My first game of Bolt Action (2nd Edition) was in a recent tournament, and I got totally owned. My opponent was Roy, a power gaming friend that has schooled me in Bolt Action before. Our scenario that we rolled was Manhunt and I was fairly happy to get a “narrative” type gaming scenario in a tournament setting. For those that don’t know what the Manhunt mission is, there is an attacker and a defender and the attacker has to capture (for the win) or kill (for the draw) the opponent’s Commander. This is a very neat scenario.
My 1000 Point British Army (pictured below) consisted of…
- One First Lieutenant (Veteran)
- One Forward Observer (Regular)
- Two 5 man Infantry Squads with 3 SMGs each with Anti-tank Grenades (Veteran)
- One 10 man Infantry Squad with 1 SMG and 1 LMG (Veteran)
- One PIAT Team (Veteran)
- One Flame Thrower Team (Veteran)
- Two Universal Carriers as Transports with 2 LMGs Each (Veteran)
- One Universal Carrier as a Recce Vehicle with 2 LMGs (Veteran)
- One Sherman III Tank (Veteran)
My 1000 Point British Tournament Army for Bolt Action. The Angel and two bronze statues were meant to be objective markers, but instead, they ended up being grave markers as I placed my units back on the tray.
Two Separate Commanders. My opponent brought the following in his 1000 point German Army…
- Four 6 Man Squads of Veterans fully equipped with Assault Rifles and PanzerFaust
- One StuG equipped with a Medium Howitzer
The First Wave
This was my set up after my First Wave came on the board. To the far left to right is a 5 man squad in the forest, a Transport Carrier with its 5 man squad disembarked and heading to the building, a Recce Carrier, and a 10 man squad using a fence as cover. The five man squad in the front jumped out of the carrier to lure Roy into firing on them from the house to remove his hidden status. The ploy worked, but I lost that 5 man squad as a result.
The Recce Vehicle pours 8 dice worth of machine gun fire needing fives to hit.
This is how I rolled the entire tournament long. Jeremy (from Forbes Hobbies) keeps telling me I need to buy new dice and I am starting to think he is right. That is two 4s, one 3 and five 1s. Not going to hit much of anything rolling like that!
Taking Advantage of the Confusion
At this point, I got a large number of pins and a couple of kills on the ground floor unit of that house. It is turn two and Roy’s squad in the open has not yet been able to activate. My 10 man squad activates and fires on the building adding more pins.
It is near the end of Turn 2 at this point. I have been focusing all of my orders dice on the units that I already have on the table. I did not want to bring out the Sherman or PIAT until I saw where Roy’s StuG would land. Roy uses this to his advantage. This game is a “Confused Fight” meaning that the first player to bring in a unit in a round can choose which board edge to bring the unit on. I missed that part of the rules and figured he wouldn’t be able to bring anything onto “my side” of the board. This is not the case. Basically, an opponent can’t bring a unit on the same edge as where the other player brought in their last reserve unit, but this resets every turn. Roy capitalizes on this by bringing in a 6 man assault squad right behind my my 10 man blob. The look of horror on my face must have been comical as I quickly looked up in the rule book to see if Roy could actually do this. He can. It was my oversight.
In retaliation, I brought on my Flame Thrower Team at the top of turn 3 right beside his 6 man squad that just attacked my guys. The liquid fire hosed his assault squad and left Roy’s 6 man squad as a 3 man squad. The team however stays in the fight. My next move surprised Roy a fair bit.
My next move was to run my 10 man (now an 8 man) squad forward towards the building that I have to take over. Roy was expecting my guys to turn and fight the assault squad that just mowed them down with machine gun fire.
To help his dwindling team, Roy brings on a commander from the far side of the board. My Flame Thrower team holds up surprisingly well against the two teams coming at them.
PanzerFaust Trumps Sherman
To soften up the targets in the house, I bring on my Sherman and fire at the ground floor. Roy took advantage of the Confused Fight Rules again and brought on a 6 man squad directly behind my Sherman. I came on the board too close to two edges. Well played Roy. Four PanzerFausts launch directly up the Sherman’s tail pipes and blow it to smithereens.
Mental note for next time… Do not bring on a Sherman so close to two different table edges when playing a “Confused Fight.” The tank takes four PanzerFaust shots from the rear arc. Its days are over!
Holding the Building
However, my 8 man squad assaults the building and takes over the ground floor. It is now a 7 man squad.
Roy’s Commander (on the second floor of the building that my troops are currently occupying) is in huge trouble. There is a 7 man squad below him, a 5 man sqaud coming in to reinforce that group and my commander with them. At this point, it was looking like this would be my game.
A Turn of Events
Although it looked like it would be my game, fate would lead to the contrary. Roy got that 6 man squad outside of the building to assault my guys and won. If I remember right, both squads fully die due to simultaneous assault rules. The building’s ground floor is now clear. I go to retake the building, but my 5 man team FUBARS and runs away instead.
FUBAR!!! My 5 man squad runs away from the building when they are supposed to be retaking it. Sad, but it is a better result than having them fire upon and kill my commander.
Roy’s StuG with its Howitzer is now in the middle of the table. My days are numbered.
My men become braver and run back to assault the building again. My carrier covers their advancement to the building. The next turn, they get into the building as the rounds first action. They will need one more turn to get to the second floor.
The StuG Strikes Back
Roy turns his StuG and fires a point-blank 2d6 shot into the ground floor of the building. That shot kills off my full team. This was a risky move on Roy’s behalf as rolling a 10 or better would have brought down the entire building, possibly killing his commander. With all my possible scoring units gone, we decide to play out the last turn and see what happens.
This Recce Carrier makes it through the entire game. I am sure if there was another round, that StuG would have destroyed my carrier, but in the end, it survived. Of all the units I started with, that Carrier is the only one left on the table alive.
This game was a crushing defeat for me. Roy killed every unit I owned except a Universal Carrier and all he had to do to win was keep his commander from being captured. Objective completed. Congratulations Roy!!! I was totally outplayed in this game.
There were two chances that I had where the game could have been mine. If that 5-man team did not FUBAR, it would have been in the building and probably been able to assault Roy’s Commander before the StuG arrived. If that were to have happened, I would have won the game. It is funny how the outcome of a game can come down to one dice roll sometimes. Roy was also very nervous when I had a seven man team on the ground floor of his commander’s building. Unfortunately for me, Roy got the first dice draw for the next turn, allowing him to counter attack me before I captured his commander.
Wrapping it up…
Despite losing, I had a great time playing the game. Overall, I like the changes from the First Edition to the Second Edition of Bolt Action. As I wrote in an earlier post, my main grip would be how easy it is to hit a unit in a building with HE weapons. During this game, I learned about reinforcements in a Confused fight, how squishy infantry is in buildings and that the Dice Gods hate me. The Dice Gods did not favour me in my second game either, but that is a story for another post.
Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!