Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thunderbird Tourney AAR

Brian Roundhill

Qualifying Round 1 - Ed Beekman in 'Tanks But No Tanks'
I don't think I've ever played Mr. Ed before, so I was happy to get this chance. I'd seen 'Tank But No Tanks' played at a gameday, and it looked like lot's of fun, so I suggested it and Ed agreed. Polish infantry with 2 AT guns and an 81* mortar defending half of board 42 and board 49 against the invading Russians with 3 AFVs, and 2 more AFVs as part of their reinforcements. Our game was very different than the one I saw at gameday. For starters, we got the Polish reinforcements correct - they come in behind the Russians instead of behind the board 49 town. They caused Ed to hold a sizeable chunk of his forces back to prevent me from causing too many problems. Of his starting AFVs, 2 malfunctioned their MA in the first turn. Finally, his reinforcing AFVs found an AT Gun by driving into its hex. A lucky 3 and another good shot on an Overrun created 2 dead tanks. All of that together meant that Ed never had enough forces to properly attack my front lines, and the final nail in the coffin was a missed LOS and another 3 on the 2-2 shot.
Impressions - a wilder scenario than I thought because of the Polish reinforcements coming in behind the Russians. I think Ed should have created more havoc with his AFVs, especially the two with malfed MA's, but some great luck on my part eliminated most of the AFV threat.

Qualifying Round 2 - Mike Rose in 'Trigger Happy Joes'
Apparently Rick and I decided to swap opponents for our 2nd game. He played Ed, and I played Mike Rose in 'Trigger Happy Joes'. American firepower defending half of board 42(again) and the city of board 46 against the German onslaught. Americans have an M10, I think, at start, with 2 more reinforcing the action. The Germans have 4 AFVs, 2 Mark IVs and 2 JgPz tank destroyers. Looking at Mike's setup, it looks like the orchard hill is undefended, so his mines must be there. Therefore I decide to attack along my centre and right flanks, planning on coming through the huge woods overlay and into the city. Things were not to be so easy. Mike's mines were not on the orchard hill. Two hexes at the edge of the woods were mined, which caused me mch grief, and one early building hex as well. I made the best time I could, but by turn 4 was only at about the board join with a sea of green concealment between me and the victory building. On the right flank I was further along, but 2 AFVs had things bottled up, and my troops weren't sure where to go. Mike's AT Gun had made its presence known by knocking out a Mark IV, and was ready to blast the woods or anything trying to sneak around the woods. Since Mike had one unit on the edge of the city, and everyone else behind that edge, I decided my only option was to shift the point of attack. A JgPz rumbled up to VBM freeze his unit, but Mike opted to shoot and leave residual, so the JgPz remained parked one hex away to limit fire options instead. Everyone in the middle shifted to my left flank, which meant fewer American units between me and the victory building. The other JgPz drove down the streets, giving a low odds shot to an M10, which Mike declined, and frontal armour to the AT Gun. Driving past the AT Gun, Mike missed his CA change shot and later Intensive Fire shot, and the JgPz took out one of the American AFVs on my right flank, and had the other one in its sights. From here, I pulled out every trick in my bag. A 'faust got one M10, and the JgPz got the other. My troops swarmed at the victory building, and I got enough good dice rolls to break his MMG squad and 9-1, giving me a foothold in the building. But an upstairs HIP unit blocked me from getting to all his troops in CC, and I couldn't break everyone.
Impressions - Tough on the Germans. They have 6.5 turns to travel about 17 hexes and control a 6 Location building. At Turn 4, neither Mike nor I gave me a chance at a win, and it was only some good dice in the last few turns that made this game closer than it deserved to be.

Tournament Round 1 - Mike Laney in 'Encircle This!'
Since I got placed into the 'Main' tournament, Mike Laney got the honour of playing me. Somehow we settled on 'Encircle This!', a beefy conflict between the Russians and the Germans. The Germans must clean out 2 factories on board 51 that they start near, and get 10 VPs off the other side of board 49, including 5 VPs of Personnel. Laney got the Russians, and set up mostly in the back of the factories, with an LMG at 51Z4 and an MMG at 51DD2 looking for -2 and/or encirclement shots. Obviously Laney had a healthy respect for German firepower and my 9-2 leader. I set up my kill stack (two 467s, LMG, MMG, 9-2) to suppress the LMG, and everyone else prepared to storm across the streets. Early on, things went my way. Instead of going directly into the factories, I sent my forces wide and eventually attacked the side of the far factory from the W and X row back towards factory R2, sweeping through both in about five turns. My reinforcing halftracks unloaded and got ready to start forcing their way through the rubble while the Panthers and Stunty tried to find good positions to attack the factories. The Russian AT Gun popped up at 51AA2 and nuked the two halftracks, but my Panthers were thankfully safe. Laney's T-34s came on, took a drive-by potshot at my Panther in some rubble, and took up positions on opposite sides of board 49. After four turns, it appeared the Germans were running rampant. Only three or four squads made it out of the factories and onto board 49. The AT Gun had been bypassed and was out of position, and the only thing slowing the Germans down was the MMG and the T-34s. One Panther snuck across the road and took out a T-34, and the German infantry started working across the road. With Stunty and a Panther in good position, my only concern was exiting 5 VPs of Personnel. I had 5 VP in great position to exit, and another 3 VP that could make it off, so Laney had to do something to stop me.
First he rumbled his T-34 towards a better firing position, but a 'faust eliminated that idea. Next, Laney went into desperation mode. One squad charged across the open ground, and was shot up. Another squad also charged, and was similarly removed from the battle. Finally his last leader imitated the Japanese and scampered towards one of my troops, ignoring all my fire. This heavily panting, CX'ed maggot advanced into CC, avoided the Ambush, then failed to kill my troops. 4:1 at -1 back against him, and an 11 resulted in a much unwanted Melee. Laney then repaired his MMG, which prevented my backup VPs from exiting. 4VP of Personnel was not enough for the win.
Impressions - Sloppy play in the last two turns may have cost me, but time was running out and I rushed a little. I should have used the BMG and CMG to turn my Panther around, giving me more firepower against Laney's desperate charge. Also, I should have used the Panther sN to cover my 'extra' VP units dash for victory. Oh well, that's the way things go. This play felt tough on the Russians, but others feel it is hard on the Germans. I think Laney had some good ideas, but fell short in other areas. Rubble in 51U6 makes it harder for the Germans to get their vehicles into good positions, but probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. The factories appear to be mostly a red herring - the Russians can't hold on to them, and should be prepared to fall out and stop the Germans exit VC. If they get a chance, they can take back a factory and win that way.

Free Play - Mike Denson in 'One More Day of Freedom'
I was interested in some PTO, and Mike was interested in giving the Japanese a try so he could start to learn them. This looked the most straight forward of the PTO scenarios, so we gave it a go. Mike had some good Banzai's that resulted in several dead American squads, but his MTR ran out of SMOKE right before the last charge, and I was able to pack the final building for a win. Both of us learned more about the Human Wave rules, and I hope Mike enjoyed his first taste of the Japanese.

Free Play - Mike Rose in Hell and High Water
The Zombie Pack demanded a playing. I got the humans, who were trying to ferry civilians across the board 7 river to safety while holding off Mike's zombies as the shambled across board 19 towards their tasty food. Basically, a 2 legged puppy. The assault boats ferried everyone over in about 3 turns, and my armed forces sacrificed themselves at the chokepoints one at a time so the zombies had zero chance of reaching the civilians. Favorite part - sacrificing a unit to force 3 squad-equivalents into one hex, then dropping a DC on them. a 1KIA meant lots of scattered zombie pieces-parts. I am now one of 3 known people to play a zombie scenario. Shurtz and Rose played once at the Austin tourney.

Non ASL - Saturday night Bang. Fun and laughs.

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