23 July 2013

Sunday Gaming

Long-time readers may remember my ranting about Flames of War and my disgust for Battlefront. New readers - see the previous sentence. Regardless, I ended up playing FoW on Sunday with Mike. Our friend Alan is trying or organize a Kursk-themed FoW tournament for August; and since Mike and I haven't played in, oh, about a year and have agreed to play in the tournament we thought we could use a refresher.

The tournament is set at a ridiculously high points value, 1860, so forces are enormous and there is not a lot of empty space on the tabletop. Having sold off much of my FoW collection last year, I used out-of-place DAK Germans for a Eastern-Front battle. The equipment was fine, the paint job - not so much.
My force list:
4 Panzer III Js
4 Panzer IV F1s
4 Panzer II Fs
2 8-Rads
Panzergrenadiers in halftracks
Battery of 105s
HQ and 2IC on Pz 3N and Pz 4F2

Mike has a British army for FoW so we converted them to a Soviet Tankovy (lend-lease) with Shermans and Lees, as well as a bucket of infantry, mortars and guns.

What followed was a tale of two dice-throwin' hands. I could do no wrong, or more precisely, Mike's dice could do no right.

Pretty ducks all in a row. Mike's company prepares to attack. I have artillery on the table and two tank platoons hidden in ambush (idling in the lower left until they truly get placed).

My Panzer IIIs along with the 2IC appear from the trees and unload on the Soviet rental tanks. Still pretty typical. Mike's awesome paper plane is about to make a strafing run on those tanks. It failed miserably.

I bring the Panzer IVs out since the forward objective was pretty exposed and vulnerable. A few more Soviet tanks get rattled. Still nothing too crazy. I did finish off a third Lee, causing a morale test which the crews passed easily.

A turn or two later. Mike moved his remaining two Lees around to get some flank shots and my Panzer IIIs in the woods. He'd also moved his Shermans up around the hill with the other objective. His gunners utterly failed to hit their targets leaving his tank platoons really exposed.

During the postmortem, we decided that Mike should have double-timed his Lees to the area I marked in pink. I would have been forced to react to them, throwing me off my comfortable position. As it was, I was able to leave my tanks in a great defensive position and return fire.

My return fire wiped out the Lees and caused enough casualties to the Shermans for them to rout. Mike called off the attack. I eliminated two tank platoons and suffered no, nada, zip, zilch casualties. All I'd removed from the table was two Kubelwagens "sent to the rear." It was a bit embarrassing and I felt bad for Mike, but "dice is dice." FoW has some serious deficiencies with the way some things work which is part of the reason I don't play it for fun any longer.

Mike has never played with Soviets in FoW before this game and they are tough to get used to. We had an extended post game chat about things and he should be better off next time if his chance cubes cooperate.

For three hours on Sunday afternoon we had a very surreal time - two guys playing a game they care nothing about, surrounded by interested parties, just as a refresher for a tournament neither of us particularly wants to play in. Ahhh life.

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