Saturday, 14 June 2014

Bolt Action Boot Camp - The First

Our city heights board
Today we had our first Bolt Action Boot Camp at The Demo Company's wonder warehouse.
We had a modified City Heights board and a Winter board.
There were 11 x 600 point armies on display ready to be played with. We had enough dice, tape measures, periscopes, unit cards, rule summaries and whatever else was required to learn how to play Bolt Action.
Over the course of the day we had 10 players all staying for a 2 to 2.5 hour game.  Where did the time go?

The Winter Board - would it be as brutal today?

A peaceful little spot
We left home at 7:00am so we could get the The Combat Company by 9:00am, we setup everything in an hour and by 10:00am we were ready.
Our last game ended at 5:00pm then packed up.
We finally arrived home at 8:00pm.
BOOM! Now that is how artillery can strike.
The day went by very fast.  Bolt Action is a very engrossing game.  Quickly players, spectators and even us organising the games got caught up in what each order dice could achieve and groan or cheer at each dice roll, especially as the games progressed.
Peek a boo!

A classic Bolt Action ending.  Anyone can win.
In one game on the Winter board the British player fired his artillery.  The hit point and distance roll managed to have 5 enemy units under fire.  The Panzer III was hit with a 6 - full fire for effect which blew up the tank.
Then he rolled another six to hit the men sheltering in the "safety" of the house.
BOOM! 13 hits which destroyed the house and the full squad within.
In one turn, the Germans lost half their force.
"Bolt Action Happens" as players have begun to remark.
Most of the games had the classic last turn tension. It was very enjoyable analysing options of what can be and what possible consequences there are.
The latest phrase we have coined is "Pins Kill Plans" So often a plan fails because a critical unit failed to pass their order test, or a pin caused a shot to miss.
In one game involving a T34/85 and Panzer III the Panzer III missed the T34.  The T34 hit but only achieved a pin.
But that pin ended up being critical.
The T34 kept missing and the Panzer III kept failing the order test and going down.
On Turn 6 the best plan was for the Panzer III to advance and kill the only Russian unit holding the objective.  So he did this and it was a success - until one of our sergeants mentioned, "Hey, did you roll for the order? He has a pin."
Oops. But it shouldn't be a problem, only an 8 was needed.
But a 9 was rolled. That great move was put into the very busy "Could have been" column.

In another game, one American unit was in the middle of the orchard and was able to inflict many casualties on the surrounding Finnish forces.  Eventually it was down to 1 man - continually passing morale and being annoying to the Finn.
So he charged in a HQ squad.  It should have been easy, but the Finnish player only rolled under 4 which meant no casualty.  The American killed one of the HQ squad which meant he won the Close Combat and killed all the HQ unit!  Bolt Action Happens.

Overall, it was a great day.  We will probably hold another one in August, and then we will be running a 2 day Bolt Action Boot Camp at MOAB in October.

Yeah!  More new players! And more Bolt Action.

Some posts are already up elsewhere with lots of photos of our games.
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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Winter Board - Red snow!

The Germans and one of the commanders
Today we play tested the Winter Board. We had three beginner players with one experienced Russian and one of our Sergeants played as a General to help the two German players.

The Forces:

(Please note we haven't updated points for Volks Grenadiers as per the latest errata.)

Russian 1:

1 x Officer(1st Lt + 2men )
1 x Medic
1 x Med Mortar(Spotter Off Board)
1 x Free Rifle Squad(NCO + 5 Men Green)
2 x LMG Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles )
1 x Veteran Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles )
1 x AT Rifle(2 men )
The Russians with the junior commander

The first casualty, one of the free squad.

Russian 2:

1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x Free Rifle Squad(NCO + 5 Men Green)
2 x LMG Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles )
1 x SMG Squad(6 x SMG )
1 x T34/85
Turn one - everyone moving in.

Tank Riders - abandon the tank at first shot!

One Panzer III - gone!

Turn 2 - The well is contested

Turn 2 - The pond is in Russian hands.

Germany 1:

1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x Medic
1 x Heavy Mortar(Spotter Off Board)
2 x Heer Infantry(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles 2 x Panzerfaust each)
1 x Volks Grenadiers(NCO + 4 (Ass Rifles) + 3 rifles + 2 Panzerfausts)
1 x Sdkfz 222(Light Autocannon, Coax MMG Recce)
Racing across the frozen Pond

Made it the assault and all died!

Germany 2:

1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x Sniper(2 men )
1 x Heer Infantry(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles 1 x Panzerfaust)
1 x Heer Veteran Infantry(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles 1 x Panzerfaust)
1 x Panzer III J

The Player Essentials Tin makes a great dice rolling board.

Highlights of the game:

Another Frontal Assault - more bodies
In Turn 2 the Panzer III hit the T34/85 but the shot bounced off.  The T34 shrugged of the pin and blew the Panzer III sky high!
That flank quickly fell apart as the Russian infantry pushed forward to the Top Secret pond in short order.
As this was Winter we had a special rule whereby the pond was frozen, but if infantry wanted to race across, they had to roll.  A 1 or 2 meant they break through and each soldier failing the roll died in the the shark infested frozen pond. One of the Russian units made a frontal assault across the pond.  None fell through and they hit a German unit but all died in the assault.
Hit with a heavy mortar - only 2 pins and one dead!

The end - Russia owns both objectives
Meanwhile, on the Well flank a continuing flow of close assaults resulted in many deaths - mostly Russian - with Germans retaining possession of the well.
Learning how to fight on non city boards
Then in turn 5 the Russian Heavy mortar hit the German squad holding the orchard. A large groan by the Germans changed to a sigh of relief when the strike only resulted in 2 pins and 1 casualty!
But the next turn meant the mortar would only require a 2 to hit, so the Volks Grenadiers rushed around the corner and fired everything at the spotter.  15 dice later and he was despatched.
After bravely doing their duty, the Russian HQ fired at the Volks Grenadiers killing one of them. A grin from the Germans as the rolled to see if they became Veterans, but they rolled a 1! Instead of upgrading, they stayed green and had 5 more pins!
Volks Grenadiers: The last hope - but rolled a 1 to upgrade

Shortly thereafter the T34 quickly moved across the table and hit the Germans in the Orchard, while the tank riders dismounted to capture the well.
A final try by the Germans in the orchard with a close combat against the Russian Tank riders, passing morale with a 4 and shedding all their pins.  They killed 2 and the Russians killed 3.  That was the end of the Germans last chance.

At the end of the game there were only 20 (out of 78) Russians with their T34 and 10 Germans (out of 58 men) with the 222 and Heavy Mortar.
That is why we nicknamed the board "Red Snow".

What did we learn?

1. The Players Essentials Tins worked great keeping the dice in order and working as a dice rolling tray.
2. The game was still balanced despite such a disparity of forces.
3. One of my daughters said, "I am used to fighting city games.  This open board was tricky."
4. The dual dice bags still work well, keeping the game flowing and providing for interesting surprises as forces fired across the board against units in adjacent armies.
5. This board had an extremely high attrition rate.
6. The Russians liked the tank riders. They were quick to transport and get into the thick of the action.

We'll see how the board plays out next week at the Bolt Action Boot Camp.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Bolt Action Boot Camp - The Winter Board

From the North
Next week we will hold our first official Bolt Action Boot Camp at the wonder warehouse of the Combat Company.
We will have two boards - The two level City Board and this Winter board.
From the South
The Winter Board will have four players in teams of 2 x 600 point armies.
The objectives are:
1. The secret papers in The Pond on the South side of the board, and
2. The paratrooper stuck in The Well on the North side of the board next to the orchard.

Some Finns ready for the Russians.
This board is quite different from the city board.  Much more open spaces with softer cover.  The fields are just decoration as a winter ploughed field is still open ground.  The tree line is soft cover and the brick walls are hard cover.
Oh bother. I think I blew too far from the 100 acre wood.

If you are in Sydney next week, let us know and drop in. It will be fun day.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Bolt Action Index 1.3

Bolt Action Index 1.3 is released
Warlords have published the latest Bolt Action Errata/FAQ dated 30 May 2014.
So I have updated the index to include the latest changes.
I have numbered the Errata and then FAQ with pages E1 to E3 and F1 to F8 (excluding changes to army lists).

Changes include:

  1. Pinning against vehicles is made more sensible (no HMG pinning big tanks)
  2. Snipers only roll normal hit chances against units in buildings.
  3. The Mortar Shuffle is killed
  4. Loader for LMGs rule is sort of clarified. You can change the loader each turn but you don't have to.
The latest Bolt Action Index v1.3 is here.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

City Heights Project - the battle

View from the outskirts
Today we had a great game with two new players.  They had visited us a few weeks prior and caught sight of the City Heights Project board. "Tell us more!" they asked.
So today we had their first Bolt Action game.
And - as is so often the case - the game ended in a frantic dash where either side could have won.


1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x FAO(Free Artillery Observer )
1 x Sniper(2 men Veteran)
1 x MMG(3 men )
3 x Infantry Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles )
1 x PIAT(2 Men )

View from the heights

Turn One - Dead Cromwell
1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x FAO(Free Artillery Observer )
1 x Infantry Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles )
1 x Airborne Squad(NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles Veteran Stubborn)
1 x PIAT(2 Men )
1 x Cromwell(Med AT, Coax MMG, MMG )

The chateau - full of Germans with Aussies out front


Germany 1:
1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
2 x Heer Infantry(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles Veterans)
1 x Waffen SS(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles Veteran Fanatics)

Sniper at the top and MMG at the bottom.  Very effective.
Germany 2:
1 x Officer(2nd Lt + 2men )
1 x Heavy Mortar(Spotter Off Board)
1 x MMG(3 men )
1 x Heer Infantry(NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles Regular)
2 x Volks Grenadiers(NCO + 4 (Ass Rifles) + 3 rifles Green special)
1 x Sdkfz 234/2 Puma(Med AT, Coax MMG )

Germans amassing for the final turn.
Each army is 600 points. There were two objectives, one at the base of the ramp and the other at the top of the ramp.  It could only be captured by an infantry unit of 3 or more men.

The game took 2.5 hours which was excellent for a 1200 point game and 4 players. The game went to 7 turns, with ownership of every objective contested for both turns 6 and 7.
The city heights stair proved to be a perfect place for a sniper at the top of the stairs and the Vickers MMG using the cover of the lower stairs. The sniper and the Vickers were very effective in pitting pins and casualties on the veteran Germans facing them.  The combination of multiple Australian units inflicting pins severely hampered the german veterans.

One highlight was the destruction of the British Cromwell in turn 1.  At this point the Australian had a PIAT that he didn't need so transferred it over to his partner's forces. In the end, the British player still managed to capture and hold the objective by the skin of his teeth.

The board was very enjoyable to play on with lots of nooks, crannies and interesting firing angles and cover options.

And the best result?  The game was so much fun that the new players are looking forward to our next game. They invited themselves back.


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