CanCon 2019 AAR

bprobst

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26-Jan-2019 through 28-Jan-2019, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Tournament organiser: Andy Rogers.

5 scenarios, although only the 1st 4 counted for tournament results, as by round 4 only 2 players had a 3-0 record. (Also several players were unable to attend on the last day.) 18 players (I think) + Andy.

3 of the 5 scenarios were playtest designs from Andy for an "ANZAC Pack" that he is working on. Probably true that all of the designs still need a little work but generally pretty solid overall (opinions may vary).

Final rankings for all players will have to wait on Andy, but winner at 4-0* was David Wallace, from Newcastle NSW. 1st CanCon win for him.

* David played the 5th round but narrowly lost as the Americans in HF3 "First Timers" to go 4-1 for the weekend.

2nd place was yours truly, at 4-1 for the weekend -- personal best at CanCon, ever. David and I play each other all the time on VASL and it was kind of weird playing off the championship in a ftf game. I guess after 30+ years I'm starting to finally work out how to play this game. (And not roll really shitty dice.)

Round 1: J161 "Riding to the Rescue", opponent Ivan Kent

We both bid for the Germans, I won the dice-off. (ABS was used for all scenarios over the weekend, but I don't have the ABS lists and I can't recall the specific balance used.) Kind of an interesting scenario, IMO a little tough on the British, but if he decides EXACTLY what he wants to do from the start and commits to that decision 100% his chances are reasonable. I think Ivan didn't quite do that and was sort of wishy-washy in the first couple of turns and he couldn't recover from that.

Funniest event in the game was what I called "When Titans Clash": one of my PSW 233 AC with malfed MA and Shocked (UK) sitting next to a British MkVIC who had malfed both MA and MG. Who will win this dramatic face-off??

1-0

Round 2: "The Chocos", opponent Dave Wilson

Papua, July 1942: the Japanese are heading for Kokoda village, and only a small company of Australian militia are in their way. I bid Japanese and Dave bid Australian so that was easy. My plan was to push and push hard and essentially this is what I did. I don't think I've ever initiated more Banzai Charges in a single scenario before, and remarkably, 90% of them were completely successful (particularly a couple of them which were just spoilers to open the way for more serious movement). It came down to one Australian squad sitting in the last VC hex I needed to capture; I had a couple of units ready to leap into CC but as it happened he broke in the AFPh so it was all over. I thought the scenario was fine but several other players felt that the Japanese needed more time to crack the defence. We had some stupid LOS errors (forgetting dense jungle) in the game that pretty much all penalised me (took casualties that I should have been immune to) so the fact that I was able to pull off the win anyway felt extra good (plus I've never beaten Wilson before).

Funniest event was a Japanese elite squad who went berserk on turn 1 and had to charge a (now empty) bamboo hex that was the last-known location of an Australian unit. 3 turns (half the game) being blithering idiots who accomplished nothing and didn't even have the good grace to get killed. Thanks guys.

2-0

Round 3: "The Glasgow Twins", opponent Joe Moro

Syria, July 1941: some stubborn Vichy French units are determined to fight on the wrong side and the Australians are tasked with the job of smacking their froggy bottoms. I bid Australian and Joe bid French so again that part is easy. Joe is from Melbourne also but we don't actually play each other very often so that was fine. Well I thought I had lost this by turn 2 -- I had 2 MkVIB tanks, and Joe Stunned both of them on turn 1 and destroyed them on turn 2 -- both by French MGs, oh the humiliation. Then his single 75mm ART piece, firing only HE, killed two out of three of my mighty Carrier force despite Motion, smoke etc. Meanwhile everywhere else my infantry was being less than completely inspiring. What's an Aussie to do??? Well I had nowhere else to be so I kept trying and on Turn 3 it all turned around 100%. Passing most MCs and then several successful CC results and suddenly I'm right next to the French who are looking a bit ragged and not so certain of their position any more. From then on Joe couldn't buy a good DR (or good enough, at least) and I seemed to be finding them on sale so just like that they were crushed.

Funniest moment of the game: the single carrier not slaughtered by the 75mm sought revenge, parked out of LOS and the inherent HS leapt out and advanced with murder in their eyes. Advance into CC, no Ambush occurs, so a straight-up 1:1 for each side. Joe is overly eager and rolls his CC first and rolls snake-eyes. I sigh, thinking that I know how this is going to go, but I remind Joe that as the ATTACKER I roll first. Then I roll snake-eyes, generate an 8-1 leader, smash the gun along with the crew and walk away whistling. Always remember the important sequence of events, folks! (The HS then got back in the carrier next turn and drove off to form a crucial part of the final elimination of the French defence.)

That wasn't all, though. In the next turn I had a broken HS who was guarding a captured French wounded 9-1 leader, plus I had an 8-0 in the hex. Joe rolls first in the non-sequential CC (escaping prisoners always go first) at 1:2 and rolls snakes to eliminate the broken guards (the only unit he was attacking). OK, but big deal, there's not much he can do with that. Then my 8-0 attacked back at 1:1 and I roll snakes too. Twice in one game! Mind you there wasn't much the 8-0 could do either except use the infiltration to move closer to the main action. Much ado about not much (even if Joe's leader had lived there was virtually nothing useful he could have done with it at that point).

Another first for me was a guarding unit went Berserk and had to massacre his prisoners, granting the French an increase in ELR. It didn't help them. What a world!

3-0

Round 4: RPT78 "Bounty Hunters", opponent David Wallace

Andy advises that as the only 2 players with perfect records to this point, this will be the championship match. I was having trouble taking it in, I have never played this well at CanCon before -- indeed I usually play my worst at this event. And to be playing my long-time best friend and regular opponent for the win! Of course, Wal is a much better player than me and regularly trounces me, so my expectations are restrained. We were given the choice of a Hatten scenario or this one to play, we picked this one because there aren't that many Japanese-Chinese scenarios (especially with a strong Chinese force like the one here) and besides it looked like it would play quick. We both bid Chinese, but my bid was higher so I get them. That was my first, and most crucial mistake. I wouldn't say the Chinese are hopeless here, far from it, but when you have to take buildings from the Japanese and you have limited heavy firepower, the only way it's going to happen is through CC and of course that leads into the Japanese strengths. I won every CC but it was mutual elimination every time, and I just couldn't afford those sorts of losses. The Chinese will break and will have trouble coming back, while the Japanese might stripe and not really care. (Plus it has the potential of being a bug-hunt scenario to make sure HIP Japanese don't take back crucial buildings on the last turn, and again with no Deployment the Chinese can't really afford the time or the units required.)

Still it's an interesting situation and it was kind of fun to play for its own sake, but the outcome was never really in doubt. Interestingly both of us were rolling like our dice were possessed. We had a long string of "2MC" "Pass!" "2MC again" "Pass again!" "2MC AGAIN" "Pass, AGAIN!!" which was frustrating as hell for both of us.

3-1, and I'm 2nd place and still astounded by that.

Round 5: "Shoot or Shovel", opponent Aaron Cleavin

The tournament having been decided, and several players not participating on this day, this round is "just for fun". Most people opt to play HF3 "First Timers", but Aaron and I both decide to pass on that and go for this new design.

New Britain, December 1943: A whole bunch of US Marines are just hanging out when the Japanese decide to throw a party, and everyone's invited. I bid Japanese and Aaron bids for the Marines so no trauma there. This scenario was IMO the least well-cooked of the designs that Andy offered, the Japanese are good but stomping around in only light jungle in the face of 8-morale troops with astonishing levels of firepower available to them is not usually a winning proposition. What are ya gonna do? Things started very promisingly, I get down lots of SMOKE and am able to initiate a monster Banzai not designed to get into CC but simply to cover a lot of 0-TEM ground quickly. Aaron's defensive fire is spirited but largely ineffective, whereas my AFPh broke virtually every American I could see. Aaron's DR were consistently awful, because my attacks were nothing special. As a result Aaron decided to pull back and regroup his shattered troops to defend the victory area rather than stay where he was, and consequently the Japanese were able to push forward without too much trouble, although the increasing quantity of US FP started to take it's toll. I fortunately won a low-odds CC that ought to have been a mutual kill (more bad DR on Aaron's part) and I had two out of the three victory locations secured. Then it came down to the last couple of turns and the Japanese needed every trick in the book to try and force the Americans out of the third location.

Now, keep in mind that the VC are the three locations must contain no unbroken American MMC at game end. Tying them up in Melee does me no good, I need to break or kill these guys, and by this point my forces are thin (although not as thin as might have been expected). I figure that what I really need are DCs detonating in American faces, and we all know the best way of doing that! I manage to place Smoke on Aaron's super kill stack and then the first DC Hero fights his way into that hex without much trouble -- and then self-explodes by rolling a 12 on a lousy NMC. Alright. The second DC Hero is aiming for the lone squad in the victory location, and it's at this point that we pause the game for a long, long rules discussion.

Here's the situation: a DC Hero is a TH Hero possessing a DC. If the Hero is wounded he only has 3 MC. Carrying the DC as well means he only has 2 MF available, and he's already spent one by the time he gets wounded. In jungle that doesn't get him far. The rules only permit him to detonate the DC in the MPh, even though he is not otherwise eliminated until the end of the turn. In his final position he is able to advance into CC, but he's not allowed by any rule to detonate the DC in the CCPh, and he's explicitly (as a DC Hero) not allowed to make a CC attack. He'll die automatically at the end of the CCPh so he can't even tie someone up in Melee or otherwise be any sort of obstacle. When he dies the DC dies with him. So what am I to do?

What I do is drop the DC for someone else to pick up. Is this legal? So far as Aaron and I (and Andy) could find -- and boy howdy, did we look -- there is no rule prohibiting it. Should there be? Probably, but we can only work with the rules we have. (Personally, I think dropping it should be prohibited, but in return being able to detonate the DC in the CCPh should be permitted.) (There is also an additional question regarding a wounded hero carrying a DC. Technically he has 0 Portage capacity at that point, but he's doing a Banzai Charge and you're not permitted to carry more than your IPC! Is he FORCED to drop it? But then the rules talk about him detonating the DC even if Pinned, and the ONLY way he can be Pinned is by becoming wounded after spending more than 3 MF. So ...?)

Anyway, after the DC Heroes have done their bit (or more accurately, done nothing) the remainder of the Banzai charge occurs but ultimately proves disappointing -- even though I forced several FPF attacks Aaron's DR picked this moment to be OK and mine were not so OK; not much ends up happening -- I think I killed a single Marine HS but with the troops he has available that means nothing.

Aaron's last Player Turn achieves not much, fortunately, so here we are in the last turn of the game. I have only a handful of squads staring in the eyes of 3 USMC and 3 leaders all stacked in the one location I don't want any of them to be. My assets consist of one MTR, one HMG, one LMG and an elite HS carrying a DC (and I have no DC Heroes remaining). I'm contemplating my various options, mostly centering around that DC, but it's PFPh and my MG stack and MTR have to try what they can. The MTR fire is ineffectual. The MG stack adds up to 16 FP directed by a -1 leader. Here we go ... and I roll a 3. 1KIA -- somebody (doesn't matter who) dies, everyone else breaks, no leader has a higher morale than any of the squads so there's no possibility of a LLMC causing HOB, Aaron has no opportunity to move anyone else back into the hex, and I win.

Better to be lucky than good!

4-1 for the weekend and still astounded.
 

Joe Moro

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I was Bruce's opponent in Round 3. What a hell of a game!..
End of of turn 2, - everything had gone my way..was rolling low, the sun was shining and the smell of victory was in the air!
Turn 3 - the game was turned upside down.... and the dice swung around and that was that!
But what a great game!! Congrats to Bruce for finishing 2nd
I finished 3-2 ..not bad!

Overall it was a great weekend and many thanks to Andy for organizing the comp,
and to David for winning..

Looking forward to 2020!
 
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