Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bolt Action Sunday: First Gathering

On Sunday, I managed to rally some of the Bolt Action gamers scattered around the area to Armada games to what I hope turns into a once a month gaming outing for people to be able to play a variety of players and armies. We gathered about noon when the store opened and started to setup a pair of gaming tables and pair off. We had two German, one British and one Soviet player. We also had a new gent by the name of Doug join us that has played a great deal of FOW and was interested in the game. Herb from the Suncoast Skirmisher event also dropped by to hang out.

Andrew offered to let Doug use his army and I paired him up with Dan since they never played. Mike and I paired off on the city table while the other group took over the river/country table. Herb grabbed some Tai food and sat down with one of the books to read the rules and watch the games.

Mike and I had never played before as he usually organizes and runs events at Darkside when I attend so this was a real treat for us to play. This was my first game against Soviets and this game was a huge learning curve. Plus, I only had three full games prior and I helped run the event at the Suncoast Skirmishers with my first attempt to use vehicles and transports.

I had:
2nd Veteran Lt. with Assault Rifle
2 Squads of 7 Veterans FJ with 7 Assault Rifles
Veteran Pioneer squad with a flamethrower, 5 SMGs and a rifle (asst)
251/1 Transport
Veteran Forward Air Observer (rifle)
Veteran Medium Mortar Team with Spotter (with rifle)
Regular Panzerschreck Team
Veteran MMG Team

Note: The FAO should have been Regular with an extra man but I forgot to put the second figure out and we were rolling vs. a Veteran to wound against the FAO, it was only two points over so not a huge thing. Not that it mattered, when he got hit, a 6 wounded him anyway. Personally, it was my disadvantage to now have the extra man.

I don’t have Mike’s list in total, but here is what I recall:
2 large NKVD Squads, one with SMGs and the other with rifles, both had LMGs.
2 Platoon Lts, 1 had two assistants (I think he was a 1st Lt and the other was a 2nd)
1 Anti-tank Rifle
2 Snipers
2  Light Artillery
1 Free Inexperienced (faction perk) (loaded out with tank hunters, etc)
3 (I think, maybe 4) of Inexperienced infantry squads
T-34 Inexperienced Tank

His army was a mix of some veteran, inexperienced and some regular units typical of how the Russians probably were.

We of course roll Scenario 2: Maximum Attrition! Gah! He wins the table side and picks the heavy building edge.

Game turn 1: We both deploy onto the table only my Panzerschreks opt to outflank. Mike brings everything in the Russian way. Snipers take to two buildings to my right, the ATR to my left with the tank. NKVD to both sides, inexperienced pretty much down the middle with the howitzers on both sides.

The Puma pops out on the left side to take on the tank, the center has the mortar and MMG with the officer in a field. The pair of AR FJ squads and Pioneer defends the right side which is his heavy side for infantry. The FAO hides in the woods to the left.

Lots of running mostly, the Puma did take a shot at the tank but failed to hit.

Turn 2: Soviets advanced, sniped, ATR shot my Lt, artillery did not hit, Tank shot at the Puma that had shot at it again and ran using Reece to get out of sight. Soviets claimed first blood by killing my officer.

Turn 3: Mike put the tank in Ambush (waiting for the Puma) along with the snipers. I had a few bad dice rolls here and the game staggered for me. Mike pushed forward again things was going to get ugly if I didn’t do something.

My anti-tank team failed to show at this point. The Puma shot some infantry with a MMG. Lots of gunfire exchanged on the right side. The Pioneers got out as dice was running low and I chanced a sniper shot, Mike hits and kills my flamethrower! GAH! SMGs spray the NKVD unit. No air support, I move the target to another unit.

Turn 4: This is the swinger turn I think. My Assault Rifles head out of cover against his NKVD. I had 4 more dice than he did to start, law of averages say I should kill 4-5, I get 5. He kills 5 back with better dice rolls. Then we fight again, I lost by 1. POOF! I did take the squad to two men at least. The Pioneers wipe out the inexperienced Soviet squad. MMG in the transport (that I shot by mistake for the rest of the game, forgot transports required a rider to shoot) killed the NCO of the surviving 2 NKVD and the survivor ran. The plane showed and shredded a unit as well as handed out pin markers. The Puma also managed to land a solid shot getting an immobilized result this time. The pin markers were piling up on the tank finally.

Turn 5: The Puma was assaulted and not damaged whew! Then the tank failed an orders test to shoot and the ATR forced the Puma back into cover. Why I did not Reece from the assault is beyond me. I only assume due to the inexperience of using vehicles. At this point units started to die. FAO was gunned down and the Mortar also had died in turn 4. I was cleaning up squads here and there but still behind for a chance to win. My Anti-Tank entered the right side and for a moment I thought about shooting the artillery but opted to assault the snipers in the building. I killed one sniper, he got both! GAH! I should have shot the artillery!

Turn 6: This was a game shift to a draw I think. The Puma taking the tank out on a massive damage result was icing on the cake. A few more Soviet Squads died but I was down to 4 units. The 251/1, MMG, Puma one squad…well that one squad died so I was at three.

Turn 7: MMG died, left me with a 251/1 and Puma, the Puma pulled a surprise slipping around the building and opening the MMG on the other officer killing both him and his assistant. Mike kept tossing pin markers on the 251/1 with the snipers, ATG only to have me rally it and clear all the markers!

Game ends: Both of us had 8 kills each. Soviets had 5 units on the table out of 13 and I had 2 out of 10 left. DRAW! I think the Soviets may could have squeaked a win  out if I did not mess up on the 251/1 shooting about turn 4, it did give me a few turns of shooting (3 I think), but in total, it removed only one squad I think. At that point it would have gone back to “if/then” of gaming, this could have happened.

Our table, Mike is setting up his unit.

Shot of the other table.

The objective of the game,  the bridge! Yea, it was ugly and epic!

  • Should have shot the Anti-Tank at the Artillery battery instead of going after the snipers on the flank.
  • I should have jumped the Pioneers out with the flamethrower a dice pull earlier to prevent the sniper from hitting him when they touched the table. I think that would have been a terrible blow on that side of the table.
  • From now on the officer rides in the 251/1. I think this is the 3rd time he has been gunned down out of 4 games.
  • I should have used Reece to get out of Assault with the Puma, which could have gone badly for me.

Unit thoughts on both sides:

Puma: MVP for my army. Tank kill and got an officer also as well it drew lots of fire. I think Reece is worth its weight in gold.

2nd Lt: What 2nd Lt? Oh the dead one! Yea, put his butt into a 251/1 or hidden out of sight!

7 man FJ squads: This was my first attempt to go smaller, in the past I was using 10, and 7-8 seems to be the right fit for a unit size with 6 being the minimal size. The ARs did ok but also was a costly investment. I also found I did ok without the LMGs, not sure if they would have done any better.

251/1: I drew lots of firepower, survived well and I think that I managed it well in game to avoid it being killed. I just have to keep a unit in it to shoot!

Pioneer Squad: I like the flamethrower in the unit with SMGs with a smaller size. The tests of late have shown this as a good result. I just hate it that I lost the flamethrower to a sniper!

MMG: I am starting to understand the role for this guy, shoot smaller units to kill them off or you at least toss out enough shots to add a pin marker to a unit.

Mortar: Not very useful this game. Died quickly, I have it in mind to try smoke next game. I did the right thing going after this artillery, I just could not hit and Mike killed the threat as quickly as possible.

FAO: I think I like Air firepower over Artillery, namely it is cheaper, plus on artillery you just hand out a bunch of pins but no actual damage unless you roll a 6. At least the plane dishes out pin markers and can pound a target with firepower.

ATR: The poor man’s sniper rifle. It seems short of going after soft skins and 7+ armor this is the idea job, hit and wound a veteran on a 3+.

Artillery: Light wasn’t that impressive, I am curious how my heavy will do. When it did hit, it hurt.

Snipers: These guys are designed to single out a specific model or just add pin markers. Really otherwise they are not that useful as Mike found out later in the game. All he could do was snipe the 251/1.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, the Soviets want a rematch soon. We both by then should have some new stuff painted and ready to go. We both learned a great deal from our past game. Mike is chomping at the bit to get his Katusya rocket truck in the mail....I doubt I will have the Nebelwerfer by then but I should have the Artillery done with luck and the bike with the MMG!

  2. Everyone seems to be getting game time in. Oh I feel so lonely I could cry....

    1. Just have to make some time for it Anne. I have to, I feel like my wife always says, "You are always gaming..." I barely game every other week, one or two tournaments at most with maybe a sometimes trip to the LGS. If I go to the LGS I usually don't do the tournament.

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