Monday, 21 October 2013

'Oktoberfest' Mini-Get-Together...

On Sunday 20th Oct, I hosted a mini Flames of War Get-Together.

Over the last couple of years the 'Kapiti Coasting' FoW players of our little group, have got to know many of the regular Flames players, by attending several of the tournaments in and around our region. Recently, one of whom; Damien (Damo) Tyson, offered to drive up to the coast, to have some games with us, so with a modicum of planning a small event was put on...

The theme of the friendly 'Tournament' was Late War 1350pts, with myself, Brett and Paul, entertaining Damo... 1350pts was chosen as we have often found 1750pt games either drag on too long, and/or cannot be brought to a satisfactory conclusion, in a couple of hours of game time. No-one likes a game to time out...

There is also something more visually appealing about the smaller games as they seem to better represent the company level game that FOW is, without drawing in huge amounts Divisional support like artillery parks and such like...

I set up two tables; one fairly dense terrain Western Europe theme, the other a more open steppe Eastern Front theme.

We had planned to have a simple round robin of games; each player playing the other players once, for a total of three games each, but we ran out of time over the afternoon, and the last game turned in to a general chin-wag instead...

For myself, after some pondering over a suitable force I decided to keep things simple and go with a Tank Company - not too much stuff to worry about or move around, and relatively simple tactics - attack!

I had a Panzerkompanie from Grey Wolf:

HQ: 2 x StuG G, + Bergepanzer III
5 x StuG G
5 x Panzer IV H
2 x SdKfz 7/1 3.7cm Armoured AA guns
1 x 250/1 + 2 x 250/9

Brett had brought along his FJs - mostly Fearless Trained, led by Von der Hydte and his trap teams

Paul had decided to rock the Shtraf again! His massed penal forces led by flame throwers and supported by breakthrough guns...

Damo, had brought 3 different armies, and randomised each game which one he would play, by a dice roll by his opponent.
He had a very colourful Polish infantry force, a US mechanised cavalry recon force featuring lots of tanks, and a Finnish fortified company.

On to the games!

First game was Free for All. I was drawn against Bretts FJ, and Pauls Shtraf went up against Damos Poles...

Game 1 - Brett vs Scott (Free for All)

Deployment, as pumpkin head 'trophy' looks on... with Tidy the cat in his customary place

Reverse angle - Scotts panzers hope to swamp the exposed objective.
Our game became a typical see-saw, with Brett choosing to attack my weaker side with his recce force supported by mortars and trap teams who had eventually partly revealed their hand, whilst he mostly stayed put in the face of my tanks. He did start a cheeky advance through the centre with three infantry scout teams...

I managed to hold off his recce on my right flank, losing my own in the process... My tank approach was slightly hindered by terrain due to my worries about the trap teams materialising. By the end of the game, I had held my right and was beating Brett off my target left objective, having lost a StuG platoon tangling with trap teams, shrecks and fausts in the wood, when I should have just broken off... but the battle was decided when Bretts scouts reach my left side objective, which was only defended by my Bergepanzer!

We'd given each other a bloody nose in the process and the game went 4-3 to Brett with his cheeky scouts! Had I got stuck in with my Panzers a turn earlier it might have gone my way...

Game 1 - Paul and Damo (Free for All)

Pauls Shtraf Soviets, rolled up at the other end of the table, and a dice roll later revealed they were up against the Polish home army... As per first caption below, I believe this is an army Damo borrowed from Andrew - superbly presented!

Pictorial commentary from Paul:

Andrew Stanton's Polish Home Army

The "mini-Shtraf". Even at 1350 points there's still a lot of stuff.

Starting positions in Free For All against Damo.

The blob pushes forward.

Very lucky defensive fire pushes back the Shtraf assault, but they still do enough damage for a 3-2 draw in the Soviets favour.

Game 2 - Damo vs Scott (No Retreat)

Game two and I was up against Damo, and having rolled a dice found I was playing his US Mechanised Recce Force - which had a Sherman platoon, two platoons of Chaffees and two recon patrols...

Since Damo was Mech and I was Tank, I would be attacking, even though Damo had about as many tanks as I did!

I put an objective down on my front left, which Damo covered with his Shermans and held a Chaffee platoon in ambush. My plan being to hold/deal with the Shermans with my Stugs, whilst the Panzers, recce and AA went on a thrust for the rear objective.

I advanced and let fly with the StuGs at the Shermans hoping to start knocking some out, only to find out what a Jumbo was, and the 'Jumbos lead the way!' rule, not having played against one before. FA12 on a Sherman! WTF!? ;-)

My recce thrust had not been the cleverest either... allowing Damo to ambush with his chaffees against my Panzers, though I only lost one, with 2 bailed, which thankfully, both subsequently remounted.

I swung everything I had at the Chaffees and they went down in hail of fire, the last failing morale...

The Chaffees behind the corn on the right  have all just died, as Damo starts his 2nd turn...
The game dissolved into a slug fest between my StuGs and the Shermans, where I just couldn't seem to get enough hits to get past the Jumbo, and if I did Damo passed his armour saves or I failed FPs... curses. Consequently I was steadily bleeding StuGs to the Shermans attentions... More Chaffees arrived with good covering fire, from a hill, over the centre, stopping me sending my Panzers over to help the StuGs... So instead I sent the Panzers and CO after this 2nd Chaffee platoon, and over two turns destroyed those too, again the last failing morale.

By this point it was just my 2iC StuG holding up against the Shermans, but everything else I had was now chasing Damos Recon patrols in the backfield... eventually I got enough hits from the Panzers and AA, and bergepanzer to destroy a recon patrol, though the 2iC Stug had finally succumbed! Again Damo failed his third morale check in a row, this time his Company Morale, giving me the game 4-3! Woot! :-)

I really thought I was going to lose this as I just couldn't knock out the Shermans, thankfully the Chaffees were a much easier proposition. Damo thought I would win from the start, and said I should have just rushed both tank platoons at the Shermans and dealt to them... probably a very good point! I think I got a bit twitchy though, once I realised the resiliance of the Jumbo...

Game 2 - Paul vs Brett (No Retreat)

Initial deployment against Brett's FJ in No Retreat. 

Shtraf shaping up for assault formation as volley-fire and breakthrough guns take their toll.

Turn 4. German lines after the flame-throwers. The FJ on the right failed morale, taking von der  Heydte with them. Brett called it before the mass Shtraf assault. 6-1 to Mother Russia. The Shtraf in FOW are essentially like a shot gun - not much to worry about at a distance, but up close it will take big lumps out of you. Missions like No Retreat are really it's party piece, with only half the defending platoons on to try and thin out the "blob" before impact. 


After two games a clear winner had emerged. With the Shtraf bullying the FJ, for the 6-1 win for Paul, this had shot him to the front with a total of 9 points over two games.

I managed to come second with 7 points, with Damo and Brett tying for third place on 5 points.

Well done to Paul, a clear winner on the day, and he wins the Oktoberfest trophy I knocked up over the preceding couple of days, when I wasn't converting my Bergepanzer!

Paul - Mr PumpkinHead - The Winner!
Big thanks to the guys for coming and making the day, and especially to Damo for taking the time to drive up to see us. We are not too far from his place as the crow flies but there's a darn big bunch of hills/mountains between us, meaning a lengthy drive around them. So again, thanks for the effort Damo, hope to see you this way again! (BTW - when does a hill become a mountain? I never figured that one out!)

And thanks to my dearest Darling for putting on some drinks and nibbles for the troops - an army marches on its belly as they say!

Hopefully this can become another regular event for us... and I hope to rejig my playing area...

I have a permanently set up 12' x 6' table, as when I designed and built the room I had had grandiose visions of massive armies clashing over it, but these games never materialised... and we haven't even managed to organise a big FoW Total War game... most of our games are standard size, mostly due to time constraints in playing time, or are skirmish games... and these can cause problems having to stretch and lean over the table to reach stuff in the middle.

To demonstrate the point, Paul presents his derrière, to all as he micro manages his Shtraf blob forward to crush the FJ, as Brett looks on in amusement...

Paul's Shtraf advance, sustained by macaroons!
So if I break the table down into three 6'x4' tables, I'll be able to host more games at once and thus slightly bigger mini-tournaments - I could even squeeze a table or two into the adjacent garage...

When I next get some leave I'll have a go at organising this, as the table also conceals a host of material underneath, which I'll have to find storage space for!

So keep your eyes peeled for the burgeoning Kapiti Tournament scene! ;-)

Thanks for reading!


  1. Looks like you had some good games there. Good to see Andrews AK Poles out - they may of been close to outnumbering the shtraf army perhaps ?
    I hear Damo got stuck in using his flamethrowers and SMG's against the shtraf blobs
    Nice trophy too.

    You might be seeing more of the AK poles when Andy and myself run them at next years Panzershrek doubles tournament

    1. I think the numbers were pretty even between the Poles and the Shtraf, it didn't feel much like a 1350pt game! They were great to play against, especially when four out of six home-made mortars self-destructed :-) I think they are a fantastic force, and in many situations you would be foolish to underestimate them. Lots of character and some good special rules to compensate for their short-comings. I hope I get to play against them again.

  2. Got to love the home made mortars and for only 80 points for 6 of them makes em worth it even if they do start blowing themselves up.
    Also in the army are Home made flamethrowers

    1. Must admit I couldn't help a wry chuckle to myself at hearing of these self harming special rules... sounded like something from the Ork Codex, having been playing a wee bit of 40K with No.1 son recently ... ! ;-)

  3. Loos like a great day guys. As for tables being it up makes sense- you can always put them together for a big game, and have 2x 6ft tables ready to go would give more room between each in most occasions.


    1. Yes, I'll have to work on this. I am just pondering maybe getting some old carpet/rugs/ carpet tiles(?) to go down on garage floor, as if I manage to get a table or two set up in there too, I would hate for a model to get dropped on the concrete floor and get busted... that would give me 5 tables hosting, 10 players at once... which could give a weekends worth of mini-tournament gaming if local players were keen?

  4. Good write up of an excellent day Scott. Thanks for hosting us all. Given that I only play a couple of tournaments a year at the most, these days are a great way to get a gaming "fix" without giving up a whole weekend. The Shtraf worked well at 1350pts. All I had to do was reduce the size of one combat platoon and drop the HMG's. This left the same size blob as at 1750pts, which is hard enough to deal with. I will take great care of Pumpkinhead in eager anticipation of next year!

    1. All good. The Shtraf are certainly a handful, even at these smaller points levels. Lets hope the mini tournament scene can keep growing :-)