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Category: 2012 (page 1 of 2)

Flames of War at the ETC

If you’re reading this on a mobile or third-world internet connection, give up now. This is a long and very picture-heavy article.

Team Ireland went to the ETC and played some Flames of War. Sit, children, while I tell you how it went.

The venue was the Polish town of Gorzow. Lovely place but also home to the world’s most accidentally scatological statue. With a round of shots costing roughly five euro, we took an immediate liking to the place.

The locals are experienced organisers but this was their first year running Flames of War alongside the ETC. They felt had something to prove and just really outdid themselves. Let’s start with the terrain as the tables were nothing short of amazing. Here’s a small sample to show the breadth of winter, desert, urban, rural, eastern and western front tables.

The terrain maker also had an admirable sense of humour and eye for detail.

Aside from the actual terrain, it was all those little touches that warmed my blackened, stone heart and made me think very nice thoughts about the ETC Gorzow team.

On our arrival, we were issued with goodie bags. Aside from the rules pack, brochures and other paper items, we received our custom bidding cards, objectives and commemorative mugs. Cue vicious squabbling about who gets the mug with the best image.

The stall at the entrance were specialist wargaming traders rather than just generic game retailers. This was very clever. ETC wargamers are tournament veterans, they already own everything they need and are not likely to buy basic units. They will, however, go ape at the sight of piles of Microarts terrain, Titan Forge and Puppetswar products being sold cheaply.

The standard of painting was (aside from Team Ireland) of the highest standard. I didn’t run into a single army that had been painted to tournament standard only. They were all little works of art, lavished with fancy bases.

This is the English Panther list. Click it for a larger version, gaze on it and despair.

This is one part of the Soviet Cossack list. Find the soldiers playing a drinking game if you think your eyes can take the strain.

They also went all out on the optional extras. My Russian opponent had his own special objective marker for his Ersatz Engineers. He was not alone.

On to the preparation, training and tactics bit now. We arrived on Friday, dumped our bags in the hotel, visited the other Team Irelands and then swept and cleared the immediate area of all suspect alcohol. By five the next morning, we felt our work was done.

As you can guess, team morale was sky-high going into Day 1. Our glorious captain led us bright-eyed and bushy-tailed into the first round. We eagerly ran through our warm-up sessions, bounding with energy.

Day 1, five minutes before round start.

The judges match us against the Swedes. The three ETC veterans on the team start shifting uncomfortably and muttering about “they’re always really good”, ” remember 2011?” and “I’m scared”.

They turn out to be more casual than their dreaded 40K country-mates.

The mission requires the attacker to break through enemy lines, established diagonally across the board and grab an objective deep in the far quarter. Stalling my attack into the left and centre, Per lures me into a push against the unguarded artillery position on the right. Its all going well until his panzers appear on the my flank. The resulting ambush destroys most of my tanks, leaving the command units exposed and doomed.

My opponent was wily and cunning but he didn’t realise that the dice gods prefer their players drunk and stupid. As the fight goes on, his gunners suffer temporary blindness and my commanders suddenly lose their ability to miss. The flank collapses and I break through to the objectives.

Command StuGs stall the enemy attack just short of the artillery.

A quick scan shows that things have gone well. Three wins, two losses and a draw gets us the round win.

Ireland Score Score Sweden Result
Padraic 4 3 Per Win
Tony 1 6 Simon Loss
Ulick 1 3 Patrik Draw
Brian 4 3 Staffan Win
Joe 5 2 Helge Win
Baz 1 3 Andreas Draw

Eleventh of twenty teams, solid stuff. We exchange relieved looks and go eat bratwurst. We come back to find that our next opponents are the Russians. Instinctively, we feel that this might be a tough match. They’re considered good at the whole WW2 thing.

Tigers wait to pounce.
Kill it. Kill it quickly.

Once again, my blind aggression combines with unbelievable luck as I blunder through Dennis’s careful and measured ambushes, minefields and defensive fire. An ill conceived first attack fails miserably, killing my unlucky unit of StuGs but I have enough to throw in a second assault and hold the objective against all counter-attacks. Looking to the rest of the team, it appears we’ve done it again.

Despite again scoring less points than the opposition in our games, we have managed to record three wins, two loses and a draw. A second round win! We run to the board to see how high we’ve placed.

Ireland Score Score Russia Result
Padraic 4 3 Dennis Win
Tony 1 6 Michael Loss
Ulick 1 3 Ilya Draw
Brian 4 3 Alexey Win
Joe 5 2 Alexander Win
Baz 2 5 Pavel Loss

Huh? We scurry to our rules packs and realise that round victories are actually meaningless.Your score is the total of all battle won across all rounds. Worryingly as our wins were small and our losses glorious but large, we’re also falling behind the other teams on the secondary tie-breaker.

Over bratwurst, we discuss the standings. Even if we have only advanced one spot, we feel pretty good about our chances. Things are going well, we just beat the Russians. Hell, we could still win this thing. We’ve drawn the Slovenians and honestly, how good could they be?

I get a little nervous as he sets up a strong defensive line running the width of the board. Despite dozens of turns attempting to pick apart his position, he’s just too good for me. Every time I try a clever gambit, it turns out that he’s already noticed the threat and taken steps to baulk me about two turns earlier. The game ends with my first defeat. Still, the others will probably make up for it.

Ireland Score Score Slovenia Result
Padraic 3 4 Andrej Loss
Tony 1 6 Matic Loss
Ulick 1 6 Jan Loss
Brian 3 4 Primoz Loss
Joe 3 4 Frazer Loss
Baz 3 4 Tevz Loss

Or not. Poor Tony. As a Sherman player, he instinctively hates and fears the Tiger tank. Demonstrating its inherent kindness, the universe keeps raining Tigers on his battered little tank company.

That’s the end of Day 1, three games played. The last one was rough but we should still be somewhere mid-table…

Second last?! A quick team meeting ascertains that our performance took a dip as we sobered up. I swear not to allow that to happen again. Kebabs, drinking, second dinner, drinking, brief visit to a bizarre Polish squat/house rave, more drinking and an hour of sleep happen, in that order.

The next morning is quite painful but I stagger into battle. I have this strange feeling of being intensely warm. I wonder if I’m running a massive fever or if it’s some new, rare form of hangover.

My challenger steps up and offsets my discomfort by breaking into a nervous sweat once he sees my army/deployment.

It’s only after the match, that I realise that the air temperature is actually in the high thirties, I don’t have a fever and his sweating is totally unrelated to my tactical genius. Damn.

My opponent has a simple plan, sit in his trenches, hit me with anti-tank guns and tank hunters while fighter-bombers scream over me. He enacts it well and I bumble around ineffectively, getting blown up, until an unforced error leaves his right flank vulnerable. Some screams and grinding of tracks later, my armour starts to roll up his line.

But he’s done enough to stop me and the game ends on turn 8 with a deserved win for Memanja.

Ireland Score Score Serbia Result
Padraic 3 4 Nemanja Loss
Tony 1 6 Zoran Loss
Ulick 5 2 Milan Win
Brian 1 6 Milos Loss
Joe 1 6 Stefan Loss
Baz 6 1 Predac Win

Overall, provided the Slovenians have murdered some other team, we should be a little safer. Our captain, Baz, and Ulick begin to preen themselves and give long speeches about their inherent superiority and desire to win. The rest of us eat some bratwurst.

Last?!
We quickly revise our objective from “win the ETC” to “don’t finish last”. Game faces are put on. People start actually reading their rule-books. The judges pair us with the Hungarians.

We face off across a crowded battlefield. I gently probe into the factory sector. He lures me in and chops up a unit of StuGs. I realise that I’m totally outclassed and start defending. Nothing else much happens as his infantry show no real urge to start standing in the open under my guns. A draw, with my opponent grabbing an extra point.

Having done nothing to get us off the bottom of the table, I go check on the others. Three draws. A loss. A win. And…. Brian gets us a last-ditch win.

Ireland Score Score Hungary Result
Padraic 1 2 Peter Draw
Tony 1 6 Andras Loss
Ulick 1 1 Peteq Draw
Brian 6 1 Andreas Win
Joe 5 2 Istvan Win
Baz 2 2 Zoltan Draw

After some bratwurst, we conscripted a passing Spaniard as the official team photographer and make him take our official team shot. And then it was time to check the final standings.

We rejoice, not last, not even second last. Third last. That’s practically mid-table. Sorta. Nearly. We wipe our collective brows and enjoy the awards ceremony.

ETC 2012 Final Results

Well another ETC has passed and as the dust settles, one thing is for sure: England put a very strong showing in this year, winning the 40K and are rumoured to have come 3rd in Fantasy.

More after the break. UPDATE- now with Fantasy results


Team Ireland have managed their first top ten finish in 40K ETC history. Well done to Mike and the boys for an impressive 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses. The final results are here, courtesy of the 40kETC wordpress page.

Congratulations to Team Northern Ireland for finally popping their ETC cherry by beating the Dutch and the Norwegians!

Warhammer 40,000 Results
WFB Final Results

Place – TEAM – VP Total – Actual BP – Modified BP – Penalty
1 POLAND 29978 631 564
2 AUSTRIA 5108 564 536
3 ENGLAND 13102 554 530
4 DENMARK 16917 551 526 -1
5 GERMANY 9381 547 523
6 FRANCE 7874 525 521 -2
7 GREECE 8301 531 518
8 SWEDEN 5835 511 514
9 ITALY 6561 520 506 -1
10 FINLAND 4772 511 504
11 SPAIN 9792 528 500
12 UNITED STATES 1415 490 494
13 MALTA -1746 460 488
14 SCOTLAND 6009 498 487
15 NORWAY 4604 492 485
16 SINGAPORE 1687 491 485
17 AUSTRALIA -81 482 484
18 RUSSIA -6631 481 484
19 BELARUS -1599 468 474
20 NEW ZEALAND -2009 465 474
21 UNITED NATION -7715 444 465
22 IRELAND 887 463 462
23 UKRAINE -7179 457 462
24 CZECH -6923 449 459
25 NETHERLANDS -5609 440 457
26 LATVIA -8494 436 448
27 SERBIA -4364 443 447
28 BULGARIA -3574 424 444
29 NORTHERN IRELAND -10165 429 442
30 WALES -16637 399 441
31 BELGIUM -7529 425 438
32 SWITZERLAND -16728 396 424
33 CANADA -11577 418 418
34 HUNGARY -12761 393 416

Bye, I’m off to invade Poland

The Nerd Olympics are upon us. The 40K and Fantasy teams are packing for/flying to/have arrived in Poland for the ETC. The FoW teams are running a day behind. Best of luck to the Irish and an almost equal but noticeably lesser amount of luck to the Northern Irish teams. The War Altar will attempt some live-blogging from the event but we make no promises. There are likely to be technical difficulties.

Take a moment to share in my joy as my entire army fits in a single foam shelf. As a Tyranid player, my baggage requirements were sky-high. I had an entire KR case specifically to transport the eighty-plus termagaunts I’d spawn in a game. This is better.

With a day of last-minute training planned for tomorrow and all my bags packed, how can I best use my time today?

Yes… research.

Team Ireland Fantasy and the ETC

Our first post looked at the 40K team, now let’s look at Team Ireland Fantasy. We’re operating at a slight disadvantage as none of us have played for Team Ireland Fantasy. Despite the lack of expertise, I’ve gathered some key information.

1) The history of Team Ireland Fantasy starts a year earlier, in 2009.
2) Do not get into a lift with a drunken Woody.
3) Team development has been a slow-burning process.

Four Nations Championship 2009

There almost no information out there on this event but I have the final standings (below) and an artist’s representation of some of the players (above). Majestic beasts from the time before. Not very good at the old Warhammer, though. I’m guessing it was a whitewash.
Nation Game Points
England 611
Scotland 420
Northern Ireland 374
Ireland 195

European Team Championship 2009

Ireland’s first ETC team have a rough first outing, consoling themselves with some points stolen from our Northern neighbours. Despite the relentless beatings, morale remains very high. Sport psychologists trace this mental resilience to the lethal doses of alcohol consumed by the players. Really, this team shouldn’t be alive.

Round 1: Czech Republic 100-60 Ireland
Round 2: Northern Ireland 95-65 Ireland
Round 3: Portugal 100-60 Ireland
Round 4: Scotland 100-60 Ireland
Round 5: Netherlands 100-60 Ireland
Round 6: Croatia 115- 45 Ireland

Team Points
1. Italy 571
2. Poland 550
3. Denmark 529
4. Germany 511
5. Austria 507
6. Slovenia 504
7. Sweden 503
8. Switzerland 494
9. Finland 490
10. Czech 490
11. Australia 486
12. Greece 485
13. Norway 478
14. England 474
15. Russia 469
16. Belgium 466
17. Portugal 464
18. France 461
19. Northern Ireland 455
20. Hungary 448
21. Croatia 447
22. Scotland 437
23. Netherlands 428
24. Ireland 350
 

Home Nations Championship 2010

There’s plenty of photos out there but very little detail on the round by round results. By looking at the final table, it does not appear to have gone well for the Irish. On a positive note, it can’t be denied that they are closing the gap on the opposition. The Northern Irish and Welsh look nervously over their shoulders.

Because they don’t want surprise hugs from naked, drunken Irishmen.


Nation Game Points
England 471
United Nations 453
Scotland 414
Wales 364
Northern Ireland 361
Ireland 311
 

European Team Championship 2010

A glorious tournament for Team Ireland. They are awarded the Most Sporting award and score their first win, paddling a probably surprised Welsh team. Their remaining opponents are less gracious but the defeats are not total. Note that they have played the Scots in every tournament thus far. The steady, if slow, improvement continues as they stumble off the bottom of the leader board into 25th place.

Round 1: Switzerland 100-60  Ireland
Round 2: Scotland 93-67 Ireland
Round 3: Latvia 95-65 Ireland
Round 4: Canada 89-71 Ireland
Round 5: Ireland 99-61 Wales

Round 6: Northern Ireland 97-63 Ireland
1 Denmark 568 (240)
2 Italy 565 (282)
3 Germany 527 (94)
4 Australia 511 (116)
5 Norway 511 (66)
6 Russia 509 (54)
7 Greece 505 (76)
8 Poland 505 (50)
9 Sweden 503 (68)
10 United States 498 (76)
11 Spain 495 (16)
12 Slovenia 494 (82)
13 Austria 493 (64)
14 New Zealand 493 (30)
15 Finland 487 (56)
16 England 485 (48)
17 Scotland 484 (12)
18 Belgium 484 (-10)
19 Northern Ireland 480 (-36)
20 Croatia 476 (-22)
21 France 473 (-10)
22 Switzerland 472 (-26)
23 Czech Republic 463 (12)
24 Malta 452 (-48)
25 Ireland (Most Sporting) 445 (-122)
26 Portugal 436 (-76)
27 Canada 434 (-126)
28 Hungary 433 (-178)
29 Latvia 427 (-134)
30 Netherlands 427 (-182)
31 Serbia 416 (-172)
32 Wales 382 (-300)
 

Six Nations Championship 2011

No photos of the Edinburgh tournament can be found but I think I’ve got the essence of it. The French replace the United Nations team to make it a true Six Nations contest. The Irish may lose most of their games but the results are better than in previous years as they hold close to the French.

Some make wild claims that they might make it out of the bottom quarter at the ETC proper.

Round 1: Wales 86-74 Ireland
Round 2: Scotland 100-60 Ireland
Round 3: Northern Ireland 94-66 Ireland
Round 4: France 81-79 Ireland

Round 5: England 100-60 Ireland
Nation Game Points Victory Points
England 483 48008
Scotland 440 47332
Northern Ireland 404 41153
France 397 38031
Ireland 339 38286
Wales 337 30371

European Team Championship 2011

We’re not sure how it happened but the Fantasy boys become the first Irish team to make it into the top ten. Showboating pricks.

Drinking slightly less than normal, the Irish score three wins, including a heavy defeat of Scotland. Three years of brutal oppression are avenged. Their heaviest defeat comes at the hands of the champions, Poland. It’s all a massive shock and they actually get more cheers for their performance than the actual winning teams. Totally not jealous though.

Round 1: Poland 94-66 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 89-71 Czech Republic
Round 3: USA 86-74 Ireland
Round 4: Latvia 88-72 Ireland
Round 5: Ireland 94-66 Scotland

Round 6: Ireland 100-60 Belgium
1 Poland 573 (242)
2 Denmark 541 (230)
3 Russia 518 (136)
4 Italy 517 (144)
5 Sweden 516 (144)
6 United States 506 (22)
7 Austria 505 (128)
8 Norway 504 (58)
9 France 497 (48)
10 Ireland 495 (30)
11 Spain 494 (58)
12 England 493 (54)
13 Finland 478 (28)
14 Germany 476 (38)
15 Switzerland 476 (-56)
16 Greece 474 (50)
17 Croatia 473 (-12)
18 Netherlands 470 (-36)
19 Latvia 464 (-14)
20 Scotland 461 (-8)
21 Czech Republic 460 (-40)
22 Belgium 460 (-88)
23 Northern Ireland 450 (-84)
24 New Zealand 450 (-94)
25 Australia 438 (-154)
26 Hungary 417 (-276)
27 Wales 401 (-210)
28 Serbia 364 (-338)

Six Nations Championship 2012

We watched with interest as they marched off to somewhere up North. The unasked question was whether the ETC was a lucky fluke. It was not. Their ETC form continues as the Irish win three out of five games to achieve their best result at the championship to date. Like the 40K team, they win by large margins, reflecting a clear skill advantage.

Only a very strong French team can deny them the top spot but our hopes are raised…

Round 1: Ireland 100-60 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 94-66 Wales
Round 3: Ireland 88-72 Scotland
Round 4: England 83-77 Ireland

Round 5: France 95-65 Ireland
Nation Game Points VP Difference
France 452 10086
Ireland 419 2028
Wales 417 4969
England 410 4826
Scotland 392 -2788
Barbarians 300 -24121

 European Team Championship 2012

From humble beginnings, Team Ireland Fantasy have built on their experience and gradually improved. I hope that the steady development will translate into steady progress in the ETC. Judging by their form at the Six Nations, I see Team Ireland holding their position in the top ten but I’m not sure if I see them pushing into contention for the medals this year. Happy to be proved wrong, though.

Team Ireland 40K and the ETC

It’s almost a week until the European Team Championship kicks off. This year, Team Ireland have three chances of nabbing a trophy. Our crack teams of hardened baby-killers will be competing in the Fantasy ETC for the fourth year, the 40K ETC for the third year and the Flames of War ETC for the first time.

In honour of the Nerd Olympics, we’re running a two part series on the history of Team Ireland. We’ll look at 40K today and Fantasy this weekend. This should give the uninitiated a quick guide to our record on the international stage. The records are somewhat patchy, we’re definitely missing some team photos but we’re pretty confident that the following is true. Please correct me on any errors.

First up, a brief history of Team Ireland 40K…

Home Nations Championship 2010

The first Home Nations Championship was held in Firestorm Games in Cardiff. Inspired by its Fantasy counterpart, it was considered a warmup for the ETC proper. It was a glorious debut. After triumphing over every other nation, they found time to display the glaring weakness of every Irish sporting team by almost bottling it against the softest opposition. For Team Ireland, their first international event was also their first, and to date only, tournament success. Great things were expected…

Round 1: Ireland beat Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland beat Wales
Round 3: Ireland beat England
Round 4: Ireland beat Scotland
Round 5: Ireland draw with the Barbarians.
Nation Match Points Game Points
Ireland 9 490
England 7 509
Wales 7 466
Scotland 4 386
Barbarians 3 386
Northern Ireland 0 163

 

European Team Championship 2010

Arrogant in their victory, the 40K team spent almost all their training time on the beach, drinking heavily. Although they won their first game, their hubris was their undoing. They suffered their first ever defeat in the second round. Most regrettably, it was at the hands of our ancient enemies, the Vikings. Draws against the Czechs and Welsh left us facing some familiar and vengeful faces. A defeat at the hands of our other ancient enemies, England, and a draw with the Faroe Islands left the team finishing a disappointing 19th of 24 nations. Hungover players trudged home.

Round 1: Ireland 86-74 Hungary
Round 2: Finland 110-50 Ireland
Round 3: Ireland 79-81 Czech Republic
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Wales
Round 5: England 92-68 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 81-79 The Faroe Islands
1 Poland 10 (280)
2 Germany 9 (162)
3 Spain 9 (132)
4 Sweden 8 (118)
4 United States 8 (118)
6 Switzerland 8 (16)
7 Latvia 7 (38)
8 England 7 (32)
9 Russia 7 (-30)
10 Denmark 7 (-56)
11 France 6 (52)
11 Ukraine 6 (52)
13 Belarus 6 (20)
14 Italy 6 (-2)
15 Austria 5 (10)
16 Faroe Islands 5 (-28)
17 Finland 5 (-44)
17 Hungary 5 (-44)
19 Ireland 5 (-64)
20 Scotland 4 (16)
21 Wales 4 (-70)
22 Czech Republic 4 (-132)
23 Belgium 2 (-162)
24 Northern Ireland 1 (-414)

There was a short film made at the event, which you can find here.

 

Home Nations Championship 2011

With the hosting rights going to the champions, the 2010 Championship was held in Cork. Our bid to retain the title ran into trouble immediately. A first round draw with a strangely effective Team Northern Ireland gave those sorry souls their second international point and riled the Irish team into action. They took it all out on some innocent Barbarians and went on to beat the Scots to end Day 1, just behind the leaders. Day 2 was far less successful, a narrow draw against the Welsh prefaced our first Home Nations defeat. The English beat us to claim the title and knock us into third place.

Round 1: Ireland 85-75 Northern Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 106-54 Barbarians
Round 3: Ireland 86-74 Scotland
Round 4: Wales 81-79 Ireland

Round 5: England 93-67 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points VP Difference
England 9 529 12144
Wales 8 472 4919
Ireland 6 423 2532
Scotland 4 367 1207
Northern Ireland 3 340 -7000
Barbarians 0 269 -13802

 

European Team Championship 2011

Following in the proud tradition of 90s-era Irish football teams, Team Ireland open their campaign by avenging themselves on the team that beat them in the previous ETC. Finland are convincingly crushed in what proves to be a false dawn. A disappointing draw with Belgium is followed by a defeat at the hands of those other Vikings, Sweden. The second day sees Ireland unlucky to draw with Denmark, lose heavily to the host nation and smash an under-strength Austrian team. Two wins, two draws and two losses show an improvement on the previous year but no-one is pleased with a mid-table finish.

Round 1: Ireland 91-69 Finland
Round 2: Ireland 82-78 Belgium
Round 3: Sweden 122-38 Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 84-76 Denmark
Round 5: Switzerland 105-55 Ireland
Round 6: Ireland 103-57 Austria

1 Germany 10 (258)
2 Poland 10 (134)
3 United States 9 (140)
4 Sweden 8 (158)
5 Spain 8 (58)
6 France 8 (52)
7 Wales 8 (-6)
8 England 7 (36)
8 Finland 7 (36)
10 Switzerland 7 (24)
11 Latvia 7 (2)
12 Denmark 6 (-6)
13 Ireland 6 (-76)
14 Belarus 5 (36)
15 Italy 5 (24)
16 Scotland 5 (-6)
17 Russia 5 (-26)
18 European Union 5 (-48)
19 Belgium 5 (-120)
20 Northern Ireland 4 (-40)
21 Czech Republic 3 (-50)
22 Austria 3 (-60)
23 Norway 2 (-436)
24 Greece 1 (-264)

 

Six Nations Championship 2012 

Here’s where it all becomes second-hand information. You’ll see that the competition was renamed the Six Nations Championship. Belgium were invited to join, probably due to the hope that they would bring waffles. The tournament starts badly for Team Ireland with the first loss to a Welsh side. But the Irish avenge themselves on the Belgians and Northern Irish for previous draws and beat the Scots once more. The scope of those wins suggests a team unlikely to stumble against weaker opposition. But the English once again prove too strong and take the gold.

Round 1: Wales 87-73 Ireland
Round 2: Ireland 103-57 Belgium
Round 3: Ireland 118-42 Northern Ireland
Round 4: Ireland 113 -47 Scotland

Round 5: England 89-71 Ireland
Nation Match Points Game Points
England 10 569
Wales 8 518
Ireland 6 478
Scotland 3 294
Belgium 3 287
Northern Ireland 0 222

 

 European Team Championship 2012

So, that’s Team Ireland 40K. Born in victory, somewhat less glorious ever since. But each year sees new hope as another team steps up.  The Six Nations results bode well for Ireland. If they can continue to mangle weaker teams this proficiently, then we could see Team Ireland 40K finishing within the top ten for the first time. The first round will tell us a great deal, the Latvians are one of the top ten teams and a good result would be excellent.

BristolScale7’s ETC Army Showcase

The European Team Championship is just two weeks away and Team Ireland Flames of War is putting the finishing preparations on immunizations, liver function tests, and painting and modeling.

 The list I’m bringing to the ETC is a Peredovoye Otryad (“Forward Detachment”).


It’s a mechanized force with the “always attacks” directive.  This means it attacks armored companies which lack the same directive in addition to attacking mechanized and infantry companies.   Armored lists are not the best on defense so my list has the potential to throw them off their game plan.  The list defends against armored companies with “always attacks” and I’ll roll-off against another mechanized “always attacks.”  I did well with a version of this list in May at a single day tournament in Birmingham.  The pairing system for Flames of War makes it damn near impossible to guarantee an ideal match-up so most lists are well rounded.  Mine is capable of aggresive attacking and should be able to defend well against an armored force.

My army is painted and ready to go.  I wanted to try to recreate the look of rasputitsa–“the time without roads.”  Every year the spring thaw and rains turn unpaved roads into quagmires.  It’s been a notorious feature of warfare in Russia since Napoleon’s invasion.

Below is the command group of the list.  The Commander-in-Chief has a T-34/85.  The 2iC is relagated to a lend-lease jeep, as is the battalion kommissar.

Eight T-34/85s form the core of the list. These are very good tanks which are handi-capped by the Soviet “Hen and Chicks” special rule.  This requires all tanks to either move or remain stationary.  If the tanks move they add +1 to-hit in addition to dropping from 2 to 1 shot each.  If you can get them into position and let them blaze away they mete out serious pain.

I’m happy with the way this unit turned out, but some of the decals need to be replaced.  

Below are the elite spetsnatz.  They are both an infiltration and a reconnaissance unit.  As you can see, they drive around in captured German half-tracks.  Crucially, if I’m the attacker and “prepared positions” is in the mission the spetsnatz give the unit of T34/85s a 16″ infiltration move before the game starts.  As a recon unit they also protect against enemy ambushes and can reveal cowering troops to the rest of my force.

The list is mechanized and this is because one of the core choices must be an infantry platoon.  I’ve got a small (by Soviet standards) squad of tank riders armed with SMGs and two heavy machineguns.  In defense they’ll dig in and try to hold ground.  On the attack they’ll hitch a ride on tanks.  Alternatively, the spetsnatz can infiltrate these guys 16″ rather than the T-34/85s.  This could be a good option if I’m attacking into the teeth of ambushing tank killers.

 
Here we have a unit of lend-lease ZSU-M17 anti-aircraft half-tracks.  These are great models from Battlefront and I’m very happy with their look.  Each vehicle has a quad .50 mount.  This makes them great at taking out enemy planes but they also shred infantry and lightly armored targets.  Air power is improved in V3 and we were all wondering how many lists would bring air.   Now that the lists are published it seems that each team has one or two lists with air power. 

Because I may be attacking infantry lists I need some punch to deal with soft targets.  These SU-122s are one of the most optimal units in Red Bear, the late-war Soviet compendium.  Although they also suffer from the “Hen and Chicks” rule they have two potent characteristics.  First, they can use the Soviet “volley fire” special rule.  If the SU-122s remain stationary this rule allows them to re-roll to hit against any target within 16″.  Each SU-122 gets two shots so this is very nice indeed.  Second, the guns are obr.1938 122mm howitzers.  These are classified as breaktrhough guns which means that unarmored targets receive no saving throw.  I’m a  big fan of this unit, and evidently Team England is as well because one of their lists has sixteen SU-122s!

Finally we come to the heavies: three IS-2s.  Some will say that these are not optimal, that they have a low rate of fire and are too slow.  The points would be better spent on more T-34s they would argue.  Perhaps, but I have a sentimental attachment to these guys.  The key is avoiding nasty German tanks (Panthers, King Tigers) and tank-killers (Jagdpanthers, Hornisses).  The ETC allows “Blue-on-Blue” games which means there is a chance I’ll play against allied lists.  The British, Canadians, and Americans struggle mightly with IS-2s.  If they do make it to the enemy lines they can be devastating in assaults.

Thus concludes the overview of my mechanized list.  It has six platoons, three of which are fully armored. In missions with reserves where I’m defending I’ll be able to start with my IS-2s, T-34/85s, and either the tank riders, spetsnatz, or ZSU-M17s on the table.  The models turned out well.  There’s no best painted prize in their future but I’ve taken a workman-like approach to them and they look good on the table.

Stay tuned for a review of another Team Ireland Flames of War list next week.

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #4





“Look sir! Droids!”

Seriously zoom in on that picture above and check out the detail Tony (below) was able to get out of those minis, amazing stuff. For more on Tony’s painting check out his page on OnTheStep.net
So last time we saw my Skids face off against the might of Barra’s American glider company. This time around the league had escalated again, this time to 1750 points! The remainder of the league will now be played at this level. This was a genius stroke by the dude running the league, Vice-Captain of the ETC Team, Brian McK, or Bristolscale7 to you and me, author of several posts on this very blog. Escalating the league so quickly would’ve failed and resulted in a massive loss of interest if it weren’t for the team’s Captain and Vice-Captain working so closely with everyone taking part to help each player with almost one-to-one tutorials during each competitive game which got us all up to speed really quickly and spawned a team ethos of shared knowledge between players taking part.
This was, of course, done out of necessity since Team Ireland aren’t just attending the ETC to represent Ireland for the first time in FoW but to do some damage as well!
Anyway on with the blogging! This week I got to play Tony, a recent addition to the Warheads family who fits in brilliantly, which, standing at 6’4″ isn’t always easy for the back-row forward rugby playing/soldier/supergiant/goliath although somehow he fitted into a Nissan Micra last week…
My studious opponent.

I had a lot of fun in this game since some of the rules are starting to click and the old brain is kicking out the permutations a little more as to what happens if I move within 16″ to shoot and then use my storm-trooper move to run away again or if I just stay still and accept the long range penalty (the answer is it makes no difference and I’m just a moron).

Tony’s neatly painted observers were going to give me some trouble…

We played the ‘Surrounded’ mission on P. 282 of the new shiny rulebook released for Flames of War where basically I had a load of Brits shooting at me and I had to dig in (really brings me back to good old Buncrana).

Ye olde town-village
The terrain in this game is pretty cool even though part of me misses the ultra-depressing gothic ruins of 40k with For the Emperor being replaced by Tally-ho  :'(

And we’re off!
In case I didn’t mention I play the 5th Panzerkubbflefunken-regimentasticflughle Waffen SS list for now and just so we’re clear…we’re the good guys. Why else would we like kittens so much?
“Tell us where you hid the Jews meow…”
That kitten was a great sport… So Tony got on with his deployment leaving his mortars far back (with those pesky observers cleverly placed near the church steeple to occupy it early on in the game) and his Sherman squadrons poised to strike across the bridge. 
This was an interesting choice and if it were me I may have gone for a full frontal assault on the other side of the table negating the negative affects of the river.

Up and at them.
Tony’s Shermans were mixed in with Fireflies. Until this game I didn’t know what a Firefly (<3 Joss  Whedon) tank was then Tony told me it was a Sherman that could blow the hell out of Panzers…
A crowd gathers to watch our tense game…
Tony, as the attacker in this mission, got the first turn and took quick action by bogging down his first tank with the first roll (FYI next turn that same tank failed a skill check to get back in the tank, the turn after that they passed a skill check but then failed a terrain test and the turn after that they failed to get back in again!). His Shermans on the other side of the river near the middle of the table pushed forward and unleashed some angry glances at my Panther tanks.
“OMG that coat with that shirt?! Scandalous.”
One pretty nifty thing Tony did though was fire smoke rounds from his mortars way at the back at my Panzers. Covering them up like this basically meant I had to get the hell away from the smoke or just sit there without returning effective fire.

Smmoookin’
My turn began by…turning my other tanks in the correct direction to face the enemy and then being plagued by indecision as to what tanks I should shoot at first. I eventually elected to shoot the hell out of his commander but instead my tanks decided to exchange pleasantries with the friendly Brits and didn’t hit a thing.

Still more of a crowd gathers…
Tony’s tanks kept trundling forward towards my precious objectives (I know they appear to be wheat fields but they’re actually 3rd generation nuclear fission reactors…). He took some more pot shots with his Shermans not being able to make much of a dent in my armour and his artillery tactics now changed to harassing my troop transports with some bombardments to surprising effect.

A gasp from our onlookers at the tense awesomeness of Joey -v- Tony.
Mach snell! I screamed at mein tank commanders and they listened with gusto as they started taking a serious toll on the Shermans now wiping a few out in quick succession. It was looking less likely that Tony’s tanks would be able to shift the might of the Fatherland.

I did Nazi that coming.
And so it was that the mighty Panther tanks couldn’t be shifted. Eventually Tony did reach my lines and the crews stayed and had a few pints but at the end of it all I had to blow the shit out of them.
Next time: Fast and Führious

-Joey

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #3

Well even though Owen paints much better Skids than me (see comment section on last week’s post) I’m going to throw up a picture of my horrendously painted models anyway. I’m going for a snow effect colour scheme for my boys (the vunderfull vaffen SS) fighting the filthy communists on the Eastern Front. I wanted to go for something that looked like the paint had literally been slapped on by an incompetent buffoon. This is something I turned out to be quite effective at for whatever reason…. 
Buffoon couture.

How I did it was by undercoating in black first then giving the hull a coat of Fortress Grey and the tracks a drybrush of Boltgun Metal before inking the whole damn thing with watered down black ink. After this I got a fine sponge (the densely packed stuff you find in figure cases) and dabbled a little bit of Skull White onto it. After removing most of the white (like you would before drybrushing) I liberally dabbed the white onto the model to create a kind of pebbledash of white paint on the hull.
This actually represents accurately what the Germans did themselves on the Eastern Front since whitewash paint wasn’t really available they literally slapped whatever white looking crap they could onto the side of their tanks.
Not this kind of white looking crap…

My room smells like Chaos Black spraypaint now…and beer…but mostly spraypaint.
It was good to do a bit of painting again since it’s been a while and, for once, it wasn’t power armour! It was even better that I got all of this done in about 45 minutes:

Yes I said 45 minutes…and this game is cheap as hell, Y U NO PLAY ALREADY??!
So it was time to find myself a real life opponent. I’m taking part in the Warheads inaugural Flames of War League which is on every Thursday night in Gamer’s World, Dublin. It’s an escalation league so it goes 1250, 1500 and then 1750 points values to get everyone up to playing ETC level as quickly as possible. At first I thought I’d be borrowing whole armies for weeks but like I said above the stuff is so unbelievably easy to paint and you can do an entire army for about fifty euro even with the PhD workload I’m able to field more than half an army of my own stuff already!
So my opponent this week was the wonderful Bazweena (or Irish ETC Captain Barra to you and me):
always the bridesmaid…
Baz, getting into the swing of competitive ETC play early on in his Flames of War career was fielding some complete bullshit shield list of American sky riders (I shit you not a complete glider army…) which comprised the 40k equivalent of 25 thunder hammer/storm shield terminators supported by nine imperial guard basilisks.

Aerial recce shot of my pretty tanks about to get blown sky high by that massive plane on the right.
The mission was a lot of fun (any objective mission in FoW is ended at the start of your turn if you have any objective without the enemy nearby….) and was pretty close right up to the end. We fought over the French town of…let’s just say Bourgogne, pictured in exquisite detail below.
I quite like the terrain actually and a lot of the FoW stuff for the league has been provided by the players taking part!
At the back of his table corner Baz had a bunch of artillery whereas over on the right of the picture he had a platoon of US Airborne holed up on an objective (horribly difficult to shift when dug in and concealed).

Our spotters had spotted a major firefight unfolding between the German Heer and some lowly Canadians. Apparently we later found out the dastardly Canucks called in a massive airstrike and Padraic’s sad-face told us all what Canadian air-power was all aboot.
Back to the mission at hand for me, I made full speed towards the nearest objective and after softening the burger-eating invasion monkeys up with some MG fire I assaulted them in numbers and because of the awesome German half track rules (last week’s post!) came off the better for it. Unfortunately Baz spent the entire next turn firing every piece of artillery on the continent at my poor half tracks and destroyed all but two of them in one fell swoop.
🙁
Still though it didn’t need to be troops on the objective to take it just anything in my force so my Panzers moved into occupation mode and braced themselves for a withering round of fire to come from the artillery confident that if  they survived Baz had no troops nearby to contest.

I’ve got you now American swine-dog!
So Baz shot me with some stuff while moving his reserve airborne (who had arrived by now) closer to my tanks hoping to assault that turn and deny the objective to me. Logically when he opened fire with the artillery I removed the closest two Panzers until I got bullshit-rules-lawyered by our gracious Captain who claimed that by the ‘rules’ he could assault a tank that had already been blown up and consolidate onto the objective (dick).
What did Jew say?

By now the rest of Baz’s army decided to show up and blow the last of my tanks to smithereens.

You win this round Bazweena….

It was a learning experience to say the least, a big step up from my first game which was basically rolling to hit and kill etc. This game was much more intricate with Baz not holding back on any rules.

Next time: I said a glass of juice, not gas the Jews!

– Joey

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #2

Willkommen mein herren, to ze second instalment of mein journey into Flames of War (FoW).


Last time I discussed about what a cool game it is and some history behind my dudes, this time I hope to delve a bit more into the make-up of the list I’ll be playing; a mechanised German SS Company.

This is my chariot of choice^, the versatile Sd. Kfz. 251 (or Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 to the cool kidz) but we’re going to call them Skids from here on in mostly because it means me not having to pronounce that word in my head each time or use that ungodly acronym again. It was an incredibly versatile vehicle (pronounced va-hick-ill to our friends in Navan) with 23 official variants (like comms, artillery, weapon upgrades, AA, etc.) and a billion unofficial addons:

These vehicles form the core of my mechanised list, carrying around both my Commander, 2ic, platoon commanders and the platoons themselves. They have some neat special rules, some German and some just for half tracks and give you great bang for your buck. I won’t go too much into the special rules but will try and highlight just what makes these glorified tractors so good.
1. They’re Half-Tracks
– so they move 12″ just like wheeled vehicles and can go 18″ on roads. FoW is played on a 6’x4′ just like Warhammer 40,000 or WHFB so you can see quickly that transports tend to move at respectable speeds in this game too.
2. They don’t have wheels…
– so they don’t get stopped by very difficult going terrain types instead they need to take a skill test to get passed them. While this is dangerous enough at least it gives you the option of jumping on that objective whereas a jeep would just whimper and turn back.
The same applies to barbed wire so wheeled transports can’t even attempt to get passed them and tracked vehicles can. It’s not necessarily an easy skill test to make but like I said having the option of entering that part of the battlefield opens up for the game for you and, just as importantly, your opponent.
3. Mounted Assault

….that’s exactly what I was implying.
Back on topic, German mechanised units have this really cool special rule that essentially makes every Skid a Land Raider! It’s exactly as cool as it sounds, so these half tracks are more versatile than wheeled vehicles and more versatile again when compared with opposition half-tracked vehicles.
4. Halt! Hammerzeit!
– Obligatory picture to follow but first some rules. In FoW whenever a transport delivers it’s fleshy human cargo to an objective/assault/cover etc. they’re sent to the back of the lines i.e. removed from the game. Coming from 40k I was pretty shocked at this but was quite relieved when I read the German special rule that says they don’t go anywhere, they stay put and lay down a withering hail of fire.

As promised.
So this is roughly what they’ll look like for gaming purposes (ignore the Tiger tank).
At the front we have my commander and his second in command (2ic) and behind them two platoons of four Skids. One Skid in each platoon goes to the platoon commanders and each of the rest has two squads mounted up. I’m going to get cracking on painting this force up nice and quickly to get it to a tabletop standard hopefully.

So half-tracks are pretty nifty and I have a feeling that if I’m to master this list it will be through the use of these semi durable transports.

Next time: Getting out of Mein Kampfort zone.
-Joey

Joey’s Journey into Flames of War #1

Guten tadhg mein herren. So I’ve been given the distinct pleasure of being a member of the Irish ETC Team to go to Poland this year but for a change it’s not the 40k team (who instead will have to valiantly struggle without me) but the Flames of War Team!

I haven’t played Flames of War (FoW) much and was chosen more so for a) my interest and b) my previous gaming experience. This may sound all too hasty of the Captain (ETC Veteran MacNiocaill from last year’s 40k Team) but makes so much more sense when you look at the numbers of people currently playing FoW in Ireland. I’m confident I can adapt to a new game system in the time given especially given the similarities between this and Warhammer 40,000.
The more I read about it the more it seems like a cracking game; fast-paced, balanced, large variety of competitive missions to play and it’s got a price to beat the snot out of GW’s pricing as illustrated by this year’s illustrious Vice-Captain.
I haven’t quite decided on what exact list to use yet, all I know for sure is that it will be mechanised (rhino spam) and German (I did Nazi that comin’). On that basis I picked up Grey Wolf which is like a book full of codexes for the Germans serving near Russia during Operation Barbarossa.
For history buffs it’s full of geeky richness guaranteed to give you a raging nerd-on and if you’re getting into the game at all it’s a must have since it has all the most up to date legal German (and friends) lists.
The first list which caught my attention after reading through the book was a list based on the 5th SS Panzer Division, named ‘Wiking’. These guys were mega elite veterans who bought hook, line and sinker into the Nazi ethos and were all volunteers trained to a high standard and indoctrinated to believe that what they were doing was the bees’ knees.
From Wiki:
The 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking was one of the elite Panzer divisions of the thirty eight Waffen SS divisions. It was recruited from foreign volunteers, from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and Belgium under the command of German officers. During the course of World War II, the division progressed from a motorised infantry division to a Panzer division and served on the Eastern Front during World War II. It surrendered in May 1945 to the advancing American forces in Austria.
So you can see they didn’t stop until the last days (and I’m sure Herr Newbreed would point out they were more than happy to surrender to the Americans rather than the Russians). The difference in playstyle from these guys and traditional SS is however that these guys weren’t quite up to the standard of other elite units. Probably wouldn’t say that to their faces though….

….eyes….so cold…so distant….
They’re listed as Fearless Trained, differing from their Totenkopf (Super-Nazis) brethren who are Fearless Veterans (in game terms this basically means they’re both hardcore morale-wise (not moral wise though…) but the Wiking soldiers are a little easier to shoot at.
Obviously this disadvantage comes with a friendly points decrease (about 30% across the board) which I think is quite a bargain considering you still get access to all the nice equipment and list special rules.
As a start here’s what I’ve acquired (I say acquired instead of built because Paul Quigley previously owned all this stuff before giving it to me so I had very little work to do! Legend):
I’ll delve a little more into the special rules next time and the shape I want the army to take but for now I’ll leave it at that and once again thank Paul Quigley (so handsome) for his help in getting me started with the models, he’ll always be my schoiße-Kombo…..


-Joey
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