Saturday, 30 January 2016

Bolt Action Index 1.5

Where are the rules for tanks racing onto a frozen river?
The latest Errata and FAQ has been released by Warlord Games dated 27 January 2016 (You can get it here).
There are lots of updates and clarifications so I have updated the Bolt Action Index. (version 1.5)
It is interesting to see how many items in the index have an E or F page indicating a ruling or clarification of the main rules.

The index has been downloaded over 6,000 times. I'm glad so many are finding this resource so handy.

Other handy resources that have been popular include:
Our Building Clarifications
Terrain tutorials
Turn Counters
Conveniently fits in the inside back or front covers

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Attack over the Dniester - First Playtest review.

Our first public play test went very well. We ran two games at The Company of Dice meeting showing 8 players the fun that is Bolt Action.
The best part about giving public participation games is we get to meet new people and share the fun that is Bolt Action. Part of that fun is the different ideas and perspectives new players provide which we had not considered during our preliminary testing.
In the game (Scenario Here) the German river defenders have a Panzer III N - the one with a light howitzer. We figured this would act as a mobile pillbox patrolling along the docks and annoying the Russians. One player was having a challenge in turn 2 when the Russians were hiding behind the docks and he couldn't get at them as well as he wanted.
So he asked, "Can I go onto the ice?"
After a few blank looks as my son and I considered the question, we figured that was a fun idea and said, "Why not?"
We decided that if the tank goes on the ice it has to roll a dice whenever it uses a RUN or FIRE order. 1,2,3 and it cracks the ice and sinks.
After the flying leap as the tank charged onto the ice, the roll of a 4 meant the ice stayed solid. But nothing else could be achieved that turn. Next turn the Russians on one side charged up over the docks so they wouldn't get hit in the open by a howitzer and MMG. So the Panzer III turned its turret and shot the Russian MMG, blowing it sky high.
"Yeah!" cried the German player.
"Now roll for the ice," we instructed.
"Ah, well," he said.
"Cinematic," we all agreed and the game continued.

We have had to make a few changes to the scenario, making the Germans roll a morale roll before firing on their first turn, to represent their recovery from an assumed preliminary bombardment. No pins, just a morale check to fire on the first turn. That should balance up the opening charge across the frozen river.
There is the additional bonus objective if the two Russian forces meet. This is trickier than it sounds as any city game is quite deadly on forces.
In our second game the Veteran Siberians had only their NCO remaining. The last remaining land based Russian squad was within 12 inches. It was turn 6 which meant it was time for a "Cinematic moment".
The NCO charged from the Harbour offices across to the other Russians. A squad of German Volks Grenadiers had been positioned in the second floor of the neighbouring factory with an AMBUSH order. There was a small gap between the buildings through which they could see the running Russian and they elected to fire on the NCO. 10 attack dice resulted in 3 hits. Of those 3 hits, one dice rolled a 5 which meant the NCO was killed.
So close.
The players looked at each other and said, "Cinematic" and the game raced to an exciting completion.
Overall the game worked very well. Even though the Russian player considered calling an end in turn four of the second game, I suggested he continue as in Bolt Action, anything can happen and players must always remember the adage, "I'm not dead yet".
Sure enough, the game ended up being a draw after a series of amazing moves, with all players getting very strategic over their use and timing of each order dice pulled from the bag. Also, as both sides were fighting intensely over the objectives there was great confusion with fire from units activated from each bag, resulting in a lot of "fog of war" moments, such as "Where did he come from?" and "Oops, I forgot about those guys".

Thanks to all those that played and the guys from The Company of Dice for a great club and venue. We ended up as exhausted and thrilled as the players after each game.
Which is why we enjoy being the Demo Gamers.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Attack over the Dniester - Playtest

We have been quiet recently but this time has not been wasted. Our next board is ready for play testing.
This is a board for 4 players, Russian verses Germans. The board represents a section of the Kamenets-Podolsky port area on the Dniester river during Winter. A Russian force is attacking across the frozen river while another is attacking from the other side of the city. The Germans are in the middle trying to stop the Russians linking up. (Here is the page with historical background)
There is an interesting mix of buildings, open areas, lanes of fire and cover, heights and depths.

 Volga Russians (8 dice):

HQ: Junior Lieutenant 2 men (Regular) 60 Pts
Siberian Veterans, 10 rifles, tough fighters 145 pts
2 x Siberian Regulars, 9 rifles, LMG, tough fighters 135 Pts
Medic, 2 men, Veteran 43 pts
Free rifle squad, 6 rifles, Green Inexperienced, all with AT Grenades 0 pts
Medium Machine Gun team, Regular 55 pts
AT Rifle team, Regular 30 pts
Total: 603 pts

Volga Germans (7 dice):

HQ: First Lieutenant 2 men, Regular 85 pts
3 x Heer Grenadiers, 3 Assault rifles, 2 rifles 65 pts
2 x Heer Grenadiers, 3 Assault rifles, 3 rifles 75 pts
Pz III N, Light Howitzer, Regular 175 pts
Total: 605 pts

City Russians (6 dice):

HQ: 2nd Lieutenant, 2 men, Regular 60 pts
2 x LMG Squad, 8 rifles, LMG, SMG, Regular 123 pts
SMG Squad, 6 SMG, Inexperienced 60 pts
Free rifle squad, 6 rifles, Green Inexperienced 0 pts
T34/85 medium tank, Regular 235 pts
Total: 601 pts

City Germans (6 dice)

HQ: 2nd Lieutenant, 2 men, Regular 60 pts
3 x Volks Grenadier, 5 Assault rifle, 3 rifle, 1 Panzerfaust, Inexperienced 94 pts
Light Howitzer, Regular 50 pts
Hetzer, Medium Tank Destroyer 210 pts
Total: 602 pts

The objectives are the warehouse, town hall (Stone Hotel) and train side factory. Additional objective for the Russian forces to meet up (and Germans to stop them of course).
Standard 6 turns with an optional turn 7.
The Germans can set up on the port wall and central buildings areas. German Infantry are all placed on board - treated as "hidden". German tanks not placed on board before the game can move in from the roads on either side of the board. The light howitzer can be placed inside a building but cannot be moved more than 6 inches from initial placement.

The Russians come on from their respective short ends of the board (the 4' sides). The barbed wire and dock edges are linear obstacles, which means infantry have to stop at the edge and can then move through on the following turn. Steps on the dock edge are no obstacle to movement.
The German fixed gun emplacement may be used if the Germans place a squad there. It is a Heavy automatic cannon and requires a 3 man crew. The remaining squad members can fire normally. If the Germans decide not to man the gun, the Russians cannot use it.

We will have our first play test this Saturday, 9 January at the Company of Dice meeting at South Coogee Bowling Club, Sydney.
As always, everyone is welcome. We provide everything, figures, board, rules, equipment and training too! Come on down.

UPDATE: Results of our first public play test.


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