Sunday, 31 March 2013

Gong Con 2013

At 'Gong Con 2013', the University of Wollongong's Gamer's Guild's  annual convention, the main effort of the wargaming 'sect' was the LOTR battle of the Five Armies, ably blogged by Alan / Kaptain Kobold here

However as something of a side show, Bryan, Lachlan and I put on a series of Flames of War
games. The idea was that we would entertain ourselves with 3 games, each 'sponsoring' one game, and also setting up a smaller side table, with a scenario based on the 'Open Fire' introductory box, a small participation game should a member of the general public care to indulge...

Initially, I chose a 2000 point LW Eastern front game. We went to some effort to set things up
nicely for the public, displaying our armies when not in use, and also the accompanying literature.
The idea behind my first game was that it was a 'Dust Up' 'Fair Fight', and it fell out that Bryan would be the attacker. Well I don't particularly want to dwell on the sordid details of the outcome, suffice it to say that Bryan's Tigers were soon over running my defensive positions, and I learnt the hard way that ZIS-3 AT rounds simply bounce off Tiger front armour!
They're behind you!
And they aint too good when they're pointing the wrong way either!
In fact Bryan achieved the victory conditions by capturing one of the objectives by move 4, but as a learning exercise we extended the game slightly just to see how things developed. To be honest things didn't go that much better for me, but I did console myself that driving my platoon of T-70s deep into Bryan's rear did nag away at
his equanimity, sowing the seeds of doubt.... No? Well at least my brave Sturmoviki despatched one of the Tigers...

Anyway, moving swiftly on from that disaster for Allied Arms, time to report on the next game we put on. Lachlan sponsored a 1750 pts 'Hell's Highway' scenario. One of the innocent bystanders from 'joe public' turned out to be my mate Mark, a veteran wargamer, but very much a horse and musket man and complete FOW newbie - here was someone I should be able to wrest a victory from, surely? However, lest you worry on his behalf, he was ably advised by Lachlan, a FOW veteran and tourney champ, so I knew it wouldn't be a walk over....

However, with the forces Lachlan allocated me, and in a defensive role, I couldn't help being confident from the outset. I had a platoon of US Paratroopers on table, sitting nice and tight

on top of one of the objectives and holding the town, a troop of Achilles A/T guns sitting in ambush, and 2 further troops of Shermans, with Fireflys, from the 1st Armoured Bn, Irish Guards, in reserve. Not to mention hot and cold running Typhoons from 2 ATAF. What could possibly go wrong?

The main thing about the German forces was that though they had ample Panthers and halftracks and mobile AA, they were Reluctant Trained, representing the Reich getting to the
bottom of the manpower barrel...And so it was that they duly fell victim to my opening ambush, with my troop of Achilles 17 Pdr SPs from 21 AT Regiment Royal Artillery, 2 operating hull down behind a ridge, and 2 more opening fire from woods to their flank, reaping a hat-trick of Panthers in my first move - Schweeet!

Nothing daunted, Mark kept pushing forward (his natural milieu is leading large formations of French Cavalry a la Murat, so you get the picture!) and so I was able to extend my kill sack to incorporate the Sherman Platoons from the Micks as these were now moving up through the town and took up positions on my flanks...

So far the US Paratroopers were doing fine holding out in the town, with some support from the Mick's Company HQ keeping the PanzerGrenadiers at bay...I was sitting tight on both objectives, but to obtain a victory, I needed to eliminate those enemy forces remaining on my half of the table, which included the single remaining Panther. Time for a big cat stalk...However, before the 75mm Shermans could work into his flank, the other Troop's Firefly bagged the Panther with a long range shot from the town!


So with all the Panthers accounted for, now it was the 'happy hunting time', the chance to bag all the assorted halftracks and what have you...It all started to look rather gruesome....

To be fair to Mark, it was probably too large and complex a first FOW game, and he did cause me heavy casualties - all 4 of my gallant AT Gunner Achilles knocked out, and also about a third of my Shermans, including one of my 2 Fireflys. He also bagged a couple of Tiffies. But I think we all had a good time, and I was certainly grateful for a chance to wield the glorious Guards Armoured Division.

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