Last year at the New Zealand National Wargaming Convention, I spent most of the weekend hanging out with “the boys from the Hutt Club”. A number of us were playing Team Yankee and over a few drinks I found myself asking what they were planning to do for ValleyCon (their flagship event they organise each year) and Team Yankee.
To my pleasure, the idea of 100 point games on 8’x4’ tables was thrown in to the ring. With a cry of “let me ask my wife, but I am definitely coming” I found myself committed to heading down!
Needless to say, I haven’t completed much in the way of Big Four models recently. Thankfully I had the Battlefront collection to leverage as I failed to get my Hinds painted in time, but I did complete the rest, including a flight of the new plastic SU-25 Frogfoot (who knows what the plural for the Frogfoot would be? Frogfoots, Frogfeet?) aircraft.
My next problem was that the army was too big for the Battlefront figure case! Luckily, I had another case option up my sleeve but the painting and transport hurdles were only going to be the first issues with taking such a large army, especially when you are flying to the event!
We were lucky to be at the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club for the weekend – a great venue with food and drink onsite and just a generally great atmosphere. I won’t go into the individual games as such but I did learn a heck of a lot about my army and how to play it over the weekend.
- Always make sure you send enough assaulting teams to count as a large company – don’t be lazy about pushing those extra few models in, even if you don’t think their defensive fire will stop you.
- Autoloaders are the best! I was planning on painting some artillery for my French but my experience with the Dana has reiterated it for me.
- Su-25 Frogfoot + Kh-25 missile = much fun for me. If I could have two flights I would…
- Aggression and fast play is the key to winning (or losing).
What I found really difficult over the weekend was getting a result (a win or loss, rather than timing out). I am a huge fan of the “if no-one wins we both loose” approach to missions. I want to have a fun game where we both manoeuvre and play to win so a “sitskrieg” style of game is not for me. However, pushing 90 (yes, ninety) models around the table takes a lot of time and effort, combined with my lack of familiarity with the new models I had just built and painted, and a lack of practice games, meant that the army was just too much for me to handle at the start of the weekend. By the end things were starting to come together but let’s be honest, I picked an army that was enormously fun to build, paint and play, but was not a good choice given the “rules” of the event.
Click on the image to the right to see my list…
Knowing my personal limitations, I should have chosen more wisely.
So, where does this leave me and my Czechoslovakians now? I love the army, I love the paint job, and I love how it plays, so I’ve figured out a painting list of what I need to do to complete the army which includes more tanks (yes, more T-72 and T-55 tanks), my unfinished Hinds, some BMP-2s as well as a few other bits and pieces. This will give me the option of fielding a more ‘elite’ version of the army (with T-72 tanks, supported by BMP-2 infantry and about 60 models), as well as a even bigger horde for social games.
However, I will be giving the army a rest from Tournaments for a little while and perhaps building a tight list from the WW3: British book. The test shot (pre-production) of the Challenger sitting on my desk keeps calling me. I also have a company of Churchill and Cromwell tanks sitting on the shelf that need some hobby time as part of the Big Four.
Other than some bad luck with fog at the Wellington Airport (yep, my return flight was cancelled) and an unplanned extra night stay it was an excellent trip, with great games and opponents. Massive thank you to all the Hutt boys, and especially Chris O (and family) for being host, taxi and all-round good bloke during my visit.
ValleyCon 2020 Results
1st – Simon McB
2nd – Richard
3rd – Tom
4th – Chris P
5th – Adam
6th – Bob
6th – Brian
6th – Sofia
6th – Russell
10th – Simon S
11th – Chris T
12th – Regan
13th – Connor
14th – Steve
15th – Lauchie
16th – Chris O
Best Sport – Simon S
Excellent Sports – Chris O & Regan
Best Army – Russell
Excellent Painting – Bob & Adam