery fins, the frogtastic fellas in red were able to stumble the ball up the pitch and score almost on the stroke of half time.
Despite an early error almost allowing the 49ers to steal the ball, the second half saw the Shadowlands boys behave completely unchaotically and follow the rather predictable drill of forming a cage and marching up the field, splatting frogs as they went. Some rather inept defending resulted in Slann players literally throwing themselves on in front of the cage in a futile attempt to slow it down. The Chargers took slightly longer than they wanted to score (nothing to do with the other team), but the match was tied with three turns to play.
With the ball back in their flippers, the 49ers knew that they had to go for it. Sending their catchers forwards, the Slann team loaded the flank and did their best to drive up the wing. Pushing back Chaos Warriors enough to allow the ball carrier through, the 49ers once again fumbled an attempt to move the ball to another player (four times in one game), and it looked like a draw unless the Chargers could pull off an outrageous long bomb.
They couldn't; and the ball was dropped.
With moments to spare, the 49ers managed to push a Beastman away from the ball and another catcher scooped it up to hop into the end zone and steal the game.
A hard fought an scrabbly game with little to write home about in terms of exciting play. Both teams suffered from a host of handling errors, I think I held it together well to not concede in the first half (it was touch an go for a couple of turns), but I was a bit lucky to not take more of a battering and be men down in the second half.
I have to say that this little project has really got my interest. I've found myself reading up on lots of little details about the local area and have coincidentally been led on to a few little bits of history that will also inform my renewed interest in Flames of War, more on that later.
Back to VBCW. I've donae a simple repaint on a Matchbox Model T Ford to turn it into a B.U.F. recruiting van. A simple colour scheme is lifted by the addition of some fantastic posters kindly made available from the blogs of 6milPhil and Port Sunlight 1938. Great stuff.
I decided against adding any armour to the van for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I'd seen the posters and had the idea of a civilian vehicle. Secondly, according to the VBCW background sourcebooks, the B.U.F. would be well supplied and so would have actual armoured cars rather than having to cobble them together. Finally, my opponents in this period are all just getting started and turning up with an armoured element at the moment just doesn't seem like cricket. I know my boys are a bunch of rotters, but there's a limit.