Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bolt Action Continues

Another Sunday rolls round and another gaming session. A pretty quiet day again with Rob away and with me being under the weather. That time of year I guess. A cold is the last thing I needed before heading into a few days off work though!

Mark and Phil were getting some forces set-up for Bolt Action when I arrived. With both of them having Allied armies, the question was asked about whether I could field 1000pts of Germans. Which, with my spending habits, was no problem :)

They had both worked out 500pt lists and would combine to face me. Mark with his Brits and Phil with his recently arrived US Marines.

I'd already decided to take a radically different force compared to the last couple of weeks:

Reg. Lieutenant
2 Reg. Infantry squads
1 Vet. Infantry squad
1 Medium mortar
1 StuH 42
1 Sd Kfz 222
1 Sd Kfz 251/1 transport
1 Sniper team

The StuH 42 was to there to have some fun shooting at buildings (hurry up and release a Grille ausf. H please Warlord!). The transport was just to try it out.... and, as luck would have it, we'd play the perfect mission for a transport.

Both the Allied forces were pretty similar at 500pts a piece. Lieutenant, 2 - 3 infantry squads, medium MG or something like that anyway. The brain is a bit hazy at the moment.

The mission: Top Secret!

A secret stash had been left in front of a local Chateau. The race was on to grab it. Who would get there first?!?

With all units starting in reserve, it was going to be a slow start. A surprising number of Allied units make it on quite quickly. The Germans aren't so lucky.... but the Veteran unit in the 251/1 do arrive and race straight for the Chateau while British units cautiously make their way across to it.

The StuH pops on early as well (but on the opposite flank to keep the Allies honest) and starts merrily popping away at various units.... 

...and doesn't hit a single thing all game. I'm beginning to think tanks aren't really that useful in this game...

But then, disaster (or at least premonitions of disaster) as the US Marines pop smoke and mark the 251/1 and 222 with smoke for an air strike. Still, there is enough time for the 250/1 to move closer to the objective where the Vet. infantry are able to dismount and capture it.

Allied forces congregate near the Chateau, but still seem  reluctant to use their numbers to force me of the objective. The British are content to take a few shoots and do pin the German veteran's. Which was annoying as the German vet's failed to rally and ended up having to go down. That was the order check I needed to pass......

Knowing air strikes were imminent, both the 251/1 and 222 moved closer towards the Allied forces, but also try to move away from friendly units. I knew other units could end up pinned from the strikes, but hadn't realised this was both friendly and enemy units. Moving up closer ended up being quite a good tactic!

Both times ground attack aircraft arrived. That meant the end of my vehicles, but also loads of pins all over the place for both Allied and Axis units!

Then the British artillery strike arrived. Unlike last week.... there were no ones rolled this time. A delay had allowed the artillery marker to be moved to be in between my infantry and the StuH 42 (hexagonal Brit para maker in this pic):

The resulting bombardment was pretty disastrous for me. The StuH 42 ended up with a couple of pins, so was able to do nothing but drive in reverse for the rest of the game (I kept failing my order checks), more pins stacked up on my vet. infantry and command squad. And Mark got lucky... a 6 was rolled for one of my regular infantry squads. End result was that they were obliterated under a barrage of HE.

But, by now, my vet. infantry had passed an order check and were retreating to the rear...

And the Allied forces had found their sense of urgency and were moving up quickly. Having no where to really hide meant pretty much all my units, but especially the vet's with the objective, were taking a lot of fire. Numbers were dwindling and pin markers were stacking....

But time was also running out. For both sides. And it kinda ended here:

The objective was isolated, Allied units were fast approaching, the Germans were decimated. Time ran out, so the game was a draw. All honesty though, the Germans were hurting and had hardly scratched the Allies.

Still a good game and I'll take the draw :). I still think that if the Allied forces had been a lot more aggressive early on and risked loosing a squad or two (they had the numbers to do so), then they could have won it. Had I managed to get my command unit up a little quicker to support the vet's, then it would have been easier to pass that order check. If I had, there would have been no catching me.

So, some thoughts...

  • Americans with the automatic rifles are going to prove challenging
  • Mark remembering his British special rules will also prove challenging :)
  • I quite like mortars. It proved quite effective in the game 
  • This is definitely an infantry game. I think I had 1 too many vehicles And not enough infantry/total orders
  • Perhaps its how we're playing, but so far MMG's have proved pretty useful. More so than those on the forums seem to think anyway
  • We really need to sort out and agree on how we're playing terrain (and then remember how!) :)
  • Building rules as they currently stand still feel weird
  • Artillery is good. Air strikes seem like a double edged sword
  • Pinning is king. As soon as units get pins on them, they really seem to struggle. Once they have multiple pins, then they're next to useless. Might be worth trying to rally earlier or spend a turn with a down order on them. Not sure. Guess this is part of figuring the game out!

Oh and if  we stick to Bolt Action again next week, then I think this will be the longest we have ever stuck at one game! :)