Sunday, 13 April 2014

City Fight - Test Game One

The Combatants - prepared for battle
About a month ago we asked the question, "How would you fight on this city board?"
The suggestions and responses were great and we have spent the last few weeks working out the various options and planning the day.
To test the game our Bolt Action playing and painting son was joined by three new players - some of his younger siblings - C (13 years old), R (9 years old) and M (6 years old).  The hats were an important part of getting ready.
R joined Peter as Germans with C playing British and M playing Americans.
We decided to try 600 point armies, based on pre-defined units with points all rounded to 5 points.  This made it relatively easy to fiddle with a limited collection of units without excess time wasting.
The game was split into two order dice bags, but each allied army could shoot at either of the enemy armies.  But we moved the turn count at the same time.
The Blue Box and two WWII British soldier statues.
This made for interesting dynamics. At one point C pulled out 4 of her dice in a row, rapidly placing ambush orders on all her troops before Peter, who was playing out of a different dice bag, had the chance to move.
The game had two objectives, one on each side of the centre line of the board. The first was near the hotel and town square - the mysterious Blue Box and a couple of historically accurate metal soldiers.
The other was the Christmas tree, with presents tantalisingly placed around the trunk.
We also made some changes to the building rules to reflect the fact most of our buildings have inner walls.

1. Movement through a building is "Rough Ground"
2. All firing within a building has hard cover defence.
3. To work out where troops can go, just measure 6 inches - up stairs, around doors, etc.
4. 2 shooters per normal side door or window.  Some larger openings can fit 3 or 4.
Merry Christmas - now fight over the presents.
5. All close combat is across a barrier - that is, at the same time.
6. Units can split across floors.  That is, a squad can have men manning the bottom floor window and door as well as top floor windows.  But they can't split across buildings.
7. Multiple units can be in the same building, but not the same room.
8. Firing is equivalent to Fixed Arc weapons - a 90 degree arc in all directions. They can see at all angles but can't fire - otherwise they are hanging out the window.
9. The LMG loader does not take up a window spot.  He can hand the ammo from beside the window, leaving two firers per window.
10. All Mortars are off board, with a spotter on board to direct all firing.  Points are just for the mortar with the spotter free.  Only Regular mortars.
11. No pre start setup of spotters or snipers.
12. The objectives had to be held by a unit of at least 3 guys.
Can my tank see you?

What were the armies?

Germany 1: (4 Dice)

Regular 2nd Lt with 2 guys
Veteran Heer Grenadiers - NCO+5 men all Assault Rifles
Veteran Waffen SS - NCO (SMG), LMG, 8 Rifles
Panzer IV H

Germany 2: (7 dice)

Regular 2nd Lt with 2 guys
Medium Mortar
Regular Heer Infantry x 2 - NCO (SMG), LMG, 8 Rifles + 3 Panzerfausts
Volks Grenadiers - NCO + 4 Assault Rifles + 3 men Rifles + 2 Panzerfausts
Sdkfz 222
But you can't see the men hiding behind.

USA: (6 Dice)

Regular 2nd Lt with 2 guys
Regular Squad x 3 - NCO (SMG), BAR, 8 Rifles
M24 Chaffee with Recce

Britain: (6 Dice)

Regular 2nd Lt with 2 guys
Heavy Mortar
Free Artillery Observer
Regular Squad x 2 - NCO (SMG), LMG, 8 Rifles
Veteran Airborne Squad - NCO (SMG), LMG, 8 Rifles
Veteran PIAT
Kaboom!  You can't hide from me!

The Game

The Game began reasonably slowly as is often the case.  M was able to bring on his Chaffee and hide behind some hard cover and shoot at the Panzer IV.  Miss.
The dual order bag system was working fine with little overlap at this stage.
Turn two began with the Panzer IV rushing up to within point blank range of the Chaffee and blowing it sky high.
Pinned out!

On the British flank the artillery was placed in the middle of the German advance. The troops quickly scattered, but some didn't go quite far enough. The Sdkfz 222 ended up with 3 pins plus some from other hits. Effectively pinned out.
The German spotter in the rush to avoid artillery fire was shot before getting to place any shots.
On the far right British flank a squad tried some movement to hit the square from the side.
But on turn 3 a German squad which had hopped into a building to avoid the artillery fire stepped out the other side and opened fire.
This ended in a multiple turn firefight, joined by a second German squad.
Where did those Gerries come from?!
The British were killed, but only after killing all the German squad. Well not quite.  The NCO was saved by a great roll by the medic.
We were finding the alleys, walls, roads and restricted observation incredibly challenging.
C thought she would be clever placing her HQ unit on Ambush.  Then she realised the angles meant it could only affect an area about 3 inches wide.  This was unanimously voted the worst ambush ever.
Meanwhile on the American flank, the German Veterans were taking hold of the objective.  The Americans had a unit in the adjacent building and had two free shots at point blank range and were able to kill a number of the guys.
A very open square surrounded by firepower.
It didn't help.
The Waffen SS (now 8 men) charged in and fought the US guys in the lower level, losing one man, then next turn charged upstairs and killed the remainder of the squad, reorganising back downstairs. The surviving 6 Waffen SS now held the Restaurant (yellow building).
Just before the German assault, an American squad was able to rush across the square and take over the Hotel.  The US now held the second objective!
At this point it was one objective each.
The Panzer IV was stuck on the US flank, but did its job of holding back all comers and thereby retaining the Christmas Tree.
The PIAT fires and HITS. Boom. One dead Sdkfz 222. 
The Germans had the Volks Grenadiers in the Cafe Gondree next to the Hotel. The US troops were on Ambush. Rather than rush in the front door and get shot by the 4 guys guarding the front, they charged in the back door and were fired on by the rear 6 guys.  They suffered a casualty, but the special Green roll resulted in no upgrade from Inexperienced.
In the resulting close combat they still had lots of dice (all assault rifles) and although dying in the effort, the US were now down to 3 men.  Just enough to still hold the objective.
We were now at turn 6.
C was able to quickly place all her units overseeing the square on Ambush.
The remaining Veteran Grenadier was moved out, trying to get everyone to fire at him.  Only one unit did so, but the rest held their fire.
A very exposed run from the Restaurant to the Hotel.
At this point the excitement and tension was pretty high.  This was becoming classic Bolt Action whereby the end result was still up in the air at the last turn.
Peter had no choice but to do the rush.
The British fired the first ambush.  In the open and point blank, the dice went well and the 6 Waffen SS became 3.
The next Ambush cut them down to 1.
Not enough to hold the objective, so the US retain ownership!
Meanwhile, the Christmas tree was actually in range of the remaining US squad, but under the close scrutiny of the Panzer IV.
Only one men made it across.  Not enough.
But turn 6 was over.
"Who wants to roll to see if there is a turn 7?" I asked.
"Me! Me! Me!" they all cried.
A 5 was rolled, so we played another turn.
The Panzer IV fired first at the US squad, getting 2 more pins.  The Americans failed morale so went down.  The Christmas Tree remained German!
The various British troops fired at the German survivors when the Germans suddenly rushed the remaining squad from the buildings and got within 3 inches of the Blue Box.  Contested!
This would mean a German victory, but there was one wild option.
This is how you do it. Tally ho!
The 3 man HQ charged the 8 man German squad.  The HQ had 5 dice and killed 3 men.  The remaining 5 Germans had 8 dice, but only killed 1.  The German unit was wiped out and the Box remained in British hands.
Phew.  A draw.
Immediately, C began the classic post game review.
"I should have done this, and these guys should have done that."
R - the 9 year old - also knew what would have been better next time and was telling me what dice she needed to roll during the game.
Eyes bright, pulses racing, cries of excitement and despair.
All run of the mill in a Bolt Action game.

So what did we learn?
1. 600 Points is a great size army.
2. Using multiple dice bags works well.
3. We need to create a dice rolling box.  There is not enough space on such a crowded table!
4. Using limited types of units allows quick creation of armies.
5. One objective per pair of opponents works well, especially considering the small army sizes.
6. Unit Cards will make it much easier.

I think this can work effectively with a larger game.  Time to test it with 6 players and see what happens.
Thank you to all the guys who provided advice and ideas.
Today's Commando Comic Moments


  1. Very cool report. How did you do the comic style report? It looks really good.

    1. I used Comic Life which came with my Mac. Very easy - and fun - to use.

  2. Très bel article
    Système de 4 sacs original

    Le forum de notre association

  3. ´´The Germans had the Volks Grenadiers in the Cafe Gondree next to the Hôtel. ´´
    Please, explain yourself .

    1. The Pegasus Bridge set included the building model of the Cafe Gondree. This building was included in this board on the corner of square. You can see it on the first picture above in which the square is shown, in the top left corner of the square. The Volks Grenadier squad occupied the Cafe briefly before continuing to the objective. Are you related to the Pegasus Bridge Cafe Gondree?



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