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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Back in the V4 Saddle???

This past weekend I answered a call from a friend to step in last minute and run the Flames of War V4 tourney at MiniWars in Fullerton California. I was already scheduled to run the Team Yankee tourney on Sunday, so it wasn't a problem to step in and run the Maus Haus tourney on Saturday, as well.

Unfortunately, the player list for the FOW tourney wasn't very deep. With the original TO and his son out, another friend and I stepped in to play in the FOW tourney and get them up to 4 tables. I knew I could step out if we had a drop or an add last minute. (I'm not in favor of TOs playing in their events, but understand it may be necessary to make the experience better for the players and get another table in when needed.)

Those who read the forums know that I've moved away from FOW for my WWII gaming experience. This was an opportunity to give it one last go, and play well outside my comfort zone. Please allow me to share my return to V4 experience.

Kevin ran LW Japanese and finished 2nd in the tournament. He also took home Best Painted Honors both days.

The tourney was a V4, Late War event set at 1665 points. There were already a lot of Soviet armies ready to take the field, so I abandoned my beloved British Rifle Company for a German army. This was probably for the best since the play style of V4 doesn't match my cautious defensive infantry play.

Instead, I pulled together a list with 11 Confident Trained Panthers (3x platoons of 3 + HQ of 2 Panthers) and added one two-gun 10.5 battery for smoke - if they live long enough. Two guns with no command figure and no staff team seem to fit nicely under a single artillery template now under V4 rules. I didn't expect them to last long.

But, with my Panther horde swarming the enemy, I'd hopefully be able to give my opponents lots of targets and reasons to break out their assault platoons. Or do mad dashes around the Panthers and grab objectives on my side of the table.

Round one went swimmingly! We were using the More Missions Matrix, and I selected ATTACK! (what else with 11 Panthers?) and ended up playing Bridgehead against Comrade General Christian S.

My Panthers began their mad dash across the table, careful to give his AT guns only front armor to shoot (or not, in this case). In his response, Comrade Christian dropped two artillery templates on my dug in 10.5 guns. One went away in the second barrage, and the unlucky survivor decided to abandon his gun and head for the Western Front.

The aftermath of two bombardments on my 10.5s. The survivor didn't stick around long.

Christian got one of his reserves on his first turn. He made his scattered reserves roll, and his IS-2s ended up right behind my left-flank Panthers. Two smoking wrecks later, the last Panther in that platoon headed for the hills.

That left me with eight Panthers and a war of attrition as my opponents reserves came onto the field. I decided to throw caution to the Soviet Breeze, and sent one unit of Panthers into a wooded area to assault his AT guns on my right flank. One of them got hung up on the undergrowth and didn't participate. The defensive fire managed to bail one tank, and my chance to assault was over.

Pesky IS-2s in my backfield.

By the time the mud of the battle settled, we ended up in an 8-1 victory for the Soviets.

In the next round, I faced Ed F. and his Red Horde. We played a Free-for-All mission. The Soviet hordes were victorious again in an 8-1 game.

My game with Ed didn't last long enough for me to get many photos. So, I'll drop in a random image from the tournament.

My final game of the day was against - yes - another Soviet Horde, commanded by Comrade General Ron L. Fortunately for me, Ron seemed to want to let me have a chance to regain a few victory points. He began by running his Lend-Lease Churchills directly at my Panthers on my left flank. This gave one of the 10.5 guns targets as well. Within two rounds, the Churchills were smoking wrecks.

Then began the war of attrition. The Panthers managed to knock out his Soviet force commander, his IS-2s, and were working their way through his Pioneers and T-34s when a fellow player pointed out that Ron's force was in bad-spirits due to only one core platoon left! VP for me! But, we decided to continue to play out the session for fun, and I still managed to capture the objective.

Ron's Churchills come over to play with the Panthers!

Ron and I ended up at the bottom of the pack for the day. We were both enjoying the play style of sending our tanks off to certain doom and watching the smoking wrecks pile up. Ron, on the next day, secured Best Sport at the Team Yankee Regionals that I ran. Christian, my first opponent of the day won the FOW Tourney, and Ed grabbed 3rd in FOW, and 2nd in Team Yankee.

I hope that my goal of taking one for the team and playing FOW V4 worked for those at the tourney. I believe we had an enjoyable event.

Final results for the tournament were:
1. Christian Sorenson  - Berlin Soviet Hero Strelkovy
2. Kevin Morris ***Best Painted** **Best Sport** -- LATE WAR Japanese
3. Ed Forbes - Soviet Med SP Artillery - Red Bear
4. Hyato Tukakosi - Panzergrenadiers (CT) Desperate Measures
5. Igor Torgesun - Brit Armoured Recced (MG)
6. Malcolm Hee - German (CV) Panther force
7. Troy Hill -  German (CT) Panther force
8. Ron Lange - Soviet

Round One: All four games went 8-1. One almost timed out
Round Two: Three games 8-1. One Draw 3-1 - timed out (Counter Attack)
Round Three: Three games 8-1. One Draw 3-3 - timed out (Bridgehead)

We used the Missions Matrix, and let each table roll their own mission. Interestingly, almost all choices on the matrix were Attack. We did have three Defend selected, and three Maneuver selected out of 24 possible times.

But, I can hear all of you asking, will I return to playing FOW? Did this taste of Panther Doom hook me back in?


While this day was fun, it wasn't what I want out of WWII game. If it works for you, GREAT! Keep playing. I'll leave this game to those who enjoy that style of play for their WWII gaming. Who knows, I might pull the CT Panthers of Doom out again.

Troy A. Hill is a recovering journalist, and recent transplant to Los Angeles, California. He's a long time gamer, and has played too many games to list. He even got to edit a D&D supplement for TSR back in the days of green computer monitors. He grumps a lot, especially before his second pot of coffee. If spotted in the wild, you have an excellent chance to escape if you toss him bacon, or oatmeal-raisin cookies, and back away slowly while he's distracted.

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