Friday, July 6, 2012

US MW Nats List

Since the lists had to be turned in to Joe Krone two weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and post the list.

Here it is...

US Rifles.

I thought a lot about this list and about other lists in MW.  Outside of US Armored Rifles, my MW lists are confined to US Armor and Brit Paras (Italy).

So how did I get here?

Armored Rifles were easy to consider.  Great list, great mobility and great integrated AT (if you buy the zooks).  Add in Shermans and US TDs (a MUST have!!) and you have great punching ability that can defend.

Brit Paras - thought about it, but my problem in previous games was the lack of mobility and armor support.  Yes, you can get armor but 3 vehicle armor platoons are just too fragile.  So I threw this guys out of consideration.

US Rifles - the list above and one variant that I ran in my last tournament (and won!!  first time!!) were also considered.  V3 brought out some goodies for infantry, the biggest was driving off armored assaults with two "bad things happening" in Defensive Fire.  You get a hit with a 'zook and bad things are going to happen!

Tankovy - ahh, the 'ole stand by.  In MW, Hen and Chicks has not yet been point adjusted, so you could have some fun.  But at 1,625, you don't have the full power of the Soviet lists.  The only list I considered had 10 T-34s, 10 Lend Lease Stewies, 3 SU-85s and 3 BT-64 (recon).  I still like that list.  If I were to run an armored company, I would do this one.  Fearless Trained and they can move and shoot.  But see the earlier comment about assaulting with armor and it is even worse for Soviets.  10 vehicles (trained no less) closing in on a platoon with 3 bazookas are not favorable odds.

Since I don't run Germans, it came down to ARP or Rifles.  That left me with one question:

Do I want to attack infantry or defend against mech?  Bluntly, do I want to attack my Rifle list or defend against my ARP list?  I chose to defend.  And the other simple truth is that I am not that good at running ARP.  Yes, they are awesome.  But they need to be in the right hands.

The easiest part about this decision?

USA.  Not jingoistic here - in terms of game play for MW, getting 4 Shermans and 4 TDs on the table is too good to pass up.  Way to good to pass up!  I have an ambush?  Take the easy way - ambush teh Shermans and the TDs already have the TD ambush.  Bring it.  Even against the tankovy horde, I am hitting on 2+ or 3+.  8 Shermans shots get 4-6 hits and 8 TD shots get the same.  The horde will be shredded and will not have enough strength to assault infantry.  So I am feeling good about that situation.

The "killer" list?

German Panzergrens with Remer.  That is the one that I fear and that I think is even stronger that ARP.  Remer is that good!  Basically, the list has Remer, 2 PGren platoons, Nebs, maybe recon and two platoons of armor (Panzer IIIs / IVs).  Yes, you could even go with a platoon on Panzer IIIs and a Tiger.  Either way, that is a beast of a list.  Up against my list, it will all depend on mission, terrain and players.  If I get them in FW, I will feel a little better.  Breakthrough?  uggh.  Surrounded?  I might just see if I could get a 2-5 before the game starts and head to the bar!

So if you are going to Historicon, be sure to say hi!  I will be the pasty skinned guy / baby seal from Wisconsin...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Therapist said... It is ok to criticize Battlefront

For those of you who don't hang out on the FoW forum or the WWPD Forum, here is a post I made earlier:

This has been bugging me a bit, so I thought I would just come out with it and release my deep breath when done. I am not trying to be flippant either - I have struggled with this one. So I have finally gotten to a spot where I can say:

It is ok to criticize Battlefront.

Let that sink in for a minute. I am big with the "everyone has a vote" and "my beliefs do not require you to believe" view of the world.

But like my favorite sports teams, I can be a fan and still lament poor trades, poor play and still live and die by the results! And I will still wear the jersey / kit and I will still celebrate the big win over the biggest rival.

And this leads me to my riff on BF:

I love you guys! I like the models, the rules, the books - heck everything! I was giddy when I received my V3 rulebook, I was excited the first time Phil chimed in on one of my forum posts and I was really excited when I played my first tournament. But like my sports team above, I can chime in with what I see are issues / problems with the books, rules, business model, etc. It doesn't make me right and this is not about being right. It is just about making a better game - but still being polite about it.

• There are problems with EW. I believe those problems to be based on points. I just don't understand from a game mechanic that an MG gun / infantry team can cost about the same as a vehicle with a MG. Same price, but I get armor and a 12" to 16" inch move? Really? Others like to point to the BAR issue as a problem with EW, but hey - a mistake was made and fixed. Did they go too far? Maybe. And yes, I have 20+ BAR vehicles on my table to be painted that I just can't get motivated to finish.

• The plastic Sherman from Actung! is bad. Really bad. Not sure that the fix is here, but there are other options for the beginner that will take away from BF. I hope they get this right...

• I don't like the point differences between Turning Tide, V3 Forces, BGG and the quick look at DC that I got last Friday at my FLGS. Having experienced other game systems and their model of "the newest list is always the strongest" (some call it Codex Creep) I have to say that I can understand people having this view with respect to BF. I will admit to wanting to give BF the benefit of the doubt here, but right now things are just a bit off. I was really angry with the point cost of a Sherman vs. Panzer IV in V3 Forces, then only to see the cost of a base Sherman go down in BGG. And there was just a handful of weeks between the two releases!

• Please, ambushing PSV is plain dumb. I have read all the posts and threads on this subject, but come on! Recon cruises down a road only to have wire pop up behind them on the same road. No amount of "historical info" will change my mind. This is a game mechanic that is simply wrong.

• LW war is headed towards EW right now. The split into EW / MW / LW is arbitrary from BF. There is no vodoo here or special reasons. It just helps the game mechanic. But as we progress later into '44 and '45, the points will get completely out of whack. If they don't, then it just means that the list that is fielded from the latest point in the war will be the strongest.

• It is a game, not a recreation of history. Some decisions will need to be made based on the game over history. See PSV ambush above as an example. So vehicles found themselves surprised in a mine field. So what? Saying that an ambushed PSV recreates this is dumb. A minefield didn't always sprout up in the perfect spot everytime. Arguing over stats and historical accuracy is also interesting. I am sure that somewhere in history, a 37mm gun blew a track off of a Tiger or Panther and immobilized it. Does that mean that a 37mm gun in LW should have the ability to bail a tank? Nope. Poor game mechanic if it did. So this is a game that represents history or potential history. Sometimes it seems like we all get a bit caught up in the history argument and forget that we play with toy soldiers.

• Finally, this is a business for BF. Making a game that is fun is good business. Promoting the hobby and the game itself is good business. Not alienating the FLGS is good business. Creating a fair game to play is good business. What is not good business is forgetting that the hobby is expensive. On this point I am candid - I can afford all the toy soldiers and books that I want. I am lucky and blessed. But I never assume everyone else is in the same boat. I see young players who save money and buy 1 Panther at a time. I see young professionals that have taken 6 months to purchase two platoons due to life issues, financial constraints and time. I am concerned about "compilations" and what it means to this game and BF. It is not good business to render LW Eastern Front books "useless in tournaments" a mere 12 months after publication. It is not good business to make my list from D-Day simply not competitive with later book releases. What do you say to the poor person that saved and invested time into the hobby, just to make the list they loved not a viable list for a tournament? I know tournaments shouldn't rule the game - really I do! But do consider this for a moment – on average, tournament players will spend more money in the hobby than non-tournament players. Can’t we have a game that works for both? My fun in tournaments is meeting new people and having fun. But if I travel to Historicon to play in the tournament, I would like to think that my list has a fair chance. And right now my CV list for US Armor in Turning Tide is nowhere near as good as BGG. Disagree? Ok, then why in a game that is points based can my 5 CV Shermans from Turning Tide cost me 450 points and in BGG they cost me 415? Same era here. Let's make it worse, take my BGG Shermans and give them an additional 2" move. Now my 5 CV BGG Shermans cost 440, still cheaper than Turning Tide and they move further! Yes, the equipment got better later in the war. But in the game mechanic, we are in the same era and we are a points based game. The same vehicle with better stats should not be cheaper in the same era!

So forgive me, but like my beloved Chicago Cubs, I can root for them and still complain and criticize their horrid pitching and hitting. And I can complain about Michigan State and Northwestern (alma maters) when they lose a game. But I still bleed for those teams and I want to see them win.

I want BF to succeed just like I want my team to win. But I just see some things that I would love to see improved. And if I offended anyone, it was by no means intentional.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wow - No June Post!!

Holy cow!  A whole month went by and I had no post.  I guess I should put an update out there!

I am in the process of completing my MW Nats Historicon list.  I already submitted the list to Joe Krone, but I needed to paint up some units to fill out the list.  Other than a few basing options, I am good to go!!

I am fielding a US Rifle MW list.  It was really tough, since I thought long and hard about Armored Rifles.  But in the end, Rifles are the winner.

Here are my thoughts regarding US Rifles and infantry in general in FoW:

  1. Battlefront is doing everything they can to move away from "tank fest."  One example is the change in V3 for repelling an armored assault.  If I just get two "bad things" to happen to the assaulting armor platoon in Defensive Fire, then the assault stops.  Think about 5 tanks assaulting US Armored Rifles. I have 5 bazookas that can shoot over friendly teams at vehicles.  Assume I get all 5 in the 8" bubble.  5 shots needing 4+ to stop the assault.  Done.  Say you pin me, now I need 5+ on 5 shots.  You will only get by me 55% of the time (rough math).  Say you are Soviet.  Sweet!  Now I need a base of 3+ in LW and 2+ in MW!  And you have 10 targets, which will bring in a much larger bubble.
  2. Gun saves.  As long as my guns stay silent, they are GtG and get the 3+ save.  At some point, you will have to get closer than 24" and the guns will open up.
  3. In Devil's Charge (saw the preview copy on Friday), you can replace one infantry stand with a bazooka in each squad.  Basic Rifle Platoon is 9 infantry stands (three squads), command stand and a bazooka.  Now I can have 6 infantry stands, command stand and 4 bazookas.  I can also combat attach HMG platoons (each with two bazookas if you upgrade) and a Weapons platoon.  So add 2 HMGs to each platoon and another bazooka.  And don't underestimate the power of automatic rifles...
  4. I can take TDs as support.  My MW list has Shermans and M10s.  In MW, these are beasts.  Yes, they are priced like beasts, but I will be defending against most everything.  Give me an ambush and then it gets awesome...
  5. US Rifle Platoon Commanders can call in arty.  Yes, they could always do this before.  Again, don't underestimate the power of this national rule.

The good news is that all US lists are feeling the love right now.  The bad news is that my Turning Tide book is done for...

For competitive play, all US lists will come from BGG and DC.  Time will tell what Nuts! has in store for the US.

And to all going to Historicon - please, be sure to say "hi" to me!  James / Chairborne was awesome at Adepticon.  He just comes up to me and says "Are you Webgriffin?"  We get to talking and even have dinner with a group on the Saturday after the tournament.  So don't be a stranger and be sure to look for the loser Wisconsin guy!  I will be on the Baby Seal table!!