Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crunch Time

Well my departure for Gencon is less than 72 hours away and I'm still furiously painting. Luckily I'm down to the last few stands and vehicles. I'm down to the last batch of infantry which includes the company command stands and the second combat platoon. After that I only have my tanks to finish up which should go speedily thanks to my air brush. I estimate that if I can get my last batch of infantry on their bases by tonight then I should be on pace to finish up with nice paint jobs on the vehicles on Monday.

That should leave Tuesday for me to concentrate on cutting my foam carrying trays and finish coating the models. Its shaping up to be a photo finish and I promise to have more photos then. So far though I've been making good steady progress and I've been pretty happy with my results so far. I've really gotten into the grove of painting Panzergrenadiers and I'm enjoying the new rural bases that they are being attached to. Unfortunately many of the older figures have very thick or very wide bases that necessitate a good deal of cutting to get them to fit in the base holes cleanly.

I've also begun using Matte Medium and found it to be extremely helpful for attaching ground work and sand because it has the extremely helpful tendency to soak deeply into the ground work and bond my covering of choice with the base.

Enough talk for now, I'm headed back out to the painting shack to make some more progress today.    

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's try this again

Well my last project ended up getting really rushed really quickly due to running into tight time constraints. I ended up giving up on the blogging part of the army and just tried to crash my way through the painting portion. It ended up working, sort of. I got everything assembled and had a semblance of a paint job on most figures but I think I ended up in contention for worst paint job in the show, which was not at all my intention.

So here I am to try this all over again, this time with a slightly different force. Actually I'll be trying to get the most out of my modeling time and building two lists with a fair amount in common so that I can simultaneously build up a German Late War and Mid War list. Looking at my calendar it was easy to see that my hobby time allocation would be dictated by one thing in particular, GenCon. This will be my second year attending and I'm really looking forward to getting in a variety of gaming. Looking over the events schedule I realized that there were a variety of Flames of War tournaments, though sadly I was too late registering to get in on some of the more exotic events. I chose to build a force for the 1485 Mid War 3 round tournament since that seemed like it would make a good starting point for my Mid War army.

I've been missing out on a bunch of the NorCal Flames of War tournaments because they were Mid War (or Early War) events and I don't have an army for that period. This seemed like a good opportunity to correct that. I knew that I wanted to run something Veteran and German and that I should consider likely match-ups when looking for a list. One thing that I knew I wanted was a platoon of StuH 42 tanks. I think that they are one of the best tanks in mid-war between their high armor, breakthrough gun, direct fire smoke, and schurzen. I wanted to have some ability to dig infantry out of their holes when I was inevitably confronted with the task of taking an objective.  The other thing I would need is recon to lift GtG from dug in opponents.

Rather than dig through piles of Mid-War lists I simply did a search to find which Mid-War lists had the option of the StuH 42. I quickly zeroed in on the Schnellsquadron as my list of choice. The recon in this list is taken care of by the fact that the headquarters and the combat platoons are recon. This should be great as the cautious movement will mean my combat platoons can stay GtG while moving up under cover and can lift GtG from my opponents so my StuH 42s can swing away. For this I go with two full combat platoons with Panzerknacker upgrades for them and the HQ. The HQ has the option of getting a machine-gun section of two HMG teams, I'll pay the 60 points to upgrade my combat platoons to 8 teams each and get additional shots in defensive fire since they are Rifle/MG. After that I think the inclusion of some Nebelwerfers for smoke and pinning are a must have. Some kind of armored artillery would be nice but I can't afford it at this point level.

Next on the list is some sort of good ambush platoon, something that will keep roving tanks honest and unlikely to try a full speed flank run. For this I went with a platoon of 3 Marder Is. While I don't really like the fact that they are Slow and Unreliable and can get destroyed by even rifle fire they are a really good deal for a mobile AT 12 platform and are affordable. Lastly I need to spend the last of my points and I really want to beef up the defensive abilities of my list so I pick out a platoon of PaK 38 5cm AT guns. I can base a defensive position around these guns protected by a combat platoon which means they should be a very difficult nut to crack. Throw in some transports for gun teams I might want to move and I'm at my points limit. Some sort of anti-aircraft would be nice but I lack the points. One possibility I thought of was switching out the Pak 38 platoon with a Reluctant Trained Luftwaffe 3.7cm x3 platoon. This would give me and AA option and their defensive fire would be enough to stop most light tanks but I felt it would be too easy for tanks like Churchills and KV-1s to roll right over them so I skipped that option for now.

Now, all I need to do is assemble, paint, and finish this army and I'll be set...oh, yeah I guess that could take some time. Better get started!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Abort! Abort!

Well not more than a few hours after I published my last post on this blog and I realized that the list I discussed was illegal. *Sigh* It looks like my over reliance on got me on this one.  After looking at the original Wargames Illustrated article the warrior Otto Ernst Remer is not supposed to be an option for the Fuhrer Grenadier Brigade lists, only the Fuhrer Bergleit Brigades.  I'll get into the differences between the two in a later post but suffice to say that they are not interchangeable.  While I could go back and just switch a few things around and run mostly the same list but without Remer I think I'd rather just re-work the list from the ground up around Remer.  So I started in on that and quickly came up with a new list with some slightly different choices.

First off, since I decided to build the list with Remer in mind which means that it has to be one of the Fuhrer Begleit Brigades, specifically the grenadier company or the panzerfusilier company.  The grenadier company is Reluctant Trained and not motorized so its not really an option, so that left me with really just the panzerfusilier company as my only realistic choice.  Looking over the list though its not bad. I'll go through my choices briefly since many of them are the same.

First off we have the HQ, Otto Ernst Remer, and the two core platoons of panzerfusiliers.  These are the core of my striking and defensive forces.  If I'm in a fair fight battle I can leave the CiC with the defending platoon and keep Remer with the attackers, that way both get boosts to their motivation of Confident.  There should be enough AA between the three sdkfz 251/17Ds to keep airstrikes from being really devastating.

From there I've picked a platoon of 15cm Nebelwerfers for smoke and artillery support and a short strength platoon of the fuhrer panzergrenadiers mounted in their Schwimmwagens.  This gives me all the auxiliary support that I should need to supress the enemy in front of me and keep the American tank destroyers from running straight over and through me.

Lastly the thing that makes up the most important part of the list, the tanks.  One platoon of four Panzer IV Js to make up the mobile striking force and one platoon of three Panzer IV/70 (A).  I realize that the Panzer IV/70 is not the greatest choice from a mobility and survivability perspective but I need some kind tank with a high AT value. I very well may be facing some heavy enemy tanks so I'll need something to punch through the IS-2s and Churchills of the world.  If I'm in a fair fight I can put the IV/70s on the defense where their slow movement won't be as big an issue.

That's it, I've already wasted too much time building an illegal list so its back to the building table. For now I'll just put up this picture of the first batch of panzerfusiliers that I finished.  I need to get a light box going again for my pictures since these don't exactly look good.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring Offensive

It's been far too long since I last posted here and I intend to turn that around.  I've got a nice big goal for myself this year and that is to build and run an entirely new army for the big West Coast Nationals event coming up this year at Kublacon.  I've got a fair amount of stuff finished in my FoW collection but it is predominantly American Late War units and FEC French units.  I've wanted to get some sort of coherent German army on the table for awhile so that I can run demo games for people and be able to flex into playing whatever other people don't want to.  I'll outline my army list choice and reasons for my picks.

I was originally going to run a list made from the Eastern Front Panzer Brigades pdf that came out late last year but I had only really gotten as far as the purchasing and the assembly of the tank portion of that list.  I was hoping that something cool would come out with the new Bulge books but to no avail, the German lists from those are mostly poor with serious flaws and omissions in nearly every one.  Very recently though the new Fuhrer Brigades lists came out in Wargames Illustrated and on the BF website.  I'm guessing that these and a few other German lists that have shown up recently are going to be put into a future Bulge Compilation book.

I really liked the Grenadier Fuhrer Panzerfusilier list that was in WI #303. It has access to multiple tank platoons, recon (of a sort), and the awesome Panzerfusilier platoons as the core platoon choices.  The list is Confident Trained, however that does allow we to take lots of guns to the party.  This is also mitigated somewhat by the lists ability to bring Otto Remer as a warrior team and the Fuhrer's Guards special rule which allows me to re-roll platoon morale checks. That should help somewhat with losing VPs too easily as even my beat up platoons should stick around.  I'll discuss Remer and what he brings to the list a little later.  Hopefully this is enough to counter my opponents who will likely be bringing Veteran lists to the battle.

Starting with the core of the army first here you have your HQ, no surprises here (or choices really).  There is some odd interaction with the rule for the 2iC and the fact that his transport is also a tank team. I'll have to research that a bit more to see how that works. The HQ gives me a very quick way to move my CiC around the field of battle and the 2iC becomes an interesting reinforcement for wherever he's needed that deploys a nice 2cm anti-aircraft gun.

The next choice is two full strength Panzerfusilier platoons.  Due to the fact that the Sdkfz 251/21D half-tracks are tank teams these platoons actually have a strength of 8 teams.  They include an integral AA gun and a boatload of machine-guns on the half-tracks. In addition the core teams are Panzerfaust MG teams meaning that they are very difficult to assault with tanks or infantry They have a pretty good chance to turn back any assault due to the large number of MG shots they can put out against infantry and the fact that 2 hits will turn back nearly any tank assault.  In general I expect to be attacking with one of these while the other is set up in defense.

From there I have two supporting platoons, one of Sdkfz 251/9D (7.5cm) self propelled guns and one of Sdkfz 251/21D (triple flak).  The gunned half-tracks will hopefully work as a utility platoon. Their guns are RoF 2 and Firepower 3+ so I could potentially use them to help dig out infantry sitting on an objective. Their guns are powerful enough to threaten allied Shermans if they are not careful and can certainly smash US tank destroyers if given the opportunity.  The flak halftracks can be used to provide additional covering fire for the infantry or I can use them to tag along and provide covering AA fire to the attacking elements.

The core armored part of the list is the two platoons of Panzer IV/70 (V) tank hunters.  I think these are a good compromise between the Panzer IVJ's in some similar lists and Panthers.  I expect that the allied players will likely be using numbers of the newer high AT assets in expectation of running into German Panthers and King Tigers.  Front armor 9 ensures that I can ignore the allied Cromwells, 75 Shermans  and Chafees but I have the AT 14 gun of a Panther that can cut through any allied armor in return.  They are overloaded however, so I need to avoid bog checks whenever possible.  6 of these tank hunters should allow me to force my opponent to fight me head on.

The last two choices round out the list.  First, the panzergrenadier platoon equipped with Schwimmwagens functions as a fast moving recon and exploitation unit.  They all have Jeep movement, can cross water easily, get to make a recon move, and can dismount and become panzerfaust/MG teams.  This platoon should function as a good counter to American Tank Destroyers as I can move them quickly and block them from making favorable ambushes.  If needed they can stay in their Schwimmwagens and lift GtG from dug in enemies.  The Volks Rocket Launcher provides a cheap source of smoke and pinning. Without gun shields and being Reluctant I'll need to get the dug in right away and keep them from getting pinned.

The last choice is Otto Ernst Remer, this guy is a beast. He comes with his own Sdkfz 251/1D transport and in addition to being a higher command team he has three great special rules. He, and any platoon he joins, pass Stormtrooper checks on a 2+, pass motivation on a 3+, and hit on a 2+ in assaults! Combined with the fact that all platoons (except the rockets) get re-rolls on platoon morale checks I will often be making platoon morale checks as if I were fearless with a re-roll. If I put him with the attacking part of my army I have a platoon that passes motivation checks easily to assault and counterattack, hits with almost every attack in an assault,  and can pass Stormtrooper much more easily than my Trained rating would suggest.  Basically for any platoon he joins, he fixes all of their weaknesses and super charges all of their strengths.  He should be the most interesting part of the list.

That's all for now. I'll post up my painting schedule and photos as I progress. I should have another post up by the end of the week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Two decks one tournament

Here we are now, the inaugural blog post on what is sure to be…a middling quality gaming blog. *woo* So let’s start out with something recent, since not much has been going on with the miniatures gaming front (no pun intended) right now. 
I just got back from the “Infernal Pursuit” Vampire: the Eternal Struggle tournament in Castro Valley. It was a standard constructed tournament and I decided to bring out my, somewhat rebuilt, Tryphosa/Cavalier stealth bleed and vote deck.  After some discussion with Brandon (my cousin who got me into this infernal game) I tried to gear my deck for the usual stuff that the Castro Valley players run in their decks.  We expected to see lots of goofy combat tech and probably some vicious stealth bleed. Voting would be more scarce, as would bloat.  With that in mind we played lots of Strike: Combat ends and I added Banishment and Alastor and an AK-47 to give me a chance if I was in a position where I needed to shoot my way out.
          The tournament was well run though maybe a little tight on space as there was a Magic tournament going on that was competing for the tables.  The owner Ed was a great guy and very friendly, he was apparently the one who introduced the game to the area in the first place and still managed to have some stock which is becoming a rarity these days.
          Joel and Brandyn ran the tournament and ran it smoothly so three cheers for them.  Now onto the hot boring pretentious V:tes action.
Game 1:
1)      Brandon H. – Toreador/Toreador anti
2)      Dan – Gargoyles/Tupdogs  with Tremere anti
3)      Me
4)      Joel – Ravnos Tumnimos/Week of Nightmares
       Having a bigger crypt draw I start out with big vamps, Lutz first then Santaleous.  My first action is a bleed of 5 with Lutz, my prey finds this disconcerting.  He brings out some Tumnimos and other Ravnos complaining that he both doesn’t know how to play and that there is not point since he is going to be imminently ousted by my Malks (by now I realize this as Joel’s “act”).   I Spying Mission him with Santaleous since he can’t oust this turn. This is followed by Joel playing Week of Nightmares, Brandon asks me to Santaleous cancel it but I decline, seeing this as a great opportunity for Joel to do some work for me. Joel then follows up by Sensory Deprivation Lutz to shut him down while he is tapped.  I can’t block so this looks like quite the coup for Joel, until it comes till my turn when I can replace my Old Friends with a…Banishment! As I’m re-reading the card wondering if it will break the Sense Dep. Brandon chimes in with “You know, if you Banish Gavrin you can get rid of Sense Dep.”  After quickly consulting with Ian to confirm I proceed to do just that, knocking Gavrin into uncontrolled purgatory and breaking my Inner Circle member out of Sense Dep. 
            Now Dan’s deck relied heavily on Tupdog rushing but Brandon wisely played an early game Scourge of the Enochians pretty well shutting him down.  So Dan’s deck was basically dead in the cradle.  Joel Sense Dep’d Lutz one more time as a parting gift before Santaleous finished him off. This was followed by Brandon on his turn ousting Dan leaving us in a head to head situation.  Brandon had out more minions but I had just drawn into Alastor.  I had some stealth but not enough to get by Brandon’s Auspex so I decoyed by having Lutz Kindred Spirits into him and playing a lot of stealth of that, he caught me and I think I played No Trace. Then I followed up by calling Alastor on Gem Ghastly which Brandon could no longer block. I pictured an endgame that would involve me gunning down Brandon’s minions with my AK-47.  This was quickly dispelled by a string of something like 6 Strike: Combat Ends cards from Brandon as I was overwhelmed by his superior minion count.  In retrospect I should have played the Alastor on Lutz despite the fact that he had less blood on him since he could have used the Eyes of Argus in my hand as wakes and potentially burned through Brandon’s S:CE.  Oh well, only 1vp for me.

Game 2:
Going into this round I know that I’ve got to pick up a game win if I want a spot in the final table. 
1)      AJ - Tzmisce combat
2)      Rodney – Malk/Malk-anti
3)      Jason – Pentaniqua
4)      Me
I’ve never played with Rodney or Jason at this table so I wasn’t sure what to expect from them.  I start the game with a Sudden Reversal in my hand which seems redundant since Santaleous is in my crypt draw but oh well.  I lead out with Sean Rycek for some early opportunity bleeds before AJ can get going, this allows me to take and hold the edge for one of the (I think) four times I gained pool from the edge this game.  AJ brings out some large Tzmisce and tries to Minion Tap it for all its worth and Suddenly my Reversal seems like a great decision. 
Things begin to look dire though as everyone else brings out minions.  Rodney beings out Lazarus Jones and Jason brings out basic Pentaniqua followed by Maris Streck! AJ and Rodney get into a fight demonstrating that AJ’s deck has dangerous combat and a lot of intercept.  Also AJ has 5 votes on the table which combined with Streck means that I don’t really have much chance of passing anything, even if I do draw into my Malkavian Justicar I won’t be able to more than contest with Streck. Coupled with the fact that my Prey has virtually unlimited intercept thanks to Streck and will probably catch my Malks and beat them senseless, things look grim for me for awhile, I do manage to pull off a Villein+Giants Blood leaving Tryphosa full and me 10 pool richer. 
My opportunity comes when AJ decides he needs a 3rd minion and thus brings himself down to 4 pool to bring out Lambach leaving two up to defend.  Pentaniqua decides she needs to bleed me so she bleeds for 2 at 1 stealth thanks to Tryphosa. I declare I can’t block and reach for my pool, Jasons play Sense the Sin to make it 4, I Telepathic Misdirection the bleed to AJ.  AJ and Jason have a friendly combat but critically AJ is now down to one untapped minion.  I shrug off a bleed from Maris (I’m over 15 pool at this point) and my turn comes up, I lead with a Tryphosa Kindred Spirits bleed for 2 at 1 stealth, AJ attempts to block producing intercept, I stealth, AJ gains intercept from a generous cross table ally but Elder Impersonation followed by Eyes of Chaos nets me 7 pool and clears the way for my votes.  Rodney and Jason fall in turn to Reins of Power, Conservative Agitation, and bleeds.  Table status: Swept.

Final Table
1)      Gerentt – Brujah/New Carthage
2)      Dan – Gargoyles/Tremere-anti
3)      Joel – Ravnos/Week of Nightmares
4)      Cassie – Kiyasid stealth bleed
5)      Me (top seed)
I’ve been to a few final tables before but never as top seed so the whole idea of picking my table spot was new territory for me. I had seen two of these decks earlier for sure so I knew what they were like, Gerentt’s deck  I should have known since I’ve seen him play it many times before though I was hoping in vain he was trying something new this time around.  In retrospect I’m not sure if there was a better spot for me, probably between Joel and Cassie. In any event my opening crypt draw pretty much sealed the deal for me.
Why I’ve drawn nothing but the low end of my crypt, awesome! Sean Rycek, Bloody Mary, and Gem Ghastly x2 were my starting options. I went with Sean first though in retrospect this was a mistake, I should have gone for Mary and then Gem then started digging.  Gerentt had a great opening hand with a first turn Information Highway, second turn Dreams of the Sphinx, and a third turn New Carthage.  I figured I had a chance, if I could stealth by Gerrent’s Second Tradition: Domain, to oust him early and clear all the rival votes off the table, but alas, my Kindred Spirits deserted me.  Sean was no help to me at all since he can neither defend nor bleed well and Gem, while pretty, can’t hope to block the stealthy Kiyasid or bounce them either. Mary was my only defense but also my best offense and since I didn’t draw any of my cards to get blood back off my vampires. 
Gerrent happily goes forward Parity Shifting 5 pool off his prey to no opposition and buying a shiny Assault Rifle with it.  I succumbed to stealthy dominate shortly after, becoming Cassie’s first and only victim.  I wished everyone well and thanked the tournament organizers for running the event and headed off into the wilderness of the East Bay with Ian and Brandon.  We had some good conversation about deck strength on the way out, my contention is that deck strength matters while Ian insists that the threshold for deck viability is so low as to be virtually meaningless.  Gerentt called us on the way to tell us he had cleaned up after we left, which we all expected. Congrats to him, I think that makes his first tournament win so good job to him.
We had a late dinner at a restaurant that Ian knew of, Blimpie’s I think it was, it was decent quality but probably a bit expensive.
Did we learn anything? Well, if your deck does two things fairly well it is quite easy to beat it at either of those two things, shutting down that half of your deck. Probably being more focused would be helpful. Brandon and I discussed the idea of using Madman’s Quill to set off the Cavalier condition allowing you to boost all of your bleeds and still bleed with the same minion.  This might warrant inclusion when I rebuild my mid-cap Malk stealth bleed deck.
Genesis of a deck
      I’m going to go through my own process of deck creation to see if I can spot the point at which things go horribly off the rails.  I’ve found that too many players build decks that are simply these awful Rube Goldberg devices where what they want to do with the deck is either far too complex or not worth doing. I’m not immune to this myself, so I try to check myself as I go.
Deck idea: Nana and low cap Guruhi with Ani and Bamba
So far check, I’ve used this Bamba idea before and its pretty good. Highly matchup dependant but still good for a couple vp’s.  With Nana I can play more masters and do stuff like play Animalism cards quickly so I can overwhelm my prey with Deep Song + Guruhi are the Land bleeds of 3.  I want to add an animalism angle since wake+guns trumps this deck badly.  This deck should also be quick and small, 60 cards sounds right for this.  Silly Anarch Revolt deck builder cant update from the White Wolf website so I can never put Lilliths Blessing into decks, oh well. Here’s what I’ve got:

Crypt (12 vampires) Capacity min: 4 max: 8 average: 5.91667
4x Nana Buruku       8  ANI POT PRE       Guruhi:4
2x Batsheva          6  ANI PRE obt pot   Guruhi:4
2x Fish              5  ANI POT pre       Guruhi:4
2x Urenna Bunu       4  ani pot pre       Guruhi:4
1x Fode Kourouma     5  POT ani aus pre   Guruhi:4
1x Lumumba           4  PRE ani           Guruhi:4

Library (60 cards)
Action (13)
  5x Bamba
  6x Deep Song
  2x Founders of the Ebony Kingdom
Action Modifier (10)
  10x Guruhi Are the Land, The
Combat (17)
  7x Aid from Bats
  3x Canine Horde
  7x Carrion Crows
Equipment (4)
  1x Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers
  3x Laptop Computer
Master (13)
  4x Animalism
  1x Misdirection
  2x Not to Be
  4x Villein
  2x Liliths Blessing
Reaction (3)
  3x Familial Bond
Crafted with : Anarch Revolt Deck Builder. (Sun Sep 11 12:17:03 2011)

I’ll try it out next time I play V:tes and post up the results .