Friday, November 4, 2011
SoCal SmackDown 2011 - Game 3
Well now, I've played two games and lost 1-6. One more game to go for the day. One more chance to redeem myself. One more chance to get a win.
I'm in a slump. I need a Slump Buster. I channel Tony LaRussa. I swap out the CiC and Pz III platoon leader for the panzer-grey Panzer III's painted by Sentinel. Yeah, I benched two toy models. C'mon, it's not unheard of. People line dice up and smash the offending dice for failure to roll good numbers.
We all gather around the TO's table at the center of the hall and breathlessly await our assignments. Hugo! Hugo? Wait, Hugo only plays German. Wait...erm...argggh! Blue on blue. Again? Le sigh.
I shake Hugo's hand and get a peek at his army across the table.
Two Tigers? Again!?
Hugo's playing a Grenadier Company.
Along with the two obligatory platoons of Grens, he has the aforementioned Tiggers, a couple of Marders, Nebs and an AA platoon to get to an even six platoons.
In case you've forgotten what I'm running-
HQ 1x Pz III L/M, 1x PZ IV F-2
P1: 4x Pz III L/M
P2: 3x Pz IV F-2
P3: 1x Tiger 1E
P4: 2x 8-Rads
P5: 3x Nebelwerfers with staff and obs
Mission: Hasty Assault. It's a new mission for me. This was the ?? on the mission listing before the tournament. The TO made his decision on the final mission added to the rotation.
I get to be the attacker! Hurray! No? Yes! You don't want to be attacking in Hasty Assault? Why? I place everything on the table. Hugo's Tigers go into ambush. Rot roh.
Deployment- I place the Pz III platoon, under new management, on the left flank. Tiger in the middle, Nebs on the hill, and Pz IV's on the right flank. Picture below is us getting set up. Hugo's deployment doesn't change, except that Tigers go into ambush
Yikes! Tigers. I deployed the Pz III's in the open on the hill. Hugo pops ambush to take advantage. I suffer a bailed Pz III (lucky) and double-time the platoon stage right.
Pz IV's take out a Marder. Opening up the right flank.
Scratch one Tiger!
Pz III's shift to the right flank (cough, away from Tigers). I lost the bailed tank. A small price compared to what Hugo could have gutted the Pz III's. Last Marder is destroyed by Pz III platoon leader.
Setting up to cross the river. Hugo Tigger and my Tigger, sniping at one another. I'm cautious in my approach as I know a Gren platoon can show up any time.
My Nebs hit Hugo's Grens on the left hill. His dice fail him. They pass morale and stay in the game.
More tanks cross the bridge.
Second Gren platoon arrives. I promptly assault.
8-Rads and Tiger get into the action on left flank, after Nebs softened up Gren platoon.
Whoops. 8-Rads get bailed by Hugo's Nebs. He assauls and the Tiger fails its save vs a PanzerKnacker. 8-rads just sitting there get captured and spiked. Two platoons destroyed in one turn. Sad face.
The wall of Pz III's and IV's wipe out the Grens, and the Nebs, forcing a company morale check that Hugo fails.
I won! 4-3.
This game was a rematch of Game 3 from Lion's Den I back in April 2010. Hugo's dice are amazingly bad at times. Lost both his Tigers to "1" armor saves and you saw the pic of his infantry saves.
I asked several questions about LOS and wanted to clarify movement intentions (WWPD podcast tourney advice). I'm not sure I annoyed Hugo with my constant questions. I one instance, I wanted to know if my vehicle had LOS or was within weapon range. One Pz IIIL might be in range or not in range by 1/8". It was close, very close. I asked Hugo to measure and went with it when he said no go. Another time there were some LOS questions when shooting at his Marders. Again, I asked Hugo and went with his decision. If I can see or shoot, I want to shoot, but I want it done within the rules.
We called a judge over on the 8-rads being bailed. Hugo thought it was a platoon morale check. I said no, since the platoon had zero dead, and zero alive, just two bailed. We asked the players next to our table. The TO came over and confirmed what I said - that made me feel pretty good because I knew the rule and I applied it correctly. The transition from total noob to knowing the rules is happening.
I hope Hugo didn't see me as trying to push every conceivable advantage. I even went up to him at the conclusion of Day 1 and apologized for having him double check things or calling a judge over. I want his game experience to be enjoyable and not frustrating (aside from his bad dice rolls)
Painful Lessons: My unfamiliarity with Hasty Attack nearly cost me the Panzer III platoon. I didn't know the Defender gets to go first. No wonder people grumble about the mission on the FOW Forum. Luckily for me, he bailed a couple of the Pz III's. One remounted and scampered away and the foolish Pz III crew who didn't get in, and got their tank blasted.
Man of the Match: The Tiger! Even though he died an inglorious death at the hands of a cowardly PzKnacker, he went mono-eeeee-mono against two Tigers and was victorious. If he had died and both of Hugo's Tigers remained, I'd be in deep yogurt!
My Morale: Amazing what a victory can do for morale.
Sadly, I had to bail out on Day 2. There was a family emergency and I called and gave my regrets to the TO. TO said no problem and already had a ringer on stand by for the next day. I wish I could have returned for Day 2. Family comes first though.
Is this game fun only when I win? Shouldn't it be just as fun to play? I need to work on that. After game 1, I could have offered to EK to play a small, 1000pt battle or even another game since we had so much time. I did make tank noises when the IIIL's doubled in Game 1.
Game 2 was frustrating. Very frustrating. MK considered every move; and so did I. It made the game a grind. There wasn't much banter between us. It was MK's 2nd grind game in a row (using nearly all 3 hours allotted), so I think that affected his mood and his energy level was down a little.
Game 3 I'm apologizing for asking questions and clarifying LOS and distances. It's fine to be a good sport, but it's worse to be silent and let a game-changer tape-measure or die roll be missed. It could hurt either side or both if the game ends in a tie.
My MW PanzerKompanie list is a fun list. It has one of my favorite tanks in WW2 - the Panzer IIIL/M. It's not balanced or very efficient with a Tiger sucking up the points. However, I wanted to play with a Tiger. I never used a Tiger in FOW before, even in Late War..
In a MW tourney, the Tiger might be necessary. As you read, I ran into 4 Tigers. The F-2's AT 11 is meh against Tigers. Marders is an option with AT12, but they are very fragile. If the local tourneys do more blue on blue after Round 1, it's something to consider.
Games 2 and Games 3 came down to assaults. Shan from the FOW boards is a big fan of the Panzer III. I could see running 2 platoon of 4 Pz III's with HQ attachments, backed up by Marders and either 8-rads or a pioneer platoon. Or I could keep the 4x F-2's and 4x IIIM's with the CiC IIIM attaching, creating an assault force. FOW is won in assaults.
The 8-rads for recon did their thing in Game 2 and weren't needed in Game 3. 2x 8-rads aren't an assault threat either. Pioneers provide redundnacy for assault, so maybe something to consider is to make the 4th platoons pioneers (assuming points available without a Tiger).
This concludes my report on SmackDown 2011. Thanks to the TO and all the players for putting on a great tournament. As I typed up these AAR's, I realize I had fun. It was fun to be in a tourney and at a convention - something I don't get to do very often. I look forward to the next one.
And thank you for reading and all the comments.