22 April 2012

Gnomecon Day 2

0811 - So, Alan says there are EIGHT people signed up for the Flames tournament. I'll believe it when I see it.
0910 - Jamey and his son Dustin arrive with Hungarian Tanks and Brtish Guards Cromwells respectively. No other attendees. This is what I thought was going to happen. Alan says the Gnomecon staff would not give him contact information for any of the people who signed up. This reeks of B.S.
0920 - We decide to play anyway, Jamey and me first in a Free-For-All scenario. Dustin was going to sit out, but about an hour and a half later, Ken arrived to be our fourth! Yay Ken. He was not one of the mysterious "8."

My first game was a debacle for me and an exercise in how to roll fives and sixes by Jamey. I'm not going to besmirch his skills but as all gamers know, when your dice are spitting out nothing but ones and twos and the other guy's dice are in fuego there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. I also take issue with the extremely effective two-Panther units. They are severely under-costed. That's Battlefront's mistake but there isn't a whole lot anyone is going to do about that. Some pictures of the game:

The engagement between the Panzer IVs and my T-34/76es in the center around the buildings was a lot of fun and just a classic for a World War II game. 

But on the other side of the field, his Panthers had their way with my T-34/85s and ISU-152s and his infantry swarmed through my guns on the objective on my left and that was that.

I think I killed three or four stands of infantry and one Panzer IV. It was frustrating but I enjoyed myself and got ready for the next game.

My second game was with Ken Luikart who helped get me into the game a few years ago. We'd never actually played a game against eachother so we were looking forward to the game. It was a "No Retreat" scenario with Ken defending using his German Grenadiers.

I forgot to snap a picture before my first move. This was after I'd moved.

Ken's Tiger tanks and rocket launcher artillery showed up on turn 2 and both would prove to be pivotal.

Up until this point it seemed as though I was going to roll Ken and it would be a very one-sided, sad affair. Then the dice decided to get involved. Ken is traditionally a terrible dice-roller. In keeping with the theme of my last game, I also was not so fortunate today. The battle devolved into an utter bloodbath with nearly everything getting destroyed and many units being wiped out entirely. His Tigers destroyed the T-34/76es which were completely unable to harm the giant tanks. The rocket launchers and a very skillful PaK40 gunner worked the T-34/85es over and ran them off. My ISUs mangled his forward heavy machine-gun positions who had caused considerable casualties to my infantry advancing up the center. The ISUs also took out the three Tigers but not until they'd done major damage. In the end, the tatters of my infantry unit captured the forward objective and nearly simultaneously his company morale broke. The aftermath:

That ranks in the top two most enjoyable games of Flames of War I ever played. The game hung in the balance for a while and we both were utterly spent.

My son's energy meter was running low and he was ready to get going so with some sadness I had to forfeit my third game (against Dustin). We played a couple of rounds of Wings of War before the flea market and had a blast! My tail-gunner took a bullet to the head and my teammates were both shot down in the first game but I managed to fly my plane off the map before the same happened to it. In the second game, Dustin teamed with me and again, I managed to survive but his plane took a beating very quickly and in about ten minutes was reduced to a fireball in a French field.

Gnomecon was a terrific experience and I'm really looking forward to next year's iteration. My wife and kids had a great time and I got to catch up with some gamers I hadn't seen in ages. 

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