Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Terrain Density in FoW

Hi everyone, today I thought I'd visit a topic that has been gaining steam amongst the FoW community for quite some time, but especially since Steve from WWPD returned from his New Zealand adventures. The question of terrain density plagues many tabletop wargaming systems, but I have noticed more impassioned debate on this subject for FoW than any other gaming system. So I'd like to give my take on this subject.

As fair as can be. Also, kind of boring.

Sorry for the absence

Hi everyone. Just a quick update. I haven't been doing any real gaming/hobby stuff lately because of the storm, Election Day, municipal budget, and holiday craziness, but I do have a few articles planned and I hope you guys just bear with me.

The major development in the meantime has been that I am going to be doing some cross-publishing with Spikeybits, hopefully getting some of that crowd interested in Flames of War.

Be safe during this season, everyone.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let's All Read the Rules

I meant to publish this days ago, then the storm hit. Anyway, it covers Warstore Weekend. Read on...

Warstore Weekend was, regrettably, a huge bust. Where we had been anticipating 20+ people for the FoW tournaments, we had only 11 for the MW tournament and around 4 for the LW tournament. The Infinity tournaments had more participants than FoW did!

What made the weekend worse for me though was knowing that I could have had a shot at Best General, only to have an opponent and a judge use the "Well I don't play it that way" line to completely screw me out of a game. So in the interest of education, let's all go back to school:

Let me set the stage for you. We are playing Cauldron. On one objective my Stuarts have come in from reserve and are about to wipe-out the platoon defending it. On the other objective I have drawn his Tiger very far out of position, and have hidden my other Stuarts, M10's, and armored rifles behind a hill. Defending the objective is a platoon of Pak40's, screened by a platoon of infantry with HMGs.

The time comes when I'm going to assault. I move my armored rifles and M10's to within assault range of the infantry, and the Stuarts to within assault range of the infantry and Pak40's. My goal is to pin and possibly destroy the Pak40's in the shooting phase, and then assault the infantry with my Stuarts and M10's (specifically targeting the HMGs where possible). Once the HMGs were knocked out, if I still had to clear any infantry then the armored rifles would take care of it. I would use the consolidation moves of the tanks to envelop the guns, who after hopefully falling back from successive assaults wouldn't be able to end their move far away enough from my teams, thereby being destroyed.

Please look at Page 147 of the rule book.

It says that a team must assault an enemy team that was within 8" of the platoon that it shot at. A little ambiguous perhaps? Then just look at the picture below, which clearly shows two British tanks firing at some AT guns behind a grenadier platoon, then assaulting the grenadiers.

So now I have three platoons, the core of my army, in the open and committed to this plan. I shoot and pin the Pak40's. Then I go to assault.

"Wait! You can't assault them - you can only assault who you shot at!" my opponent said. I showed him the rules. He remained obstinate. I asked for a judge to provide a ruling. The Battlefront judge/rep read the rule, looked at the picture, and STILL said basically "I've always played it as you have to charge exactly who you shot at."

Predictably, my platoons, who were now completely out in the open and trained, got massacred next turn. My opponent, who used his Tiger to chase my Stuarts so far as to be completely out of position, who positioned his AT guns so they were blocking each other's line of sight, whom I reminded to re-roll misses with his Tiger ace skill, won Best General.

The tournament was also made worse by the other Battlefront judge/rep, who was absent for 80% of the event, and when he was there he was rude to both the participants and his colleague. I understand that he probably had a late night, and that everyone has bad days, but I left my home at 4:45 in the morning to get to that tournament, only to play two games (sat out the first round because we had an odd number of players), have one of those games blatantly robbed from me (if you're confused about the rule, JUST LOOK AT THE GODDAMN PICTURE!!!!...sorry for the all caps), and then play a great game against a great opponent (thanks, Al). So to the judge who was absent/rude: if you don't want to positively represent Battlefront at these events, I'm sure we can find someone else who will.

Overall I was very disappointed. I spent money to enter the tournament, to build my army, and for the hotel room. I simply expected more from a Battlefront event.

Hurricane Sandy

Hi everyone,

Apologies for the lack of blogging, but everything has been a nightmare since Warstore Weekend. Hurricane Sandy has really hurt Long Island, and I count myself lucky that all I lost was my car (storm surge rolled right in). I watched as people's homes were flooded and destroyed. Cars littered the streets the day after. I will hopefully have a hobby-related article back up today, but the aftermath could make that difficult.

As I work for a local government, when I haven't been home I've been in our Emergency Operations Center tracking the recovery efforts. Some pics below.

My car the next day (a Ford Escape). Clearly the water rose above the seats.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Battle Report (with pics)

So this would be my last play-test game before the 1500 point MW tourney at Warstore Weekend. I was feeling pretty confident with the American Tank list, but truth be told I need all the practice that I can get with trained troops. We rolled for a mission and got Breakthrough, with my opponent's Fallschirmjager defending. Incidentally, apologies in advance for the picture quality. Some are pretty blurry, but they still tell the story.

(the table after deployment)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Battle Report (with pics)

A buddy of mine and I decided to play-test our Mid War Warstore Weekend lists (1500 points, have to be taken from North Africa). Unfortunately this meant playing Americans vs. Americans, but it's not too big a deal because 1. This would be a good simulation against any FV infantry for me; and 2. The tournament will not be entirely Red vs. Blue. We decided to roll on the Fair Fight missions, and drew Encounter. Again, I think this is a very good play-test mission as you have to deal with reserves while trying to cover two objectives.

I was running some mighty American tanks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sturmtigers, start to finish

A friend of mine at the store was looking to get some models painted up for an upcoming battle report that he's doing for his own gaming club's publication. He wanted to continue to use the SS Panzergrenadier list out of "Nuts" that was so successful for him in the tourney, but he was stuck using a pile of unpainted figs. I have been looking to try my hand at a commission for a while, and so I offered to paint his two Sturmtigers for $10. He agreed, and so began my first commission!

 The models when I got them

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tournament Report - LW 1780pts at Brothers Grim

This past weekend I got to play in a 3-round, LW 1780pt tournament at my FLGS, Brothers Grim. We had 12 players show up with a great mix of armies, including a resurgence of Soviet players. The last tournament at Grim we had zero communists on the tables. The day was action-packed for everyone, so let's dive right in!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: Couple of Hobby Supplies

Lately I have been having marathon painting and modeling sessions to try and clear the painting queue for my Americans. Although I don't really enjoy painting, to keep things fresh I have been trying new methods that will hopefully save me time, deliver good results, and keep me motivated through the end of the project. I have already described how the airbrush has aided me (here and here, for example) and subsequently rekindled my desire for painting German tanks. But the airbrush still cannot really help me with 15mm infantry. Mostly my painting method for infantry boils down to the method described in this article (hint: it's a lot of dry-brushing). But two hobby supplies have recently helped make both my tanks and infantry stand out just a little more. These are: 1. The line of "tufts" by Army Painter; and 2. Vallejo's new pigments.

First, the tufts. These have been, without hyperbole, one of the best values for my dollar that I have ever bought for this hobby. For a mere $5 I was able to place two tufts of cool-looking flowers on each of the 50-ish small, medium, and large bases that I had to complete, with enough left over for at least another 20 bases.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tactics: King Tigers

King Tigers.  The undisputed 1-on-1 masters of tank warfare in FoW (Battlefront just posted pictures of the Jagdtiger as I write this, so stay tuned).  Plus, the models are cool as ice.  However we all know that FoW requires a combined-arms, coordinated approach, and King Tigers are usually too expensive and too unwieldy to justify including in a competitive list. Although they can probably win any tank duel they come across, trained artillery can bombard them out of the game (AT 4 on bombardments...just don't roll a 1, right?), and my local meta is centered on infantry-heavy lists. But I didn't re-paint these mean cats just to have them sit on a shelf!

Battle Report (some pics)

I was able to get in a game with my friend Joe over Columbus Day weekend. Most of the weekend was spent doing a ton of painting and basing (love the Army Painter flower tufts) as I get ready for a few tournaments this month, so it felt good to get the product onto the table. For this game I wanted to test a list that I constructed for the Warstore Weekend's LW tournament, which requires players to choose Italy-themed lists. I thought about taking the SSF for a while, but ultimately I just don't see them being survivable with their trained rating. So I brought a list of Walt Disney's own 3rd Infantry Division (for those who don't know, the emblem for the 3rd I.D. was personally designed by Walt Disney). They would be facing-off against Herman Goering Panzergrenadiers in the Surrounded mission.

3rd I.D. Emblem

Friday, October 5, 2012

Forgotten Hero Part 1: Finns

At many large FoW tournaments there will often be an award for the best performing "Forgotten Hero", i.e. one of the minor powers in FoW. This rewards the players who take on the challenge of playing and supporting one of the less illustrious nations that took part in WW2. My "Forgotten Hero Series" will focus on each one of these powers one at a time, and will give me a justification for paying for the campaign/nation books that I don't currently have (I'm looking at you, Burning Empires, with your sexy cover...)

Anyway, we will open with my favorite Forgotten Hero and my first FoW Army ever: the brave men of Finland! (by the way, this article series will cover these nations as they relate to the game, not their histories; that is beyond the scope of this article)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Desert Hazards Box

One of my current long-term projects is in conjunction with the Early War DAK that I am building.  My local FLGS, Brother's Grim Games and Hobbies, generally doesn't have a lot of desert-themed terrain.  The war in Africa has always interested me, and so lately I have been working towards acquiring enough terrain for a North Africa table.  I would like to one day have enough terrain to build a variety of settings, but for now I'm just trying to collect as much as I can.

A couple of months ago I saw the Desert Hazards Box by Battlefront on the FoW shelf at Grim. For $30, I knew I had to have it. When I cracked it open I wasn't disappointed. Let's get to the pics (I used a StuG and medium base for scale):

Friday, September 28, 2012

King Tigers

Initially, I was not too enthused with Devil's Charge.  I had already settled on my new American force, and the German lists seemed to give me little to work with, at least without having to expand my model collection.  However, when I got the book I was intrigued at the possibility of using FT King Tigers.  I eventually realized that I still wasn't enthused with the German lists, but the pictures of the big cats thundering down the battlefield sparked my imagination.  I love Battlefront's King Tiger models, and mine don't see the table as often as I wish they would.  So I decided that they would be next on my re-painting queue (those who have read my earlier posts know that I'm re-painting all of my German armor).

I hadn't laid eyes on these King Tigers in over a year, and I had assembled them about 3 years ago! My painting/modelling skills have come a long way since then.  I started by airbrushing the basecoat (Vallejo Air Dark Yellow) over the existing paint scheme (see the earlier posts on the Panthers and Desert Tiger for an idea of what the old scheme was like).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: TD's

As an avid reader of history, I feel that one of the things I can contribute to the hobby blogosphere are reviews of what I have recently read.  For my first review I will dive into a book that really inspired me to get into American Tank Destroyers for FoW.  The book is Tank Killers: A History of America's World War II Tank Destroyer Force by Harry Yiede.  I purchased the book for my Kindle off Amazon, for the great price of $6-7 (can't remember exactly).

M10 - made it's debut in Africa and became an instant favorite

Was this the best World War Two book I have ever read? No. But God-damn was this book an action-packed and well-researched portrayal of the American Tank Destroyer units (TD's).  The book covers the creation of the controversial TD doctrine, first contact with the enemy in Africa, the slugfest of Italy, the high-water mark of the Normandy breakout, and the death-knell of the winter fighting in Germany.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Battle Report (with pics)

I was able to get a game in for the first time in about three weeks last night. For most of my FoW "career" I have played Axis, either Finns or Germans.  However, recently I read a book about the US Tank Destroyer forces in WW2, and it totally inspired me to build a TD company out of BGG.  Those guys took on Panthers while basically riding a tin can with a gun on top. Plus, I was looking to play a force that was very different from what I'm used to.  Not large blocs of infantry (Finns); not heavy armor (Germans); but something light and fast (Hellcats).

Now, while I have a blast whenever I get to roll dice and move tanks and army dudes around a table, I definitely don't play to lose. I only get to play sparingly, so anytime I get to roll dice it's to try and refine a list and to get better at the game.

So yesterday I ran my TD list against Brandon, who was running a 101st Airborne list out of TT.  Our tournaments at the store are never Red vs. Blue, so we'll assume that this was a war-game or training exercise.  I have played a couple of games with the TD's before, but definitely haven't gotten the feel for them yet.  I was also trying to use Patton for the first time.  We were playing 1780 points, and the mission was Counterattack. My list:

HQ - 2 M20 scout cars
4 Hellcats
4 Hellcats
4 Stuarts (vets)
4 Stuarts (vets)
Armored Rifles (vets)
TD Pioneers

He had his HQ (possibly with extra bazookas), two large airborne platoons, glider HMGs, glider 57mm guns, 5 Shermans (CV), a six-gun 105 battery, and priority air.  Brandon was coming off a strong 3rd-place finish at the store's most recent tournament.

My plan was to utilize Patton's spearhead rule to the fullest, make a bee-line toward the uncontested objective, and drop the hammer early in the game while the rest of his foot-slogging force struggled to keep up.  The board:

Just FYI, I use my iPhone for all pics. The open objective is visible in the bottom left quarter.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Desert Tigers

Before I really get going on this post, I just want to preface by saying that the truly historically accurate desert paint schemes for the Afrika Korps are not nearly as visually pleasing to me as what I had planned with the airbrush.  That said, I am still learning with the airbrush, and things won't be perfect.  So let's see what I've got.

I am getting into Early War and have settled on the German tank forces under Rommel's command.  I like the Panzer IV list, as it will allow me to use those the bulk of those models in Mid-War as well.  Some buddies have tried to make their case for the Panzer III's, but the way I see it: tanks are mobile 90% of the time; that ROF 3 on the Panzer III will hardly ever be as useful as the FP 3+ on the Panzer IV.

So, we open with a Tiger! Yes, I used one of my Tigers to test the paint scheme for my future Panzer IV's. Right now I haven't finished building my Panzer IV's, so this will have to do for now.  If it works out then I can use it in a Mid-War Afrika list.  Here is what the bad boy looked like beforehand:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Airbrush Intro from a Beginner

Hey guys,

Although anyone thinking about jumping into airbrushing should definitely consult more experienced users than I am, I think that my perspective can still shed some light on the process.  Since I just started, the initial trials and tribulations are still fresh in my mind.

So, do you need an airbrush? Use some of my criteria below as a guide:

First, and most importantly, figure out why you want an airbrush.  The whole kit, from the airbrush to the compressor to the special parts and paints, will definitely hit your wallet pretty hard.  For me, the selling point was speed.  Painting is not the most enjoyable part of the hobby for me, so anything that sped up my painting was something I was interested with.

Second, do your research.  I am lucky in that I have a good friend who is a Golden Demon-caliber painter, and so I went to him for advice.  He recommended that I get one.  Then I did the usual internet research: blogs, videos, etc.  Then I asked around Brother's Grim Games, my FLGS.  A good friend of mine there, who is an outstanding and meticulous painter, highly recommended the airbrush.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Panther Redux

For my first meaty post, I'd like to introduce you to my main current painting project.  Lately my gaming has been focused on playing with Americans, after a long stint of playing Finns and Germans.  Since my Americans are now getting all the gaming love, I have decided to revisit my German tanks.  First up, in honor of Devil's Charge, my panthers!

Here is what they used to look like:

That's from several years ago.  For my first LW army I needed something that would be easy on the wallet and simple to paint. At that time 5 Panthers, 2 Tigers, 3 StuGs, and 2 Armored AA vehicles was 1750 points and just 12 models...perfect!! The army grew, but the paint schemes remained this simple, juvenile scheme.

But for a recent birthday my family gifted me with an airbrush (a Badger 105), and it has been a godsend.  So, for my first real project with the new tool (I've had a little practice base-coating my American tanks) I decided to re-do my Germans.  I started by basecoating the Panthers with Vallejo Air - Dark Yellow:


Hello everyone, and welcome to my hobby blog.  Mostly this blog will be geared toward Flames of War, hopefully some Bolt Action later, and perhaps a rare pinch of 40k (a very rare pinch of that). I won't be posting daily, but I hope that every post will be worth your time.

Also, and here is the first disclaimer, I am not a good painter. I love seeing an army come together in a cohesive color scheme, and I love playing with fully-painted armies, but I am not an expert painter by any means.  So when you see posts about my painting progress, please remember that I'm not gunning for a Best Painted at Historicon; I'm just engaging in that endless struggle of the miniatures hobbyist: to complete my painting queue.