Sunday, April 14, 2013

Marsupial Garden - Huzzah Hobbies 1500 Point Tournament

On Saturday the 13th, I made it out to Huzzah Hobbies for the I-95 Market Garden tournament (lists only from Market Garden or Bridge by Bridge).  It was a 3-round, 1500 late war event.  Since I don't own any of the involved allies (I guess I could've faked a sub-competitive Sherman list), I ran Germans.

My list was a StuG Batterie (because they're awesome):

CiC in StuG
3 StuGs
3 StuHs
1 King Tiger
3-Team SS Recce Infantry
Full F/V Fallschirmjager w/ 1 Faust
Sporadic FW 190B

Not having a 2iC (and thus losing Kampfgruppe) was rough in the third game (Dust-Up), but otherwise the list fared pretty well.  Read on for a summary of each game (I'll just discuss highlights) and lots of photos!

Round one found my StuGs attacking John Sulek's gorgeous 82nd Airborne in the village of Mook.  The I-95 folks had these cool fluff pieces for each board. 

Here's the board.  I was attacking from the bottom right to the top left in Breakthrough.  The river basing was all "Polder" the washed-out fields found all around the area during the occupation.  This meant slow going and a bog check.  I placed the objectives in the river next to the grey bridge and in the far corner near the farm building on the left.  There was a rail bridge to the right, but it was clear that I would need to make a drive at that grey bridge quickly.

John's Paras:

Set-up from my corner.

Summary: Basically, John placed his artillery and a short para platoon to my left and his Shermans, full paras and 57s across the river.  I sent my FJ in a flanking attack..

My StuH's sped around his artillery's flank, ignoring his arriving recce jeeps and basically rolled up to the railway in the picture you see below.

StuH's and CiC contemplating their next move:

Meanwhile, my King Tiger advanced right at the Bridge and eventually claimed it, giving me the game.

My FW took out a Sherman:

King Tiger on the move:

Remnants of the StuGs and Leg Recce (in the forest)

John's AWESOME 57mm platoon:

StuGs and King Tiger:

The other funny moment was my FJ coming in, occupying the farmhouse and then assaulting a few para teams on the objective.  Pushing them off this would've likely given me the game much earlier.  3 teams made it through defensive fire, but of course I whiffed.  He then came back at me with a vengeance.  Thankfully I didn't break and went back into hiding in the farmhouse.  

The StuHs and King Tiger won this game, the former by chewing through his artillery and the latter by being nigh invulnerable without the artillery on the board.  John was a great opponent, and the result was a 5-2 win for me (lost the StuGs).

Round 2 was against Bob Everson (eventual champ) in Nijmegen.  This was fun, as I've actually been there.  The board was a rather built-up town with some polder and forests scattered throughout. 

Bob ran the Canadian Infantry list with Kangaroos (turret-less Sherman transports).  It's a pretty ridiculous list, as it plays as Infantry (i.e. I had to attack, in No Retreat), but he gets mechanized transports.  He had 2 Infantry platoons, 2 full Sherman platoons (i.e. 4 Fireflies) and a little carrier Recce platoon.  

I attacked from right to left based on this picture.  My plan was to advance quickly on the objective in the open field, hopefully avoid his Sherman ambush and leverage my armor or an infantry assault to take out his other Shermans before reserves really arrived.  

I committed my Recce to the tree line in the bottom right of the above photo, which in hindsight cost me dearly.  I advanced quickly into the row of houses facing the objective, (FJ hitching a ride on the StuGs and successfully stormtroopering into the houses), but on his turn two, it went south fast.  2 StuHs bogged in the tree line, my StuGs whiffed on his Shermans and the return fire was devastating.  His ambush from the trees at the end of the road in the next photo obliterated my StuHs (the survivor fled) and I lost 2 StuGs as well.

I still had a shot, but my King Tiger refused to hit anyone.  My FJ lined up a decent assault, but failed their tank terror.  My CiC stayed bogged for 3 turns in the tree line and his kangaroos and infantry showed up relatively quickly.  I almost got one Sherman platoon, but didn't, so a 6-1 for Bob.  In hindsight, I should've seen the obvious ambush spot and dedicated a FJ team to screen.  I also should've sent the KT up the middle instead of around the edge, as his flanks would've been protected by the buildings and given him prime LoS onto the objective.

Nevertheless, it was a fun game despite my lack of success, and it was good to get another game in against Bob after the match at Cold Wars (round 2 of that tournament) when the results were the opposite.  

Round 3 had me playing the other StuG Batterie in the tournament (we ended up with 4 more German players than allies, which is the exact opposite of the turnout everyone expected, so there were some Red on Red games).  His StuG Batterie had 2 King Tigers and 4 C/T 88s.  I don't think I got a shot of this board, but basically, there were hills and forests scattered around a long main diagonal road, with 2 houses at opposite ends.  This was really, in all senses, a mirror match, from the board, to the lists (almost) to the fact that our King Tigers both got Rapid Fire for our ace skills.

We played Dust-Up, which was comical.  The first 3 turns took about 10 minutes, as our King Tigers danced around at long range doing nothing.  My StuGs showed up, but I was overly scared of the 88s (long-range + Vet kept me rather safe).  This led to me not racing at them head on and instead trying to flank.  This put them in LoS of his Tigers and some decent rolling cost me my platoon.  His StuGs and StuHs flanked towards my objective through a forest but took their sweet time.  Meanwhile, my SS Recce and StuHs arrived and did what the StuGs should have: drive right at the 88s guarding his objectives behind a large hill that screened them from the rest of the fight.  Even at range, the StuHs made mincemeat of the trained guns, whose return fire did nothing (poor luck to my opponent).  His StuHs kept me from just racing mine onto the objectives, so I first sent up my SS Recce.  He killed them, but exposed his StuHs doing it, leading to this fun scene:

One turn later, my StuHs and King Tiger had taken them out.  It looked like I was going to win!

Meanwhile, his StuGs tried to take my CiC and a few FJ off my far objective.  I was able to fend off his assault, but instead of pursuing his last StuG (who made his platoon check) to the edge of the forest where I could ambush him and hopefully kill him, breaking his company, I stayed back in the forest.  My King Tiger then failed his Stormtrooper roll after waxing the StuHs.  His King Tiger obligingly pumped three shots into my side armor, killing a third platoon, and, with my StuHs on the objective, but with no CiC, I'd lost.  It was a very back and forth game, and turned out to be highly entertaining despite the sillyness of Dust-Up + 2x Armored Companies.  This left me with 9 points (5, 1, 3) and 15th or so place.  Shame I couldn't do any better, but that's the way it goes.  The Allies won a few more games overall, giving them the win.  

The event was great overall, the terrain was top-notch, and the host store was clean and well-stocked.  

His StuGs attack my objective:

FJ and my King Tiger guard the other objective:

The rest of the boards:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Review: Battlefront Focke-Wulf 190 F8

In preparation for the Market Garden Flames of War tournament at Huzzah Hobbies next weekend, I decided I wanted to take some air support.  Unfortunately, the lists in Bridge by Bridge only use FW-190 F8s, which I didn't have ready access to (even through friends).  As such, I decided it was worth trucking over to Eagle and Empire and plopping down $18 for the plane.  This would be my first German plane and after seeing that it can be used in both mid and late-war (slightly different model, but whatever), it's a decent investment.

In the kit, you get a fuselage, 2 cannon pieces, a nose piece, 2 bombs, a flight stand and some decals.

Everything came through ok with the exception of the rear of the fuselage.  Both sides on the bottom had some miscast areas that looked like the resin had folded over itself.  Not a huge deal, but noticeable upon close inspection.  Everything went together ok, though the cannons are a tight fit in the grooves on the front of the wings.

I sprayed it dark grey on top and white on the underside, and then washed both sides with black.  I then hand painted on some Vallejo London Grey on top and Sky Grey on the underside.  The camo scheme that BF suggest was ok, but I did a quick google search and turned up this page (  I tried my best to copy the Buehlingen scheme.  I think it turned out pretty well!  I opted against the swastika tail markings, but did add 2 Tank Kill markers.  I'll let you all know how this foul fighter ace does in his attempts to thwart Frost's landings around Arnhem after the tournament.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cross-Post: Nova Cisterna

Check out Scorpio's excellent post on our Gruntz recreation of the WW2 Battle of Cisterna, in which apparently some 6-700+ Rangers were captured or killed over a few hours (link at the end).  This was part of the battle of Anzio and jumped out at me as an interesting scenario as I read a couple of books on the larger battle.  These Rangers infiltrated behind enemy lines via a drainage ditch at night for like 4 hours, only to emerge completely and unexpectedly surrounded.  The fact that they were able to inflict the damage they did was impressive.  Our battle actually mirrored the real battle pretty well.  Gruntz, as always, is a fun, flexible system.  I need to get more 15mm Sci-Fi painted (i.e. Colonial Marines, Aliens and Predators).

WWPD 4 Vets

On the 30th, Aaron (El Flama Blanca) and I trucked down to Game Vault in Fredericksburg to partake in the WWPD Podcast's Charity Event, WWPD4Vets.  We'd game for 12 hours in support of Wounded Warrior and other veterans groups.  There were other sites around the world, including California, Georgia, Alaska and New Zealand!  The goal was to rais $2,500 for Wounded Warrior, which WWPD easily exceeded.

Our contribution was a copy of Super Dungeon Explore.  This brought in $95 in total ticket sales that all went to Wounded Warrior.

In terms of gaming, it was a fun & productive day.  I managed to play 4 games across the eight hours and just generally shoot the breeze with the WWPD gang (check out their twitter feed @wwpdpodcast for some choice shots of me looking confused as someone explains just what exactly they mean by 'executed for being a toaster').

First up was a 2v2 Flames of War game (we all brought 1500 points of late war, so there were 3,000 points on the table).  WWPD Luke and I ran Allies (him with Market Garden Brit tanks and me with U.S. Rangers in Brittany) defending in Hold the Line against WWPD Chris' Schwerre Panzers (5 Tigers Incl. Wittman)  and El Flama Blanca's Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers.  It was a slog of a battle, as we all had impressive swings of luck.  The only constant was that we all failed pretty much every single roll that would've had a big impact on the game.  In the end, they finally failed their company morale test, but not without hammering both of our companies pretty well.  The most impressive moment was the attempted assault on two tigers by one of Ranger Companies, who apparently were all doing their best Vin Diesel impression, leading to the entire Company's destruction in defensive fire.  Ouch.  The big swing for us was an early ambush from some daring Brit tanks (using Joe Vandeleur, the Warrior), that decimated both Gepanzerte platoons.

Next up was Battlestar, with WWPD Jon (Lee Adama), WWPD Chris (Adm. Adama), El Flama Blanca (I don't remember), me (Starbuck), Luke (Baltar) and WWPD Sean (the Admiral from Pegasus) taking part.  The game saw a distinct lack of active Cylon presence on the board, as we only flipped one or two Crisis cards that placed Cylon ships.  I was not a Cylon and was able to confirm that Sean wasn't either.  I had strong suspicions that Jon was a toaster, but didn't play the social aspect correctly, allowing him to cast aspersions on my loyalty.  Luke was outed pretty early as a Cylon due to an unlucky combination of cards in a Crisis vote.  He resurrected and played his Super Crisis, spawning a ton of Cylons and declaring that anyone in FTL control or the Pegasus Engine room when we jump next would be executed.  Unfortunately, Sean and I were in the Engine room.  Sean was able to get out, but on Jon's turn, he promptly went into FTL and jumped us prematurely.  He was a Cylon, naturally and I was executed; this was probably the coolest Cylon-orchestrated sabotage I've yet seen in this game.  After respawning as Boomer, we humans were able to hold off and make it with juuuuuust enough fuel.  So survive we all.

After lunch, we broke out Lords of Waterdeep with the same group (-Sean).  It was an entertaining game.  I really enjoy the mechanics it shares with Agricola, and the lack of stress makes it so much more enjoyable.  Luke ended up winning with a strong come-from-behind effort.

Accompanying dinner, Luke, Jon, El Flama Blanca and I sat down for a game of Spartacus.  Jon and Luke were intent on dogpiling El Flama Blanca's House Glaber early on, while I took the opportunity to control the games and jump out to a decent lead in Influence.  Jon caught up and managed his funds very well.  As Princess Leia says, something about gladiator movies, slaves, and slipping through my fingers...  Eventually, Jon got to 12 Influence, and we were able to knock him down to 11, prolonging the game.  I was then able to bring one of his slaves into the arena to face my Thing in the Pit.  He promptly eviscerated the poor lass, prompting Jon to play a card that gave him an influence via crowd sympathy (and thus, the game).  Crap.  Jon played the social aspects of both Spartacus and BSG very well.

Anyways, it was a very fun day of games and it was cool to be able to contribute to the charitable side of things.  A HUGE thanks to Jon and WWPD for hosting/orchestrating the event.  Until next time!