I live in a town that has two stores that have pretty active FoW scenes. Between them, they run about 20 tournaments a year, so preparation is key so that you can at least provide a good game. Here are some thoughts behind making a Tournament list.
Tournaments are a great way to meet new friends, learn rules clarification, look at different painting styles and see what units work or don’t work. The first thing you need to do is to find out about the tournament. Besides the obvious of knowing when and where, here is a quick check list of other details:
FoW Tournament Basics
1. What period – Mid-War (MW) or Late-War (LW). If you go in to LW with a MW army, you will be at the least fighting with one arm tied behind your back.
2. What is the point level – Higher level point games require different armies than lower level games.
Higher level games allow you to pick up more support platoons and weapons become less important. Lower level games thrive on either super platoon armies or an army the center on a core platoon with cheap weapon platoons adding platoons and enhancing the army’s firepower.
3. How many rounds – Important in terms of your own metagame. Is it worth it to spend the mental energy to gain points or cut your losses and run. The more games there are, the more leeway a player surviving a bad game. (Now, For the record, I am not advocating quitting a game or tournament, but there times when calling a game is the right thing to do especially if nothing can be accomplished and there are times to continuing to play a lost game to rack up points).
4. Round time limits – The shorter the round, the more it favors armor Armies. The longer the round, the more it favors infantry armies. For a 1500 game 2 to 2.5 hours is usually the breakeven point. 1750 pt games 2.5 to 2.75 hours..
5. Scoring – Battlefront or Modified. This is the measure of score. Battlefront scoring is all about capturing the opponents objective (while defending yours) with the minimum of platoon losses. This generally favors, Fearless and Veteran units that are hard to hit and hard to break.
6. Scenarios. This is the last factor for prepping a FOW tournament. Each Scenario has it own quirks and nuances. Free For All is a standard. Fighting Withdrawal and Hold the Line favor big infantry armies. Encounter and Cauldron favor Armor. Breakthrough favors fast armies. Roadblock favors balanced armies. Free for All is great for big fast armies.
A Sample Tournament Prep Walkthrough
So, with this in mind lets walk you through my though process for my latest tournament. I know several things based on my previous local FOW tourney experience. Generally, people at the tournaments I am prepping for play elite allied infantry armies.
So, I hate playing blue on blue, which means playing against your nationality. So I pick Germans. The Tournament is LW and 1750 pts with 3 rounds at 2.5 hours a round. With 2.5 hours, I would like to get my games over fast and with only 3 games, I really need to win big to keep myself in top consideration. Since the scoring will be modified and slanted to killing enemy platoons. I decide go with a German Panzerkompanie. I decide to go with a lot armor to give me mass to tackle different objective and give my lots of guns to kill my opponents tough infantry. Also, there aren’t that many allied heavy armor lists, so by going with lots of tanks allows me fight toe to toe with Allied medium armor lists.
In Fortress Europe, the core of a Panzer army is HQ and 2 Core platoons. So, I go with 2 Panzer IVH and 2 platoons of 4 Panzer IVHs for a total 950 pts. I pick four in the platoon, because that gives me the best platoon breakpoint numbers. I will add 4 Stugs for 380 pts because they cost the same and are more of AT role. So now my army is at 1330 pts. I would like to get 6 platoons in my army for those scenarios that need to be ½ in Reserves. By having the ability to have most of my points starting for those scenarios, it gives me an edge.
So, with 420 point remaining, my armor needs recon – infantry to go in to building and some AA to deal with pesky enemy aircraft.
Artillery is nice, but why, I have guns on my tanks. Air may help me or it might no show. That is counter to my tank philosophy. So I pick some motorized Scouts for 160 pts. Scouts solve two issues, one is recon and the other is infantry in a pinch (MGs too!). I would like another infantry component. So I can add the Pioneers in the Weapons section for 145 pts is a good. Plus it has three uses… First, they are pioneers and have high AT. Next, being infantry can be useful as an assault platoon and finally they can remove tank obstacles.
With the remaining points, I can add two Armored Quad 20s for 110 pts. These are great for providing some protection of air, but they really shine in shooting dug in infantry. Armored is the way to go, cause unarmored just die too quickly and very susceptible to Artillery fire.
Since, these are basic options, if I had to do a background write up on my army (some tourneys require that), it pretty much a simple thing as Panzer 4Hs and Stugs were so common.
The list is fast, and can put out a lot fire power. I will have to watch it playing against a heavy armor list. In reserve games, I can have 76% of my points on the board which is definitely a plus.
So here is my LW German Panzer Kompanie:
2 x PzIVH for 190 pts
Panzer Platoon 4 x PzIVH for 380 pts
Panzer Platoon 4 x PzIVH for 380 pts
Panzer Platoon 4 x Stug Gs for 380 pts
Motorized Scout Platoon 3 sqds (4 teams) for 160 pts
Panzer Pioneer Platoon 3 sqds (4 teams) for 145 pts
Panzer AA Platoon 2 Sdkfz 7/1 Armored for 110
Total 1745 points…
So, have fun and happy gaming. I would love to hear your thought process for building FoW tourney lists. See ya at the table!