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.

1 comment:

  1. Great game Dave and always a pleasure to have you at the club.

    Thank you.



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