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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Steven's tournament report from Auckland NZ Pt I (Flamescon)

So far, since being in Auckland, I've had the pleasure of participating in 3 Flames of War tournaments.  Flamescon, Snapshot, and "Dancon".  Both Snapshot and Dancon were put on by the excellent fellows from T.C.O.W. (That Club Out West).  In this part, I'll only include Flamescon as it was 6 games, and the others were 3 each.

Flamescon is the yearly Battlefront-run event here in Auckland. This year Mike Haught did an amazing amount of work in preparation. The rest of the guys all pitched in to make the event great fun, and a smashing success! I was fortunate enough to play in the big late war tournament.

List: Being my first time in a tournament here, I figured I better go with what I know, so I settled on Armored Rifles.

My list was fairly standard: HQ + extra bazooka, 2 full platoons, 4 shermans (I think I upgraded them to M4A3s so I could get detroit's finest), M10s, cav recon, and armored mortars.

Surf and I playing round 1 on the right
Game 1: vs Mike Haycock's Ostruppen in Dust Up. This was a great game! Mike had a ridiculous amount of platoons- lots of trained grenadiers with a solid backbone from some Panzer Lehr, Pak 40s, and Pak 43s. His AT assets rolled really well and chewed up my Shermans early on. The fight in the middle swung back and forth, but his Panzer Lehr were just able to get the upper hand. My flank attack was stymied by mine fields, and in the end "Surf" broke my company. I think this one was a 2-5. I quite enjoy playing Mike, and this game really could've gone my way- closer than the score might have one believe!

Game 2: vs British Armoured Cars in Surrounded. Rolling to defend, I really thought I could hold out against a bunch of Armoured Cars! They were backed up by 2 armoured platoons, and 8 25 pounders, who were a bit more tough to crack. Excellent use of smoke, and recce eventually whittled me down enough so that he could grab an objective. I ground down quite a few platoons, though, and improved on my previous score, earning a 3-4. This was a tough game, where I felt the sting of semi-indirect fire!

Game 3: vs British Infantry in Breakthrough. Finally, I get to attack! In both of the previous missions I'd been forced into defensive positions which are very much against my nature. That is, until my opponent decided to night attack me! He had 3 platoons of infantry, 17 pounders, 25 pounders, wasps, carriers, mortars, 6 pounders, and Typhoons. With him attacking, and with my force being all mobile, I started with just my 2 Armored Rifles. This is one of those "by the books" games I sometimes refer to. My defense was perfect if I say so myself.

A continual retro-grade movement along the long edge to keep his infantry out of assault range while holding fire to avoid his artillery and wait for my reinforcements. Finally an armored rifle platoon and Shermans arriving from reserve kept his main assault force at bay, while his flank march (17 pounders and infantry) was met by a full Armored Rifle platoon and some TDs. 6-1 to the Armored Rifles after forcing a company check. Really awesome opponent, and a fun game if only because my plan worked perfectly (and that is rarely the case!)

Game 4: vs Dan Linder's Kampfgruppe Peiper in Pincer. For those of you who don't know Dan Linder, he's a solid dude and a moderator on the FOW forums (Check out his blog here). Dan's army was 10 Panzer IV Js, Panzergrenadiers w/ fausts, 4 heavy mortars, 4 pumas, 2 Ostwinds, sturmvogel. This was an incredibly tense and fun game. I was again, defending, and made some mistakes. In stark contrast to my previous game, my plan didn't work well at all! I also remembered one important lesson: AMBUSH TIMING IS EVERYTHING. I popped my M10s early, before my Shermans had arrived to back them up. They whiffed, and then got eaten to shreds.  In the end, we hung in there, but it was an amazingly close and fun game. Having lost my M10s and an ARP, I pulled a 4-3.

Game 5: vs Soviet Strelkovy in FFA.  I was determined this game to really utilize my mobility and go after an objective. I was tired of sitting in foxholes! My opponent had 2 Strelkovy platoons (one huge, one small), 4 SU-122s, 3 IS-2s, heavy mortars, and 45mm AT. Maybe another unit or two that I forget about. Anyhow, I clung tight to my objective on the right with ARs and Cav Recon. They deployed in a wood so the soviets would have to get close! I also strung my TD jeeps all across my deployment zone, in anticipation of shutting down his SU-122s. In my center I deployed my Shermans. My left was armored mortars and an ARP all mounted up and ready to race forward. Opposite them (on my left) were IS-2s, small strelk, and 45mm AT guns. On his right was everything else, and it was coming right for me!

To make a long story short, SU-122s died to TDs, IS-2s bagged a sherman or two, but I mostly danced around em, one attempted assault into my pit of MG death on the right went south. My Armored Rifles on the left were able to roll forward and capture an objective. Good game, and a fun opponent.  6-1.

Game 6: vs Dan Maguire's Beute stugs in Hasty Attack. Argh! Defending again! This was a nail biter. I thought the game was over when Dan wisely shut down my only TD ambush areas with recon, and my Shermans arrived on the opposite edge of the board. I hung on by the skin of my teeth, however, and hung in till the end of the game. We probably went 9 turns, so I gotta give it to the tough as nails blitzdoughs for holding the line! Dan played a good game, and had me by all rights.  4-3.

Thoughts: Gah, I was more defensive than I prefer. Maybe I need to throw Patton into the mix! But, this assuaged all my fears about a "local meta". It felt just like an East Coast tournament. I had a great time, and 6 great games. In the end I placed 5th overall, and tied for 3rd with generalship. With a total score of 25 out of 36 shows just how bloody the whole affair was! Full results here.

You know Steve, he used to work here. Now he's at some gaming company or another. I'm not sure which one :)

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