Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall In 2013 Bolt Action Tournament: Learnings

I thought I would post my key learnings I took away from the Fall-In Bolt Action tournament. The most obvious learning is the realization that Stefan (Sheck2) puts on a grand event and we are all very fortunate that he does given the huge amount of effort he puts forth - thanks again for a great event.

I played Japanese and overall still really like them as a tournament force. I went 2-1 and came in 6th so was very pleased with my showing. I got lucky and won the "First Tank Kill" award for the second round but it was against one of my own tanks as I loaned an army out to another player so that's a bit tainted.

Here are my take aways:

(1) I was surprised at the low number of axis players (4 out of 19). That meant a lot of blue on blue games which is OK. Of course as the sole Japanese representative, I only played allies. I suspect this will change by Cold Wars as the Finns appear to be the new Hotness right now.

(2) From a Japanese list perspective the 2 new "unique" units for the army - the suicide AT guys (SATG's) and the bamboo spear squad are very effective units when used for their role.
- The SAT'G's draw a lot of fire so I highly recommend taking vets (at 26 points each). I took out 3 tanks with these guys and when not directly attacking the vehicles their
presence made my opponent very nervous and cautious and consumed order dice as his units targeted my SATGs.
- I had one Bamboo Spear 15 figure squad and it rocked - at 75 points for the unit you can play with some abandon. In my second game this unit accounted for at least 300
points of enemy kills. Of course there were only 5 guys left a the end of the game but that's part of the "charm"

(3) I took a Ho-Ro assault gun with a 150mm howitzer (155 points @ regular, 7+ armor, open top). It's a fearsome weapon on paper but didn't really do much in the tournament. In my first game with Mike (the guy with a plan) his 4 shot Crusader AA tank made short work of it. During the second game the tank survived but didn't score any hits and in the third game it managed to kill a squad before being silenced in turn 3 by John B's M-10. Next time, I think I'll get a regular gun and use the freed up points for a tankete.

(4) My basic infantry squad was 12 regular rifle men vs 10 with a light machine gun from last time. The new configuration worked a lot better (12 shots vs 11 and 12 dice in close combat vs 10). The extra close combat dice are really key when playing the Japanese

(5) I need to spread stuff out more - in all three of my games I got hit by either arty or air that managed to hit 3-5 units. I also forgot about the option to go down to halve hits.

I will definitely play the Japanese again at Cold Wars, but will tweak my list. I need to find some games in the DC area to "test"

Just to repeat, the tournament was a great experience and in addition to thanking Mr Stefan, I'd like to thank all of you other competitors who make playing this game so much fun.


styx said...

Sounds like you had a good outing!

Rodger said...

Great report and some interesting points!

Dan Vincent said...

Looks like good fun. Interested to see you using the malifaux streets there. I have been going the same for Empire of the Dead, but looking at filling the gaps on the tiles. You can see them at 50mm games room if you're interested.

Paul of the Man Cave said...

Sounds like a great time and good lessons too! 12 man regular Japanese squads would be fearsome if you can get them into melee!

Did you meet the boys from Bolt Action Radio there?