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.

We had thirteen players plus myself at this tournament, which for better or worse represents our shop's best showing in months. We hit this mark thanks to a few guys who drove down from Connecticut, and who braved the snow on the ride home (the problem isn't the snow really, it's the traffic getting back through NYC). We ended up with 6 Allied players and 8 Axis players, but one of those Axis was Hungarians so it was about as even as I could hope for. The tournament was 1650 Late War. As TO I allowed all missions except Cauldron and Surrounded.

I was running a German Panzer Company from the Meuse PDF consisting of 2 HQ Panzer IV's, two platoons of four Panzer IV's each, 3 Panzer IV/70's, two patrols of 2 Pumas each, and Mobelwagens (also a recovery vehicle).

Game 1 - My first game was against someone who showed up a little late, after everyone else had already been paired-up. He was using the new Panzer Kampfgruppe from Desperate Measures, and had 2 HQ Panthers, two platoons of three Panthers each, an armored panzergrenadier platoon, and a large unit of Panzerwerfers, all of which was Confident Trained. The mission for Round 1 was Breakthrough.

We rolled for attacker, which ended up being me. My tanks were going to have trouble tackling his Panthers, so my goal was to destroy his weak supporting platoons and then hopefully kill one Panther platoon and forced a company check. If that didn't work then hopefully I'd distract him long enough for my Mobelwagens to arrive from reserve and capture the objectives. In the end I did both of those things. I forced a company morale check, which he passed, but his forces were too depleted to cover the objectives. I won that one 5-2, having lost a Puma patrol.

Game 2 - The mission for this round was Pincer, and I drew against a Soviet player running an "Emcha" (Lend-Lease) tank company. The problem for my opponent was that his list is auto-attack, and so he had to advance right at my tanks. There was really nothing he could do, as my tanks just shredded his Trained troops. It didn't help that despite having Fearless troops he must have failed 5 out of 6 motivation/morale checks that he needed to make (he had 6 platoons in his list, all of them had to take morale checks at some point, only one of them passed). Eventually I broke his company. 6-1 to me.

Game 3 - The mission was Encounter and I was now going against the nightmare list for me: 2 HQ King Tigers, two platoons of two King Tigers each, and two platoons of garbage infantry. My plan was similar to game one: kill the infantry, hopefully kill one King Tiger platoon, then hide until he fails company morale. Unfortunately for me it was just too much. Unlike the Panthers from game one the King Tigers had nothing to fear from my Panzer IV/70's to the front. He just whittled me down until I had nothing left. I killed an infantry platoon but in the end I had to concede. 2-5.

The winner of the whole tournament ended up being my opponent from Game 3. Apparently he got some very good match-ups for his list and just played within the army's limits. My list can handle one or two of those beasts, but not 6. Second place went to SS-Gepanzerte Panzergrenadiers, and third place went to a British Assault Company backed-up by Crocs.

I'll say that running a tournament while also playing in one is exhausting, and I wouldn't recommend doing it. There is just too much going on to focus on winning your game as well as policing everyone else's. Anyway, onto the pictures, with a short passage on what I'd like to try next time as a TO:

What I'd like to try in the future:

1. Different Scoring System - I have been seeing some tournaments use a scoring system of 3 points for a win, 1 point for a loss, and 0 points for a draw. It's an intriguing idea, but one that really only works in Fair Fight missions. Either way I'd like to see the current battle point system used as more of a tie-breaker than as the deciding factor in who is declared the winner. Overall I think this is mostly a problem for 3 game tournaments, as 5 game tournaments end up with a better spread.

2. Different Missions - Unfortunately the tournament regulars at my shop have enough issues with keeping track of the regular missions, but I'd love to work in the Domination missions. However I am worried about only causing frustration. Also, since I don't work at the store I am reliant upon the employees arriving on time to give me enough time to set up the tables...hint hint - they're never on time. We barely have enough time to get the tables set up, let alone mark out domination points.

3. No Reserves - Some people were complaining, as they always do, about how they rarely get to play with their full army on the table. Some tournaments have had gimmicks where every mission will be Free-for-All. I would consider doing this, but maybe spice things up by adding an Ambush (normal or immediate). Maybe, and this is connected to the point above, we can have a deployment scheme similar to Blind Domination but keep the objective setup and conditions the same as Free for All?

All of these suggestions are made with no testing to any sort of deep analysis, but hopefully will spark some discussion. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the article.

Remember that semi-regular FoW talk can be had on Twitter, follow me @piflamesofwar

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