Sunday, May 11, 2014

A big table means a big fun game! :-)

After what seems like quite a while, Gergely and I got to throw down for a rematch of the river crossing game we played last time. Because we wanted to just be crazy and use our new toys we decided to go all out and make it a huge affair. Nobody else was in the FLGS so we put two of the tables together to give us a chance for the big armies to move around. 

We were restricted mostly by the number of order dice we own and so locked it down to 16 units per side giving us quite a matchup. We counted the points as being around 1750 per side and it felt very epic.

Here is the setup. Germans are holding the right of the table, mostly around the river and village with their SS reinforcements coming in from the the corner area (the edges between the corner hill and the hill on the left, and the river on the right)

Here is where my Germans made their defensive lines. These troops were entirely inexperienced except for the sniper and HQ (who can't be less than regular). This lack of morale was to come back and bite me in the butt numerous times during the game.

Here is my MMG team overlooking the crossings from the house, the StuG guarding the bridge with its heavy anti tank gun and my improvised Nebelwerfer rocket launcher ready to add supporting fire. 

The main infantry line was dug in behind the barricades hoping to weather the Russian storm and put them down with hefty firepower. Inexperienced troops can still kill if they lay down enough shots. We marked the shallow ford in the river with the mossy bits. Vehicles can't cross but infantry could at no penalty. We only stipulated that they couldn't voluntarily go down to avoid fire and if forced to go down they would retreat to their side then go down. 

My elite SS reserve consisted of two veteran squads toting assault rifles and panzerfausts, a 1st lt with adjustant, two Hanomag half tracks to bring them onto the field and a veteran Tiger tank because....well because its' a TIGER :-)

These began the game off table and came on if I rolled 8 or more (D6 + turn number). It game me a slim chance on turn 2 but more likely on three or four, which we thought was a good balance.

Gergely's Russian horde was up to the challenge. He had a mass of veteran infantry including engineers toting body armour and a flamethrower, a foursome of support teams (AT rifle, snipers, mortar and machine gun) and four armoured hulls that you can see in the foreground. His SU-76 brought a medium AT gun and howitzer, the T-34 had the heavy AT, the Ba-10 a light AT and 2 machine guns, and the borrowed M17 halftrack was ready to throw down quad machine gun firepower.

Gergely's officer directs the Soviet armoured column forwards to the battle.

Unlike the rest of the inexperienced troops, who failed orders like crazy and hunkered down, the StuG shook off the effects of the Soviet opening barrage and readied an ambush shot. 

Gergely swarmed onto the field with his infantry horde pushing down the left flank towards the ford. His armoured units moved to the right ready to intercept the SS reserve. While my StuG managed to land a pinning hit on the T-34, the inexperienced group on the right were almost useless. Pinned down by Greg's repeated fire and my terrible order checks I think we managed to kill perhaps one or two Soviets in the first few turns. My Nebelwerfer was the most frustrating as it failed three order tests to fire, even though the commander was next to it, and couldn't put a barrage onto his tightly packed troops. 

Luckily for me Greg didn't manage to kill too many of my soldiers as they were packed behind cover but my numbers were steady reduced by fire coming from multiple angles. I was getting pretty desperate for my SS reserve to show up.

Turn 3 and I was lucky, rolling a 5 to bring in the elite reserves. I came in from the flank, leading with the Tiger who drew a bead on the T-34's flank. Gergely's tank fired first as it had been waiting in ambush but luckily for the Germans, the shell went wide. The SS crew zeroed in their 88mm super heavy AT gun...

Feuer! The commander yelled and the gunner obligingly put a shot through the flank armour of the Soviet tank. My penetration bonus was +7 and being a side armour shot I got +1 to the roll, which gave me good odds against the armour value of 9. I beat the armour by more than 3 points, scoring massive damage. This result gives you two rolls on the damage table with both applying. I rolled two twos and with a double immobilisation result, the Russian crew decided to head for the hills and the tank was destroyed. Now I was feeling better, despite the crumbling defense of the river.

Here we jump a bit more. Perhaps cocky after my Tiger's early luck I ran my SS elite troops out of the halftracks and into battle. One squad did well killing off the AT rifle and pinning the Su-76 with a lucky panzerfaust shot, but the other one ran right into ambushing fire from Gergely's inexperienced troops. In a humbling lesson, the raw soviet troops gunned down half of the elite SS squad and the survivors failed their morale check for 50% casualties with a double 6, running from the battle and for the hills. Curses!

In a lucky retribution for this loss, my Nebelwerfer crew finally passed their order check and fired at the mortar spotter who was in the woods by the Su-76. The whole area was plastered with heavy rockets and I had a stroke of luck rolling 6s to hit both the spotter and the inexperienced troops. A rocket launcher like this fires like a heavy mortar (2D6 hits, D3 pins) but can't zero in on the target turn by turn. Instead you roll to hit each unit within 6 inches of the targeted unit. I really lucked out as the spotter was killed by 9 hits and the inexperienced squad lost more than half their men but with his typical Skaven general luck (and a Soviet re-roll) Gergely rolled 4 to pass the morale check and stay on the table.

One of the last actions in the game was for Gergely's artillery barrage to come in on target and batter my surviving troops. Luckily he didn't roll any 6s, so nobody took direct hits, but four of my units and two of his took a battering and were pinned a lot. I had to switch to dice marking pins instead of the red chits as we were running low. 

Sadly this is where our time for the game ran short as we had dinner reservations in the local brewery with our lovely wives so we packed up calling it a draw. I was confident that my armoured attack on the flank would sweep around and save the centre and Gergely was equally sure his veteran troops would crush my weakened defenders and secure the river crossing. 

The game as a whole was a lot of fun with nice swings of luck on both sides. I think my mistake was definitely in not staying down with my low level troops for a couple of turns to get them unpinned. You can elect to remain down at the start of the turn and drop one pin marker without taking a test. Instead I tried rolling to pass checks and failed a lot, sending me down again without losing a pin. Had I let my troops recover a bit more at the start without trying to fire (which probably would have been pretty ineffective anyway) I might have had a stronger defence waiting for the Russians. 

Gergely's attack plan was pretty solid though in hindsight it might have been better for him to bring the armour in to support his troops directly. That way he might have overwhelmed me even faster and the SS reserves would have had a long drive to get close to the battle. He got unlucky with the armoured column as the T-34's destruction meant the Su-76 was blocked and struggled to turn around. You can see how a lack of turret was historically limiting in close range battles. 

A rematch is definitely intended and we hope to bring in a couple of new players from the club. If you get the chance I strongly recommend playing on bigger tables like this (6'x8') as it gives a much wider flow to the game, which makes you think and play differently. 

If you have any questions please just drop me a comment.



  1. Hiya. Nice report,. Just stumbled upon your blog while researching bolt action. I have just begun my Bolt action Journey. Picked up starter set last week. Have built my Normandy Starter minis and some excellent MDF scenery buildings. Now await my first game, Saturday. Can't wait :) A very excited disgruntled 40k player. looks bundle of fun.

  2. Hi Len,

    Thanks for reading and I'm glad you are also having fun with BA. It's easy to enjoy and a really great game to play. We have also been very impressed with Warlord Games as a company w.r.t prices, communication and customer service (plus the models of course).

    Enjoy your game and I warn you that it might be tough to get back into 40k after this. They are both good games but 40k feels pretty weird and awkward in some ways for me now.

    Best wishes

    Pete :-)

  3. Hi Pete.

    Yeah had good read through your blog posts. First saw the one where you were first going to try BA. And it seems it went well! because pretty much your blog is Bolt action. Hooked you good. Love 40k, but me and friends very despondent with GW. New rulebook really feels a kick in guts, amoung other issues. So we are exploring other games. And BA really got us excited. Warlord look like a company we gladly give our money and love to. :) Really liking your blog dude. First game play is saturday. Any tips for a newbie player?



  4. Hi Len

    Haha I'm glad my enthusiasm came out well. We've been enjoying it so much and slowly the FLGS people are getting into the game. First it was just two of us, then some spectators and now there are two more players stepping in. With any luck it'll keep expanding and we can have more games and players.

    I have a weird thing with GW at the moment where I like aspects of what they do (new Ork Flash Gitz models wooo!) followed by moments where I realise it doesn't work with me (eye-watering prices and rules). I played a game of 6th edition a couple of weeks ago and that was alright. I'm not against the game or the players and I'll probably take out the 40k armies for a game or two from time to time but it's not at the top of my list. BA > 40k > No games ;-)

    As for game tips I would say to put some good terrain on the table. We had a few forests & hedges (soft cover) then some stones (hard cover) so there were no open killing grounds. If you put troops in the open you'll be surprised how quickly they can get taken down. Cover is important. Once you start getting pin markers on your guys the whole plan call fall apart so make it hard for them to hit you ;-)

    As for the gameplay itself just go slowly and stick to the starter set forces so you don't have too many rules to go with. Vehicles took us a couple of games to get into and building up to them were good.

    Do you have a blog where you'll write up the battle? It would be good to read about it.


  5. Heya. Yeah seeing lots enthusiasm for this game. Read lot's, watched lots youtube.And That's getting me excited. Am also at a odd point with GW and 40k. Been in my life 20 odd years but now feeling serious lack of love and interest. Been coming. Minis awesome but rules and seemingly blind direction has me concerned. Lost and now now really not feeling the love. BA i feel gonna really be a breath fresh air. Me and a blog no too much work... but love reading others who do the time and work. Best i do is probably post few pics and brief summery in the Facebook group . Which is really cool. Good helpful bunch. And Alessio Calvatore follows and posts. Quite refreshing, communication from the makers. Check it out. Facebook sucks but has it's uses.. hey give me your email and i'll send u reports. Could start me on the blog path... lol

  6. Sorry for lack editing. Did on phone. Very fiddley and lost patience . :)

  7. We had the same good vibe as well. It's fun to have a company that's so involved with the gamers. I hope Warlord doesn't go away from this in the future.

    Enjoy the gaming and of course you are welcome to guest blog here. My email is Drop me a line any time


  8. Hiya Pete,

    Saturday we had our first game! Used Normandy models and played Maximum Attrition on a 4x4 table. Was brilliant fun.Was both grinning all the way through. Love the unit activation and pinning rules. Make for a very cool game. Game swung both ways and really was a laugh. And a special note my sniper was rubbish. 5 shots 1 kill. We made few errors but now really feel we know the rules (ignoring vehicles and artillery. Will ease them in soon) But have 2 other friends coming over Thursday night and they will get blooded. Get them hooked. I am :D

    I email u some updates of any game or BA stuff. Been building hedges and fields... Busy busy