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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Long Slog, My Cold Wars 2015 Diary

By Mitch Reed

In a bit of a departure from my usual articles; I plan to chronicle my experiences at Cold Wars 2015, held in Lancaster PA, 5-8 March 2015.  Hosted by HMGS, it's one of three big events they host In Lancaster, PA and Fredericksburg, VA. I have been going to HMGS events for many years that pre-date my Flames of War era.  In fact, it was seeing the game at Historicon one year that got me to jump into Flames of War. This year I am playing in the Mid-War doubles on 6 March hosted by the I95 Gamers and the late war charity tournament hosted by Kurt Reese the next day.

As I wrote about before, I love doubles tournaments and like other doubles events hosted by I95, this tournament has a hook.  This time each player can make two 1000 point lists, where the combat platoons are the same, however all the supporting platoons can be different once you see your opponents list. I like this and I can't wait to see how this works out.

Deciding on if I will go to Cold Wars is never a question, it is more like "can I go".  Having cleared the time and taking 6 March off from work I registered for the tournament.  As an HMGS member registration is cheaper for each convention, if you plan to go to Fall-In or Historicon, I would recommend becoming a member. I got a hotel reservation in Lancaster and the event went up on my calendar.

My partner is Jorge Dunzen, a great player and friend who I teamed up last year in this tournament who asked me last summer to partner in the the tournament. Our last go around we somehow we got a crazy idea to take an all infantry list featuring British Paras and Commandos with NGFS, so we did not do so well; winning one and losing two. This year with the event being mid-war we decided to go with the Germans.

Jorge and I decided to meet one night to talk list strategy at the Feb19th Capitals vs Jets hockey game; we went over potential lists and the Caps won 5-1.  As we left I hoped that this was a good omen for us at the tournament.

Another thing that gets me excited for an upcoming event is hearing from the folks I only see at tournaments.  I knew Cold Wars was around the corner when I heard Mark Magnuson, who is part of a huge contingent of players who come down from Pittsburgh PA to play.

5 March 2015
The snow is coming down at a steady pace here in Northern Virginia, and I found out late last night that the Government is shut down, so no work for me.  This gave me a chance to sleep in a bit, since I know that these conventions, while being very fun, seem to exhaust me.  So I packed, the usual clothes only wearable for a convention, you know those odd military or gaming  themed shirts that would normally get stares when worn at any other time.  Many folks asked me why I like to wear jerseys for events, well this is two fold, first I have a lot of them and if I never wear them regularly, someone told me that they would be but in the attic to make room in the closet.  Also for identification, I would rather someone point me out as the guy in the red number 10 jersey as opposed to that funny looking fat guy. I also packed my miniatures with the hope our lists were set in stone.

As I hear the plows working to clear my street I get some email traffic, its Jorge with the final versions of his lists.  Which leads to last minute changes on my part to eliminate duplication as well as more email traffic discussing (or debating) what to take.  I was hoping that this wouldn't happen but it always seems to.  One aspect of doubles that I have noticed is that now you have two people having second thoughts on the lists; I feel you can over think these things but its better to cover all options than regret going into a tournament with a list you are not sure of.

So after some time these are how are lists look; Jorge is going with the Panzerspah from East Front; and I am taking the Panzer Pioneers.  We both took two versions of our list, one to work vs infantry lists and the other vs tanks.

My lists.

All lists taken from

Well the snow seems to be tapering off and no word from Jorge, so I will (re) pack my doubles forces for tomorrow.  I think the last minute changes are us second guessing our lists as most player do, I am going up to have fun, so its not a big deal if we have made a mistake in list selection.

As for my late war force, I am going with my Indians from Road to Rome.  I decided to give the list another try, after a 2-1 day at Winter Whiteout you would think its a slam dunk decision.  However as I stated before I was able to win because I played two opponents that had the wrong forces for the table and mission.  Lets see how thing go at Cold Wars.

Last minute change: As soon as I sat down in my seat ant the Verizon Center I get a text from Jorge; he is near death and cannot go.  I knew Chris Gobel didn't have a partner but was heading up to the con on Friday as well.  He is bringing his Soviet tank list for us to play, having never played the Soviets I am excited to give them a try.  The Caps lost 2-1 vs the Wild, and their best player, who is Russian didn't suit up for the game, this may be a bad omen (ed: Ovechkin sucks). Well off to bed for the long drive.

6 March 2015
I was a bit late picking up Chris and he looked as exhausted as I felt.  The drive up just added to the level of tiredness we both felt but we were determined to make the doubles event. On the way up Chris told me about the forces; one company of Lend-Lease Churchill's and the other being a mixture of T-34's, SU-100's, and some Lend-Lease Stuarts.  All tanks!

Game One: Team Meatball (Italian Infantry)
Mission: Hold the Line
I may have mentioned before that Italian lists are becoming very popular.  In out first game we played vs. Team Meatball who was running Italian infantry with German tanks and AT guns in support.

Our plan, load up on the left flank and charge.

Here we come, and the PZ IVs in ambush come out.

We lost a few but finished off the platoon of German tanks

But those AT guns were ready, and the Marders came on,  We lost our Commander figuring a Warrior's 2+ motivation test would be easy to pass. It wasn't, and we ended up losing one of or companies and by doing that, the game with a  2-5 loss.

Game 2: Team Uh-Uh (German Armor)
Mission: Free for All

All the troops are in place,,,,

I moved out to cover the right flank

 while Chris attacked left

Team Uh-Uh became team oh no, they pushed hard on the objective

In the end, we lost 2-5, we had their objective but they hard ours from the turn before and my Churchill's couldn't dislodge them.

So, we suffered two 2-5 losses that were still fun to play,  By this time Chris looked like the walking dead, and we bowed out of the last game.

We tried to revive Chris during dinner, but he ended up taking a nap on some chairs as Throck and I went to play our new addiction,......

Which is Napoleon at War, hosted by the guys from Dave's Baggage Train,  NaW is a game like Flames of War which is fun to play, I highly recommend it.

After that ended we felt the night was young and played some Wings of Glory, a Great War game in which biplanes face off over war torn France.  Its another game I really recommend.

I guess the drive took its tool on a lot of folks because soon after midnight the Lamplighter room was empty and we followed suit and went to bed.

7 March 2015

The late war tournament kicked was scheduled to kick off at 9AM, way to early to game.  This tournament was set at 1900 points and forces could come out of any of the 8 late war books.  The tournament was also to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project and the the grand prize was a full Army painted by Kurt Reese.

Game One: Chris Pegram, Finnish Infantry
Mission:  Counterattack

 Chris and Jesse
 Good place for an ambush?
I think so!

My opponent Chris is getting back in the game after some time off.  Normally he is an Engineering Student at Temple, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. I opted to night attack and packed my forces in a map that had some dense terrain.  Chris could not roll well all game and I ended up getting to the objective after grouping around in the dark for a bit.  The terrain and mission really helped me out and I ended up with a 6-1 victory,  I also gave Chris, who is a great guy my extra dice for the remainder of the tournament, he did much better with them.

Game Two: Steven "Kato" Lee, German HG Tanks
Mission: Surrounded

I see Kato at a lot of tournaments and love playing against him. The last time we played he beat me in a 4-3 death match where I chided him to finish me off.  I knew that this was not going to be easy.

The Set up; I am surrounded.
Here comes Kato, he was able to contest the objectives from turn 2

 STuH vs Churchills

 The fight for the objective was bloody

 Very bloody

 Even my Staghounds had to fight.

 So like last time, another death match.

Yet another great game vs Kato.  A 4-3 victory, that was closer than the score indicates.  With the HG company making extra rolls on their morale check his forces stuck around,  I won because he was not within 16" of an objective at the start of one of his turns.  That was the only way I could beat him, because I couldn't break his force.

Game 3: Tim McClelland German HG
Mission: Free for all

Tim hails from Pittsburgh and plays with Mark who I mentioned above,  I have played Tim once before in doubles and he wiped the floor with us.  Tim knows the rules and is one careful player. Don't let his quiet demeanor fool you, he is always thinking,  To be fair, I was beat by the time the third game rolled around, and I was a bit crabby.  Add to this that Tim was carefully kicking my rear for most of the game.  I hate having two infantry lists square off in a fair fight.

While I can attack with my list, the wide open table with his excellently placed PaK 40's and Hornisse's made moving forward tough.  Tim knocked out my Staghounds and Churchill's even before I had a kill on him.  It was along hard fought game, I tried to whittle down his forces with my superb Kiwi arty. I slowly knocked out his Hornisse platoon, and took out a StuH or two.  The game ended when his remaining StuH's bogged down and I took them out with an assault. I then mounted up my Gurkhas in their Roos and took the objective, a 4-3 win for me  Tim should have won, I got lucky, very lucky,  It was one of the toughest games I think I ever had. Tim is a great player and real class act, and I feel bad I was a bit grumpy.

So the tournament ended and I have to say I was dead tired.  The drive up, the lack of sleep, and the tough games made me want to go to bed and sleep for a day,   That feeling is part of a tournament like Cold Wars, its exhausting, but its a good type of exhaustion.

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