Las Vegas Open January 2024
Flames Of War Report
By Igor Torgeson
Each January Frontline Gaming hosts the Las Vegas Open, one of the largest conventions and competitions of tabletop gaming in the world. Over 5000 people attended this year, with some competitions having hundreds of players registered. The Flames Of War West Coast Nationals, were small potatoes, by comparison, but we were happy to have 50 players attend for our biggest tournament to date.
|The WCN this year was five 2.5 hour rounds over Saturday and Sunday, with three rounds on Saturday. This was an open tournament at 95 points, so players could build lists from any late war book available by January 1st. The only restriction was players were limited to a single Formation created from a Command Card–this was to cut down on double-recce Squadron shenanigans and the like. That said, we still had a wide array of lists, ranging from double-Clausewitz formations to an entire Comet company!
In all, we had eight British lists, three Finn, 23 German, one Romanian, four Soviet and eleven American. The heavy predominance of German lists seems to be partially attributed to Berlin German being the “new hotness,” but as the results bear out, those lists were also very strong, especially when paired with Axis Allies. I’m still collecting the data (things got a bit hectic!) but it also seems that in many matchups the players’ stances were Attack/Attack or Defend/Defend. I can’t think of one game that was Maneuver/Maneuver! Dustup was one of the most common missions, followed by Free-for-All, Dogfight, Counterstrike and Breakthough.
Churchills use a convenient mesa to hide from a distant 88.
|After the first day, Vincent Arroyo and John Cedarburg were in the lead, both using attacking German infantry. Jacob Mayer was close behind, with his defending double-Clausewitz and allied Finn tanks. At least 12 other players were still within striking distance, if the leaders could oblige by beating each other up and taking ties. Round Four saw Arroyo and Cedarburg facing off, a tense but immensely polite matchup which lead to Vince taking his first LVO Flames Of War loss in three years! Meanwhile, Jacob Mayer triumphed over Minneapolis-based Ryan Waldock, setting up the final showdown between Mayer and Cedarburg with only one point separating them, 28-27.
|Going into the final round, things were still very much up in the air. Tony Davis had leap-frogged into third after dismantling Hyato Tukakosi’s Red Banner force (sorry buddy!), veteran Tim McClelland and newcomer Stanton Lackey were just behind at 25 points. If the top table tied, wins by any of the players at 25 points, or even Isaac Eastman at 24 points, could shake up the podium!
|Jacob Mayer’s defenders proved to be too much to get through, however, and he prevailed 6-3, making him unbeaten for the tournament. Vince and Tim won their games, putting themselves in the top three.
|Overall it was a very cordial event, with laughs and adult beverages flowing freely. When the time came to vote for favorite opponent, 26 players got at least one vote! Jordan Sull, however, got the most support, making him Best Sportsman.
The Best Painted prize deserves a special note because it went to Patric Weiss, who came to LVO all the way from Switzerland! Folks were wowed by his twin-88 Flak railcars, one of which was painted in the last two weeks before the event. People loved his army so much, the only attempted bribes were folks trying to get paired with Patric in the next round!
Patric Weiss wins this year's Best Painted prize.
|Recognition must also go to Ludwig Lund of Finland, who made it to LVO for the second year in a row. Last year he played his first games of WWIII: Team Yankee at WCN23 and this year he scored best painted in the event!
|Finally, each year, we try to have some fun on Saturday night with a Buffet Challenge. In previous years, we challenged participants to eat as many distinct species as possible (the Carnivore Challenge) but this year we switched it up to desserts (the Sweet Tooth). Nathan Krahn ruled the night, putting away numerous tiny dishes of sweets, with special mention going to Dearl Albright, who was a close second.
|When our club took over administration of West Coast Nationals a few years ago, our goal was to make the event competitive but also fun in a way that would grow the hobby and get people to come back year after year. There’s still work to do, but we’re very happy with the results this year. In addition to getting the most players we’ve ever had for an event, we also had 13 players attend their first LVO! The event was a real team effort, with special thanks going to Kevin Morris, Scott Grasse and the rest of the members of the Lost Angeles Historical Gaming.
|Next looks to be even bigger and even better!
|Patric Weiss learns from Carl Belatti that we take the game VERY seriously in North America.
|Tournament winners, L-R: Nathan Krahn, Sweet Tooth; Patric Weiss, Best Painted; Jacob Mayer, 1st Place; Vicente Arroyo, 2nd Place, Tim McClelland, 3rd place.
|German troops surround an objective.
|Stanton Lackey and TJ Weller celebrate starting deployment.
|Ludwig Eric.jpg - Ludwig Lund and Eric Eckles deploy. Note the lovely Free French objective provided to Ludwig by the T.O.
| All the players that could fit in the picture!
Last Updated On Thursday, February 8, 2024 by Kevin