Monday, 13 March 2017

Version Four Launches with a bang

 Early looks and massive discussions

 So, Flames of War Version 4 (V4) has officially hit the shops Worldwide. From Battlefront head office in New Zealand, through Europe, and beyond to Canada and the United States, players young, old, experienced, novice, packed into stores to get their hands on the newest version of the most popular World War Two game on the market.
 But the excitement and uncertainty about V4 was rumbling on well before this weekend past. Battlefront previewed some plastics at Flamescon last summer and the gaming community got talking in a big way. Commenters slowly pieced together the Mid-War theme and when the pieces fell into place Mid-War was set as being the big release to herald the arrival of V4.

The plastic Panzer III and IV previews, now a reality after the release.
 There was much uncertainty, a wailing and a gnashing of teeth about the upcoming release, with threats of model collections being binned and players swearing off never even uttering the words 'Flames of War' ever again. But slowly, and with a few helpful sneaky peeks, players warmed to the idea, until finally the weekend arrived and V4 was released into the world.

Scotland reports in

 As many of you who have known me for a while are aware, I hold the respective position of Ranger for Battlefront. Take a look back through my archives and you'll find numerous reports spanning half a decade on my taking Flames of War, and the rest, to the people. So, it fell to me to gladly usher in the V4 release at Common Ground Games in Stirling. 
 Three shops in Scotland were taking part in the V4 release event:
  • Static Games in Glasgow
  • The Games Hub in Edinburgh
  • Common Ground Games in Stirling
 Common Ground was chosen to be the main port of call for Scotland for a number of reasons; it has a good central location, there are plenty of tables for gaming on and lastly CGG has been the home of the tournament scene in Scotland for a couple of years now and we have close ties to the venue.

We did have a lot of stock, and then players appeared!

 With the demonstration kit on site, and the large stack of conversion books ready to go, we were all primed for the big release. I made my way there, ready to be on-hand to answer questions, greet players both old and new and take anyone through a quick demo of the fantastic new 'El Alamein' starter set.

 Faces old and new

 As mentioned above, we had players in who had been gaming in Flames of War for a decade or more come in, just as excited to get their hands on the V4 conversion books primarily, but more often than not these players were just as quick to scoop up a copy of the hardback Mid-War Rulebook. The story was the same over in Edinburgh and Glasgow as the rulebooks and starter sets flew off the shelves.
 If you'd happened by Stirling after noon, you'd have been disappointed as by that time there was not a rulebook, nor a starter set to be had. That didn't stop people asking if perhaps there had been some hidden away that they could get their hands on. This was the story across Scotland as reports came in that the other outlets had run out of books, guides and starters too!
 The other thing that customers tried to barter on were the Shop Copies of the upcoming Desert Rats and Afrika Korps sourcebooks. I think had Common Ground stocked them on the day, they'd have sold a good dozen or so easily. Which is unsurprising as the books are great.

 Away from the shop floor and into the gaming area; the majority of customers were unable to stop for long, most eager to get home and get reading at the new rules. But two stayed by for a couple of demo games; Kenneth and Craig. Both had got into the Flames of War community through Tanks initially, before stepping up to Team Yankee and finally into Flames of War, with the El Alamein box a perfect purchase for them.

Craig and Kenny, hard at work constructing the new kits and loving them
 They settled down to crack the box open whilst I took to a table to take a couple of players through a few demo games of the new kit. With plenty of questions being asked about how things work, what to do with their existing forces and the like, it was encouraging to see players who were initially unsure about the release settling into the new edition (A feeling that has been spreading through Facebook and beyond).

Crusaders and a Grant tussle with Panzers in the sand
  Demonstration games are always a tricky area; you don't want to overwhelm a player with tons of information at a time, but you want to give them enough information to make an informed choice throughout the game. Lucky for me the majority of players who indulged in a game were seasoned veterans stopping by to get their first hands-on experience with the new ruleset.
 For those that are interested, the British and the Germans ended up on even scores at the end of the day, showing that even though the British tanks are a little fragile, they can definitely stand up to the menace of the tougher German armour.
 Over in Edinburgh at the Games Hub, there was also demonstration games on the go, in case you couldn't get to Stirling.

Burning tanks aplenty in the Capital.

 Our little demo table attracted a lot of interest from other games and passing customers; many of whom were quite taken by the new plastic tanks and unit cards. With a couple of demos throughout the day, interspersed with a lot of chat and in depth conversations with players, a couple of whom were making a return to Flames of War after a little while out, the day was definitely a success.

 A new era for Flames of War

 The V4 release was definitely well received in Scotland, as is true for the rest of the world. From my own experience I'm heartened by the community up here and can only hope that V4 brings more players into the fold, perhaps ones that have been a little standoffish in the past about getting into a game such as Flames of War.
 We can but wait and see, but I have no doubt that in the coming months Flames of War will be a very prevalent game up here. 

 In finishing all I can say is that I hope you enjoyed the weekend as much as I did, and that you got your hands on a copy of the conversion rules, and perhaps were even fortunate enough to snag a rulebook and starter set before they sold out at your location. Thanks for reading guys, and enjoy V4.

Monday, 14 November 2016

A Busy Weekend

Saturday - Targe, Kirriemuir Wargames Club, 12/11/16

Twice the tables, twice the fun

 This Saturday past was another of the larger Scottish wargames shows. Targe, run by Kirriemuir Wargames Club, takes place every year in Webster's High School in the small town of Kirriemuir, on the East Coast.
 I was originally not going to be in attendance, with a few last minute emails and phone calls eventually securing myself a little table in the corner of a room to run games on.

My own little, professional looking corner
 In an effort to make my display tables look more professional, I had a banner made up to advertise the games I was running (see picture above). If any of you reading have read some of my older posts, you'll see from the pictures, that my tables used to be rather plain, simple and not entirely the way a representative's table should look. But now, with the banner in place, the table takes on a professional look and draws the eye.

Team Tankee?

  I decided to run a combination table of the two games I've taken to prior shows this year; Team Yankee (which I debuted at Carronade), and Tanks, which proved to be extremely popular at October's convention; Skelp! Sadly, I didn't write a report up from Skelp, but I can assure you I spent the entire day chained to the table, taking interested groups through fast paced games with Barkmann and his fearsome Panther.

Friendships are strained (not too badly) by intense and close run games

 Over the course of the day Tanks proved the more popular game, but that's not to say Team Yankee was ignored at all. Tanks was generally drawing players with young children that they could easily get into the game with its simpler rules and quick game-play.

A grandfather is taught the meaning of defeat by his grandson as the Russians triumph

  With both Team Yankee and Tanks taking off up here, it's encouraging to see that the different styles of game are getting equal amounts of love from new players and veterans.

Painting Prize, sponsored by Battlefront Miniatures

 Battlefront were kind enough to put up a prize for the Targe Painting Competition. First prize in the category of Armoured Fighting Vehicle, was a starter box for Tanks, and two blister packs to expand the winner's collection.
Ignoring the God-like glow that my camera is giving us, the winner more than pleased with his prize.

   Naturally, the armoured fighting vehicle doesn't always have to be a tank of some sort from a modern era game. Sometimes it can be something a little different, like the model that ended up winning.

Not exactly a Panzer, but an impressive model nonetheless

 And with that, Targe was brought to a close.

Sunday - Common Ground Games, Tanks OP 3

 There's no rest for the wicked, as I was straight back to it the very next day with the final OP session of the Normandy campaign for tanks. The mission itself was going to be a massed battle of four on four, with all three OP mats placed end to end to form a huge battlefield. Unfortunately, weather, trains being cancelled and prior commitments reduced our player pool a little, so we changed it up.

 We took the Caen mat and placed two together, forming a 6'x3' city mat, and placed an objective in the middle for our two teams to fight over.

Two mats placed together form a perfect battlefield.
 This time round we had four players; 

Lee - Fielding Americans. Front loading his points into a Pershing with a fully elite crew
Grant - Bringing the heavy armoured fist of 3 Panthers
Craig - A fearsome Jadgpanther with two Panzer IVs to engage close targets
Kenny - Trying out an interesting list of two Fireflys, with a Cromwell to boost one of their initiatives

Lee's Americans, and a good example of the interesting schemes you can get away with on your tanks

 I could go into great detail about the game. The half hour it took to place the minefields and bocage. I could tell you about the skillful moving and positioning the players went through to get into cover, take shots and avoid hits... or, I could tell you about the highlights of the game!

Highlight #1 - Pershing, Not So Super

A sad sight, but bravery and stupidity go hand in hand
 Lee's Pershing broke forward in the second turn, with the aid of War-Daddy Pool, to sit near the objective and score the first point of the game. Unfortunately, he also drew the wrath of every gun the Germans could bring to bear on him. An unfortunate 'Bailed Out' result from the first round of shooting followed by the crew deciding remounting their tank was a silly idea, led to the Pershing suffering another heavy round of shooting that eventually spelt the end for this 58pt war machine.

A round of crits put the Pershing down

Highlight #2 - A Big Kitty Feels the Pain

The beast is silenced by an impressive salvo from a Firefly
 Craig's Jagdpanther was fully kitted out with Michel Wittmann at the helm and Tungsten shot loaded in the breech. It was this tank that scored the massively impressive round of fire to put the Pershing out. It met a poetic end however, as a well-placed Firefly inflicted horrendous damage and sunk this 53pt sniper.

The Firefly, away off to the left, eventually puts the hurt on the Jagdpanther, spelling its end

The final

 With time getting on, and the sun well and truly set, the Germans snatched the win in the last turn. The plucky little Cromwell that had evaded them for a couple of turns being shut down, and no other allied tanks anywhere near the objective, the Germans took the win.

 Tanks has proven to be extremely popular in the clubs and stores up here. With the quick game-length and small unit tally. We now have to wait for the Red Bear to awaken, as the Tanks OP sessions will return soon with the Eastern Front Campaign. Operation Bagration.

 Once again, well done to anyone who made it through my rambling, even if it was just to look at the pretty pictures. I'll sign off for now, and leave you with a couple more.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Trooper: The British are here!

Wargames + Miniatures, Dumbarton, 08/10/16

Running to the Hills; Travelling out to Dumbarton again

 Excitement has been building for about two months now over the much anticipated launch of the British forces for Team Yankee, and we up here in Scotland were not an exception to this. Battlefront recognised the hype building up here by awarding us not one, but two launch events. I had the pleasure of travelling back through to Wargames + Miniatures in Dumbarton to help out with the 'Iron Maiden' launch.
 Once again the journey was a pleasant one out along the Clyde estuary to Geoff's shop, with my copy of the Team Yankee rulebook and a small American force to loan out for the players.

 Can I play with madness? Or maybe just your Abrams.

  As mentioned in my report from the first visit to Wargames + Miniatures, the shop itself has space for four 6'x4' tables, so should we manage to get eight players, we would be packed to capacity. As the time ticked round to noon our players has begun to arrive; many of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting during other events, Michael I've played many times at G3 and as many during monthly Flames of War tournaments; Craig and Kenneth are regular attendees at the Tanks OP events through in Stirling and others through various events at Wargames + Miniatures and beyond.

 Given that only one of the attendees; Michael, had played Team Yankee beforehand, it was decided that a little demo game should be offered to help people get a grasp of the basics of the game. Thankfully, a good number of the players were Flames of War players already, it was just a matter of ironing out the differences between FoW and TY.

Kenneth and Craig take on Alan and Michael in the demonstration game between the Soviet and US forces
 After some trepidation and hiding, the two forces finally clashed, shots being exchanged and tanks brewing up. Once the tanks started firing, the players got more into it and started understanding some of the more in depth rules of the game.
 With the demo out of the way, we took a short break before returning to get into the games proper.

The Number of the Beast! Or at least, one of them

 We ran into a bit of a surprise though, out of the six attending players, only Michael had brought an army to play with. Geoff had to hand the shop armies for the Americans and the Soviets, and as mentioned I had packed my American force. Luckily, Craig was already planning on buying a starter force so grabbed a copy of 'Kampfgruppe Müller' off the shelf. Armed with a pair of clippers and a tube of glue, he got to work getting them together.
 As Michael owned his army, and Craig had purchased the Germans, it was agreed that they would be allowed to keep using them, whilst the other players; Ross, Alan, Robert and Barry, would take turns with the British, shop US, shop Soviets and my US (As I was only there to assist and not putting myself up for winning the British army).
Shop Soviet, shop US and my own US armies ready to be loaned out for players

 That Evil That Men Do. Going to war! (55pts a side)

 Alan was lucky enough to be drawn as the first player to get to use the new British army; undercoated a lovely Chieftain green. With the force comprising of 5 Chieftain tanks, 2 Lynx Heli-arms and 3 Swingfire missile FVs. Going up against him was Robert using the shop US army; 5x M1 Abrams and a half flight of Cobras.
 Second table was Michael using his US army; Abrams, ITVs, VADS and mech infantry. Up against him was Barry using my US army in a similar vein; Abrams, ITVs, VADs.
 Finally, we had Craig fielding his newly purchased, and slightly unbuilt Germans, an almighty 4 Leopard 2s and a pair of PAH helicopters, facing off against Ross (and his assistant Chloe), using the shop Soviet army which was two hordes of T-72s and a pair of Hind.

2 heads are not better than one as the elite Germans held out against the Soviet horde
The British get their first outing against the forces of the US

A real Blue on Blue as the Americans clash
 Michael ended up taking the win against Barry, Robert saw a victory snatched at the very end by Alan, and Craig's elite Germans stood firm against the red tide to take the win from Ross & Chloe.

Where Eagles Dare; Helicopter combat proves pivotal

 The forces were gathered again and redistributed for what would be the second and final round. With the midday start and much needed demonstration earlier in the day, time had ticked on and left us close to time up.
 Michael and Craig kept their respective armies, while the British ended up with Barry, who was paired with Craig and his Germans. The Soviets were put under the command of Robert, who was paired with Michael, and that left Alan and Ross to take US forces to clash again in a Blue on Blue.

Michael complains of ten he doesn't get to fight against Soviets; so we obliged

 In what may have been one of the shortest games of Team Yankee I've seen; Ross took out Craig's Leopard platoon in one turn, and a mere two turns later had swept the Germans from the field. What was the cause of the early destruction? The Lynx heli-arms putting TOW missiles into some hapless Germans and making them break instantly. Learn from this: Hide your troops at the start of the game. cover is your friend.

A quick game as the Lynx do the damage early on

  Michael and Roberts game went close, but with an early upset for the Hinds; a full battery of VADs pouring fire into them and chasing them off in the first turn, it left the T-72's exposed to flanking and some well-placed shots from the well hidden ITVs.
 Finally it was an absolute scrap between the US forces as burning tanks littered the table from both sides; the ITVs proving fragile as they were picked off, and the VADs unable to close the distance to worry the Cobras. It took until the last trading of shots to decide the winner, and this time it was the team of Ross & Chloe.

The Abrams that would be burning by the end of the game... so much burning

 Death or Glory; the final standings

 And that was that for the day. Sadly, we only managed the two rounds as time had gotten away from us, we would have liked a third, but it was agreed now was a good time to stop. With the British army on the line for the winner, we all waited with baited breath... except we all knew who had one right away. But anyway, the final scores were as follows:

  1. Michael Byrne - 2 Wins | 0 Losses
  2. Craig Melville - 1 Win | 1 Loss
  3. Alan Leitch - 1 Win | 1 Loss
  4. Ross Drummond (+ Chloe Farrell) - 1 Win | 1 Loss
  5. Barry Stephen - 1 Win | 1 Loss
  6. Robert McNair  - 1 Win | 1 Loss

Our overall winner, Michael, being presented with his prize of the British Army
  Of course, the British army wasn't the only thing on offer today, as Battlefront had supplied a half flight of Harriers and some Tracked Rapier Launchers, and a copy of Iron Maiden as raffle prizes. So now people got a little more excited... as in, murmured a little more as we prepared to draw the raffle. The winners are below:

Ross with his prize of the tracked rapiers and Kenneth with the Harriers
Craig ended up grabbing the copy of Iron Maiden as the other participants got the much sought after Wolfgang's Bratty Wagon objective marker.

2 Minutes to Midnight, or near enough.

 It's now just past ten o'clock as I write this. The day has been long, but enjoyable. A very good release event which has given Team Yankee another little kick into the focus of gamers north of the border, and hopefully continues beyond. I myself, have still got my British army to pick up tomorrow with some other accessories, and purchased a copy of 'Leopard' to have a read through tonight, but I'm not sure if I should buy yet another army. Maybe wait for Warsaw Pact before I do so.

Aces High! 

 As per usual, these events would never be the success they are without the people who make them happen, so thanks go to Battlefront and all the staff there for their help in sorting prize support and organising the day. Many thanks go to Geoff Hulse for hosting and his end of organising the event, getting good looking tables on the go for the players to battle on and for his usual wonderful hospitality (and keeping me powered with tea the entire day), and finally to the players who came out for the event and made it a joy to run. So thanks to everyone involved, and hopefully there'll be more in future.

Ending on pictures again; enjoy.

The new Chieftains, superb looking models

That chassis is a tank... honest

As it happens, coffee pots make excellent industrial towers

Cobras in flight, a wonderful sight

Craig's hastily constructed Leopards prepare to assault Chloe's dice sculpture

The aftermath of a game, a sad sight

Lots and lots of M113 chassis of various forms meet on the table

An awful picture of the packed store

Hull down M1's, the best way to use them

Monday, 19 September 2016

Operation: 'Totalize'

Dunfermline Wargames and Roleplaying Fellowship (D.W.A.R.F.), 17/09/16

Fifty miles from Glasgow to Fife

 I usually start off these posts by prattling on about how far the journey is from where I live, to where the event is being held. Last week's journey out to Dumbarton was about an hour and a half travel and a relatively short distance of eighteen miles; Saturday's journey was a little longer, almost two hours of travel, including waiting for transfers, and fifty miles away.
  Many of you will think nothing of getting up around six in the morning, making such a journey and then making the same back home; but for me in my regular schedule for travel and University it was a slight shock to the system.

At least the views were nice, crossing the Kincardine Bridge
 So, that was the journey, fifty miles from Glasgow to Dunfermline, thankfully on quite a luxury coach.

Registration and the participants

 For this tournament I only had one list in mind: 'B Squadron, 15th/19th Hussars'. This list contains my favourite tank of the war: the Cromwell, in abundance. The other advantage to this list is having all of my anti-tank assets grouped into one platoon. The high points cost of the Challenger makes for small platoons, even so I still ended up with a six platoon list, and one that I thought wouldn't do too badly. you can find a link to my list below.

My force, ready for transport between tables
 With eleven other players, it was going to be a good tournament. So, here's a list of the other players and what they were taking on the day:

Frank Keast - Former owner of Worlds at War in Livingston, Frank has been playing Flames of War for about as long as I have, but is best known for his painting service: Panzer Schule. Frank was fielding a German Sicherungskompanie (Security Company), but with an added point of interest: The Armoured Train!

An imposing set piece model, the Armoured Train is a lovely piece of kit
  Bill Shiel - Bill is always a joy to play against, despite his dice luck always being firmly against him, he's never let it get to him and always plays with a pleasant attitude. Bill was fielding Hermann's finest: A Hermann Goering Panzerkompanie.

Though mostly Panzer III's of various Mks, the force was supported by a fearsome Elefant
 Richard Cunningham - I have not had the pleasure of meeting before and was nice to finally put a face to the name I've seen mentioned often. Richard was fielding the small, elite Commando Troop.

Supported by plenty of artillery and a breaching group, Commandos are a force to be reckoned with
Greg Barr - Greg was TO for the day and was forced into action through a small number of call-offs, thankfully he had an American Mechanised Company on hand to take to the field to even up the numbers.

M3's following up advancing Shermans full of eager G.I.s
 John Lynch - I've had the pleasure of playing John at last year's Operation Blockbuster event, and his army was similar to the force I faced off against that day. He took the elite Fallshirmjager, a formidable force, especially in defence, but always adaptable to go on the attack.

With Nebelwerfers, mortars and HMGs, the FJ are a difficult force to dislodge from foxholes

John Stevens - John is another player I've not had the pleasure to meet prior to this event, but he came to my rescue half way through the tournament when my tape measure gave up the ghost and the end clip snapped off. He loaned me one to allow me to continue. John was fielding an American Armoured Company.

With a load of 3', 76mm guns on show, John's company was ready for armoured clashes
 Greg Fyfe -  Greg is a long time friend and a constant attendee at the various tournaments that are run throughout the year at Stirling. Greg was also recruited to Team Scotland this year and was in Athens for the ETC, giving a good showing of himself. Greg (unsurprisingly) was fielding a Soviet Infantry Batallion in the form of the Straf.

A massed blob of infantry being fired onto the objectives by Katyushas and SU-122's
  Martyn Bolton - Travelling up from Wales for this one, another member of Team Scotland, Martyn brought Soviet tanks. Sadly, I didn't have a lot of time to talk to him, nor had the pleasure of a game against him, hopefully he'll come back up for future events and I can find out more about him then.

Sadly I didn't manage to get a picture of his wonderfully painted army, and only managed this snap of his amazing artillery platoon
Paul Duckmanton - Paul was my opponent in game two, he is a lovely chap and we had quite the thrilling game which I'll talk about later. Paul brought a ton of armour in the form of Panthers, Tigers, Jagdpanthers and Panzer IV Js.
A fearsome sight of so much armour rolling over the field towards you

 Laurence Kettle - Laurence has been a semi-regular attendee at the tournaments in Scotland and generally plays Germans of a sort. He's a very competent player and this tournament was no exception. This time round Laurence brought the Reluctant Trained Panthers to the table.

Love or hate based tanks, you can't deny that the high quality of painting makes Laurence's army stand out
Richard Hardy - Richard is another member of Team Scotland and is well known across the UK in the Flames of War circles. Richard is another player who makes it along to almost every tournament we run up here, and even ran an Early War tournament at the start of the month. Richard was fielding the closest thing to Germans he will ever, a Finnish Sturmi Battery.

StuGs, PaK40's, but not a German in sight
Ignore the Bolt Action players in the background, their toys are too big
 With all players ready to go, we launched the first round...

Round One: Breakthrough

 We started the day with an old favourite; Hold the Line. I like this mission as it forces the defending player to redeploy early on in the game and try to hold out against the advancing enemy before their reserves come in, and be ever wary of the enemy reinforcements coming in behind them.
 I was drawn against Bill and his Panzer III's, the pride of Hermann Goering clashing with my speedy little Cromwells on a table with not a lot of open terrain. This one was going to be interesting.

The riflemen of the KLSI ready themselves to grab the objectives
 The most fearsome thing on the table was by far the Elefant, and it was something I was pondering for a long time how to take out. Parking my Challengers on the table early game would have just given Bill an idea of how to position his Elefant to avoid the high AT guns.So instead I deployed a platoon of Cromwells, the Humber scout cars and the infantry in preparation for the coming storm.
 The plan was to have the infantry advance quickly to the objectives and dig in arounf them to hold both until I got more reinforcements to help shore them up. With one of the Cromwell platoons hiding behind some buildings, ready to fall back towards the objectives should the Elefant get too close.

With sunlight in their eyes, the Cromwell crews prepare to take shots of opportunity
The game began and tanks rumbled forward, with the little platoon of German 222's sitting hull down on a hill ready to lift any Gone to Ground I might have the luxury of having. My deployment denied the lumbering Elefant any shots in the first few turns as the Cromwells and Panzers traded a few ineffectual rounds.

  The game opened up though on turn 3, with Bill getting no reinforcements in his turn and his shooting being a little woeful, mainly bailing out (little FP 4+ pop guns letting him down). In my turn however, I noticed the Elefant had moved forward just enough to do some damage, and so I acted, the Challengers making their appearance on the flank.
Opportunities like this happen once in a lifetime
  The rest of the shooting phase resulted in a few knocked out Panzer IIIs, and then we came round to the important rolling: The Challengers taking their shots at the Elefant, two hits later and the mighty beast was felled to the powerful 17pdrs.

You miss 100% of shots you don't take
  The rest of the game didn't fare much better for Bill as Cromwells and Panzers circled each other in the fields around the objectives. My Sextons showing up, and even they managed to survive a hail of fire from the Panzers, a couple being bailed, but none being knocked out.

The pioneers and Panzers fail to capitalise on the leaderless Cromwell platoon and end up paying the price

 Bill almost sneaked a win, by a solitary Panzer sneaking onto the other objective. Thankfully, I not only managed to knock him out, but the Sextons went Assault Gun mode and charged into safe distance. And with that, the game was over. It should have gone so much better for Bill, but the little 50cm guns with their reduced firepower turned far too many penetrating hits into bailed out tanks and not enough destroyed. In fact at the end of the game I only had two Cromwells and a Challenger knocked out.

Result: 6-1 to me

Match ups for game one: Results sheet will be at the end of the report

++ Lunch ++

Round Two: Surrounded

 With an impressive start to the tournament, I was in high spirits going into the next game. It was announced to be surrounded, and with a large amount of armoured companies, it was going to be interesting to see how this played out. I was drawn against Paul and his heavy tanks, and of course I ended up defending.
 So now I was faced with the daunting task of somehow holding off a large pincer army of heavy, impenetrable tanks bearing down on my positions. 

Tigers and Jagdpanthers on one side, Panthers on the other
 The only thing I could do was ambush with my Challengers, as the table we were playing on had little to no cover in the middle, bar a field and a hill. Needless to say the table brought a few mutterings of dissent from players throughout the day.
 So the panzers advanced and the only thing that prevented a massive destruction of my force turn one was utilising cover and managing to claim Gone to Ground, resulting in either no shots, or the few that were fired missing. My only losses in turn one were two sacrificial Sextons.
 My return shots from the Challengers were limited, as Stormtroopers took the Panthers on my right flank outwith the desired 32" range. Instead they picked off a couple of Panzers, and through a stroke of luck managed to kill all bar one, including the Company Commander. Paul passed the Warrior Save, and while this kept his Commander alive, it meant the loss of a platoon. At this point I was satisfied to go on and lose 5-2. but the best was yet to come.

Panthers and an 88 combine to cause the Challengers problems
 Though through a lucky round of shooting the Challengers were felled by 88s, Panthers and everything else Paul could throw at me, I was determined to cause a little havoc as some Cromwells went on a jaunt across the table, wheeling round some woods in Paul's deployment zone. While the other platoon of Cromwells held on by hiding in cover as the heavy armour advanced, the other got into position and eventually wormed their way into some interesting positions.

Cromwells punch well above their weight to cause havoc amongst the Jagdpanthers
 The Cromwells forced the Jagdpanthers into a sticky situation, being unable to engage one side without revealing their rear armour to the other, the Jagdpanthers were cut down one after the other by some very lucky shooting (helped mainly by the Trained rating of the beasts).
 With the small victories secured the larger one ended up being a little too much of an ask, with my fourth platoon going down and my company breaking from the field, handing the win to Paul.

 In the most quintessentially British way possible, I managed to make the best of what looked like a complete stomp, into a game to remember/

Result: 4-3 to Paul

Round Three: Encounter

 To end the day, we went back to basics with Encounter. This simplistic mission can end up being highly frustration (spoiler warning: it was). With Delayed and Scattered Reserves, a player's battle plan can end up being turned on it's head in short notice.
 So coming out of last round feeling good and thinking that facing massive German armour was behind me, I was deflated when it was announced I'd be playing Laurence's Panthers. Despite them being Reluctant Trained, having Armour 10 driving towards you is still a difficult thing to deal with.

The side of the Panthers I wish I had shots on

I have to be honest, I lost the game during deployment when for some reason I deployed my Humber Recce covering one of the objectives and leaving the Challengers in reserve. In my head, I had visions of them rolling onto the table onto the flanks and wiping out Panthers on their advance to the objective. Sadly, that was not to be.

 I have no pictures from this game as I was too engrossed in being destroyed to take any.

 To my surprise and utter horror the 5-platoon force I was playing against still started the game with 10 Panthers on the table. Two platoons of four and the command platoon bringing another two. The three reinforcing platoons a small Wirbelwind platoon, pioneers and a platoon of four StuGs.
 The first couple of turns weren't too bad, with my Cromwells hiding in a field denying the Panthers easy shots and only one going down a turn until my Challengers arrived.

 The Panthers had advanced down my right flank and middle, leaving a slight gap to the left and another on the right the Challengers could go roaring up should I get a middle or right deployement from them. But fate is cruel and the Challengers showed up on the left flank. Long story short, EVERYTHING showed up on the left flank, the Challengers trading shots (poorly) with the Panthers, managing to take a couple out, but for the most part being a little toothless with Semi-indirect fire letting me down,

 Eventually my defences got over-run and the Panthers were victorious, but not before I picked off a platoon for a loss.

Result: 5-2 to Laurence

Results and Wrap-Up

 With that, the tournament came to an end. I spent the last half an hour watching Richard Hardy and Greg Fyfe play, with the Finns spending their time whittling down the blobs of Straf every turn.

Coveted prizes, including the 'wooden spoon' trophy for last place
 It was an enjoyable tournament all round, with only one or two frustrating moments when facing down German Heavy Armour. DWARF club always put on highly successful tournaments like Operation Totalize and they are always well attended.

 And now the important part; the standings and results:

 In a surprising twist, it ended up with Richard and Laurence tying for first place and even the tie-break of platoons lost being completely identical. So congratulations to Richard and Laurence on their victory.
 I placed a respectable 6th in the table, being unable to turn the last game into a better result forcing me down the rankings a little.
 Finally, there was also the painting contest which is voted for by the players, and the winner this year was:

Frank Keast, with his Sicherungskompanie, very well done to him.

A larger size to appreciate the army in its entirety.

 So as usual, thank you for reading. DWARF club have an event coming up in November, Winter War, which every year raises money for charity. This year the money is going to:

 A pair of noble causes.

 Thanks again, and I'll leave you with a few pictures of the event. Check back for my report on the Tanks OP2, which took place the very next day in Stirling.