Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First game of Bolt Action

On Friday night we all met up at John's place for a couple of games. This was to be an all World War II affair, with one table running Germans vs US Flames of War, and the other table trying out the Bolt Action rules. I was nominally playing Germans with Paul in the Bolt Action game, but as I was volunteering to be the one reading the rulebook I virtually ended up being an umpire. Michael and John took control of the British airborne opposite us. Chris and his son Connor commanded the yanks against Shane and Jeremy with the Germans on the other table.

Bolt Action
The Germans begin their initial advance
British 6 pounder looks for targets
German mortar prepares to deal with the enemy
The British arrive in the yards of the buildings only to find them occupied by a German flamethrower team!
They do however manage to occupy the house next door 
On the British left flank things are not going so well.
The Germans rush out to try to assault the Brits in the building across the road. This is the last we will see of this section...
The German left flank is well supported by a Panzer IV and a StuG. Well, it was until it ran into a Firefly...
And the StuG fared no better.
A Panzershrek team bursts forward and manages to get a lucky shot on a concealed Sherman. Pity it wasn't the Firefly.
The sad state of the German left before the Brits launched their rather devastating assault.
This was a big game - about 1500 points aside, which made it quite slow moving as well were just getting to grips with the rules. Having said that, we covered a lot of different situations: fighting assaults in the open and in buildings; firing mortars and HE at buildings, doing tank to tank combats. Reaction of the players towards the rules was overall very positive, but next time some hedges or extra cover of some sort would be very useful. The units on the flanks in particular suffered very heavily from being quite exposed. The pile up of pinned markers on units in the open (see the picture above) effectively paralysed units until they rallied, and was quite a cool game mechanic. The Brit paras really had an advantage with their veteran status, being harder to kill and easier to rally. In a way we were also victims of not knowing the rules and trying things for the first time just to test what might happen in various situations. The result was that historical tactics were rewarded and gung-ho 'Rambo' moments suitably punished. Weapon ranges have been criticised in a number of reviews that I've read, but thinking of ranges as effective rather than total range makes up for this somewhat. Nevertheless, I wouldn't realistically put artillery on the table in this game unless playing an infiltration scenario where the artillery is an objective.

Flames of War
No need to talk about the rules here, as we have played them ad nauseum. The game resulted in a German victory, although I wasn't close enough to the game to work out why. I did take some photos for a bit of eye candy, though.