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Monday, October 13, 2014

Throcktoberfest "Race to Berlin" Themed Tournament AAR

By Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah, Maurice Kent

Two years ago I decided to host my first ever tournament and I did it before I ever actually played in one! 10 people showed up and it was the first time I met folks like Mitch Reed and Tim Grimmett. Oh how times have changed.

I really like tournament play, not because it can be a competitive way to play the game (which is certainly fun) but more because I honestly love the FoW community of gamers and any chance I can get to meet new people, or throw down games with folks I don't get to see that often is awesome.

So, over the summer I decided to run another, larger, themed tournament. Thus was born Throcktoberfest!

My hope was to do something a little different than your stock standard Swiss paring style competition. I wanted to put together a map based campaign where the players were given the opportunity to choose who played where, where battles had significance not just for the single player for a team of players.

And it worked... kind of :)

We had 26 players across 3 factions: 6 Western Allies, 13 Germans and 7 Soviets playing in a "curated" late Late War meta comprised of:
US: Bridge at Remagen & Nuts, Citizen Soldiers PDF, 29th Infantry Division PDF
UK: Market Garden: any UK or Canadian list without the terms Frost, Glider, Airborne or Parachute in the Title. Also may use 53rd Welsh Division PDF and Recce Squadron PDF
German: Desperate Measures, Bridge at Remagen, NUTS! Gebirgsjager in the West PDF, Kampfgruppe Kersher PDF
Russian: Desperate Measures, Red Bear (revised): Only Russian Lists, no fortified lists, No naval infantry

The map campaign saw Germany attempting to defend the homeland from assaults by the Allies
across 30 or territories leading up to Berlin. Each round each team scored points for their faction based off how well each player did in their own round plus double points for certain "Flash-Point" territories like Remagen, Danzig, Colmar, Seelow Heights and, of course, Berlin.

The Allies had to attempt to force their way to Berlin by capturing territories leading up to it. Berlin, if taken, would result in an automatic loss for the Germans while the Germans were of course, attempting to prolong the war into '46 in order to reach a negotiated settlement.

This was an experiment. I hadn't really played in a tournament like this before and so I was working through some uncharted territory. While large portions of it worked after the players got the swing of things, some of the assigning of armies and missions proved unwieldy (especially early on) and if I run another themed campaign again I'll need to make sure team captains are picked well before the tournament and the rules of the map campaign are more clearly articulated.

German Forces

Fun fact! There were only 8 Jagdtigers (10% of historical total) and 28 King Tigers (6% of historical total) present on the battlefields today. Historically, I find that pretty acceptable given that this was a late late war tournament. On the other hand, the Allies had a hard time finding a solution to the Big Cats on the tabletop.

Soviet Forces

Soviet forces saw significantly more success on the day than the Western Allies

Western Allies

Lists were unrestricted except for the book restrictions I mentioned above and there was a surprising lack of arty park on the part of the Americans. Unsurprisingly, only 2 Pershings showed up.

The Campaign Map

The Battlefields

We flipped the first table between each round to reflect that round's flash-point scenario.

Turn 1, Remagen (Thanks to Maurice Kent for providing the bridge!)

Turn 2, Seelow Heights (Thanks to Chris Hunn, Huzzah Hobbies shop owner for the use of the trenches!)

Turn 3, Berlin (The burning tanks here are terrain features, "Reichstag" provided by Scott Simoneau and much of the ruins provided by Maurice Kent.)

Some of the other battlefields:



As for the map campaign the Germans handily won the day with 30 more points than the Soviets, who made it all the way to Berlin only to be stopped at the gates of the Reichstag, but in doing so were unable to complete the historical encirclement of the city. The Western Allies fared exceptionally poorly, scoring 50 points less than the Germans, and barely making inroads beyond Nuremberg in the south and Hamburg leaving the large swath of of Central Germany controlled by German forces.

This race to Berlin was handily stalled by the Germans and, while victory is certainly inevitable for the Allies, the road home will stretch long into 1946 or 1947.

Player results saw the following outcome:
1. Scott Simoneau, German
2. Kurt Resse, German (Tie with Scott broken on Power of Opponent score)
3. Luke Melia, US (Tie with Eric broken on Power of Opponent score)
4. Eric Lauterbach, Russian
5. Chris Hecht, German
6. Chris Gobel, Russian
7. Kevin Kelly, German
8. Maurice Kent, German
9. Mitch Reed, German
10. Miles Reidy, US
11. Jeff Knoke, German
12. Scott McLemore, German 
13. Bob Everson, German
14. Tim Grimmett, Russian
15. Stephen "Kato" Lee, German
16.  Jim Best Sr. German
17. John Desch, German
18. Ken Jacobson, Russian
19. Joe Moore, British
20. Jeff Kulp, US
21. Scott McDonald, Russian
22. Nick Read, US
23. Rob Wolsky, Russian
24. Ben Gobel, German
25. Alex Perez, Russian
26. Wally Johns, US

HUGE THANKS to Maurice Kent, Scott Simoneau, Mitch Reed, His friend Scott and Ben Gobel for helping to make the day a success, and Chris at Huzzah Hobbies for giving his space over to us for the day.

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