Thursday, June 15, 2006

We shall fight them on the streets, we shall fight them on the hills...

It may come as some surprise to you that I am playing Axis and Allies miniatures right now. Or maybe not. Actually, I am surprised at myself. I didn't think I would be interested in a wargame like this, but I am hooked. I haven't been this addicted to something since Banana Schnapps. From the beginning of June to this day I have accumulated over 700 points in miniatures. I can almost field a totally French army! (which is a secret goal I have...). After playing some test games last week at John Hunter's War Lab, John reasoned that he would be better off fielding a Jagdtiger in his German army than his Veteran Tiger tank. I told him I preferred the Veteran Tiger because it was a crack shot, even though it had a lower defense than the Jagdtiger.
Soon, June 10th arrived and it was the 2nd A&A tournament at Hobbytown USA on Tracy Blvd. Rob Coulson was the present champion sporting his Hero Medal for all to see. It was Swiss rounds with single elimination and a final 200 point army showdown on a megamap for the final battle.
My first battle was with.. guess who? John Hunter. He was Axis, I was Allies. Okay, we can write this one off! Sure enough, I lost to his Jagdtiger (which I happened to disrupt, which was more than I could do during our War Lab tests). So I was 0-1. Next battle was with Matt. I fielded my US/UK mix 100 pt. army against his tried and true Germans. We generated an Urban Combat map and I had lots of infantry. This game took forever! Eventually, it was turn 7 and even though the objective was contested John Peterson called it due to time constraints and I had just wiped out his two remaining infantry in the objective hex. I won. It was a very close game. Matt felt a little cheated because he was unaware that the adjacent hexes to the objective also counted as the objective. I was 1-1.
My next game was with Stephen Dukes. He was 2-0. We generated a High Ground map. He picked a German army (go figure) against my now battle-hardened Allies. It was right down to the wire. By turn seven I got the objective with my infantry without contest. Since this round was the first of the single elimination rounds, that meant that Stephen was out. He was a bit miffed with this, but we all knew the rules before we came in. In essence, I won the wild card playoffs. I was now 2-1.
Our game ended a little early so I went over and watched the last game left: John Hunter and Rob Coulson (last month's champion). John was Axis, Rob was Allies. What a chess match! John was manuevering his Jagdtiger trying to avoid Rob's tactic of going behind his tank, taking advantage of his lack of turret and nailing his weaker rear armor. I began to worry. If John wins it will be another John vs. Brian match and I'll lose. Unless! Unless I win choice and then I would pick Axis since I know that John wasn't comfortable with his Allied army, plus it's one less Jagdtiger to deal with. By a slim margin, Rob won. Now it was Rob vs. Brian at the megamap final battle.
We had to construct a 200 pt. army for this match. I hurriedly crammed together some Polish and French troops with more UK. Rob fielded a strong German army with no other nationalities involved. When he saw my army, since I deployed first, he commented on the ahistorical mix of allies. I replied that since this was the Armageddon battle, all the allies joined together in a final assault on Berlin. He laughed and shook his head.
The megamap that Matt and John Peterson put together was a large town in the center (where the main objective was located) flanked by lakes with streams going to the north and south off the board. These streams realistically had forests on either side of them. I had choice of sides and I deployed on the heaviest forested side, but also had to contend with a second stream which was placed five hexes out from my side of the board. This made it very difficult to mobilize units toward the objective in a timely manner, thus forcing me to use the one bridge to get anywhere. I stubbornly avoided this bottleneck and traversed the stream, much to my dismay, as one of my tanks and my hunting sniper had some difficulty in crossing it during the match. After Rob deployed his forces, I sent my two Polish 7PTdw's racing past the objective to deal with his infantry. I succeeded in wiping out a MG team or two, but his tanks were waiting for me on hills and it was a turkey shoot. No Pole survived....
It was all a matter of getting my infantry to the town. In the gaps of terrain in between forests or roads, his guns would pick me off. I finally got to the town on turn 7. It was then that Rob started moving in his armor to face me in a knife fight in the town. It was at that point that John called it. Since the objective was contested we went off points on the map and Rob won. It was then that Rob did a noble thing: Knowing that he was strapped for time (this contest took a while) and he had to leave, rather than play the three extra turns to decide a winner by the rules. He gave me the option of walking away with two booster packs instead of the one I would have won and he would get two also (instead of three) plus the medal for June champion. I agreed. I wasn't interested in bragging rights or championships, I just wanted the boosters. So we shook on it and Rob became the A&A champion for the second month consecutively.
I did not dream of making it that far in the tourney. I had felt very elated at the end. Now I am a force to be reckoned with. I await the next tournament.
I'll keep ya posted...


Post a Comment

<< Home