Warming up to Warfare

“One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Today, Duncan looks at changing your mind when you are on the run-up to a tournament and embracing that change rather than railing against it.

Wrong desert armour

Recently I’ve been beavering away painting up my Egyptians for the Fate of Four Gamers Challenge.  This has given myself a break from painting DAK which has had the odd effect that they are now seeing the table more.
I’ve already signed up to attend Warfare in November with my mate Luke and I think it is widely accepted that in the MW period in the desert I play German Infantry from the 90th Light.

That has been the case for more than 10 years… and now there is the catalyst for change.

That catalyst is my stubborn refusal to use shoddy looking kit on the tabletop. Part of why the reason I play Flames of War is the aesthetic and I just can’t bring myself to place something on the table that lessens that experience for both my opponent and I.

Let me explain as it all comes down to AT Rifles…

(though less “rifle”, more small AT gun)

I would like, at this juncture, to caveat that the organisers of Warfare have been extremely friendly and responsive and this is in no way to snidely dig at any of their organisation.
My DAK infantry was actually painted an age ago by a good friend at CWC, Steve Davis, and he did a fantastic job but at that time I only had one 2.8cm AT Rifle and a smattering of EW two-man AT Rifles and, upon checking with the Warfare organisers, that left me a couple of options:

1) I could rebase my small base AT Rifle teams to medium bases.
2) I could match in three new stands of the correct 2.8cm AT Rifle teams into my existing force.

Desert armour

Me, being me, chose option 3 “Do something else”. Again, I would like to state that neither of those two options is in any way unreasonable for a Tournament Organiser to request; that this not the point of this article – the point is that it was a catalyst to change my mindset and branch out to something new.

That something new was initially ‘panic’. I have winging their way to my house three more 2.8cm AT Rifles ready to add into my 90th Light but when I was verifying that I only had one already, I did cast my eye over my unloved DAK Panzers from the glorious 21st Panzer Division and began to get distracted.

What made the situation worse was Luke and I played three warm-up games in an evening to stress test our forces. His Grants and Crusaders kerb stomped my 90th Light, despite their 7.62cm Tank Hunters and Diana’s, but a hodgepodge of Panzers I threw together actually won.
This left me befuddled at the time but seems to have just been part of the shift that I was experiencing with my gaming.

Shhh… we’re sneaking

Taking to Eddie from the blog we started to bounce around ideas on Panzer forces. Now I’m not here to defend the Panzer III or Panzer IV – they have issues that I think everyone is aware of – but I am here to tell you that they are a tonne of fun to play.

From that hodgepodge of Panzers one thing became very clear – I needed more Panzer IIIs, so they jumped to the very front of the painting queue, overtaking 7.62cm guns and shapely Diana’s.
The other thing I knew I wanted was a Tiger (called Tony) and for everything to be a Panzer.

The handover from one project to another

There may be some tweaks to this list after it got three good games at the CWC event this past weekend – the creation of a single Tiger shaped unit for the whole 40% reserves being seriously considered currently but I was amazed at the finesse required to get the most out of the humble Panzer III. What is more, I enjoyed the challenge – the list has a maximum 31 shots each turn that isn’t just straight up MG shots – the question each and every turn is “How on earth do I maximise every shot?”

Still room to tweak

The other thing I really liked about the Panzers was that they were not passive. I’ve found V4 to be a much more mobile game and that mobility and potential for aggression seems to be a necessary part of the new mindset.
Talking to Martin, the player who won all three games with his 90th Light list at the CWC event, we both agreed you have to be able to extend your opponent in V4; even with infantry, you must be able to dictate your play-style upon your opponent.

(Blitz + Shoot & Scoot) (ctrl+C > ctrl+v) repeat

Switching up my play-style has been a revelation to me and has got me thinking in very different ways that I felt I had been with an infantry based force.
I guess what I am trying to say is be bold; try another perspective on your game and the way you play it. Not only do I now feel more competitive in my game play, but I feel that I am asking new, interesting, questions of myself and how to puzzle out competing in games.

The other thing that happened at the CWC event was that I acquired a set of Fighting First unit cards, and with my new found appreciation for mobile tank warfare, those stabilised 75mm guns look oh so tempting!

Until next time expand your horizons and embrace the new.
– Dunc 

5 thoughts on “Warming up to Warfare

  1. A very nicely written article and full of good ideas and observations. Looking forward to hear about your victories and defeats.

  2. Nice article. I still think Germans are best when used in a mixed manner. Maybe take some panzer gren as support instead of the so costly Tiger, a Stuka and some more italians ;). I also changed the playstile from Germans to Americans, stuarts and lees they stomp everything!

  3. Hi Duncan,

    thanks again for the game, and congrats on winning Best Sportsman – very well deserved!

    What did you think of the range of lists at Warfare? I was surprised by how many lists were all-tank or almost-all-tank (I really, really should have taken those AT rifles instead of HMGs…), but I guess in the v4 meta, manoeuvrability and the ability to impose your tempo on the opponent is critical.

    Also, particularly with respect to our game, what do you think about the need for players to design a list with 40% reserves in mind? Personally, I feel that the use of More Missions – which I do love – means it always has to be a consideration.

    If you choose Attack, which is the best case, you attack against Manoeuvre and Defend, which have only three missions requiring 40% reserves (Dust Up, Encounter, Hasty Attack), plus Breakthrough requires at least one unit. Against an enemy who also chooses Attack, you’re guaranteed to need 40% in Dust Up and Encounter again, plus Breakthrough as before; and you could become the defender in Counterattack or Breakthrough. And at the other end of the spectrum, choosing Defend means that you are almost certain to need to play with Reserves, including Deep Reserves. While I do believe that tactics should be a response to the table, I also think there are some lists which must, as a tactical necessity, go no lower than Manoeuvre to avoid crippling themselves.

    1. Thanks Alex! Hopefully, there will be a write up/podcast segment on Warfare soon. I really enjoyed our game and you’re army was genuinely beautifully painted and unique! If there was a best-painted category I know 100% where my vote was landing!

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