Sunday, May 11, 2014

I-95 Flames of War Italy Tournament

 Yesterday (5/10), the I-95 gamers held a Flames of War (FOW) Italy themed tournament at a local game store, the "Game Vault" in Fredericksburg, VA. I made the 2 hour drive to participate in my first FOW tournament and enjoyed myself immensely .  My first game was an ignoble 6-1 defeat in two turns to Bob E's Mechanized Gurka force.  Since this was my first game, I let Bob pick the scenario and he choose "No Retreat" and elected to use the "Night Attack" British special rule.  Well if one is going to learn to swim, might as well jump off in the deep end of the pool....

The fist picture shows the setup after the end of Bob's first turn.  Since it's still "night" I can't shoot at anything.  I was running a German parachute infantry company during the tournament, which was a good choice as it's a bit forgiving to bone headed moves (which I provided plenty of).

 At the end of the second turn, Bob's Gurka's had pushed my paras off the objective and I was too slow in moving the other platoon over to support.  With a failed "unpin" roll I couldn't move back to contest the objective and the game was lost!  It was a great learning experience about needing to know your opponents special rules before setting up.  Also, similar to that first minor ding on a new car, it was a bit of a relief to get first loss over with.  Subsequent to the game, I did learn that Bob's list wasn't really legal but had it been so the outcome would be the same.  More importantly, Bob bought me a beer after the tournament so the man can do no wrong.

 My second game I played "Free of All" against Chris C and his mighty Churchill platoon.  As with all my games at the event, I let my opponent choose the scenario.  This game was much more competitive than my first game.  In the end I still lost, but it was very close at 4-3 and I was in one platoon away from forcing Chris to take a company morale test.  I did learn two things from this game - (i) my tiny support platoons are fragile and need to be held back rather than expose them and give up easy platoons points and (ii) rather than spread fire across multiple enemy platoons its best to concentrate on one to eliminate it before moving on to others.

 Our board featured a very neat Italian mountain village terrain piece.  No units entered the village during the game but it was a nicely done terrain piece.  All of the tables in the tournament featured superb terrain and I picked up a number of ideas to improve my terrain inventory.

 My last game of the tournament was against Paul and his Polish infantry company.  Our forces were almost identical with Paul having a bit more artillery but slightly less armor than me.  He also had the "Wojtek the Bear" special unit which allows his guns to shoot twice.  This game ended up being fought on both flanks with our respective armor forces fighting on the right and...
 Our infantry on the left.  The dice gods seemed to be on my side and I managed to grind down Paul's forces just a bit faster than he could mine. The key unit in the game was my Panzer IV's who where able to survive an almost constant level of barrages from 25 pounders and kill off Paul's Sherman's, Bren recon and an infantry platoon.  This game provided my lone victory of the day at 4-3.

All-in-all, I had a blast and achieved my main objective - not to come in last!  I will definitely be doing more tournaments in the future.  The I-95 guys put on a great show and it's well worth attending.

Of course, lifting metals mini's and throwing handfuls of dice is very tiring work so after the tournament we "redeployed" to a local watering hole to discuss the days events and resupply.  I, ummm, only had a salad to eat.  Really, that's my story and I'm sticking with it.


Red Dog said...

Nice write up, and good on you for getting in at the "deep end"! Sounds like you are trending in the right direction too, improving results as the day went. Cheers, Paul.

Monty Luhmann said...

Great tables, sounds like you had a blast. Any day that starts with minis and ends with beer is a great day indeed!

Steven MacLauchlan said...

Glad you were there, and glad you had fun!

zsavk said...

Anyway you can send me some pics of your Cassino hill terrain? I spotted a pic of it on the WWPD site. But would love some more shots to help me create something similiar.