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Wargaming is a waste of time!! .... not


Recently I have been thinking whether wargaming is an entertainment productive/beneficial enough for me to spend any more time on it. These thoughts were connected with a new addition to the family which quickly encouraged me to re-assess my daily schedule. Due to my hyperactive nature, there was not so much idling involved in what I normally did throughout the day but new challenges related to the little guy meant that any leftover idle time had to go. I started with a reduction of time spent on reading the internet and/or playing computer games nearly to zero. But was there still some room for improvement? Immediately, I considered wargaming.

This hobby is a time sink, honestly. When you consider all the time you have to spend to figure out what you want to buy, find a good offer, take care of the shipment and then assemble, paint and play you end up with a pretty hefty time investment. What is the return on it then?

Well, here is my list of top 4 returns on investment associated with wargaming (I could go on and on but the article would be too long :P) :


The hobby costs a lot. Period. With my geeky hoarder nature I will have a hard time parting with my minis to raise enough funds to get my next fix. This means that I have to be really careful with my spendings and only invest when a good offer pops up. Because of this, I have learned how to use e-bay apps, negotiate bulk purchases, use promotions to buy cheap stuff and sell it with a profit. All in all, the hobby made me a pretty hard bargainer :)


Ever sat there in front of Easy Army or Forces of War for hours to get your best company composition? I suppose most people would think I am crazy. But reflecting on it I can see it as a mental exercise that is close to solving puzzles. You get your brain working hard to analyze all the possible options your guys can be up against in a game of Flames of War and find the right method of getting the upper hand.

An even bigger thing is the game itself. It teaches you to make the right decisions based on facts (terrain setup, enemy unit's positioning/stats) and assumptions (understanding of your opponent's strategy). It is like trying to get a very complicated process to produce a defined output: a sound win for your troops. It might sound silly, but I find wargaming a very good preparation for my work in an IT department (I am an IT Service Management specialist dealing mostly with process governance) because considering all the possible options and looking at issues from different angles is the core of conducting a battle of miniature soldiers as well as my job.


Playing wargames for the last ~20 years has taught me one basic rule. Never give up. NEVER. It is a game of endless possibilities and dice. My job as a general is not to sit there and complain about how my dice were bad (although since I am a bit of a control freak I sometimes get a bit frustrated). In games that are not going according to plan my job is to find the winning option in a palette of options that is reduced each time a dice roll goes bad. At the end of the day, each loss teaches you more than a victory does. Focusing on what happened in the past obscures your vision of what is possible in the future. Forget about your mistakes. Concentrate on getting your next move right.



Managing expectations around the game is a skill that I gained throughout the years and also extended it to some areas of my private life. What I understood is that the game is related to an unspoken, unwritten social contract. Every player that I sit down to play with approaches the table with some assumptions and expectations of how the game will be played. These expectations are based on years of experience with all kinds of games, starting with tic-tac-toe and ending with behemoths like Twilight Struggle. An example of such expectation might be: if I play in a tournament I will normally not advise my opponent how to move his troops so that he can counter my moves. Through wargaming I learned to adjust my style of play to meet at least some of these expectations and make the game better for everybody. In practice, this means that I avoid a win at all costs attitude since it never does anybody any good. Same goes for private life. A good lesson coming from wargaming.

These are only several aspects of wargaming that can be beneficial for one's private life or work. I think the big issue is that unlike for sports, there is no one responsible to spread this kind of knowledge around and make people aware that playing social games (including wargames) is in fact a very good mental and social exercise.

All in all, looking back at all these years I spent wargaming, I do not regret a minute I spent on it. I already know that I will try to involve my newborn son in all the good stuff that wargaming brings with it! :)


Achtung! Tentacles of War 2016 - tourney report

With the passing of this weekend, the Tentacles of War have come to pass - another tournament in the city of Łódź (actually taking place in a small city close to it called Zgierz) organized by the Octopus Club of Łódź.

Now a tradition the tourney was a Late War Double:
- Teams playing 2 companies of 1000 pts each - with 50 points that can be passed on to the fellow player.
- Companies can't be repeated, and any combination between Allies-Allies, Axis-Axis can be used.
- There is a catch however - the opponents can choose which company type you count (infantry, mechanized tank) as and if your special rules are not uniform if they work for the team.

For example - if you take a Canadian Rifle and Motor Coy, then you will always be an Infantry coy with the option to go with Night Attack. If you take Grey Wolf Pioneers and BaR SchwerePanzer - then the opponents can choose to count you as either infantry or tanks, both either as regular or always defend.
So it's usually best to pair the companies as 2*Always Attack, 2*Always Defend/Fortified - along the strategy that you take - not to be thrown off by the opponents choice.

I went with P. (another Polish-Rep player), and we took some time to consider our lists. Since a few years back we were reluctant to take attacking lists for the reason that with 3 hours for 2000pts, is not always enough time to resolve the game in your favor- when you're the attacker. And because back then, we had a number of games that finished just before we could win them, we were biased towards playing infantry.
BUT playing defensive is just not our thing :)

And so we were cracking different lists:
KG Westfallen with Marinegrenadiers with 88 Railway cars or Heavy Cat companies,
2* British with Breaching Group and Sexton spam,
US and British Recon or Armoured Car Companies
Tanks?? Russians - maybe, but we didn't have enough to go round - so back to the drawing board...

Then maybe mechanized again?
Something with a lot of firepower - so had o have minimum spending on unnecessary stuff - and then it came: we would play mechanized forces from Brittany - Task Force A and the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The drawback, was that one company would be an Always Attack one and the other a regular one, but we prepared to both attack and defend, and play fairly well in 50% forces case.

These are the lists we came up with:

First Battle Encounter against Reksio and Loucyphr

Tankovy and Gvardyjski Tankovy (?)
HQ Matilda
10 Matildas
10 Valentines
10 Lees

HQ T34/85
10 T34/85
10 T34/76

We deployed our TD's more or less evenly on the Table, our opponents placed the T34/85's hidden in the center, Matildas on the right and Valentines on the left.
Turn 1: Matildas move torward, we pop 1 TD ambush but only manage to burn 1 Matidla, and move the security sections to better positions.
Turn 2: T-34/85's redeploy for long range shots at the deployed Hellcat's, and are joined by more moving Matildas. Soviets burn 2 Hellcat's and bail one more, we pass the moral. Next turn we have a discussion with P. as I want to break the smaller Soviet Battalion, whereas P. wants to play more cautious.
Eventually we go with my plan - we pop 3 TD ambushes, and burn or bail all T/34's in LoS and kill the Battalion commander. But Lucyphr passes his 4+ moral check on the T34's - so there is a next turn (the turn after that we will destroy the bailed tanks in LoS - forcing another check he will pass - and with that the opportunity to quickly resolve the game is over).
In return fire we loose the rest of the first Hellcat platoon.
Throughout the game we will exchange mostly long range shots, with both sides taking casualties.
Eventually 2 withered TD platoons that deployed center, and engineers arriving from reserve (doubling on arrival to get into assault range next turn) and another TD platoon arriving from reserve will first break Matildas (on the 2nd check I think), and then in a 2 turn battle of maneuver fight through the Lee's (forcing a moral check and breaking them). Then the Specnaz that was located on the right flank (now completely alone - and facing 6 stands of Engineers and 4 Wolverines) tries to assault the Engineers, that were exposed in the open from last turn as they discharged their bazookas to kill as many Lee's as possible. The assault comes in, but the resolute Engineers fight back, and Spetsnaz moves back and is subsequently destroyed. One of the Soviet companies is broken (killed HQ Matilda, Matildas, Lees and Spets) - and the battle is over. At that moment our left flank was held by 1 105mm gun, a Hellcat and 2 armoured cars.

Second Battle Pincer versus "Młode Pelikany" Team

KG Westfallen
4 Panzerfaust Trap Teams
2 Platoons of Ersatz Grenadiers
3 RT 88's

2HQ King Tigers RT
King Tiger RT
King Tiger RT
3 Pak40s CV

The table had a moderate amount of terrain with a series of 4 forests in the center some wheat fields on the right and a number of small hills to the right and back (defender's deployment zone).

Objectives were placed back-center and front left. 2 platoons of SS grenadiers were deployed to guard the approaches to each. 88s were placed behind the infantry with LoS thru the center mostly blocked by the forrests, but fairly good to the flanks. PaK's in ambush. Warrior Tigers back to left and center right.

We deployed center mostly with a single TD platoon on the left flank. Then we spearheaded the Engineers in trucks towards the forests, together with the rest of TFA.
On the first turn we moved a single TFA TD platoon down the right flank to threaten one KT with possible deployment+rush and flank shots. Center we moved most of the recon M20s and Engineers disembarked into the forests. Some vehicles stayed on the left flank to spray the grenadiers with .5" cal fire.
In the center the artillery smoked grenadiers basically covering the whole advance from effective 88 fire.
With that done everything unloaded with .5" cal's on the 88's. None went down that turn.
Germans didn't deploy their ambushes and moved the KT on the right flank as expected. 88's remained silent to keep their gtg, instead of engaging the security sections on 5's.

Next turn we moved in yet more light vehicles into 16" of the 88's and lifted their gtg on the 3rd 4+ attempt. Then the combined fire from 3 security sections killed 2 88's.

German turn was mostly uneventful, with the ambush still being kept (it was the only platoon the Schwerepanzerkompanie had on the table). Tiger fire did burn yet another M20 - but no real losses were sustained.

Next turn we pushed further with a TFA TD platoon down the non-protected right flank, securing a small hamlet from ambush with 2 teams from the Recce platoon.
The combined .5" cal fire destroyed a number of grenadier teams, and the ARV closed in and destroyed the last of the 88's, leaving just the command team which passed the moral check.

Engineers assaulted the Grenadiers followed by 1 security section - the exchange resulted in some of the Germans in the center dyeing for 2 Engineers and 2 M20's. This left just 1 stand of Grenadiers, which meant that they didn't Enjoy the War next turn that much and went home. At that moment most of the center was mostly open held by just 1 KT, observer, 88 command team and an observer.
The German Reserves arrived: a KT and mortar platoon (on the previously designated left flank).88's command team passed it's sole survivor roll.
Tigers maneuvered and engaged some of the security sections at long range, but destroyed maybe 1 utility car.

We retaliated by popping 1 TD Ambush in the forests to mop-up the CiC and 2iC in the the center (and succeeded), and moved the rest of security sections for better ambush positions next turn. At this moment we were pretty much on top of the back-center objective.

At this moment the Germans popped the Pak40 ambush on the very far right, but shooting from an disadvantageous just bailed an M20. However 2 Panzerfaust Trap teams which deployed close to the popped TD's managed to score 2 hits, and destroy 2 Wolverines (ups!).

At this moment the time was running low (our original expectations - were well grounded), and we knew that we only had turn 5 to play - and to win we had to destroy the full grenadier platoon which would force a company morale check on the KG Westfallen that they would auto-fail.
That meant we deployed 4 remaining TD platoons and went to destroy the grenadiers.
We also went with 2 Hellcats to shoot at a flank of 1 KT, that we forced 2 HQ KT's to join in. If the KT would be destroyed then we could rout 3 KT's in 1 shot potentially - in the end I failed the FP roll, and it was just bailed...
Meanwhile the full fury of the Tank Destroyers and 2 subsequent assaults only managed to bring the Grens down to 3 stands. They promptly all passed their Enjoy the War rolls.

Because we have a special rule in place for tournaments that says that doesn't allow the defenders to win if less then 6 turns are played and the attacker contests either objective - the defenders could not hope to win - but could still cause us casualties. And that's what they went for. In the end it didn't make much difference, and we finished the game with turn 5 as a draw.

Third Battle Cauldron versus "MiLord" and "Majster"

US 3rd Aroured Tank Coy RV
HQ Jumbo,
Sherman Platoon
Super Pershing
Recon Platoon
2 Sherman Crocodiles

1st Polish Armored Division Tank Coy FT
HQ 2 Shermans
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 Shermans + Firefly
2 AA crusaders

It was over really quick. We deployed 2 TFA TD platoons and 2 regular TD platoons (1 of them in intimidate ambush), spreading out across our deployment zone, as much as possible to limit enemy deployment. MiLord deployed his Recon dismounted and the Super Pershing in a possition which would limit our ability to flank it. However "Majster" didn't have much luck in his deployment rolls and deployed AA and 1 Platoon of Shermans in our close right corner - basically in a shooting gallery. His command tanks he hid in a forest on another flank.
We spearheaded towards the forest where the Polish HQ was and popped TFA TD's close by. On the other flank we popped 2 TD platoons - one on close and one on long range. In the end we saw the Polish Sherman HQ, Sherman Platoon, and AA crusaders burning (actually 1 AA was left bailed out, but it fled. With no models on the table out of the Polish Tank Coy, there was not even an attackers first turn...

In the end 2 victories and a draw, gave us the second place - after Kuba "Kubbek" Charmo and Oskar "Hajmon" Kida, who had the same battle results, but more small victory points.

I went home satisfied with how we fared. Doubles is an interesting aspect of Flames of War, all the more since there is only just 1 such tournament a year :)


Playing doubles tournament in FoW

Hello everyone. Time has come for an event that I organize every year and is quite popular with the Polish players: Achtung, Macki Wojny doubles tournament (Macki Wojny translates into "Tentacles of War" - since the club is called "Octopus" and the tournament formula is also a legacy of WHFB tournaments under the same name). The reason for this popularity is that it is unique in its format and the rules for playing in pairs are in my opinion quite robust (have been developed for several years). With this in mind, I would like to share the ruleset/format so that anyone who finds it useful can adapt it to their doubles tournament.

Format & Rules
First of all, the format that we have been using for the last 5 or 6 years remained the same throughout the tournament's history. It is 2x1000 pts Late War. I have to say that I have tried a few times to change it (period mostly) but there was so much resistance from the players that I gave up. The reason that they usually provided is that the ruleset is a non-standard one so we should go with the most popular period. At the end of the day - makes perfect sense and my advice to TOs is: use my experience and go LW.

Also, 2x1000 points is the max. Games are scheduled to last for 3 hours but every now and again still, there are tables where the game would be at turn 4-5 when the time is about to elapse. Somehow 2x computing power of a human brain does not mean 0.5x time to process but instead, 1.5x. Do not try to go over 2x1000, trust me :)

Listbuilding rules
1. You can only combine allied+allied and axis+axis.
2. You cannot use the same briefing twice.
3. You are allowed to switch up to 5% of the points between the lists, provided the total does not exceed 2k. This means that you can transfer up to 50 points to your partner's list in case you have some left over and he needs a boost.
4. (optional) No more than 1 named hero and/or higher command per alliance.
5. (optional) No more than 1 air support per alliance.

Game specific rules
1. Special rules of one company do not affect the other - under any circumstances (e.g. 2 US rosters cannot combine their bombardments using "Hit them with everything you've got").
2. Allies rules (p. 70 of the rulebook) are used to determine how to handle the separate companies: warriors, independents cannot join platoons of your partner.
3. Company morale is played according to the rules of fielding multiple companies, described on p. 176 of the rulebook. In simple terms - if one of the companies fails its morale roll, both flee and the game is over. While it might seem punishing at first, tests have proved that this can easily be avoided if one plays smart (e.g. does not place all platoons of one company occupying one of the 2 objectives to make it easy for the opponent to force a morale check).
4. For purposes of scenarios, the alliance is treated as a single company - so only 1 ambush is available normally, when you alternate placing platoons on the table in Fair Fights, you only place one per alliance, etc.
5. You cannot use fortifications of an allied company, with the exception of trenchlines.
6. When you roll for reserves, one platoon per PLAYER arrives from reserves. This prevents games where some platoons never have the chance to take active part in the battle.
7. For situations not covered above, that create a conflict in the rules, THE OPPONENTS decide the outcome. This is often used when determining who is the attacker where the pair has mixed company types. In these cases, the opponents of such an alliance define which company do they compare themselves to.

A thing that needs to be mentioned here is that in Poland we use a customized scoring format. We utilize a system which is similar to scoring in old editions of WH40k, where Victory Points of destroyed friendly/enemy units are mapped against a score between 0-20 (with objectives beeing assigned a fixed value) to determine the outcome of the game. This way, we do not have to worry about the basic nature of the BF system. Still, with some modifications, I am sure that the rules above can be also used for BF scoring.

Overall, I really like what we designed as the tournaments run without major interruptions and the players can enjoy their games in peace :)

Hope you like it and can use it in your tournaments!