Monday, March 11, 2013

Cold Wars Saturday - The Bolt Action Tournament

 Pretty much all of Saturday was consumed by the Bolt Action Tournament, which ran from 9:00 am until 6:00pm and it was a blast.  The tournament was organized and run by Stefan (Sheck2 on the WWPD forums) and he did a fantastic job.

14 players participated with 3 rounds each and played across 7 very nicely done table (all of which were supplied by Stefan).  The tournament was a 1,000 point limit and there was an even distribution of Axis and Allied players.

I brought my Japanese list which consisted of:

- 1 vet LT + 1 rifleman
- 1 Medic, veteran
- 2, 10 figure Veteran infantry squads w/LMG
- 2, 10 figure Regular infantry squads w/ LMG
- 1 medium Machine Gun unit, Regular
- 1 Light mortar, Regular
- 1 Sniper, Vet
- 1 70mm Mtn Gun (light howitzer), Regular
- 1 Type 97 Chi-Ha tank, Regular

As with most events I play in, I didn't take many photos (just one) so you get stuck with a wordy summary.

Game 1
Mission: Demolition
Opponent: Mike A's Vet US para's, 2 12 man squads some support and a M4A3 Sherman

I've played Mike several times in Saga events and he's both a great guy and very fun to play with.  We both adopted the same strategy - sending out tank and about half our forces down each of our left flanks while the other half half defended the HQ.  Mike's forces were smaller being all Vets and caused significant casualties for my troops.  I also discovered that my troops had a hard time dealing with the Sherman - I think we may have scratched the paint a few times but that was about it.  The game ended in a draw as we were both contesting the objectives after the end of the 7th turn.

Game 2
Mission: Top Secret
Opponent: Mike P's British Infantry Swarm (pictured at the end of this post)

I've met Mike a few times at past HMGS con's through the WWPD activities.  He a both a very talented player and very funny during a gaming.  Almost distractingly funny, which may be a very crafty strategy on his part.  His forces was made up of of 5 infantry squads (4 regular and 1 Vet) plus a host of support units including an anti-tank gun but no tanks.  It was a very good match up for my force.  The mission involved capturing and then escorting an objective marker (located in the center)  off the table.  With this scenario most of our forces are pulled into the center and game becomes very bloody.  I managed to win the game as my Medic ran in and grabbed the objective.  Unfortunately the win is a bit tainted as both Mike and I did not remember a tournament special rule that only units with 3 or more figures can grab the marker.  I owe Mike a re-match in the future and I suspect he'll pound my poor japanese into the table - but at least I'll be laughing along the way.

Game 3
Mission: Maximum Attrition
Opponent: Jeff B, Veteran Germans.  Jeff had a unique force structure as he had 2 platoons (1 with 3 squads of Fallschirmjaeger vets and support weapons and a smaller platoon with 2 squads of Wehrmacht vets.  His squad sizes were very small given all the vets.  His forces had no vehicles.  Pictured below is our game after the first turn.

 I adopted a defensive strategy and let him come to me.  Jeff marched up my left flank (left side of the photo) and also brought in a squad from reserve on the left flank.

Attacking the Japanese with an infantry only force is dangerous if you close within 12 inches - I was able to get off several assaults (Japanese can auto assault without regard to pins) and I was able to wear Jeff's squads down.

My tank was immobilized fairly early but did weather 3 hits from a panzershreck.  This game went to the Japanese as the Germans just didn't have enough men to break the flank.

Overall, my tournament result was 2 wins and 1 tie, which was good enough to place me third overall.  I really enjoyed the tournament and will definitely play in another one.

Key learnings:
- The Japanese are very effective against infantry that closes within 12 inches, but lack any real capacity to deal with heavy armor
- Both my light mortar and 70mm gun were just not that effective (which may be to my poor play).  I think it might be better to trade them in for either a medium mortar or perhaps an artillery observer.
- LMGs are not worth the points for Japanese infantry squads.  The majority of the casualties my troops inflicted came from assaults and I would have been better of having 2 additional infantry figures rather than the 20 point cost of the LMG
- Bolt Action is a fun game but comes down to plain luck in terms of order dice pulls for some scenarios where one is trying to get something off the board  (i.e. Top Secret).  I would suggest that those scenarios probably are not good choices for tournaments.
- I had a blast!

Here's a shot of Mike P's Brits - that's a lot of very well painted infantry!


Hobbyworker said...

Nice AAR :)

Best regards


DeanM said...

Awesome looking games. I'm just starting these rules, but plan to host a game at Enfilade in May. Best, Dean