Monday, August 31, 2009

FOW Tournament

Flames of War Tournament
Tournaments are a great way for gamers to get together and share their hobby. Not only do gamers get to try their generalship against a wide range of other gamers, they also get to admire well-presented armies, swap ideas, and generally have fun.
The Launceston Gaming Club is pleased to announce that they will be conducting a Battlefront sanctioned Flames of War tournament. Local stockist Tiger Models will be providing a prize pool in conjunction with Battlefront, New Zealand.

- Saturday the 31st of October and Sunday the 1st of November, 2009.
- Starting 9am both days. Detailed timings will be forwarded to competitors.

- RAOBC Lodge, Birch St. Newstead, Launceston.
- Drinks and light snacks may be purchased.
- There is a great shopping centre very close for lunches etc.

Player Registration
- Players must have completed the registration process to be eligible to compete in this tournament.
- Registration closes at midnight, Thursday the 29th of October 2009.
- No registration, no entry, no exceptions!
- Registration fee. Player registration is $15.00 for the main tournament. And $5.00 for the Young-bloods tournament!
- Payable to the club treasurer before the tournament, or on the Saturday morning for travelling competitors!

Contact Details
- Questions, or submitting army lists and/or registrations to
- Forms available during club nights or by return email

Tournament Details

Main Tournament

Tournament type
- The tournament will be a round robin Swiss Chess draw consisting of five match-ups
- Three games on the Saturday
- 2 games and trophy presentation on the Sunday
- Tournament software as supplied by battlefront will be used to calculate opponents based on their success/failure. This will ensure even match-ups and hopefully no one-sided affairs – resulting in a great challenge for all competitors.

- Army lists will be limited to1500 points (1501+ points will be considered illegal).
- Army lists are to be constructed from the current Afrika and Ostfront books ONLY!
- Not the new North Africa book or any of the current supplementary books

- Each game will have an allowed time limit of two and a half hours, with a adequate time between each match-up for the players to rest and refresh themselves.

- Tables will be preset with terrain and mission scenarios
- These will be randomly allocated to players at the drawing of each round
- The only missions used within this tournament are Encounter, Hold the Line, & Breakthrough

- If the tournament has an odd number of players, the tournament software program will give one player a bye each round.
- A player will only get one bye in a tournament.
- Generally the bye will be given to a low-ranking player rather than one who is doing well in the tournament.
- As the player taking the bye misses out on a game, they get the maximum of six Victory Points for the game. This ensures that they are not penalised in the overall rankings and rewards their generosity in stepping down for a round.

- Doug Colbeck has been appointed organiser and umpire this event

Young-Bloods Tournament

Tournament type
- The tournament will be a round robin Swiss style draw consisting of two match-ups
- The two games will be played on the Sunday, followed by trophy presentations
- The tournament will follow the main tournament guidelines – but the army lists will be limited to 600 points – not 1500 points

Tournament Scoring
A well-balanced tournament scoring system encourages gamers to have fun and explore all aspects of the hobby, from gaming and painting to a little historical research. A competitor’s score will be based on three factors:
1. Historical Army 25 percent
2. Generalship 50 percent
3. Sporting Play 25 percent

Historical Army (25 percent)
A competitor’s will be scored by the umpire out of fifteen points for the historical quality of their force.

Written Background (5 points).
The background doesn’t need to be long, technical or academic. A maximum of a one-page story telling how the force came to be the way it is with a photograph is all that is required.
1 - Little or no background provided.
2 - At least one paragraph giving some background.
3 - Good background information and photographs.
4 - Interesting background that brings the force to life.
5 - Outstanding background that fits the force perfectly.

Painting Quality (5 points)
A well-painted army is much more enjoyable to field and to face than undercoated or unpainted figures. This item scores the general standard of painting of the individual teams making up the force.
1 - Unpainted army.
2 - Poorly painted or just undercoated.
3 - Good basic painting, faces, hands, boots and guns!
4 - Well-painted force with added details, accurate colours and scenic basing!
5 - Every model is a masterpiece.

Uniform Appearance (5 points)
Even if the paint job is only average, an army always looks better if all of the troops look like they belong together. This item rewards players for completing their force first before tackling more ambitious painting styles.
1 - Hotchpotch of different styles or unpainted.
2 - Several different styles in the army.
3 - Most of the models are similar in the style of their painting and basing.
4 - Similar style across the whole army.
5 - Whole army fits well together and looks like a single fighting force.

Generalship (50 percent)
- The biggest single block of points is allocated for the player’s generalship, their performance as a table-top general.
- Each game has seven points allocated between the players, with the winner scoring a maximum of six points.
- These results are recorded and added to the database software at the end of each round

Sporting Play (25 percent)
Perhaps the most important part of the scoring is the sporting play section. Giving points for good behaviour discourages the win at all costs approach and helps make sure that everyone has a pleasant time. There’s no point in winning on the battlefield if you lose the tournament by being unpleasant to your opponents. At the end of the tournament, every player votes for the two opponents they played against that were the most sporting and most enjoyable to play with.

Note: players can only vote for someone that they actually played against!

Electronic versions of this form are available on request to

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nick in Launceston

OK -- this is getting embarrasing. Beaten by Keenan, on only his 2nd game of FOW. And he cant afford any FOW troops because he is saving up for his scout camp!

1500 pts encounter mission -- 654 Jagdpanther Compnay (Nick) vs 2nd US armour (Keenan). On a very open table with lots of clear fields of fire. Encounter Mission.

Keenan started off with his artillery and infantry on the table. He used the 2nd armoured 'free move for one unit' rule to advance his infantry in halftracks up to some hedged fields in the middle of the table. On the first turn he dismounted and moved his infantry into the fields. From there the infantry pushed to one of the objectives. The Jagdpanthers were kept busy holding the infantry off. In the meantime Keenan's tanks came on as reinfocements and strolled up to the other objective, where they machine-gunned the defenders and claimed victory.

Elsewhere in the club there was a mid war Russian vs German game (pictured), and the usual set of 40K games.

Maharajah Trophy 2009

The Maharajah Trophy has been fought for as the Camp Cromwell club championship for the last 13 years.

The past winners have been:

1995 Mark Oakford

1996 Mark Oakford

1997 Peter Moy

1998 Barrie Macdonald

1999 Peter Moy

2000 Leigh Watson

2001 Peter Moy

2002 Jim Gandy

2003 Steve Jendrich

2004 Steve Jendrich

2005 Jim Gandy

2006 Chris Raine

2007 Steve Jendrich

2008 James Oakes

We will be starting the Maharajah 2009 competition soon after I get back on 2nd September.

I need to know the number of entrants so I can draw up the roster.


FOW - Mid War using the New Africa book.


2,000 points on 8x6.

Battles to be fought on normal wargames nights/days at Camp Cromwell, Barrie’s or Nick’s.

Mission will be diced for using Camp Cromwell house rule (which allows you limited vetoes).
Terrain will be diced up to FOW recipe appropriate to army match-up.

By starting the comp in September we hope to have enough of flexibilty for timing matches so every one can be fought at a time convenient to both players.


Players are to nominate their favourite nationality (German, Itie, British, a Brit Empire county or US), and army type (Inf, Mech or Armour).

Where possible the draw will match Axis v. Allies (both in the same theartre of war) using 1st preferences.

When this isn’t possible, the players concerned will either agree to, or toss for one changing their army.

Army lists can be redrawn for each battle (knowing your opponent, but not mission or terrain).


I expect there will be between 8 & 16 entrants, so there will be some qualifying matches leading to a final 8 for an elimination series of 4 Quarter Finals, 2 Semi Finals & a Grand Final.

  • Some top seeds (from last years results) will automatically qualify for the 8.
    (How many depends on number of entrants - chosen to make the qualifying roster work efficiently).
  • Nick says there is interest in Launceston - he will run a preliminary round up there to determine a Launceston champion who will take one place in the 8.
  • The Kingston mob are also welcome to send a champion who could take a place in the eight.

Sign up:

Please let me know:

  • If you want to enter - by return email to
  • Your preferred nationality.
  • Your preferred army type (provisional - you may change it after you see Africa2).

Don't be shy about signing up, with an elimination tournament we can cope with lots of entries & your commitment is only for a long as you keep winning. Inexperience is no barrier either - no one will mind beating you & who knows, you might get lucky.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Army List Spreadsheets

Some new spreadsheets added for SS in Normandy and Soviets in River of Heroes. (Germans in River of Heroes coming soon).

Also existing spreadsheets updated - rather than tabs for different formations there is now a dropdown at the top of the page to select the division or morale grade (Guards or regular for Soviets) if that is appropriate for the lists.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Antietam in Paris

I found the l'Immortals de Sud-Ouest Wargames Club in Paris on the web and paid them a visit. Rich was also in Paris and came too. The club meets on Friday nights in un "Maison des Associations", a council building made available for clubs in the west of Paris. Every Friday night they have the use of a moderately sized room with tables & chairs & a set of cupboards to keep the club stuff. When we arrived, there were 3 hommes sitting around eating Domino pizza - I felt right at home immediately. Being August, most Parisians are on holidays & only 6 hommes attended apart from Rich & I. They said that at other times of the year there might be 2 or 3 times that number. But it's just one of many wargames clubs in Paris.

The hommes had metal tool boxes for bringing their troops - which had magnetic stands so they stuck to the trays in transit. Between them they had brought Ancients (both & 12mm & 15mm) & American Civil War figures this night. All the figures were beautifully painted - even the ACW figures allegedly "just dipped" to crash out two armies in a fortnight. After a long discussion they decided to do Antietam using Fire & Fury rules (there is a scenario in a supplement book). Antoine, the bloke who brought the ACW, umpired as he was the only one who had used Fire & Fury much (he belongs to 2 clubs & the other one does it a lot). This club does all periods - the rules they use include Fields of Glory, Flames of War, Age of Reason & Fire & Fury - all in English. They all spoke English reasonably well - some of them fluently, as it's a necessity for wargaming. They expressed a preference for American rules as they are usually much better set out and better written than the English ones (they can speak Barkerese, but like us they find it a particularly confusing dialect).

The club nominally meets at 8pm, but they were in no hurry to get going, I think it was near 10 before they had finished setting up the table & troops, shouted "en jeu" & got the battle underway. Rich was zonked after his flight (he arrived from Oz that morning) & left for bed as we got underway. They made up an 8x6 table with cloths over 20mm MDF boards on a group of tables. We played 3 a side with an umpire & I joined the Union.

The game was very entertaining - the hommes were terrific fun. They are right into the history, and obviously love the game, but don't take it too seriously - the game was full of banter & jokes - many the same as we have. There is a universal wargames-speak - such as discussion of just where the crest of the hill was. They were very considerate in keeping me in the conversation - they used English at lot, and even when they talked in French it was spiced with so much English wargames-speak I could often follow the gist of it.

They started the game with everyone charging forward with their brigades without any real council of war. Antoine explained that this was the Gallic Way: "Charge first, then make a plan." The Fire & Fury rules moved along pretty well considering that most players were unfamiliar with them, but by 12.30, when I had to leave to catch the Metro before it shut for the night, the game was just heating up. It didn't seem to matter to the others though - I gathered that playing on to dawn was not unheard of. By the time I left, my comrades had pushed the Confederate left back after recovering from a nasty counterattack. This had secured a space where our grand battery was being assembled on a commanding hill in the centre. Left of centre, my brigade, plus some timely and well placed reinforcements, almost had the Confederate right (which had been pushed forward a tad recklessly) surrounded.

Antoine provided me a report on the end of the battle by email: "
...we had to quit before the end, but the Confederates were in bad shape, their right flank shattered by more and more reinforcing federal brigades."

The pics are all taken from behind the Union lines.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Loire

As well as Poitiers & les Musee des Blindes, I found some other items of military interest in the Loire.
The Loire valley is lousy with chateaux, but most of them are architectural fantasies for showing off wealth rather than defence. The French use the one word "chateau" for both a castle and a grand house. Some are built from scratch simply as grand chateaux, others are built on the site of old fortifications which have been eliminated to various degrees. But I have found a few examples of real fortifications.
Chateau Larcher is a small mostly ruined castle above a small village we stumbled on lookng for a cafe for a pit stop on the road north.
Chateau Saumur looks magnificent on the hill over the town. The original medieval castle has been fancified, but it and the adjacent barracks buildings are surrounded by an artillery age star fort which is partially intact. It was used as a prison for English POWs in the Napoleonic wars.
The fortress of Chinnon covers the hill top above the town.
Chateau Angers is the original inner fortress for the town of Angers. The town itself was outside and also surrounded by a wall, but that has long gone. Henri III ordered the fortress pulled down, presumably so it couldn't be used as a centre of rebellion, but the local goveneror proceeded so slowly with the work that Henri either died or forgot about it before the work went too far. Only the conical roofs of the towers and the tops of some of them were removed. What remains is pretty impressive with massive walls, a deep dry moat & very close spaced towers around a 1km perimeter. There are large gardens inside & in the moat, originally for food, but now mainly ornamental.
I also found one WWII battlefield - Les Rosiers 1940. The cadets from the Saumur cavalry school defended the bridge over the Loire before blowing it up. This was as far as the Germans got before the Vichy armistice.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Army List Spreadsheets

I have created some excel spreadsheets for calculating army costs. The spreadsheets are linked to on the right. You will need Office 2007, or Office 2003 with the office 2007 file viewer. The sheets are best effort -- but I find them useful for tinkering with army lists!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nick in Launceston

Flames of War -- Nick (Guards Tankovy) vs Les (2nd SS). 1500 pts each.

Les was a first time FOW player, but an experienced player of 40K etc. His force of infantry, AT guns, plus Barkmann looked thin, and a post game points check showed he was about 100 points short.

This was another very close game. Barkmann slowly worked through the Russian tanks, destroying one a turn. The Russian tanks massacred the SS infantry. And the Russian planes missed Barkmann 7 strikes in a row!

In the end, The Russian Katyushas killed the last Pak40, tipping the Germans over to having to take a company morale test. However, Barkmann, having killed all 11 of the Russian tanks, then killed a Katyusha, causing the Russians to take a morale test, which they failed. This then tipped them into taking company morale, and since their CinC was dead they failed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Nick in Launceston

Another game with a young 40K player -- Keenan. Same armies as last week - Sperrverband (Nick) vs Guards Tankovy (Keenan)

This game was as close as they come. Each army got to the objective on their right. The Russians realised they couldn't get to an objective before the Germans claimed victory, so they shot at the Germans hoping to cause an army morale check. They succeeded -- and the Germans had to roll a 5 or 6 as they were relucatant to stay and win the game with the Russian objective. This they did - but games dont get much closer. Along the way the game swung wildly. A German infantry assault massacred the Russian SMG's -- but then the Russian commander and one stand came back the next turn, and killed enough to cause the Germans to take a platoon morale which they failed. The German Stugs failed morale after losing one to Sturmoviks and one to a lucky shot by a singe T34/85. The Russian tankovy shrugged off all hits -- but when they were unlucky and had a few bailed tanks they failed morale even though fearless. The game was tense, and Keenan played well above his age -- only getting the odd hint from experienced players. A maharajah quality game!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nick in Launceston -- Chris's Place

Chris and Nick played Warhammer fantasy. 1999 points each. Two games -- nick died quickly in the first game, and we swapped sides. Chris won the second too -- but the game wasnt such a walkover. The rules were fun, but you really need to work out the plusses and minusses for various troop types.

Vist to le Musee des Bindes, Saumur, 11/08/09

The Musee des Blindes in Saumur must be one of the best tank museums there is. I spent the whole morning there took about 180 pics to show/bore everyone when I get back, but have selected just few to attach.

The highlight is definitely la salle des Allemande. The first thing you see from the doorway is a Panther, beside it on the right is a KT, then a Tiger, a MkIV, a MkIII & a Mk II. The Mk I is the only one missing. Then there is collection of various Marders, a Hetzer, 2 Stugs (75 & 105 guns), Jagtpanther, Wespe, Brumbar, Maulier, even a Moblewaggon. A couple have some nasty holes in them, but many of them are in working order, dripping oil and smelling of diesel (including the KT & the Hetzer). There are also Paks, a 105, Neblewerfers & half tracks.

The French section only covers WWI & (strangely) only the first year of WWII. But there is some weird looking stuff there.

The Ities get a small space for a Semovente & a M13. Very cute.

The Salle des Allies is nowhere near as comprehensive as the Bad Guys' Salle but there's some nice stuff, inclusing:
US: Sherman, Honey, Grant & halftracks.
Brit: Matilda, Crusader AA, Sexton, Valentine, Churchill, Comet (no Cromwell regrettably).
Soviet: T34/76, T34/85, SU100 & a KV, also a heavy mortar & a Zis 2 (with seriously long barrel).

There is also a big collection of post WWII stuff too, but apart from noting how big modern heavy tanks are, I wasn't that interested in it. As well as the display inside, there are dozens of AFVs in various stages of disrepair parked around the workshops at the side & rear. There are a couple of Shermans in the carpark too.

The pics show:
1. My Citroen CV3 recon vehicle beside one of the Shermans in the carpark. (I was the 1st excited kid there).
2. A big SU and a KV.
3. The row of Panzers.
4. A shuffle of Marders (there's a Hetzer at the end & that low barrel is a Pak 40 in between).
5. Hetzer with me providing scale.
6. Tiger with me providing scale.

The museum website is:
Next time you are going to France I suggest you point out to your CIC how beautiful the Loire valley is.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Visit to Poiters battlefield 08/08/09

In September 1356 the Black Prince (Edward, Prince of Wales) was returning from a raid into France with about 7,000 English, Welsh & Gascon troops when he was intercepted by King John of France with about 20,000 troops. I visited the battlefield on 08/08/09.

On the web I had found a good map of the battlefield with modern roads & landmarks shown that made it easy to find. It’s actually about 8km south of Poitiers near a village called Nouaille-Maupertuis. There is “Le Prince Noir” Presse & Tabac in the village & a small information site, so the French do acknowledge its existence - they call it the battle of Nouaille. The info site isn’t quite on the battlefield (it’s off to the English left) & not very useful, but I had a printout from the website as a guide.

The English deployed behind hedgerows just in front of the Nouaille Wood. On the left the ground was rougher with a swampy valley. They had their wagon train behind their right beside the wood - in that location it had a getaway route to the south, but it was also fortified to cover the flank. There were good fields of fire for the archers & space for the mounted reserve between the infantry & the wood. I expect deploying front of the wood was to protect against envelopment & to give the guys somewhere to run to if things went bad.

The Frogs deploying their 3 battles one behind the other so they fitted the narrow front. Most of their cavalry was dismounted - possible reasons include 1) memories of Crecy (there were Crecy vets on both sides), 2) the hedgerows & vineyards made cavalry use difficult, 3) advice from William Douglas, the King’s Scottish advisor on fighting the English. The first line with most of the crossbowmen & light infantry was driven off by bowfire, the second line got mixed up with the remains of the first and after a stiff fight in the hedgerows was beaten off & fled the field.

But the third French battle lead by King John himself was still much bigger than the whole English army, now tired & depleted in ammo after beating off the first two battles. Now the BP did his Hannibal act. He sent his best captain, Jean de Grailly off to the right on a flanking mission with just160 men, left his own defensive position, and charged the oncoming French. There was a stiff fight until de Grailly’s men suddenly fell on the French flank. The effect was way out of proportion to the numbers involved – the French army broke. The King himself was surrounded & captured.

The battlefield has not been built over so the main features are still plain to see. The modern hedgerows are not in the same position as the original ones, in particular the one in front of the edge of the wood is not there now. But they are most likely a good indication of what they were like – bands of thick vegie 2 or 3 metres thick – very significant obstacles. They also block line of sight & would have totally hidden the flanking move ensuring complete surprise. The slope the French advanced up is very gentle, but between the hedgerows the English bowmen would have had great fields of fire.

It was a particularly good battlefield to visit because the terrain was very important to the action. The Black Prince chose his ground well & fully exploited the advantages it gave him to snatch victory against the odds.

Points to consider re wargames rules include:

Both sides considered that the terrain degraded cavalry’s advantages to the extent that they dismounted most of them.

A surprise flank attack by a very small force had a devastating on an entire army’s morale.

The BP left the tactical advantage of his fortified hedgerow to counterattack. The advantages of this may have been 1) to boost the morale of his own troops (nothing to be afraid of chaps – let’s go finish them off), 2) they were running out of arrows so the defence had lost some of its advantage, 3) it was the last thing the Frogs expected them to do – surprise is always good, 4) to coordinate with the flank attack, 5) the English had a mounted reserve (apart from the flanking force) – presumably placed where there was a field free of hedgerows & vineyards in front of their line so it could charge effectively.

The panorama pic is taken looking towards the English line. The wood is on the far side of the field. In 1356 there was a hedgerow this side of the edge of the wood.

The other pic is a typical hedgerow end-on - showing what an obstacle they are.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Nick in Launceston

Nick vs Jayden (sp?), 1500 pts Flames of War. Nick had a German defensive force (Sperrverband), and Jayden had a Russian Guards armoured force with Sturmoviks, T34/85, katyushas (Rocket launchers), etc.

Jayden was a 40K player who wanted to try Flames of War. The battle was called for time, but Jayden was clearly in the ascendency. The Germans Stug's had been destroyed. Their mortars had been destroyed. Their AT guns had been destroyed. And their hetzers were in trouble. In return the Germans had taken out 4 T34/85 tanks -- not enough to trouble the Russians.

The star of the battle was the sturmoviks, who pinned the AT guns, damaged the mortars, took out the stug's, and almost took out the German artillery!