I;m back! Tired, defeated but having learnt a lot and having had a most excellent time dudes!
Well, here's a very brief report for you.
Having been collected by my lift at the unseemly hour of 6.30am, we headed up from London to sunny Milton Keynes. With traffic light, we made it to the venue in good time, dragged our bags and boxes out of the car and headed inside with plenty of time to buy coffee/breakfast an use the facilities. Unfortunately we were slightly too early and Costa coffee and the facilities weren't open. We weren't the first players from Central London club to arrive, so we spent a while chatting until Costa opened so we were finally able to make a pit-stop and feed our caffeine habits..
Central London had a total of 5 teams entered - 2 in the FoG Ancients, 2 in FoG Renaissance and 1 in DBMM. Some other club members were turning up on the Sunday for a King of the Battlefield (demonstration?) game. On the Saturday, (almost?) all of us were wearing natty new club t-shirts with our motto "It Smacks Of Incompetence" and a map showing where the pub we meet in. There was also a Flames of War Tournament going on.
It was certainly different to most wargames shows - it is held in the Middleton Hall in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, so we had ordinary shoppers walking around watching the games. Although the various tournaments took up most of the floorspace, there were also several traders, demonstration games and participation games.
Onto the games.
The draws for the 5 games in our Division were:
9am Round 1: Oxford vs Escape to Defeat (EtoD, my team); Rabbits in the Mist (RITM) vs Central London Wargames (CLW, our "A" team)
1pm Round 2: Oxford vs CLW; RITM vs EtoD
4.30pm Round 3: Oxford vs RITM; CLW vs EtoD
9am Round 4: A = 1st place vs 4th; B = 2nd vs 3rd
1pm Round 5: Winner A vs Winner B; Loser A vs Loser B
I'll just give my results here - AARs with pics will follow! Honest guv'nor - they will follow!
My Saturday Games
Round 1: I was facing Lynda's Foederate Romans. She had Alan and Hun allies. I lost 24-1 - she'd routed my army (6 units broken) but I had broken one of hers. I'd lost the initiative, so was fighting in "agricultural" territory.
Lynda has a rather unusual, but very effective, method for making terrain pieces for wargaming. I won't spoil the surprise - you'll see when I post the AARs with pics.
I made some schoolgirl errors in my deployment and later positioning of units which didn't help me - you'll see the evidence of this in my AAR.
Round 2: I was up against Chris P's Foederate Romans, again with Alan and Hun allies. I lost 24-1 again - routed with 6 units broken, but one of my light horse units, accompanied by a general had done a long flanking run to sack his supply camp! I'd lost the initiative, so was stuck in agricultural lands again, but witha decent amount of empty space in the centre.
My dice in both games were absolutely atrocious, so I made use of the break to buy some new ones from one of the traders. To balance out the dice, I couldn't have wished for more helpful or friendly opponents.
At this point, somehow we had managed to sneak into 3rd place ahead of our club's A Team!
Round 3: up against Dave's Foederate Romans. You'll never guess what allies he had. Somehow I managed to break one of his units and sack his supply camp. Unfortunately he managed to break 5 of mine and sacked my supply camp, so another army rout for me. Score: 21-4 to Dave. Changing dice helped a little - I won the initiative and chose steppe territory. Well, the army list chose steppe for me - it's the only option available for Early Alans! During the battle, my dice were very much up and down.
After the last game finished and we'd packed up our figures, a bunch of us from the club (and my team captain's Commander in Chief, aka the memsahib) went for a very nice curry. Once we'd stuffed ourselves, with good banter along the way, and settled the bill we headed off to our various accommodations.
I was staying in a surprisingly cheap-but-nice hotel a few miles out of town. I wish I'd looked it up in advance as I discovered when I got there that it had free internet access in the bedrooms - I could have taken my mini laptop and posted last night. Oh well, that's something to remember for next year.
Compared to Saturday, I was able to have a lie-in. However, that was all relative - we still had to be at the venue for the first game at 9am. After shower and some breakfast we packed our stuff in the car and headed over - we even had time for a pit-stop and to grab coffee.
On checking the leaderboard we discovered that our A Team had beaten RITM by enough to leapfrog them and us and go into 2nd place. This meant that my team would be playing Oxford first off then whoever managed to win out of CLW and RITM for our final game.
Round 4: Lynda once again. Neither of us had changed our army composition; Lynda won the initiative, unsurprisingly opting for Agricultural territory again. Fortunately my dice luck was better and I was able to move or remove several pieces, leaving the table fairly open.
I had a much better battle plan this time and the fight was much closer - it could have gone either way right up until the crucial moment when the dice turned against me. I ended up losing 24-1 again, breaking 1 unit of Romans, but having 5 of mine broken and 2 fragmented for an army rout.
CLW had beaten RITM, so they were playing Oxford and we were playing RITM. On checking the leaderboard, ours was the important match - CLW would need to win their games by very large margins to beat Oxord, and neither of us could win by enough points to leapfrog into 2nd place but we were close enough that it was a fight for 3rd place in the Division (or, more accurately, not a fight not to be in 4th place).
Round 5: Chris P again, no change to his army either. I won initiative (Yay!) and my army list chose Steppe territory for me. I succeeded in getting a very open table, with the terrain mostly limited to one corner in Chris' half. I tried a slightly different deployment and battle plan; the dice gods smiled on me slightly more and we had a very close match. As we were approaching the 3 hour limit, I had lost two units broken (one in what was the final melee)and had 2 more fragmented; Chris had 1 unit broken and 1 evaded off table. Right at the end I was able to rally one of my fragmented units up to disrupted, giving a final score of 12-8 to Chris.
It's shame that we weren't able to continue the battle to its conclusion - I was getting very close to reversing that score and potentially routing his Romans.
On calculating the final scores for our two teams, it turned out that on points we had somehow ended up equal for joint third place!
After packing up our figures, terrain, dice and other bits it was time for the prize giving ceremony. CLW got their 2nd place prize (displaying their incompetence by not getting 1st place), but our DBMM team let the side down by very competently winning their tournament. Our FoG:R teams did even better in the incompetence stakes - neither had made it as high as 2nd place. I took pics of our 2 prize winning teams, also of the Oxford team who won in our Division.
1. Look at all the available army lists and pick one that isn't so one-dimensionally predictable.
2. Check out the hotel you'll be staying in to see if there is (hopefully free) internet access
3. Take a packed lunch for the Saturday along with plenty of snacks and bottles of drink for the weekend
4. The dice gods are fickle and capricious - take plenty of sets of dice to worship them with
5. Practice more with my chosen army before turning up, particularly with respect to positioning of units to provide rear support, interception charges and to avoid "burst through" by friendly charging/evading/routing units
6. Don't place my supply camp or any "hold back" units within 6 inches of the table edge as they are automatically lost if your opponent does a flank march (in a couple of games I was just outside the 6 inches - phew!)
I had a really enjoyable weekend. Three 3-hour games on Saturday and another 2 on Sunday is mentally and physically tiring, but it helps having such nice opponents.
I went into this tournament fully expecting to lose 25-0 in all 5 games. The fact that I actually scored points in all my matches and only suffered a rout in 4 of them was a significant bonus, and it was a great way to learn how to play FoG better.
The venue was fantastic - light and airy with plenty of space and decent food/drink shops on hand. Despite it being open to the public, I only heard one derogatory comment about wargaming in the whole weekend. A lot of passers-by showed great interest in the games and the players nearby were more than happy to explain what was going on.
Would I do it again? Definitely. there are other team and doubles tournaments later in the year, so maybe I could be persuaded. Campaign will definitely be booked into my diary for next year.