Bolt Action Battle Report: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows!

Tony and I met for a great game of Bolt Action last week.  On the way in to the LFGS I found €10 on the street.  It was going to be that kind of game.

We decided to play the mission Nuts! and bring 1250 point lists (more on this later).

I brought:
Platoon 1
Reg. Junior Lt. and friend
Reg. Siberian squad (10 rifles)
Vet. scout (7)
Reg. sniper
Reg. BA-64DShK
Reg. T34/85

Platoon 2
Reg. Junior Lt.
Reg. tank riders (10)
Vet. Assault Engineers with flame-thrower (8)
Commissar and friend
Reg. medic and friend
Reg. truck with MMG
Reg. Katyusha (I wanted to bring my Katyusha and a tank so I had to take two platoons)
Free Rifle squad

14 dice, 1250 points

Tony brought:
Reg. 1st Lt.
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Commandos (8)
Free artillery observer
Reg. medium mortar
Reg. sniper
Reg. Blacker Bombard
Reg. light artillery (25pdr)
Reg. 3-ton truck
Reg. AEC Mk. III
Reg. Churchill AVRE
13 dice, 1250 points

Set-up, sizing up

The mission is straightforward and tactical.  There is an objective in the center of the table and then one objective in each table quarter.  My plan was to use the scouts to hold or contest the center objective and focus the remainder of my forces and my outflanking death-star assault engineers on one side of the table.  I assumed Tony would be fairly aggressive and want to get those commandos into assault as soon as possible.

The table:

I was the "defender" and choose the right side of the table.  I committed the truck, medic, solo lt., and assault engineers to outflank on my left (the bottom of the table above).  My T34/85 with tank riders and Katyusha were in reserve.  Tony put a platoon of commandos in his truck to outflank.  He started with two units of commandos on the table and the fourth one in reserve.  Also on the table was his sniper, Churchill, Lt. and 25pdr.  His AEC and blacker were also in reserve.

I got lucky, not for the last time that night, with the roll-off to place forward-deploying teams.  My scouts occupied the ruin close to the center objective.  Tony placed his sniper in the building on his half of the table and my sniper got a nice window view as well.

Tony's Blacker Bombard deserves special mention.  What's that you say?  You didn't know Warlord made the kit?  They don't.  Tony's is a scratch-build:

Churchill AVRE, Blacker Bombar, 25pdr., AEC mkIII, and medium mortar--Tony's design philosophy can be expressed as: "If you have less than a d6 HE GTFO."

My hope that I could attrit his infantry squads while keeping my T34/85 alive.

Turn 1

Things got off to a fantastic start for me.

I got the first dice out of the bag and my sniper instantly killed his opposite number.  My scouts hunkered down while my green squad, commissar, and one of my officers moved up to the large building on my left.  The squad went into the bottom floor while the HQ units hid out of sight behind it.  My BA-64 fired blindly at Tony's Blacker and killed a crew member.  Tony's infantry occupied the building on his left, but his shooting was ineffectual.

Turn 2

Tony had a better run of dice and his reserves showed up without fail.  My T34 didn't come on.  The AVRE fired at my scouts and missed.  Tony's 25pdr missed my siberians.  I fired the Katyusha--two units were in range of the target squad--and rolled a 5, 6, and 6.  His 25pdr observer dispersed in red mist and five commandos went down.  The Katyusha is a Bob Emmerson model.  Top quality.  

Tony's other commando squad moved up his right, closing in on my green squad.

Turn 3

A real bloodbath.  The commandos on Tony's right assaulted my green squad which was bunkered down.  

The green squad was predictably wiped, but they took out five commandos.  With the next dice I launched my Commissar and his BFF into the building.  The two killed one of the commandos before getting a Fairbairn-Sykes in the guts.

Tony's AVRE shot and missed, but anything it aims at takes a down marker (3D6 HE!).  The only bright spot for Tony occurred when his 25pdr popped my BA-64.

My Katyusha shot at a commando squad.  Tony, now in fear of my dice rolling, took a down dice.  And the Katy hit to knock out two commandos.

Turn 4
This was the decisive turn.  I got the first dice and rolled for my T34.  It arrived.  It shot at Tony's Churchill.  I rolled a 6.  I then rolled a 6 for penetration followed by a 6 on the result table.  I was like:

Tony was like:

Things were a bit grim for the British from here on out.  Tony's mortar couldn't hit anything.  His AEC missed at short range.  Units failed order tests with one pin marker.  Smoke dispersed.  Paint chipped off miniatures.  I wanted to buy him a shot of bourbon.  

Turn 5

We had both been holding off on our outflankers but they came in strong this turn.  Tony's hit first.  They came on my left and gunned down one of my lieutenants.  My engineers came on and flamed a unit of commandos, killing two.  Of course they failed their morale check and fucked off.

Turn 6

Tony had a few units left and was contesting the objective on his left, and holding the objective on my left with his outflankers.  My T34 lined up his AEC and squeezed off a a shot.  Tony need the AEC to do some damage this turn so he couldn't recce away.  Of course I hit and the AEC exploded.

We called it at that point.

Concluding thoughts

1.  Tanks suck, but it hurts less at 1250.

Really, play the game at 1250.  It is a huge improvement.  Why?  Because tanks suck in BA and they are never worth taking at 1000 points (there are a few exceptions).  At 1250, however, it doesn't hurt as bad to put a tank on the table that may only fire its gun four times in the whole game and hit once.  Tony's AVRE did fuck all the whole game except hold down one side of the table.  Tanks simply don't earn their points unless you get a freakish performance. 

2.  This is a good mission.  
The guys are doing alot to support the game.  This is a solid mission that forces hard choices.  

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