Recently the boys on the Warlord Tournament team visited the first tournament of 2021 (as far as we are aware) named for “Victory over Covid” and hosted by the lovely folks at SELWG, it was billed as a thematic event, which led to some gorgeously painted themed armies and some armies that you see less of overall, such as a few minor nation lists and even a Dad’s Army force!
As is a tradition we did not do fantastically for team Warlord, but we had a lot of decent matches, the vibe was fantastic throughout the site and there were some extremely fun games to be had!
Max’s US 1st Division in Tunisia
In my first game my boys took a bit of a beating, curiously enough fighting Simon’s 29th infantry division (which came in a gorgeous display case!) so we saw the hypothetical matchup of the 1st right at the start of the war when they were an inexperienced bunch, compared to the end of the war veterans. Generally, I got pushed off the board and lost by a huge margin, but the list I took was always going to do poorly with kill point missions, it was a fun game and the only unit that performed was my Mortars, this became something of a theme!
The second match-up was far more favourable against Paul’s Blitzkrieg Germans, this time playing a take and hold objective mission, my army contained a lot of Mortars (thanks to the Kasserine pass selector) and they went to town! I got a lot of 6s and poor Paul’s army could never really recover from that, as dropping pins on someone’s head really can be brutal getting either down orders or rallies turn after turn!
My third game was against James’ Soviets, and it was CARNAGE. The Soviets were also a massive army, so James had 18 order dice to my 16, that was 34 dice in the dice bag at the start! We were also on a very heavily forested jungle board, this meant that aggression was the word of the day and I learned early in the game that even if the SMGs are being wielded by inexperienced troops, they can be utterly lethal! The game was an utter bloodbath (as everything was wounded on 3’s being inex!) but the turning point came when my airstrike messed up and obliterated my front line, killing one unit outright and pinning many others, that was it for me!
I was also very pleased after the event as I won best-painted army! If you want to check out that army and how it came together, check here as I wrote 3 articles about it last year during lockdown!
Marcus’ Late-War SS
Having decided that Southend didn’t have enough super-heavy tanks, I reprised my list from the last SSWG event – 3 small squads of SS and a Veteran Tiger II. It performed… about as well as you’d expect, but with one big surprise!
Game 1 was against Si’s (presumably rather lost) British Commandos on SSWG’s beautiful new Stalingrad board. As I was defending in the “Surrounded” mission, I did the only sensible thing I could, and backed my Tiger II into a corner, daring Si’s puny Centaur to come and have a go! As Si is a sensible and competent player (and the eventual silver medallist) he unsurprisingly didn’t take the bait, and proceeded to apply a flamethrower to my big cat, and my hopes of victory along with it. The Tiger crew bailed out at the speed of light, and from there it was a simple mopping-up action for the Commandos as my SS cowered in the ruins. It was a fun game in spite of this, and I always like to start a tournament in the finest tradition of Tournament Team!
Game 2 saw me take on Nat’s Soviets on a lovely bocage table with plenty of cover breaking up open fields. Playing Key Positions, I actually felt surprisingly confident about this one. Nat brought an absolute classic of a Soviet list, but upon further inspection, his T34 had cunningly replaced its bow machine gun with a flamethrower! Naturally, this made it Public Enemy Number One, and I resolved to kill it before it could get anywhere near my lovely Krupp paperweight. After a couple of turns of dreadful gunnery, the Tiger II managed a clean kill on the unfortunate OT34, and I began to feel a little more secure in my positions. All I needed to do to secure my left flank was deal with a pesky Soviet Rifle Squad advancing on my objective. My hardened veterans, laden with SMGs, leapt from cover, and mounted a furious charge… before losing the combat 5-4! With that, my left flank collapsed and Nat was able to exploit his (vastly) superior numbers to get bodies on objectives and close the game out. The anti-MVP of this game has to go to Nat’s howitzer, which spectacularly failed to hit anything all game, despite needing 3s against a unit of SS hiding in some woods with a sign saying “Aim Here”!
My heart sank as it was announced that Game 3 would be Sectors on a nice open desert village board, the absolute bane of my list, against Paul’s Italians. My average game of sectors sees me comprehensively outmanoeuvred, outnumbered, and outplayed (a bit like my average game of any mission, really!), but little did I know this time would be very different! The game began with a preliminary bombardment that scored direct hits on a majority of both of our units, and only got weirder from there. Aiming to avoid my infantry, Paul’s infantry headed for the buildings, but fell victim to a lucky HE shot from the Tiger II. Having realised that there were other shells than AP available, my Tiger II proceeded to go on a rather unlikely rampage, taking out 4 units in a couple of turns. Rather brutally, the game went the full 8-turn distance, and for half of it the Italians were suffering adverse morale effects which utterly hamstrung their effectiveness. By the end, even a simple order required a 5 or less on 2d6! As the dust settled, I realised that I’d been able to pull off a 10-5 win, saving myself from the indignity of going 0-3. Special mention has to go to Paul for being a fantastic sport about the whole thing (and claiming a well-deserved Best Sportsman award), even as 666 points of nastiness dismantled his force.
Overall, a fantastic event at one of our favourite venues. What a way to kick off the return of in-person events!
Nick’s 20th Division East Yorkshire Regiment
True to the traditions of the Warlord tournament team I took a very experimental list for the day. Built around a veteran Churchill Crocodile, the force was designed primarily to minimise the last-minute hobby rush which afflicts so many players before an event, while retaining a strong theme (the 20th Division on the 7th of June, 1944). This would prove to be a terrible decision, but one which produced some very entertaining gameplay for my opponents.
Game 1 saw a patrol from the East Yorkshire Regiment pinned down in a small town in Normandy. Having run into a German reconnaissance patrol they were promptly hammered by artillery, and the tone for the game was set by the loss of two units to preparatory bombardment. Supporting forces from 20th Division rushed to assist but were delayed merely a street away. Carnage ensued, and the German forces overran the British infantry before being forced into retreat as the Croc finally rounded the corner. A tense and surprisingly close game ended in a British defeat.
Game 2, and 20th Division are tasked with securing key points along a road in rural England against an incursion by Italians. Swiss tournament ranking is blamed for this terrible defensive oversight. Approaching with a solid and definite plan, the platoon commander rapidly finds himself improvising as a well-coordinated attack leaves him and his men pinned. Once again, the Churchill is too late to have a meaningful impact, and Italian boots remain on British soil.
In Game 3 all pretence of sanity was abandoned, and the men were tasked with breaking through a defensive line of Finnish troops in the desert. While the skis did them no favours, a counterattack by a mechanised column became fixated on destroying the Crocodile. Was this my chance? Had my opponent forgotten the rest of my army, allowing me a shot at victory? All my hopes were dashed when I remembered that we were playing sectors and I was already losing quite badly. Although the Crocodile survived, it wasn’t anywhere near enough to bring final victory.
With 3 games played and no concessions, I proudly accepted my Wooden Spoon award. With this certificate, I can forever say what so many others can’t: I showed up.
And that was the roundup, one more huge thanks to the club for hosting us and Russ for organising the event!
And finally If anyone is starting to re-organise their tournaments and would like to talk about event support please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we are more than happy to offer prize support and advice to anyone wanting to run tournaments worldwide!