Thursday, 31 July 2014

SAGA GAME AAR - BRETONS VS ANGLO-DANISH

Last Friday night Andrew and I played a game of Saga - I wanted a game with my Anglo-Danish force and Andrew played with his new Breton force he is currently painting up at the moment. 

We rolled up a simple kill the Warlord mission which suited me fine. I have played Andrews Bretons before now and they can be rather painful in the first 3 turns or so as you get peppered by javelins and that "in all directions" skill they have is simply annoying as they get to move away from you in your orders phase (so useful but it does start to annoy you after a while) but as the game progresses you can eventually work the horses into a corner and isolate a group, and once you have him in combat the Bretons are rubbish as there armour is on the weak side being mounted and with javelins.

So with this in mind and to keep my numbers up from relentless shooting I decide split my force into 4 units of 10 Warriors and a unit of 12 angry monk Levy also have a Bard and the Warlord of course.
Andy has a 8 strong Hearth guard mounted Javelin unit , 4 units of 8 mounted Javelin Warriors and some Levy Javelins as well as a Bard and his Warlord.
You may have noticed I have no shooting (haven't got the models) so I will have to move fast to get into contact without loosing too many casualties .... this is going to be hard going I feel.

My force, Anglo-Danes with some Angry monks - and there out for blood!
Andrews Breton force , in varying stages of painting


 Some of Andrews Heath guard Cavalry unit - looking good !

Like the sheilds
THE GAME THEN:
The table setup - in the desert of course ! where else would you find the Bretons and Danes !!
I am on the right side with the Bretons on the left- Andy places his hearthguard in bottom left so my plan was to pivot down to the bottom left corner pinning him in there and his Levy unit (giving me some points)
Andrew gets to go first .. The jammy git only happens to roll two rare dice to start off with in which he uses the activation pool ability to get all 8 Saga dice up, he places his in all directions, and puts the rest into his Hearthguard and warrior activation's.  I roll up the Shield wall and combat pool ability in defense.
 He gets real close with the horses and shoots me with Javelins and I loose 
4 men from a warrior unit on the far side and a monk.
He has a blinder of a first turn in which the 8 Hearthguard shoot my warriors 
facing him with no less than 4 casualties ...ouchie ! 
Andrew is all smiles after his first turn of shooting 
My turn and I roll up "Intimidation" skill and the "Shield wall" again, as well as some warrior activation 's but before my turn begins Andy uses his "In all directions" skill and moves away from my units... mutter mutter.
So after my turn I have moved up into the town and monks out in front for protection and the 
Bretons have moved back to their start positions !
After Andys second turn and my numbers are dropping ... 
only 4 from the warriors in the foreground of photo 
and the monks and top warriors are falling to casualties too.
Andrew again uses his "in all directions" skill so there is still no combat for me, he also places his "backwards" skill up so when I did close for combat, he declares that before any engagement takes place he gets to have a retreat move away !!! so double win for the Bretons - such a classy and handy skill !
Andy's 3rd turn and he doesn't roll the dice needed for his "all directions" skill ... 
wootwoot , haha had to take a photo of it as I have him now I hope.
He places his dice on the "LadyMary" skill and the "backwards" skill again.
He then targets the 4 warriors I moved into the building and him using the Lady Mary the unit loses all benefits of cover and only saves on a 5+ instead of 4+ .... only one survives.
I finally get some helmet(rare) dice .... Lords of Battle and the Push skills please
I charge twice (due to his backwards skill) with my monks into Andrews warriors using Lords of Battle killing 5 of them ! for only 2 in reply. I then charge my Warriors into Andrews Levy and make him retreat with him taking more casualties ... like this skill as when the losing side retreats they take further damage by if you roll over the armour save they are lost as causalities, very nice against Levy as he has only 2 left!
Andrew now swings around above my troops (not what I wanted to see - dam his superior movement)
My 10 unit warriors are reduced to only 4 men again, but can you spot the mistake he made !
He has moved his Warlord within line of sight of my Warlord......and he didn't get his all directions skill
Needless to say I now charge at him with my warlord and warriors, we hit each other with handbags as both our dice are rubbish and move back ...
Next turn Andy's warlord is unable to move unless he charges my warlord due to Warlord prides rule so is pinned in place, so continues to kill more of my Warriors.
Uses Lady Mary and Saint Kado skill where you take amount of fatigue counters equal to the amount of causalities taken making a Warrior unit next to useless... awesome combo shooting skills!
I then charge into Andy's Warlord with my warrior unit with Lord of Battle skill and Stubborn skill needing to get 4 hits to kill the Breton Warlord, as he has nearby warriors to take hits on...... I get 4 hits and Andy fails to cancel the hits .... so game win to me then  :-)
Must say if it did come down to victory points I was well well behind, as Andrews shooting took its toll on my warrior units having 2 units on one man each, and my biggest unit only having 6 left, and my monks were nearly finished as well. Andy just had some bad luck with his saving throws with his warlord.

My thoughts on the Bretons then, firstly you might be mistaken in thinking that the "in all directions" 
skill is an over the top and most annoying skill ever for a shooting army, it is annoying I agree but I feel 
that it is very very necessary for these weakly armoured mounted Javelin bunch, as without it they would 
get chewed up in combat very badly. 

When you combine that skill with Backwards and Fight skill they come into there own!
The first 3 or so turns the Bretons should be well in control of the battlefield picking off your men as you had seen here, its only when they get pushed into a corner or fail there required dice use of All Directions that they get into trouble - eventually you are bound to trap some units. 
I like the force for its abilities they have.

As for my Anglo-Danish they are very nice force to play with, and whats more with the added bonus of me being able to use my Anglo-Saxon models, just have to get some double handed axe wielding dudes for my Huscarl units and I will be all set ... oh and maybe some slingers for some shooting ability.
My skills I used such as Intimidation where used upon Andrews Hearthguard made them less of a nuisance which was very handy. 

Right thats all for now, thanks for reading ... cheers Mark.




Friday, 25 July 2014

CALL TO ARMS FOW COMPETITION

The next tournament that is happening in my neck of the woods is the Wellington Warlords Call to Arms Tournament which happens on the 16th and 17th August

Traditionally the Call to Arms Flames of War tournament for a long time now has been a Late War 1750 point, but this year due to a change of umpires it has also been changed to a 1450 point Early war competition. Which for me is a welcome change, more early war tournaments the better in my humble opinion.

The Polish Infantry Force will answer the Call to Arms ! 

So, this year I had initially thought I would be taking my Vichy French Legionnaire Force to the next early war tournament but sadly due to my lack of motivation for not picking up a paint brush in while (I blame board games) and with time looming I don't think I would be able to get all of it done in time, so I have kindly told my brother that I will be using his Early war Batalion Piechoty army (Polish Infantry) I have not used them before, but have played many times against Andrew running them so will have a good idea what they are capable of. Andy is running some sort of Italians from Hellfire and back book.


Special rules include every early war players favorite ... Bypass unit. This rule is where one of your units gets placed in a special reserve and will come on the table on a roll of a 6, but will come on behind the enemy on a random board edge or corner. They can not charge in to combat on the turn they arrive but with 13 stands of rifle men it has the potentially taking out some body's weakly placed rear units such as artillery or mortars and the like, especially if placed behind their gun shields and they haven't managed to dig in ...... so I am looking forward to using this rule. Andrew has used it many times against me and you cant ignore the threat as you will forego a valuable point leaving your artillery unit unprotected at the rear while attcking.


So the Force ... 1450 points is a challenge to make work , but I think I have found a good list with 9 platoons total, all Fearless Trained troops so morale shouldn't be a problem - and the Polish 2IC team allows me to re-roll platoon motivations as well, so this helps and is a nice extra rule for the Polish.

HQ  - with CO and 2IC Rifle teams
Combat - Piechoty Company with 13x Rifle teams
Combat - Piechoty Company with 13x Rifle teams
Combat - Piechoty Company with 13x Rifle teams
Weapons - Piechoty Infantry Gun Platoon with Cmd Rifle team and 2x 75mm wz 02/26 guns
Weapons - Piechoty Anti-tank Platoon with Cmd Rifle team and 3x 37mm wz 36 guns
Weapons - Piechoty Anti-tank Platoon with Cmd Rifle team and 3x 37mm wz 36 guns
Weapons - Piechoty Scout Platoon with 5x Rifle teams - upgraded to Cavalry Teams
Support - Light Tank Platoon with 5x 7TP-dw tanks
Support - Light Gun Battery with Cmd Rifle, Staff, Observer and 4x 75mm wz 1897 guns

The list has a decent amount of AT 6 guns with 2 platoons of anti-tank guns, but I can also can use the bigger AT 8 guns as direct fire for the bigger tanks and stubborn infantry with FP 3+.
The 7TP-dw tanks have twin MG turrets with each one being able to fire ROF3 each (and at different targets) so are my infantry killers.



Also the Scout cavalry will come in handy being able to use recon deployment then move 10" and gallop another 4" so should get into positions to reveal GTG on certain things.
And as always the infantry will be the workhorse of my army, with 13 stands and fearless rating they have the staying power to soak up the casualties and stay in the fight.

Here is some photos of Andrew's Batalion Piechoty Polish army , he has based them as if they were advancing through one of the many marshes in Poland.



The Artillery battery

             

AT platoon Teal

AT platoon Red

Calvary scouts
Twin MG turretts !

Trotting through the mud

Dismounted Cav unit


Thanks for reading, Mark.




Tuesday, 22 July 2014

PANZERSCHREK XIV AFTERMATH

The mighty AK polish force

Well back from another great Panzerschreck Flames of War tournament held last weekend by the Manuwatu Duelists Society in the lovely Palmerston North. Panzerschreck is a doubles event where each player has 1000 points each, as normal I had teamed up with my brother Andrew and this time around we both ran his Polish AK home army (which can be found from my earlier blog report here) We called ourselves "North and South" being Poles ......

Panzerschreck always gets a good bunch of players along and you usually have to get in fast with your registrations as it fills up fast. I think they have had doubles FOW events for the last 6 or 7 years and Andrew and myself have attended every one. Also some of the Battlefront staff usually travel down and play in the event as well, mostly with new army's which makes it popular as well.

The weekend went well, we headed up bright and early on the Saturday morning, leaving Upper Hutt about 6am arriving in Palmerston with time to go get some lunch/breakfast and then to the venue.
(Note: I forgot my camera so had to borrow some photos off of Paul to write this up - cheers)

FIRST GAME :
With a Hasty attack mission first up. Andy and I were up against Team "Grumpy old men" Ken Camel and Damien Reid. I have played Ken many times before now, but was first time meeting Damien so was good to play some one new. They were running a Schwere Panzerjager and HG PanzerPioneer, so 3 Elephants with air support, 2 platoons of Pioneers and 3 platoons of 88 guns.

Kens Army

Damiens Army
We were defending so of our 14 platoons, 7 deployed being mostly made up of the four FT Kedyw infantry with two on each side, the Pak36 guns on the left, the Artillery at the rear on the right and Andrews large AK infantry blob in the middle. Placed the Street barricade on the right, and on following this, Ken places his 4 minefields on the right side along line of hedge maze... I guess we are playing on the left then.

Playing on this table, some awful hedge maze we stay clear of opting to fight on the left upper town
Ken and Damien attack down the left with 2 Elephants, 88 in middle left and Pioneer infantry covering center placed objective on their side. Their reserves came on fast with the remaining Elephant and 88 guns and infantry quickly catching up to the lead elements attacking on the left. We pushed up with the left with our two Kedyw units and following many SMG dice and flame thrower teams, we assaulted Damiens CO Elephant, Kens 2IC and Co teams and killed them ! Ken responded by assaulting his Pioneer unit into our pinned Kedwy, but Andy got 6 hits in defensive fire from all 6 shots! and stop Ken's unit cold, Ken then rolled some simply awful saves, failing 4 of them ! and failing his platoon morale and ran. From there they got a platoon from us but we were firmly in control of the objectives with Kens Pioneer infantry platoons being taken care of.  So a 5 - 2 result to us ... not a bad start.

SECOND GAME : 
Was a No retreat mission against team "Beardy" Simon McBeth and Chris Otton. I have played Simon many times before being a local player and the head honcho of our playtesters group 'The Regiment'. Previous games against Simon in a tournament setting has usually gone my way mainly due to me being rather lucky in my games, so no doubt they were looking at evening up the score.
Simon and Chris were running a 7th Armoured and Parachute Rifle Company.  Simon had 2 platoons of infantry, Glider 105 artillery, some TD's and arm recon sections. Chris was running Shermans with Challenger tank, Air support, SP 17pdrs and some recon

This is the table we played on, ignore the troops shown (as I borrowed this photo)

We were playing in a built up town either side of a road and railway tracks so we picked the side with nice LOS and built up areas to deploy in with the usual Kedwy platoons and both AK deployed in buildings and tree lines with Artillery at the rear. A Kedwy was in ambush and the mobile stuff in reserve.
Simon and Chris deployed on the right side of the town and with thier AOP made it hard for ambush placement. With not much long range fire and our artillery not much cop, they got across the table in quick order and with out much loss. Their two platoons of infantry advanced with one coming into close with armour support and after two flamers and a messy assault we were both 1 platoon down each. On the right there tanks picked off our Pak guns and then along with a fresh Para unit assaulted our AK blocking unit and pushed them back. Our flamers also managed to kill some open top security sections which was fun. They managed to pick off our Panther and Hetzer tank in quick order but we managed to reduce the effectiveness of their infantry with SMG fire and some of their tanks due to Piat teams so they were unable to push us off the objective, so a nice 4-3 win to us.

THIRD GAME : 
Was a Free for All mission against  team "Normandy Pussycats" Mike Haycock and Chris Townley from Battlefront. Have played Mike a number of times with him being a regular tournament player of NZ and they have always been great close games and this one was going to be no exception ! This game proved to being the best game of the tournament for me.

Mikes Army

Chris Army
Mike was running an Ost front Grenadier force and Chris was running Schwere Panzerjager force. Chris had 3 Jagdtigers, 3 Nebs and 3 Flak 43 guns.  Mike had 2 platoons of RT infantry and one platoon of FV infantry with 122 artillery and 155 artillery, a pair of nests and 4 minefeilds ... ouch so much artillery - this was going to be a tough game I think especially with our conscript stuff having to dig in.
We place our barricade in the middle left, with team Pussycat placing their HMG and minefields on the left side also.... I feel its all going to come down the right again. We place most of our attacking units on the middle of the table (Andrew taking care of this side) while I took care of our defense on the right with Mike and Chris placing two infantry and 3 Jagdtigers there.
They advanced with woods and wheat fields as cover, as we advanced on the left through woods and farm buildings. Their artillery was quite nasty in the beginning as I tried to dig in, but no amount of digging in was going to save our gun teams against the breakthrough gun of the Jagdtigers. The weight of numbers was in our favor as the began picking us off on that side. The sniper managed to pin down their artillery and AA guns so was rather useful in this game. Andy advanced quite aggressively down the guts of the table and Mike and Chris having to switch targets with their artillery ranging in on this new threat, which ultimately saved us on the right. Andrew managed to swing down into their deployment zone and kill one platoon on the edge of the objectives but cost him with many casualties on the way.  I had managed to kill a Jagtiger with Piat and gammon bomb teams in assault. Mikes troops on the right managed to to wipe out most of the defenses after multiple and bloody assaults. This game was proving to be a blood bath as I was down to rolling my company morale test 3 times for this game and Andy was rolling for multiple last man standing tests as well and was almost testing company break test himself. The two and half hours flew past in a blur and we had to call the game being a 3 - 3 draw to us both.
I think we both pushed hard for the win and to take the objective but with so much going on and so many assaults and fair amount of shooting we just couldn't quite get there each - so was a good result


So with 2 wins and a good high point draw we were looking pretty good for the first day on 12 points. I think the top team was on 14 points so we were very much in the running but there was a small bunch of us on the 12 point mark so every thing to play for still. As always the Manuwatu Duelists Society put on a BBQ dinner for us, so beef burgers and sausages and salad, after this it was back to the hotel and meeting up with some follow gamers for a board games night which included playing Lords of the Waterdeep, Blokus and Citadels, ended up going to bed around 1am but was a fun night with much silly banter and good company.

Sunday morning
FOURTH GAME : 
Was a Fighting Withdrawal mission against team "Monte Cassino Hiking Club" Russell Briant and Joe Kelly. Russell is another member of the Regiment so have played many times before. Have also played Joe before but he doesn't go to many tournaments so it was good to catch up and play against.
Russell was running a Road to Rome Canadian Infantry with Joe running a Kompania Piechoty.

The hex terrain table, very nice table - we attacked from the close side up the guts into the woods yonder
So with a Infantry vs Infantry company's we roll a dice each to decide who has to attack, we were hoping to defend with the AK and rely on the sheer weight of number and small chaff platoons to withdrawal with to get us through. Joe rolls a 5 on the dice and Andy then rolls a 6 .... poo! we end up being the attacker. The table has a large wood in the center right and a large chateau building in the middle with low stone walls surround, with another large wood on left. They place infantry covering all three objectives with mortars in center, AT guns on left side with Shermans in center and UC's on right.
They also had priority planes which caused us some headaches.

We place most of the infantry on the right and middle with small mobile elements on extreme left. The Panther and Hetzer in middle. Two Kedwy are also on left side with mortars to apply pressure on all fronts. We double our infantry up the extreme left and mobile stuff double down extreme right, the rest advance into the middle right. Russell lifts his ambush with 17pdrs in chateau building and kills the Panther and Hetzer tanks. We respond by direct firing our mortars killing 3 of them, but with that they withdrawal this platoon in turn 3 having passed a skill check to do so. We also advance close to the objective while under fire from the Shermans and UC's but lose our flanking mobile recce teams to indirect sherman fire. The Flame throwers kill 2 UC's but once again they pass moral;e and withdrawal this platoon. We push hard into the center woods and down the left side but get beaten back in defensive fire. time quickly catches up with us and we have to call the game due to time. We lose 1-6 with a well executed win to Russell and Joe. If we got to defend the Fighting Withdrawal mission I feel the result may have been 4-3 the other way but sometimes its not to be.

FIFTH GAME : 
Was a breakthrough mission against team "Murica" Robert Torrence and Isacc Henderson.  We have played these two many times before, and enjoy playing them both as they are fast paced and very much a go for broke pair of players (much like ourselves) so this was going to be a tough match up as we had to defend against a pair of players with mass tanks and decent infantry.

Roberts US Para force
Issac was running a Texas US tank company with lots of trained Shermans while Robert chose a US Rifle company with 2 platoons of Stuarts in support. They placed their Stuarts in delayed reserve. We had to place our Hetzer and assault Kedwy platoons in reserve also.
The table had a fair amount of hedges and woods giving limited LOS which hindered us. We placed our Artillery behind the hedge (which was a mistake as we should of used it as direct fire against the weak armour of the tanks) also the both AK infantry as a blocking force while the 4 Kedwy units deploy to advance to cover objectives. The Panther was behind our barricade.
Issac and Robert deployed as we thought in a tight group facing against the artillery and large AK. They rushed our conscript infantry and quickly pushed them aside as Andy kept failing his morale checks to stay in the fight, the Kedwy dig in on the objectives each. Issacs tanks make short work of the Panther and the Paras clean up the artillery in quick succession. Our Hetzer and Sniper try to delay the onslaught but then their Stuarts arrive and really turn on the heat as they blast away at our center objective with all their tanks and infantry. We kept failing morale checks to stay in the fight so we couldn't get our Piat teams and gammon bombs to bear against the mass of tanks, and when we did they would good armour saves. So the game ended in 6 - 1 result against us with the Stuarts forcing us off the objective. Hats off to these guys they played fast and aggressive for a well deserved win.

So with the final placing we came in 9th place out of 18 teams, which was a good result for the AK poles especially considering we played all players in the top half of the table from 3rd place to 7th place, so we were well chuffed with that. Not bad for a bunch of conscript and trained troops.

Ist place went to team "may contain traces of Nuts" Bede Bailey and Paul Waetcher
2nd Place awarded to team "Da Momma's boys" Mike and Andrew Haught
3rd place went to Team "Grumpy old men" Ken Camel and Damien Reid
Bede also got Best painted with his Paras and Tank destroyer army, very well deserved. Looked great
Alex and Tom got best Sports
My brother Andrew got the Best army award which was decided by players votes. So he was rather pleased with that for his AK poles .

So another great weekend of gaming, and looking forward to next years, would love it to be an early war doubles event, but will be going no matter what is offered as this is one of the best tournaments in the NZ scene I reckon.
Until next time then - thanks for reading, Mark

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

STAR WARS FIGURINES

Way back in July last year I posted an article on some painting my brother Andrew had done with some Star Wars figurines R2-D2 and C3-PO models, he has, I remember saying that I would post some more photos of the other models we have once my brother has finished basing them on a diorama base. Well its been close to a year now and he has finally finished one more of them !!  Cant complain as I haven't done any painting for months and months now !! :-(  ...So without further ado

HAN SOLO
Andrew has finished the base for Han Solo, with him walking through the the snow tunnels of Hoth's Echo base on the way to find Leia to board the Millennium Falcon and escape from Hoth.
Andrews done a great job on him, its his first time doing this large scale of human figurine and took him a few attempts to get the skin colour right.




STORM TROOPER
He is halfway through finishing the Stormtrooper diorama base also, so thought I would share what he is intending for this one. Stormtrooper stationed on the planet Endor, so lots of ferns and shrubs, with leaf litter floor base etc, should look good once hes finished.


BOBA FETT
Also have to show you his Boba Fett figurine he has recently finished, he hasn't started the base yet but thought it was worth posting as this model looks awesome  !!
Love this figure all painted up and Andy has done another superb painting job on him.







Cheers, Mark