Well, I am back after a long day at the Suncoast Skirmishers Winter Offensive IV. Overall, it seemed to be a huge success the organizer Bill said this is the highest attendance in sometime for the event and it was wall to wall gaming from RPGs, boards games and various historical games of all types from Civil War, Boxer Rebellions, WW2 and much more all under one roof was simply amazing to see together in a nice gaming environment. I forgot that sometimes the best gaming is casual more than tournament, which is nice as you play several games at once but in events like this you can take longer and enjoy the time with the other players in a refreshing way.
I arrived about an hour after everything kicked off as my friend Chris had to make an early morning nursing visit before we could head into Tampa. We loaded up and zipped over to the church where the event is held at. Some of the guys were already there and I saw the list was pretty much full with 6 players signed up on the list to play. Chris and I setup the table and I went to work pulling a few units together. Mind you the points was not 100% dead on but close enough in estimates that it was designed to be easy to run and learn for all the players. My goal was simply to introduce the concept of Bolt Action to new players, encourage current players to help me build more of a community and just have a good time with a great gaming system.
I have to say thanks to Bill for bringing along a table cover and some extra scenery that was top notch, mixed in what the stuff I had that Chris had donated to me long ago we had a fine assortment of scenery that made for an eye catching table. I would also like to tip my hat to Andrew also for helping with rules and keeping the game on track in game flow. Many times not only was we dealing with the game, but answering questions about the system which can be a daunting task. The FJ are mine and painted by my own hand as the British were painted by Chris and brought to the event for everyone to enjoy!I opted to stick with the 5th mission called Top Secret with the feature to the game called DESSEN MEIN FRAU! (That’s My Woman). I had purchased the Frau figure from Warm Acres a few months back when they was having their holiday sale and the figure was a great choice. I wanted to by the German Cameraman from Warlord but time ran short but I have a second figure and I will remake this concept into a nice objective marker.
The mission concept or story was simple; Helga was a famous German movie star and was out on a shoot to create a new film to inspire the German troops with one of their favorite gals as the star. While filming at a farmhouse, she was left behind when the camera crew fled the farm upon hearing that the British Army would be there within a few hours. Word had arrived at high command and the Fallschirmjäger war ordered to rescue Helga one of Germany’s great treasures from the British! Would Helga be having a beer with the boys or tea with the British?
I had every player setup with a basic package of a 2nd Lt, two infantry squads and a support weapon of some type. The British infantry units had Bren guns, SMGs and rifles, while the Germans had SMGs, Rifles and Assault Rifles with some LMGs. The British picked a sniper, Vickers MMG and a Mortar as their support weapons, while the Germans opted for a Flamethrower, Mortar and Sniper. Just as the game was starting I opted to slip in an Artillery Observer to the British as it was an army rule and would not be fair to not include it. I at first wanted to avoid things like vehicles and air/artillery strikes as they could make the game drag with a large multi-player environment.
Setting the scene, the abandoned farm was in the middle of the board with the Germans on one side and the British on the other. I modified the building rules and such to make them game run a bit smoother with multiple players. We setup and they were off to the races!
Both sides took to the center with some careful edging down both sides of the board. The early first two turns was movement and then the blood began to flow. One of the most amazing things was on turn 2 a mortar shot took out the German mortar team with a roll of a 6 and then wounding them like crazy as they was vaporized in a single shot before they could fire.
Turn 3-4 was a great deal of back and forth action with the British and Germans making a grab for Helga and then finding she was a bad luck charm, she claimed the lives of many brave men this day as troops died in assaults and firefights. A wayward Artillery strike swerved into the British lines handing out pinning markers likes biscuits during tea time and totally blew one squad to hell and back with a direct hit.
The last two rounds found the Germans in a position to run Helga back to their side finally but at great cost as the unit protecting her was gunned down to a single NCO and LMG gunner with another squad in close support. The left flank of the Germans crashed into the British lines and claimed revenge for not only the early lucky mortar shot but two others that devastated the German forces at three different times. A crazy exchange between a flamethrower and sniper team resulted in the flamethrower team running out of fuel after the second round of exchanges but neither of them had any other major impact in the game other than their own small private war.
As turn six loomed and we rolled to see if we continue and it was a draw. Helga a mere few steps from the table edge and a few order dice could have determined either a clear German win or allowed the British to hold out another turn for the draw.
Overall, everyone had a good time. One guy joked his wife will more than likely divorce him for getting into a new wargame (doubtful but funny, all spouses wonder why we spend money on our toys) .The mission I think was a great choice, it forced the players to think how to get the girl and not get killed giving some sense of tension of the game. It would have been boring to have them sit back and go (dakakakakakakaakka) at one another. Helga was given the name the Black Widow with her kiss of death that again resulted in the direct deaths of two German and two British units, not only that but another unit was just two models away from being added to the death toll and the jinx by her on the Artillery strike really screwed the British on turn 3 which started to swing the game.
Here are a few random shots from the game! Enjoy! Oh, I will post a pic of Helga soon, I want to touch her up slightly before posting her.
The table setup.
Both army's advance onto the table!
Germans firm up their deployment.
Those sneaky Brits trying to grab the girl!
Death in the courtyard
(see Helga with the British towards the top in the green dress?)
How do you like your sniper Hans? Crispy or Original?
The Germans have Helga just beyond the courtyard as the British are hot on their heels!
Helga with the boys at the edge of the board. The Germans was determined to ensure they would get Helga to safety even if it costed them their lives!
The MVP of the game. My friend is going to put some kill marks on his Mortar team, they wiped three units out this game (well they killed one mortar, hit another forced a check and they failed, the last was either another small unit kill or was a hit that depleted the unit to 2 men from 6)! Yes, three direct hits with 6's with painful results every time!