Monday, October 7, 2013

October NorCal Tournament

This Saturday we held our only Doubles event of the season at Great Escape Games in Sacramento.  I paired up with Dave Partak, who I've known since the early days of FoW, but I've hardly ever actually played against him.  The event was 1800 points, Early War Doubles and I ran a DAK Schützenkompanie while Partak Ran a Vichy French Foriegn Legion list.  I had two plattons of infantry, some Panzer IIs, and Panzerjäger Is.  Dave ran two platoons of infantry, some 25mm anti-tank guns, 75mm anti-tank guns, heavy machine guns, armored cars and HQ mortars.  Over all we went two and one, and ended up somewhat near the top, but couldn't quite compete with the hoarde lists.
Round One we played against Reno and Matt McCarthy, our resident Aussie.  They had a pair of Soviet forces from the new Rising Sun book, but Matt got lost driving down from Reno (the city in Nevada, not his team mate) and was two hours late for the event.  Normally that would have been a bigger deal, but he also had my team mates army in his bag, so poor Dave had no army.  Since it was a doubles event and we were playing Dust Up, Reno and I started and Matt and Dave's armies would be our reserves, scheduled to arrive whenever Matt showed up.  Crazy.  This was our table.
I deployed my force (without any much needed French support) on the objectives and sent my Pz IIs and PzJägers off to harrass Reno's troops until reinforcements arrived.  We figured it would maybe be for a few turns...
Reno had like 60+ stands of Confident Conscript infantry backed up by 45mm anti-tank guns and a battery of 76mm infantry guns.  The French national rules let us move one objective closer to our side of the table.  Both of our Turn One were just movement.
My Turn Two: The Panzerjägers were able to get some cover from the wall and fired on the infantry guns, which were just in range, killing two.  They were able to keep out of range of the 45mm guns.  The Panzer IIs meet Reno's advancing troops and score several kills from their MGs.  2iC moves to give the PzJägers cover.
Reno's Turn Two: He advances his second mob while the first stays pinned and cannot Dig In.
My Turn Three: The Panzers continue to pump rounds into the Conscripts, Reno rolls lots of ones and twos for saves.  Panzerjägers can't kill any more guns, who do make thier saves.
Reno's Turn Three:  His second company continues to advance on the Objectives.  His first still can't unpin or Dig In.
My Turn Four:  Panzers continue firing on the hapless Soviets.  The Schützen move into a better position.
Reno's Turn:  His first company finally unpins and continues to advance.  The second moves into some cover.
My Turn Five: The Schützen fire on the now closing Soviets, killing a few.
Panzers kill a few more guys.  PzJägers kill another gun.
Reno's Company breaks! The Panzers move as if they assaulted, mostly to force the Soviet troops farther away if Reno makes his Wave Attack roll next turn.
Reno's Trun Five:  They're back!  The Wave Attack check is successful.  He Double Moves them straight at the Panzerjägers!  He also kills a Panzer II and Bails Out another with his 45mm guns, since they moved a little too close.  He Assaults them with his second company, but a few rounds of assault leaves the Panzers victorious and they are forced to fall back.
My Turn Six: The panzer remounts and drives to MG the company who Doubled.  The PzJägers do as well.  Even the 2iC gets some shots in.
Reno's Turn Six: They can't unpin or Dig In...  His second company continues towards the Objectives.
My Turn Seven: The Schützen grow weary of sitting in defense and charge into the now Soviet occupied building across the street.  They come in hitting hard and win the assault, this time Reno's infantry break but cannot come back as he fails the Wave Attack check.  More fire is pumped into the first company, and it also fails it's morale and breaks.  
Reno's Turn Seven: But he makes another Wave Attack check and it returns a second time! 
Our Turn Eight:  Matt finally gets here!  Dave can play now and his Frenchies come on in force.  The 75mm guns fire on the infantry guns, killing two, but they make their Morale check.  Everything else in Dave's army fires on the infantry, as do my panzers.  Panzerjägers turn back to my Objectives, as they know Matts tanks are coming in soon.
Their Turn Eight:  Matt's swarm of T-26s arrive.  They kill the Panzers on sixes, and the survivor runs away.  
Our Turn Nine: The French make thier assault on the Soviet gun positions, destroying the infantry guns and forcing the 45mm guns back.  It draws in the infantry but the French win the assault and the Objective.  5-2 for us. 
Crazy game and even though Matt showed up super late we all had a fun time.  Reno's Wave Attacks were killing me!  Man, those Soviets can take a pounding and just maybe show back up in almost the exact spot they just were, and back at full strength too.  I felt bad that Dave couldn't really do anything until almost the end of the game, but when they arrived they won the game for us, no doubt.

Round Two was vs. Hal and Forest and they had a Dutch infantry force supported by French heavy tanks.  The mission was Hasty Attack.  We stared with both German infantry platoons on the board since they at least had an anti-tank rifle,  the Panzerjägers, the Panzer IIs and the 75mm French guns.
The Dutch team had infantry, artillery and anti-tank guns, and the French heavies.
We tried to push the Panzer IIs across the river to maybe cause a distraction, but the fire put out by the Dutch artillery was surprisngly deadly, as were the Dutch air strikes, which came in all but one turn.  Their Fokker G-1s and 75mm guns managed to kill two of my Panzerjägers and several Dug In infantry stands, plus several French troops as well.  
Our feint by the French infantry succeded in buying us a few turns.  The Forest's H39s were drawn off to fire on them while the Chars were trying to clear the 75mm guns from our woods.
Our French reinforcements arrived all over the board and kept the Dutch forces from supporting the attack on our Objectives, killing an armored car platoon and causing an infantry platoon to hold their ground.
The Chars were the big nasty menace I always knew they could be.  Our best guns could only bail them from long range, and their 75mm guns did horrible things to our guns and the lone surviving Panzerjäger.  Ultimately, the Panzer IIs proved elusive enough to keep the Objectives contested long enough to secure the victory, but it was costly.  4-3 win, just barely.
Forest and Hal are great guys and Dave and I really though they had us good.  The air support and artillery gutted one of the platoons that might have a chance at killing the Chars, and once our Trained 75mm gins fired they dissappeared to massive fire from the multi-gunned heavies.  If Forest would have pressed his attack sooner they would have definately got us.  As time was called the platoons we had remaining on the table were nearly all making Morale checks and only a few turns of poor rolling by the Chars let the Panzers survive long enough to contest at the end.

Round Three was No Retreat vs, Ed and Steve.  Ed had a T-26 swarm and Steve was running Liechte Panzers.  We started with one platoon of each kind of infantry plus the three anti-tank assets we had.  25mm guns in Ambush.  Turn one we hit them pretty hard, killing three of the six 76mm gun trucks with a lucky one gun mortar bombardment, and the ambushing 25mm guns rolled really well, killing several and bailing the rest of one of the T-26 companies, but they made their Morale roll.  That was about the high point of the game for us though...  
On their turn they hit the French line with flametanks and every gun they had, causing the 25mm guns and the infantry to evaporate.  With two out of three French platoons destroyed a Company Morale test was force, which of course was failed.  This prevented any French troops from entering the board and also made the best gun platoon in our combined force retreat.  The Germans are looking pretty lonely about now..
But we made it a game at least!  The PzJägers moved out and scored a few kills on some Panzer Is.
While the Panzer IIs confronted a massive amout of T-26s.  They helped kill a Panzer I as well.  The German infanty conest the Objective for way longer than I suspected they would.  1-6 loss.
Ultimately, once the French retreated we had zero chance to win the game.  I was just playing to get a point or two.  Almost had some more Panzer Is and some armored cars, but Morale tests were made and the combined platoon count of their force was enough to prevent the single platoon of panzers from affecting their score. 
 I did have a fun time partnering up with Dave and would easily do it again.  I just wish he could have played more!  Early War still leaves me unimpressed, too many extremes.  The Soviets really swung the game so far in a strange direction.  Both of the Soviet tank lists I faced could deploy more tanks than I could infantry stands.  With extremely limited integral anti-tank, those infantry platoons are totally hosed once thier support goes away, and the vast amout of shots, plus decent firepower can make even a Veteran platoon disappear in one turn, as happened in round three.  The Wave Attack is a little crazy, but not nearly as bad as the T-26 swarm.  When you need to plan for Matildas and Chars in one extreme, and T-26 swarms and Wave Attacking infantry in another, it becomes nearly impossible to craft a list to handle both even passably though.  The options that can defend against the heavy tanks are so steeply costed that they prevent a list from being able to defend against the other extreme and if you prepare for the swarm by taking sevearal light anti-tank platoons, you have a slim chance to defend yourself against the heavies.  I strongly believe that our first game would have been lost if Matt's tanks had arrived earlier.  Only the timely arrival of the entire French force at the same time allowed us to capture their objective before his tanks would have steamrolled mine.  Our second game was only won by chance and the expiration of time.  Forests Chars easily could have taken our objective by themsleves had the dice rolled a bit differently vs. the panzers and had the Chars come forward earlier.  Round three was to me a foregone conclusion as soon as we saw the match-up.  It was only a matter of if we could get a point or two.  Even in a mission that favors the defender, I feel we had zero chance to win.  
What does this all mean?  There's no chance I'll ever play in a seriously competetive Early War event.  I probably won't be playing in any Early War event any time soon, unless it's a super casual thing.  Even with the problems the era had, it was very playable and could still be a lot of fun.  Once the Soviet tanks showed up, it was Game Over man.  Game Over.


  1. Interesting. I heard some gamers moan about the Soviet Tank Early lists when they first saw them but after reading this they look very powerful in the right hands.
    cheers and great report.

    1. Ed Forbes definately knows how to craft a list to win. Thanks for the comments.

  2. Wierd seeing my lower half on the right hand side of that first picture. :)

    Was a fun tourney, though I agree, once a year is fine for team events.

    EW is not my favourite era to play in and I don't think I'll be collecting an EW force any time soon.


    - Dai

    1. I hear ya. I play Early War with minis I've had for Mid War and the only thing I've had to buy to make them compatible were the Panzerjäger Is. I'm pretty happy I didn't make a huge investment now.