Sunday, 1 February 2015

Russia vs Germany - for the win

Forces coming on turn 1 - forest side
Today we had an enjoyable game teaching a friend how to play Bolt Action. We are grooming him to be a Demo Gamer Sergeant as our experience at Cancon means we will be needing more people helping us run demo games.
We have created a Youtube video giving a turn by turn run through of what happened, but here are some more details to help.
To show that we are not completely obsessed with buildings, today's board was a combination of fields and forest with only two small buildings.
Each army was 2 x 600 points as follows:


Infantry with Sdkfz 222 in Forest:

1 x Regular HQ (2nd Lt, with 2 men)
3 x Heer Regulars (9 Men: LMG, SMG, 7 Rifles, 1 x PzFaust)
1 x Regular MMG Team
1 x Regular Sniper team
1 x Sdkfz 222
Total Pts: 609, 7 Order Dice
Forces coming on turn 1 - fields side

 Panzer IV H and Volks Grenadiers (in fields)

1 x Regular HQ (1st Lt with 1 man)
3 x Volks Grenadiers (8 men: 5 x Assault Rifles, 3 x Rifle, 1 x PxFaust)
1 x Pz IV H (No side skirts)
Total Pts: 602,  5 Order Dice


Infantry in Forest

1 x Regular HQ (2nd LT with 2 men)
3 x Regular LMG Squads (10 Men, SMG, LMG, 8 Rifles)
1 x Regular Medic
1 x Inexperienced Free Rifle Squad (6 men, rifles + AT grenades)
1 x Regular Med Mortar
1 x Veteran Tank Hunter Squad (4 men, SMGs, AT Grenades)
Total Pts: 603, 8 Order Dice
Turn one with the Germans advancing in force

T34 and Infantry in fields

1 x Regular HQ (2nd Lt with 1 man)
2 x Regular LMG squad (SMG, LMG, 8 rifles)
1 x Inexperienced SMG Squad (6 SMG)
1 x Inexperienced Free Rifle Squad (6 men, rifles + AT grenades)
1 x T34/85 Tank
Total Pts: 601, 6 Order Dice
And the Russians moving to meet them

This was quite a lot of men to go into the fight. We had two objectives, the T intersection near the houses and the bridge in the forest.
The game worked out to be an excellent introductory game for our friend.  He had never played any wargame before, the closest similar thing would have been Risk or computer games. As we have experienced so often he had the basics worked out by the end of turn one and by turn 3 was making excellent decisions based on his options available.  By turn 6 he was seeing so many choices he could make and plans being decided on and then trashed as the situation changed with almost every order dice being pulled.
Our forest area has lots of hills and gullies, uncrossable rivers and rough ground bridges with lots of sight and cover challenges.
(As a side note it was interesting that the bridge was one we built about 10 years ago for another 28mm gaming system. This just shows you how our investment of time and effort into scenery can provide benefits for may years to come.)
Laser pointers are cool.
We use two key tools when determining line of sight and cover questions.
The first is a periscope (instructions are here)
The other is a new tool, the Army Painter - Targetlock Laser Line which was available shortly from War and Peace games but it sold out very quickly.  New stock should be arriving in about 4 weeks. This laser pointer meets Australian laser power guidelines and you hold it above the board and point down, giving yo a lovely line on the board.

By turn 2 the Russians are getting control of the T intersection
Like many games, the first couple of turns are manoeuvring with not too much firing, then suddenly the troops are close enough for much more dangerous activities.  The hard part is keeping some forces out of the thick of the fighting so they can take - and hold - the objective in turn 6.
In this game we had two very equal tanks - the German Panzer IV and the Russian T34/85. Turn one had the German player coming on first, which meant the Russian could then on come on and fire at him.  Rolled to hit and succeeded.  Then needed a 3+ to do any damage, but rolled a 1.  Tink! Just a pin.

Both houses occupied, Russians ready to charge.
Turn 2 both tanks missed each other. Turn 3 the T34 hit and once more only scored a 1 to cause damage.  Another Tink! In Turn 4, the Panzer IV had enough of this playing around and moved across to the house and decided to affect the objective.
The T34 raced across, hit and once more caused no damage. But in turn 6 - the critical turn - the Panzer IV failed morale and had to reverse away from the objective and go down.
This left the Russians in control and not enough Germans able to force the issue.
The Russians won the fields.

We win.  Move back over the hill.

Charge!! Capture the bridge.
The Germans outmanoeuvred the Russians and decided to force the issue with some frontal assaults over the hill.  Less than 6" away meant they were able to fight with no incoming fire and won the first combat, removing the Russian LMG squad.  Close Combats are great!
The next attempt was a charge against the Russians holding the bridge. Poor rolls meant the attacking Germans, even though hitting first in the Russian flank, still killed less than the Russians and were defeated.  Now there were not enough Germans left to wrest the bridge from the defending Russians.
Bah.  Charges are stupid. Until next time.

At the end of the game we all stood around and smiled at the results.
The German HQ is the only German unit contesting the objective.

But the Russian HQ has solved that problem.
"Let's do it again," my sons said and the friend agreed.  It was pretty impressive how well the new player did in the second game.  In that game the result was a draw, one flag each, and the friend lost the battle, he agreed that he had actually won.  He enjoyed the game and played Bolt Action, which is a win regardless of the score.
Now we will play more games and get him involved in some modelling and painting.
"But I've never painted before and I can't paint," he protested.
"Not a good enough excuse," we replied, "You'll learn that you can model and paint good enough for the table top.  Don't worry about how Peter paints. He has been doing it for longer and has a gift. Just remember, it just had to look good enough from about 3 foot away  tabletop standard - and that is not a difficult task."
And so it begins.

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