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Warheads Episode 18

Welcome to Episode 18 of the Warheads podcast.

We report briefly on the last two Irish Flames of War tournaments and the eternal binary struggle between Good and Evil. The meat of the episode focuses on the European Team Championship including imbittered self-justification from our list-designers, vicious national stereotyping of our opponents, dire predictions about slow play and some list analysis. For those interested, all lists can be found here: http://sirehermann.wix.com/barbus-in-game

We go completely off-topic at the end, discussing the joys of Prague, the importance of goodwill towards all and defenestration.

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Warheads Episode 17

I release this podcast under duress as my co-hosts relentlessly badger me about the importance of timely releases. Shame on them, they lack all understanding of the artistic process. We discuss our experiences in Derry/Londonderry/Doire, chat about our upcoming tournament (it’s tomorrow) and dole out patronising advice to our neighbours. My warnings of a great evil rising in the North go unheeded.

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Warheads Episode 16

Welcome to Episode 16,

We discuss the spate of Irish tournaments that have appeared since the last podcast, tease out the exact degree of villiany required to run an EW Strelk list, Baz reveals his Luddite tendencies and we deal with a discourteous listener. This is all punctuated by ranting and drinking.

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Warheads 015

Welcome to Episode 15.

After Brian talks us out of sending Battlefront a cease and desist, we chat about the Northern Team Tournament and commend the winners on their affable natures, undeniable skills and stunning physical attractiveness (except Baz, the troll-beast). We rue the effect of the “chain of gouging” on tournaments in the Republic. We reflect on our epic game of Epic and the importance of a robust ruleset is highlighted by our vicious slander section.

And for the eagle-eared, I think you can calculate the number of girls in short skirts that pass by during recording by the amount of inexplicable but wholly respectful pauses.

As ever, enjoy.

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Bolt Action Battle Report: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows!

Tony and I met for a great game of Bolt Action last week.  On the way in to the LFGS I found €10 on the street.  It was going to be that kind of game.

We decided to play the BA.net mission Nuts! and bring 1250 point lists (more on this later).

I brought:
Platoon 1
Reg. Junior Lt. and friend
Reg. Siberian squad (10 rifles)
Vet. scout (7)
Reg. sniper
Reg. BA-64DShK
Reg. T34/85

Platoon 2
Reg. Junior Lt.
Reg. tank riders (10)
Vet. Assault Engineers with flame-thrower (8)
Commissar and friend
Reg. medic and friend
Reg. truck with MMG
Reg. Katyusha (I wanted to bring my Katyusha and a tank so I had to take two platoons)
Free Rifle squad

14 dice, 1250 points

Tony brought:
Reg. 1st Lt.
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Free artillery observer
Reg. medium mortar
Reg. sniper
Reg. Blacker Bombard
Reg. light artillery (25pdr)
Reg. 3-ton truck
Reg. AEC Mk. III
Reg. Churchill AVRE
13 dice, 1250 points

Set-up, sizing up

The mission is straightforward and tactical.  There is an objective in the center of the table and then one objective in each table quarter.  My plan was to use the scouts to hold or contest the center objective and focus the remainder of my forces and my outflanking death-star assault engineers on one side of the table.  I assumed Tony would be fairly aggressive and want to get those commandos into assault as soon as possible.

The table:

I was the “defender” and choose the right side of the table.  I committed the truck, medic, solo lt., and assault engineers to outflank on my left (the bottom of the table above).  My T34/85 with tank riders and Katyusha were in reserve.  Tony put a platoon of commandos in his truck to outflank.  He started with two units of commandos on the table and the fourth one in reserve.  Also on the table was his sniper, Churchill, Lt. and 25pdr.  His AEC and blacker were also in reserve.

I got lucky, not for the last time that night, with the roll-off to place forward-deploying teams.  My scouts occupied the ruin close to the center objective.  Tony placed his sniper in the building on his half of the table and my sniper got a nice window view as well.

Tony’s Blacker Bombard deserves special mention.  What’s that you say?  You didn’t know Warlord made the kit?  They don’t.  Tony’s is a scratch-build:

Churchill AVRE, Blacker Bombar, 25pdr., AEC mkIII, and medium mortar–Tony’s design philosophy can be expressed as: “If you have less than a d6 HE GTFO.”
My hope that I could attrit his infantry squads while keeping my T34/85 alive.
Turn 1
Things got off to a fantastic start for me.

I got the first dice out of the bag and my sniper instantly killed his opposite number.  My scouts hunkered down while my green squad, commissar, and one of my officers moved up to the large building on my left.  The squad went into the bottom floor while the HQ units hid out of sight behind it.  My BA-64 fired blindly at Tony’s Blacker and killed a crew member.  Tony’s infantry occupied the building on his left, but his shooting was ineffectual.

Turn 2

Tony had a better run of dice and his reserves showed up without fail.  My T34 didn’t come on.  The AVRE fired at my scouts and missed.  Tony’s 25pdr missed my siberians.  I fired the Katyusha–two units were in range of the target squad–and rolled a 5, 6, and 6.  His 25pdr observer dispersed in red mist and five commandos went down.  The Katyusha is a Bob Emmerson model.  Top quality.  
Tony’s other commando squad moved up his right, closing in on my green squad.
Turn 3
A real bloodbath.  The commandos on Tony’s right assaulted my green squad which was bunkered down.  
The green squad was predictably wiped, but they took out five commandos.  With the next dice I launched my Commissar and his BFF into the building.  The two killed one of the commandos before getting a Fairbairn-Sykes in the guts.
Tony’s AVRE shot and missed, but anything it aims at takes a down marker (3D6 HE!).  The only bright spot for Tony occurred when his 25pdr popped my BA-64.
My Katyusha shot at a commando squad.  Tony, now in fear of my dice rolling, took a down dice.  And the Katy hit to knock out two commandos.
Turn 4
This was the decisive turn.  I got the first dice and rolled for my T34.  It arrived.  It shot at Tony’s Churchill.  I rolled a 6.  I then rolled a 6 for penetration followed by a 6 on the result table.  I was like:
Tony was like:
Things were a bit grim for the British from here on out.  Tony’s mortar couldn’t hit anything.  His AEC missed at short range.  Units failed order tests with one pin marker.  Smoke dispersed.  Paint chipped off miniatures.  I wanted to buy him a shot of bourbon.  
Turn 5
We had both been holding off on our outflankers but they came in strong this turn.  Tony’s hit first.  They came on my left and gunned down one of my lieutenants.  My engineers came on and flamed a unit of commandos, killing two.  Of course they failed their morale check and fucked off.
Turn 6

Tony had a few units left and was contesting the objective on his left, and holding the objective on my left with his outflankers.  My T34 lined up his AEC and squeezed off a a shot.  Tony need the AEC to do some damage this turn so he couldn’t recce away.  Of course I hit and the AEC exploded.

We called it at that point.
Concluding thoughts
1.  Tanks suck, but it hurts less at 1250.
Really, play the game at 1250.  It is a huge improvement.  Why?  Because tanks suck in BA and they are never worth taking at 1000 points (there are a few exceptions).  At 1250, however, it doesn’t hurt as bad to put a tank on the table that may only fire its gun four times in the whole game and hit once.  Tony’s AVRE did fuck all the whole game except hold down one side of the table.  Tanks simply don’t earn their points unless you get a freakish performance. 
2.  This is a good mission.  
The http://www.boltaction.net/ guys are doing alot to support the game.  This is a solid mission that forces hard choices.  

Warheads 014

We’ve had a fairly random few weeks of gaming. We discuss our doubts about our most effective EW lists and the perils of small gaming groups, another brief chat about the Northern team tournament, we briefly chate about other games (Hail Caesar, LotR and Leviathans) and discuss a piece of fan mail that isn’t a vicious, unjustifiable, personal attack.

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Warheads Episode 13

Welcome to Episode 13.


In this offering, we discuss our ongoing ETC list testing, our participation game in the local university, Nachjager and our gaming ambitions for the year. Time is also taken to wind Pádhraic up and hopefully, clubmates and fellow FoWers on the island will be spurred to new heights of effort by the blind arrogance of Team 112. No Floody win in 2015, comrades.

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Warheads Episode 012

Welcome to Episode 12, this one is probably aimed firmly at an Irish audience but if you feel your painting is improved by the silky tones of nerds arguing, you might as well have a listen.


00:00:00- We introduce ourselves and run through the order of business.
00:04:10- The attendees re-cap their first day at Nordicon and make fair and provable accusations against all their opponents.
00:38:50- We take a brief interlude to condemn Northern Ireland’s barbaric licensing laws. They also tie up the swings on Sundays, you know.
00:43:05- The second day of the tournament is discussed and handbags are deployed by some of the hosts.
01:03:13- The perils of optional rules are highlighted by our brief look at the Nachjager spoiler.
01:05:05- We receive (fan?)mail and are pleased to dispense our wisdom.

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Warheads Episode 011

After a slight delay, we return to our regularly scheduled podcasting. Our position as the Madagascar of wargaming becomes apparent as we discuss Nordicon, Ireland’s first (probably) Early War tournament and the halting steps of the regulars into a bright and glorious further past. Weird and wonderful lists mix with the best the internet can offer.


00:00- The Great Non-Flooding, a brief geography lesson and the plan for the episode.

09:44- We discuss Nordicon lists and make unfounded and brutal predictions.

38:32- The impact of terrain on tournament and frankly, joy and happiness in our hearts.

54:17- Brian is indulged in his disgusting habits and tells us about the Bolt Action Welsh Open.

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Bolt Action Tournament Report: the Welsh Open, 2014

This past weekend Ulick, Tony, and myself headed over to the Welsh Open.  We had heard great things about this tournament from the previous year and the air fares fell the right way for us (€70 round trip).  This is a lengthy report for a blog post so I’ll break it into three acts:
Act 1: Getting there, venue, organization, ice-breaker tank game
Act 2: My tournament games
Act 3: Lessons learned, planning for next year
Act 1

Ever wonder what Maynooth, Ireland, looks like at 4:00 a.m.?

Our flight was at 6:15 a.m. so I caught the 4:00 a.m. airport hopper from Maynooth.  I met Ulick and Tony at the airport.  Security let us straight through and we were a bit hurt not to be given the opportunity to take out our models and explain the detailing and shading on the metal minis.  By 8:00 a.m. we were on a shuttle bus to Cardiff city center and we were at the door of Firestorm Games at 8:45 a.m.  Don’t you love it when modern air travel lives up to its reputation?
Firestorm Games is easily the best gaming shop I have ever experienced in terms of stock and facilities.  Only the original Dakka Dakka in New Hampshire, U.S.A., comes close, but it lacked a bar.  Ulick was particularly impressed by the Flames of War stock.
Table after table for Bolt Action, FoW, GW systems, Infinity, or any other system (with the possible exception of 6mm ancients).  There was an abundance of high-quality, varied terrain on hand too.

The tournament was a strictly Allies vs. Axis affair.  Each table had a specific mission tied to an actual World War Two battle.  A world map with the missions’ locations was a nice touch (“He’ll see the big board!!!”).
This table strewn with ruined 4Ground buildings was one of my favorite battlefields.
The players assembled for a briefing/welcome from Ian and we all got to work for the first game: the ice-breaker team tank battle.
Ulick and Tony played on a North African table

I played on a table with this awesome rail gun

 My partner played a U.S. list and I brought a T-34/85, SU-76, BA-64 DShK,tank riders, and my green squad in a truck.  The T-34/85 bagged a Pz-IV at long range, and the two other Pz. IV’s on the enemy team exploded much too easily on the next turn. 

My green infantry squad destroyed a Puma in assault, easily earning them “unit of the match” designation.
The only tricky moment came when My BA-64 fubared, but in what can only be described as the best spot prize ever conceived, I was handed a beer because I had fubared.
After the tank game we retired to the lounge/bar area of Firestorm Games and had more beer.

Act 2

I brought a 12 dice list:
1.  Senior regular lieutenant with friend (the +2 proved decisive at least 3 times).
2.  Kommissar with friend
3.  Regular SU-76i
4.  Regular BA-DShK
5.  Guards: 8 rifles
6.  Guards: 5 SMGs, 2 rifles (1 panzerfaust)
7.  Regular ZiS-3
8.  Regular truck with MMG
9.  Assault engineers (flamethrower, 6 SMG, body armor)
10.  Scouts (2 rifles, 5 SMG)
11.  Sniper
12.  Free green squad

My first game was against Steve who was fielding a German force with several kitted-out regular squads, a StuH, a pioneer unit with flamethrower in a transport and a few other bits and pieces.  The game got off to a promising start when my scouts assaulted and wiped a squad on Turn 2.

However, a poorly judged outflank cost me the game.  Steve had his pioneer squad in outflank, and I had my assault engineers outflanking too.  My error was to bring them on first.  They drove on, wiped an infantry squad but were then wiped by Steve’s pioneers.  I scrounged a point for holding the secondary objective and another for a tertiary objective.

My next game saw my Soviets head to South East Asia to engage another German force on this lovely airfield table:

My opponent, Rob, fielded a Pz. IV, heavy mortar, 222 recon car, MMG, air observer, and a decent amount of infantry.  Smoking hot dice for me proved fatal: my sniper killed the MMG and the mortar.  A lucky turn 1 shot from the SU-76 eliminated the air observer before he could call in the strike.  My ZiS-3 and SU-76 hid from the Pz. IV and by the end of the game it was just about all Rob had left.  I was able to claim three points for the win, and two extra points for the secondary and tertiary objectives.

For my third game I faced off against James and his fantastic looking japanese force.  We played the race-to-Arnhem table.  He had four infantry squads, a light tank, a light AT gun, two snipers, a light mortar, three suicide AT guys, and officer.  The mission was hold until relieved.  My assault engineers were absolutely lethal.  They roasted two infantry squads and a sniper.  Combined fire and successive assaults killed James’s other two infantry squads.  One of the buildings brewed up and James’s officer was caught in the conflagration.  This was another five point win.  The dense table really helped me get my units in close to the objective and assault range unmolested.  A sniper had one chance to kill the engineer’s flamethrower but failed to wound.

My fourth and final game was against Rich H’s Finnish force.  A win required one of us to hold the objective in the middle of the table–a large house.  A german officer in the woods (at the top of the photo below) provided the secondary objective.  Looking over Rich’s veteran list and the large LOS-blocking objective I concluded there was no way I could prevent him from contesting the objective.  I decided to play for the draw and try to rack up the extra points for the secondary and tertiary objectives.

The fighting around the house was cagey but unforgiving.  Rich pushed hard but he couldn’t draw LOS to shoot consistently.  I shuffled my scouts and a Guards squad around and used ambush orders on my SMG squad to discourage assaults.

On my left flank a rifle squad spent three turns trekking through a mushy field to capture the German officer and my heroic outflanking assault engineers flame-throwered Rich’s sniper and his deep recon squad (but only after it had killed my feckless ZiS-3).

By the end of turn six I had two attrited squads contesting the center building and Rich’s veterans and flame-thrower team (which had already killed my lethargic SU-76) were closing in.  I caught a break–finally for my rolling in this game–and ended the game on turn 6 with clutch roll.  I would have been hard pressed to contest the house for another turn.

 I ended the tournament with two wins, a draw, and loss, but I managed to claim two bonus points in each of my games so I finished with 16 out of 20 points.  I was surprised to learn that this put me towards the bottom of the allied table!  The games were enjoyable and it was great to put some names to faces.

Act 3

The combination of venue and organization made for a fantastic tournament.  The prize support was neck deep.  Twenty-two people traveled from far and wide to Cardiff for this event and it’s easy to see why.  I’m looking forward to the event next year.

There are a few ways this event could be improved.  These are minor suggestions and I’ll be doing my best to attend next year even if the event is a straight repeat!
1.  Missions?
The Axis players got absolutely beat to death.  Just about all of them finished in the single digits.  This suggests that they got the short end of the stick on the missions.  Some will say the more experienced tournament players go for the Allied lists because they are stronger, but that doesn’t explain the pounding inflicted on the Axis players.  The tables were fantastic, and I’m a big fan of having a mixture of heavy, medium, and light terrain tables.  Even though the desert table was bald it had two massive hills to block LOS.  My suggestion would be to keep the themed tables but use book missions with players rolling off for attacker/defender as normally.  The secondary and tertiary scoring system was great and I wouldn’t change that at all.
2.  Down with that sort of thing?
Something that left a bad taste was to see a few players reverse-moving recce units towards the enemy.  This is a well-known RAW exploit (the rules demand that a recce move be in reverse, but a wheeled recce unit can make two 90-degree turns before moving).  Certainly nobody in our gaming group has the chutzpah to do this.  My suggestion would be for the TO to knock this on its head either in the rulespack or at the player briefing.  There were a few other instances of WAACism–a player denying LOS from unit A to B but then claiming LOS from unit B to A with one of his dice.
3.  Comp?
In addition to missions, the TOs might want to look at the relative strengths of the Allied and Axis lists from the tournament as a possible explanation for the crushing Allied victory.  There was a good bit of recce-spam in the Allied lists, and none in the Axis lists.  Flamethrowers were much more prevalent on the Allied side of the table too.  Thankfully I don’t think anyone brought a vehicle flame-thrower.  We’re a big fan of the Australian 2014 Cancon tournament rulespack.  It is fairly straightforward:
1.  No dice limit.  2.  Single generic platoon only.  3.  No vehicle flame and 0-1 infantry flame.  4.  Inexperienced indirect fire requires a 6 then a 6 to hit on their ranging shots, then 6, then 5, etc.

These are minor suggestions.  This was the most fun I’ve had at a tournament in a long time.  The atmosphere was great, the venue fantastic, and the organization was flawless.  A big thanks to Ian, Jack, Dave, Rich and the rest of the organizers for a great weekend.

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