After a frantic few weeks with the new business, where I have at times felt my feet haven't touched the ground... it was nice to get the chance to 'chill out' with a some hobby time for the weekend at the FoW Panzerschrek doubles tournie at Palmy North.
I wasnt 100% sure I'd be able to attend but wifeypoos gave me the green light, having secured a little help to run the store on Saturday morn.
So that was me off with army packed up, and another last minute addition, my son Chris choosing to come along to watch and see what else was going on at the event.
A frosty early morning start, had me getting to Pauls just about on time, and then a wait to collect Ste and then we were all off, driving through the dawn rising sun of a foggy frosty morning to Palmy... Paul was running his soviets with Ste along as 2ic...
Once arrived we registered and I met up with team mate Bryan.
I was running 1000pts of panzers from Desperate Measures with some nebs for a little arty help and Bryan was running Fuhrer Begliet GPGs backed up by StuHs and Remer along for the ride...
We tried to cover a few bases with this combo and just hoped we might get a match up and mission where things might work out in our favour... but since our team name was Kampfgruppe "wooden spoon"... we were not aiming too high!
First up Game 1 saw us play Wayne Turner of BF staff fame aided by Victor Pesch. They were running soviets. Game was Breakthrough and we ended up as attackers.
As it happened we got off to a blinder in the this game... first turn saw us move up to shoot up Victor's T34s parked in a wood whilst the recce Luchs and GPGs raced for the nearest objective. Remer would lead more GPGs on from reserve to go for the further objective.
After weathering a little largely ineffective return fire from the soviets, our 2nd turn saw us kill off the T34 platoon and continue our advance with Luchs and GPGS, parking up on the first objective; my son delivering the coup-de-grace on the T34s as he sauntered past at the right time, asked if it was OK to throw my dice and did so, killing the T34s, then sauntered back off to his WW2 aeroplanes! The problem for the soviets was not that we were on the objective, as it wouldn't go live for several more turns, but that we had killed the only on table platoon from Victor, which resulted in an immediate company morale check, which Victor obligingly failed. His company thus broke which in turn auto broke the whole force! This gave us a rather rapid and unexpected 6-1 win after 2 turns...
The mid tidying up shot from this first game... we had come on from the top centre corner ...
This result shot us to the top end of the leaders for the next round of opponents and were then drawn against Nick and Tim's 'Flaming Roundheads'... running a combined British force featuring lots of Crocs, infantry Challengers, Cromwells and a pesky tiffie... The game was Dust up.
This became quite a cagey affair, with the tiffie making itself known, taking out a panther early...We tried to make headway across the board leading the HQ panzers and StuHs through the centre town and a tank duel developed between the Panzers, StuHs and the Cromwells which the panzers eventually prevailed in but by then the crocs and infantry were on pressuring our objective...which forced us back on to the defensive and the usual style of feeding teams into the zone, and hanging on by your fingers nails whilst trying not to die and kill what you could!... Our own reserves arrived but failed to achieve much in the face to defending crocs and challengers... Our dogged desperate defense in the end had us at least gain a point for the killing the Cromwells... and help keep the Roundheads to 3. So a 2-3 against... we did kill a croc with a side shot from a panther so I'll take that as a morale victory! ;-)
And what do you know, were drawn against Paul and Ste, in a Fighting Withdrawal. The soviets were Auto Attack so we'd be defending. I didnt fancy our chances having been run over by the Shtraf in a practice game, but we had learned a little from that experience...
We also decided to keep Remer and the full GPG as the ambush. Our Panzers went into position to hold the flank objectives.
This game quite frankly couldnt have gone much better for us, we seemed to just get a feel for how it would develop and even though we were defending we were just about able to take the game to the Soviets. The soviets threatened the objectives with the tanks and rushed the shtraf up the centre, at-the-doubling to get into position... but this played into our hands... the GPG ambush was revealed and since the shtraf had doubled, the ~30-odd MG dice turned into ~60... then the nebs and StuHs joined in... when the smoke cleared the Shtraf had been largely gutted... and our panzers had been able to tie up and deal with the T34s. The cat killers did managed to snipe our Panthers despite our best attempts to cover them in smoke. But with the shtraf gutted and the T34s taken care of.. it was shortly clear that the Soviets were pushing it up hill, and they conceded the game. So we a lost a point for the loss of the Panthers... resulting in a 5-2.
So with 3 games in we were sitting on 11 points... far better than we had expected!
As it happened Chris had had a great day too, getting involved with a chap demo-ing a WW2 air-war game he had under development, which from my quick glance, seemed to work a little like X-wing... then with the promise of a Terminator themed game coming Sunday, Chris couldnt wait to get back and try that out too!
Arriving back home and wifeypoos had had a quiet day at the shop and then traveled to Wello for some shopping and collected Smaug from GW that I had ordered a couple of weeks back...
An awesome model, yet when I am going to find the time now to build and paint it is anybody's guess...
A Facebook message later that night had me informed by Bryan that we were actually in 5th place
and were drawn against Simon McBeth and Chris Otton in a Free for all for first thing Sunday morning.
Sunday morning and a rinse and repeat of saturdays journey though thankfully no frost this time.
After the traditional beauty pageant; armies on parade, it was on with the game.
Simon and Chris were running Brit/NZ infantry with some 105 arty, shermans UCs, m10s, 6pdrs, 17pdrs.
Another mobile mission that turned into another cagey affair, that again became a tank duel, with a little arty assistance... each side looking to soften the other up before progressing with any real attack. Neither side really prevailed, and with some naff dice on both sides... neither side made much head way...then game timed out with us losing out in another 2-3.
The final game saw us drawn against Damo and Shep, with another soviet horde with 2 Shtraf blobs and flame tanks and a God of war battery, plus 2 pltns of SU's, and some AAAtrucks.
Mission was Surrounded, and on the longer tables this had us terribly stretched out. Bryan and I looked at each other and agreed, we were dead... so we looked to see if we could just pick up a couple of points by picking on the small soviet units; the SU's and trucks...
After a turn of re-organising, one bonus of a very mobile list, we had things as best arranged as we could hope for. The two Shtraf came at us from two sides going for each objective. The main thrust backed up by the flame tanks...
We started firing and shooting up the soviets as best we could... the panthers managed to take out one SU pltn and the GPGs shot up the AAA trucks. Fire from the StuHs and panzers had begun to hurt the flame tank platoon but not before it had fried up the short defending GPG platoon. The Luchs and a couple of half tracks were knocking off odd teams from the other shtraf on the other board side.
Things got a little confusing late in the game as a huge artillery template dropped on the Germans, and troops got flamed and pinned and there was some discussion over who was pinned or not and where Remer was and who he was with, and I think the confusion had us talking at cross purposes about the rule in question. But we managed to get it resolved... though it chewed up some time unnecessarily...
The crucial final phase ensued and it was an all or nothing defence for us now...all our tanks that could drew a bead on the remnant of the flame tanks... the GPGs lead by Remer roared back down the road ready to assault the houses by the objective that the shtraf had just captured. everything opened up that could, with the nebs getting dropped into the chaos as well... one of the StuHs had to moved forward to point blank range to to keep the objective alive another turn...the tank fire managed to kill off enough flame tanks to force a morale check which they failed, so we were now three enemy platoons destroyed... Remer and the GPGs assaulted and killed more Shtraf but they hit back gutting the GPGs and killing Remer and only the Pltn Commander managed to survive and break off... and with that time was called... we had miraculously held on for a defensive 5-2 win, having only lost the short GPG pltn.
If the game had gone on any longer we may have killed off the last of the shtraf or last of the SU on the 'busy' end of the table, but the other shtraf blob on other objective would have captured that, but would have needed another turn to start their turn holding it and thus win... so time became crucial in the game, and confusing situations and messy assaults can drag these things out...
So that was that tournie over, with 3 wins and two losing draws... not too shabby as they say, and far better than we ever anticipated...
We stayed till the end to cheer and applaud the winners... only to be quite literally gobsmacked when, once 1st to 4th had been announced , we won 'Best Generals' for 5th place - winning a medal and prize choice from what remained... I picked up State of the Nation, and Bryan grabbed Grey Wolf... Very cool! All competitors also got a free WI magazine and a free FoW Objective marker!
Excellent prize support from BF.
Home with a smile on my face and a kiss from wifeypoos evidence by my lipsticked cheek.
A great weekend, and good to catch up with past acquaintances and friends and meet new folk, particularly good to meet Mike Haught of Scary Biscuits blog fame. Really nice guy. Well done to Mike and Andrew who came first.
Russell and Tony came 2nd, and Nick And Tim of the Flaming Roundheads came a deserved 3rd, and the Stanton twins came 4th.
Victor Pesch deservedly won best painted and he got my vote for some very nice Soviet armour and supporting infantry.
A great weekend all round and a nice chance to clear the head a little from being busy at work recently :)
There was also much good natured general chat, carry on, and banter and discussion, and with the WFB-ers active at the other end of the room, I couldnt help but chuckle when another Scott started whooping and hallooing with clippety clop hoofbeats - looking for a bonus re-roll in his game... a tongue in cheek dig at some of the crazy new "rules" in what WFB has become - Age of Sigmar...