Friday, December 27, 2013

A Quick Note: Negativity

Hey guys, in the interest of spreading a little holiday cheer I just wanted to make an observation about something that really bothers me in any game environment, but really came to a head when I was running a recent tournament. The level of negativity that some gamers have toward the hobby really baffles me sometimes. Whether on forums or in actual games it's getting to the point where it's affecting who I choose to play with and which sites I choose to visit.

"What do you mean tanks can move through each other?!?!?!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Phase Craze: Shooting

Having explored the first two phases of any Flames of War game it is now time that we venture into the deadly phases, starting with Shooting. Granted, improper deployment and movement can be just as deadly to your toy soldiers as enemy fire, but neither of those phases involves rolling fistfuls of dice and dropping little smoke-and-flame markers where once-living tanks existed.

If you can't tell, I like the shooting phase, but I have only gotten a firm grasp on how to master the phase since I learned how to maximize an army's given firepower. I haven't mastered anything yet, but feel like I'm well on my way thanks to a few key developments in my play style. To many of you these pointers will seem obvious, but I hope that some of you will be able to use this advice in your own games.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tournament Report from Dec. 8th

Recently I had my first experienced as a Tournament Organizer, due to a last-minute family obligation on the part of our normal TO. I was a little disappointed since I had been hoping to play in the tournament, although as it turned out I was still able to throw some dice thanks to an odd number of participants. I'm just going to do a quick recap of each of my games, a summary of the winners podium, followed by a picture dump, and round out with a short list of things I'd like to try the next time I'm a TO.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Phase Craze: Movement

Holy Hell, this is going to be a mammoth topic to cover so I apologize in advance for whatever shortcomings you feel this article contains. I'm going to do my level best to explain some of the ins-and-outs of the Movement Phase and why I think it's the most important phase in any game of FoW.

The precursor to hex-based board games, as well as the Allied Victory, whichever is more important...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Phase Craze: Intro and Deployment

Hey everyone. For a while now I've been wanting to write a series of general tactics articles concerning each of the turn phases and the deployment phase in Flames of War. Having been influenced by the math-wizardry of Eric Riha I have definitely developed my own theories about how best to exploit each one of the turn phases in Flames of War, and how to tailor that philosophy to the goals of different armies.

In this article we will explore my general philosophy and then delve into the basics of deployment, which won't take as long to explain as movement, shooting, and assaulting (although its importance is no less critical to victory than any of those phases).

"Which table quarter should we choose?"

Friday, November 22, 2013

BatRep: German Panzers vs. Brits in Counterattack

Hi everyone, I know it has been a while since my last post but work and vacation have left little time for our great hobby. Luckily I was able to get in a game the other night against my previous opponent, who was looking for a rematch after having me on the ropes in our last battle. We played a 1650 Late-War game, and I wanted to really try and challenge my army. Since my opponent has Crocs he becomes auto-attack, which can really knock my army off balance in missions with Mobile Reserves, or missions with screwy deployment zones. So, we decided to limit our options to Surrounded, Cauldron, or Counterattack (a highlight reel of most players' least favorite missions).

We rolled for Counterattack, which was fine by me since a similar list really struggled for me in this mission at a recent tournament. Just FYI, my iPhone camera ended up taking a slew of blurry pictures so there may be times in this report where words have to take the place of pictures (never ideal for batreps), so I apologize in advance.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Batrep: 1650 LW German Panzers vs. Brits

Recently I got in a very close game against one of my regular opponents. Unlike many of my battle reports where I go into detail on every move, I thought I'd try and let the pics do most of the talking, and save the blathering for the "lessons learned" section.

We rolled randomly for mission and got No Retreat. With Crocs gaining popularity among British players in the store I am starting to get used to being on the defensive, despite being a tank company. But let's be honest, this fits in with history a little bit since the Germans were almost continually on the defensive in the Late War period. The game was fun and came down to the wire, and I learned several lessons that will serve me well in the future.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Battle Report: LW US Tanks vs. SS-Panzergrens

Earlier this year I used the winnings from a tournament to get Easy-8's and Jumbo's, because the models and the lists for LW American tanks are simply awesome. The models were a blast to put together and paint up, and remain some of the finest examples of my airbrush weathering technique. Unfortunately, in the entire time since I have had them I have been able to get in all of one game with them. Well, I wanted to change that, and so decided to go full-cheese and run a 1650-point variation on Wilcox's crotch-stomping American Armor list.

My opponent, who is participating in the current league at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, wanted to try out some Fearless Veteran Germans. With armies in tow we rolled for mission and got Breakthrough, which is becoming one of my favorite missions.

The board, before deployment

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tournament Report from Nanuet, NY

Recently I was able to participate in a 1780-point Late-War tournament held at ToyWiz in Nanuet, NY (about 25 minutes north of NYC). I was eager to get in on this event because it would likely be the last of the 1780 tournaments for a while, since the official LW points levels will be dropping to 1650 (a good move in my opinion).

The rounds were short, roughly two hours and fifteen minutes per game, and so I wasn't able to get any good pictures of games in progress. However, I did get a few shots of the tables, and wanted to use this as a chance to talk a little about list-building and terrain. I'll also drop some historical pics to break up the narrative.

A preview of what's to come *wink wink*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

List Discussion for Upcoming Tournament

This article was prompted by a tweet from @kenputski who asked that I share a list that I had recently come up with that didn't force the Sporadic Sturmvogel into it. First, some background: I love the Sturmvogel model, but hadn't yet figured out a way to fit it into a list without feeling like there weren't other things that I'd rather spend the 105 points on. However, while trying to figure out a 1650 veteran Panzer list (the new points standard for Late War) I stumbled into a list that features the Sturmvogel as an organic part of the army, as opposed to a last-minute add-on.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Army on a Budget: Chapter 1

Hi everyone, for a while now I have been thinking of writing a series of articles detailing how new and veteran players alike can go about building an army while sticking to a budget. Let's face it, this is an expensive hobby and once model addiction sets in (the first step is admitting I have problem! haha) the cost factor becomes a serious obstacle. For myself I know that I simply don't have the money or the time to build every army I want.

Lately I have been kicking around a few ideas for different armies, each with a different approach that would have to be taken toward completing it. In this article I want to set the parameters of the project and then lay out a few of my ideas, and hopefully I'll get some feedback before making my final decision. My goal for this long-term project is not just to build a new force, but to show my two readers out there that careful planning and financial discipline can still provide a rewarding experience.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

List Discussion for EW 1200-point Tournament

We have an Early War tournament coming up this weekend at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, and I have been having a hard time in choosing what list to bring. Frankly, the Germans just don't get a lot at 1200 points (we are keeping to points low to try and draw in more players to EW). It doesn't help that I really have no idea what my opponents will bring. So far, however, I've been able to narrow it down to a few lists.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

EW Batrep: Japanese vs. Afrika Korps, REMATCH!!!

After a shameful showing against the inaugural battle with the Japanese at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies in Selden, NY, my Afrika Korps spent a lot of time sitting in the corner thinking about what they'd done, and how they had disappointed me. I was still searching for my first win with them (remember the nail-biter against the French?) and felt that today would be the day that the DAK turned things around. I met the Japanese on the field of battle for a rematch. We rolled randomly for the mission and got Breakthrough.

After deployment

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Battle Report: US TD's vs. British Assault Company

I wanted to give my Germans a little break from the tabletop and do something fun with my Americans. The Hellcat is my favorite vehicle of World War Two, and so I set out to design a Hellcat TD list from Blood, Guts, and Glory that didn't include Patton. Frankly, I can see an advantage to being able to defend part of the time, as a Hellcat company can be pretty fragile on the attack.

My opponent was very sporting and went along with my request to play Blind Domination, which seems like an awesome mission that I've never been able to convince anyone to play. We were in for a treat, as this would turn into one of the most entertaining battles we had ever played.

The battlefield

Thursday, August 8, 2013

EW Batrep: Japanese Cavalry vs. Afrika Korps

That's right, the new Japanese are making their debut at Brother's Grim Games and Hobbies. Flipping the bird to historical accuracy I would be fielding my Early War Afrika Korps against this new enemy. They have a lot of cool special rules that we knew we would probably screw up at one point or another, but who cares? We were each fielding 1200-point forces in preparation for an Early War tournament later this month. We randomly rolled for the mission and got Cauldron! I tend to like this mission for some perverse reason.

Anyway, on with the report!

After deployment, read on!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Tale of Claus von Slaus

Ok, what follows is a bit of a departure from my normal blogging, but it's appropriate with the close of the WWPD Overlord Campaign. For the campaign I mainly played with a force I'd never used before, and found myself more attached to them than any tabletop army in a long time. The 21. Panzerdivision struck me as having the right kind of balance between competitiveness, fluff, and personal play style.

For a while now I have playfully called my German commander for any armored force Claus von Slaus, a German of Eastern European descent with an inferiority complex that drives him to deeds of insane bravery. This WWPD Overlord campaign really formed his identity, and that's what I hope to share with you. And so, ladies and gentlemen (who am I kidding, gentlemen) I present to you the saga of Claus von Slaus, unit commander of indeterminate rank of the 21. Panzerdivision:

Yes, I numbered him "zero"

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

6th and Final Overlord Batrep: 21. Panzers vs. British Infantry

This will be my sixth and final battle report for the WWPD Overlord campaign, and will likely wrap-up what has been a month of fevered gaming at Brother's Grim Games and Hobbies in Selden, NY. Although our mega-battle didn't seem to come together, all of the FoW players managed to do their part to contribute to the Overlord campaign.

It was time for my 21st Panzerdivision to redeem themselves after their last debacle, and end this campaign on a high note. For my fictional tank commander, Claus von Slaus, this would be his last Overlord fight, and I had to make him proud. Facing them would be the might of the British army. We rolled for mission and got Free-for-All. This was going to be a slugfest.

The board after deployment

Friday, July 26, 2013

Overlord Batrep: 21. Panzerdivision vs. American Armor

Once again my 21. Panzerdivision was going to take to the Overlord Campaign battlefields. This would be my 5th battle for the campaign, and in addition to earning the badge for my forum account I was hoping to earn the 21. Panzerdivision's third win since I started using them. I would be facing off against Confident Trained American Armor (7th division?) in Counterattack. Little did I know that for Claus von Slaus, my fictional commander of all of my German lists, this would very nearly be his last ride...

View from my table quarter after deployment

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Overlord Batrep: 21. Panzerdivision vs. British Assault Company

Apparently it was time for a rematch from the game a couple of weeks ago. My friend and I analyzed some deficiencies in his previous list and came up with something that he agreed gave him more mobility and a wider range of capabilities. His previous list didn't have recon, for example. We simply rolled for mission and got Breakthrough. Normally this is one of my favorite missions as I think it is very tactical and challenging. This time, however, I realized it would be extra challenging because I'd be defending with a Tank company.

Oh well, we all need these kind of practice games! We were one of three Overlord games going on at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies at the time.

Table after deployment

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Short Overlord Batrep

I'll be up-front: we didn't get to play this one to the end, although the way things were going my opponent probably would have been able to pull a victory out. Since the battle was somewhat incomplete I'm just going to let the pictures do the talking today.

Oh yeah, the Stuarts ride again!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Battle Report: 21. Panzerdivision vs. British Assault Company

Recently I have been gaming like mad for WWPD's Overlord Global Campaign, and managed to get in a game against my "white whale" opponent; you know, that opponent who you never seem able to top? I have played many games against him but have never come out victorious (plenty of draws and a few defeats). Would today be the day that I turned it around? It wouldn't be easy. This was my first full-size game in a while where I wasn't also teaching someone. I would also be playing a brand-new list from Atlantik Wall.

As a final challenge, we would be playing Hold the Line and my opponent's Crocs gave him the Always Attack rule.

The table after some of his Turn 1 movement. One objective is in the woods.

Overlord Battle Report: Feldivision vs. American Airborne

Recently I managed to get in my first game for WWPD's and Battlefront's Overlord Global Campaign, a small-pointed affair that would pit the rag-tag pseudo-militia of the Luftwaffe Feldivision against the battle-hardened American Airborne. Given the constraints of table space in my apartment, we decided to play a 1000-point game of Hasty Attack, with the first two turns using the Night Fighting rules. The game would simulate the airborne forces (and their armor support) launching a dawn attack on a German anti-aircraft position.

After Deployment

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Battle Report: Early War DAK vs. French Armor

There are many ornery folks out in the Flames of War hobby world who can't stand the site of historically inaccurate battles. If you're one of those people then turn away now, because we've got French armor in the desert!

Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, my FLGS, will be hosting its first Early War tournament in August. Each game will be played at 1200 points per side. This is really just to try and spur interest in a fun and different flavor of Flames of War. This battle would serve as a test to see what table size and missions could work. Is a 6x4 table too big? What missions are balanced for this point level? These are questions that a tournament organizer has to answer.

The board after deployment and recce moves. Overlord game in background.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Running a Flames of War League

Let's get a few things out of the way: I've gotten married, I've honeymooned, and I've completed moving into a new apartment. All of this in the last month. Now, finally, I'm able to find some time to write. Half of the reason for keeping this blog is to keep my non-work writing skills sharp.

Recently I put myself in charge of running a Flames of War escalation league at Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies in Selden, NY (central Long Island). It was my first chance to run a league for any game system, but I felt that I had some good ideas that could provide a good experience for newer and veteran players. What follows are just some basic points outlining the organizational aspects of the league, and what actions I took that worked and didn't work, so that you may gain some insight that will help your local gaming group.

Lots of British players in the league

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Battlefront's M48A3 Patton for 'Nam

Hey everyone, just a short post today about one of the best kits I've put together in quite some time: the M48A3 Patton tank produced by Battlefront.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Battle Report: 25. Panergrens vs. American Airborne

As league commissioner for the Brother's Grim Flames of War Escalation League, sometimes I have to sub-in for an opponent who has either dropped from the league or simply can't get enough of his games in. On these occasions I like to experiment with lists I've been thinking about running. For a while now I have been considering the 25. Panzergrenadiers out of Nuts! because of their special equipment. I have grand visions of Sturmtigers demolishing artillery parks, and of flame-throwing Hetzers immolating any units in their path. Recently I got to put the list through its paces against Brandon, who was running American Airborne out of Nuts! Time to throw down!

Table and nearly finished deployment

Monday, April 22, 2013

Battle Report: US Tanks vs. German Grenadiers

My friend, who I have been teaching Flames of War for several weeks now, recently found out that he was going to be moving away for his residency program (Emergency Room doctor). Up until this point we had been playing small games and tutorials, but given that he'd be moving away soon the time had come to remove the training wheels and get a proper game in. At the same time I wanted to test out a US Tank list (if I win a tournament with the BG&G US Tanks I will have won tournaments with each US list from the book - then I'll have to try and win with the German list!).

We decided to just do a simple, Late War 1780 point Free-for-All, and we each learned some valuable lessons along the way.

The table, all direction references will be as if described from the near table edge here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tactica: Panther

Ah yes, the Panther tank. Aside from the US Tank Destroyers probably no other tank has engendered as much discussion amongst the Flames of War community as the Panther. Lately there are those who have been bemoaning its lack of competitiveness and high price in terms of points. They are right...sort of. The Panther probably is a little over-priced, and is not as competitive as it once was. The exact wrong approach to take, however, is to yell about how the sky is falling and making hyperbolic statements about how Battlefront is the worst company, nay, the worst organization, that has ever existed.

What follows is how I've been using Panthers lately.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Weathering with an Airbrush

Kind of a short article today, but one that details what I think is a breakthrough in my painting development. As many of my readers know (all 4 of you, at most haha) I am a big fan of my airbrush, even if I am still enduring the steep learning curve. But this past weekend I was inspired to take up a challenge that I was very nervous to execute: using the airbrush for weathering tanks!

Basically what they looked like before weathering. Just green with a lighter-green highlight on the edges

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

List Discussion: 150 Panzerbrigade (aka - the Skorzeny guys)

First, sorry for the sporadic blogging as of late, but I have found Twitter to be a much more economical way to engage with other gamers via the intertubes. That said, blogging still has a role to play for longer discussions, which has brought me back to the keyboard today.

Since the three Battle of the Bulge books were released (BG&G, Devil's Charge, and Nuts!) I have been thrilled with the allied lists but less than enthused with the German lists...with one exception. For some reason  I find the 150 Panzerbrigade to be just cool as ice, with great models and a competent tabletop potential (they aren't a powergamer's dream, but neither are they under-powered).

One of the actual disguised Panthers

Friday, March 22, 2013

Scratch-Made Fortifications

Hi everyone, I'm back with a quick article that demonstrates how I made some scratch-built fortifications that don't necessarily approach Battlefield in a Box quality, but will certainly get the job done and look good on the tabletop!

Not this extensive, but I didn't have slave labor like the Germans did

Monday, March 11, 2013

Battle Report: Mid-War Tourney Prep

My FLGS, Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, is holding a 1675 all-comers Mid-War tournament in a couple of weeks, so a buddy of mine and I decided to get in some practice with our proposed lists. I have never really had much success with Germans in Mid-War at my store, but I'm hoping this time will be different! I was planning on a little surprise for my list...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Battle Report: Demo Game!

Recently I was able to get a Flames of War demo game in with a buddy of mine who's been wanting to play some tabletop wargames but never had anyone to show him the ropes. Luckily he was down for some Flames of War, so we began with a straight-up tank battle. This game proved that demo games can still be nail-biters!

Claus von Slaus rides to war!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

List Construction Part 2 - Building Competitive Lists

Welcome back! Now that I've given you my thoughts on list construction for beginners, which has been especially apt since I've been helping a bunch of people learn the game recently, I want to delve into what i look for in a competitive list. I'll just get this out of the way now: tournaments are a blast no matter what army you play. Don't think that I'm discounting fun, flavorful lists. Frankly, Flames of War is balanced enough to give almost any list a chance to win games. But! There is definitely an art/science balance that needs to be considered if you're looking to win tournaments.

"We don't have time for 'fluff'"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Some Thoughts on List Construction - Part 1: Beginners

Hi everyone. In a recent tournament a few players had armies whose deficiencies in list construction became woefully apparent, as either their match-ups or the missions themselves conspired against them. I want to use this space to give a few of my thoughts on list construction as it relates to the tournament scene and as it relates to new players. At the end I'll list example armies that I faced and how they could have been improved. This is Part 1 of this series, where we'll focus on list construction for beginners.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wounded Warrior Charity Tournament Report

(Most pictures below after all the text)

This past weekend my FLGS, Brothers Grim Games and Hobbies, recently held its annual Wounded Warrior Charity Tournament. This year it was decided to hold a Late War, 1780 point, 3-round extravaganza of gaming, raffles, and shouting at toy soldiers. For Brothers Grim this event is their premiere Flames of War Tournament, sort of like how NASCAR's big event is the Daytona 500 (in that they're both held early in the year and feature loud, often sweaty patrons). More importantly the event is able to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project through registration fees and the raffling of prizes, some of which Battlefront provided.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Countering Spearhead

Lately there has been a lot of discussion amongst the FoW community about the Spearhead rule. Whether talking about Patton's influence on the Americans or the awesome new Panzers to the Meuse PDF, many gamers are getting a little testy over just how powerful Spearhead can be. But is it really a game-breaker? And what can be done to mitigate its power?

"Tanks don't have brakes" - Heinz Guderian

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Battle Report: Volksgrenadiers vs. British Tanks (Welsh?)

Recently I was able to get in a game playtesting my Volksgrenadiers list. I will be up front with anyone reading this: the game was pretty lame and very short, but I still learned some valuable lessons. So maybe don't pay too much attention to the report itself, but more the lessons at the end.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Total War Batrep: Review and Lessons for Future

Brother's Grim Games and Hobbies recently hosted a Flames of War "Total War" battle, loosely based on the fall of Konigsberg as the Soviets pushed into Germany. In this scenario we envisioned the Germans attempting to mount one last, grand armored counter-attack into the city. Our terrain looked great, and we had an incredible amount of units on the table, but our effort ultimately failed for a few reasons.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Detailing Tanks

Hey everyone, today I thought I'd share just a few of my thoughts on detailing tanks/vehicles in Flames of War. These are just the basic effects I try to apply to every tank regardless of nationality, and my thought process behind them.

First, I use the details on the tanks as a chance to apply some contrasting colors to the overall scheme. One of the easiest ways to do this is painting rusted metal effects on exhaust pipes, damaged areas of the hull, or anywhere else that metal may have been exposed to moisture. The best color to use for this is some sort of reddish-brown color. Battlefront recommends using Cavalry Brown, but I tend to mix up a slightly darker version of that:

 Rear of a Sturmtiger.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Now for Something Completely Different...

So recently I hopped into a Warhammer Fantasy Escalation league at my FLGS. I just needed a little something to add variety to my gaming experience these days, and since I had roughly 1,000 points of Orcs and Goblins lying around (that had been given to me by a buddy before he moved) I thought "Why not?" so far I have been enjoying the experience, but since I'm still learning the ins-and-outs of the game I haven't bought too much new equipment yet, with one notable, impressive, and frightening exception: the Arachnarok Spider!

From their website, what a gorgeous model.