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.