Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back to Bolt Action

So my last post was about Terry Wise's WWII rules, some of the earliest ever published. So let's bounce back to the present and play Bolt Action, the newest WWII game.

The scenario is maximum attrition - wipe out as many of the enemy as possible. Not really a scenario at all, but still fun.

Oberleutnant and 2 men
Pak 40 AT gun
3 squads, each of 8 men including an MG42 LMG.
= 900 points

1st LT and 2 men
57mm AT gun
M4A3 Sherman tank
Bazooka Team
Two .30 cal MG teams
3 squads of 10 men
= 898 points

Turn 1: Both armies start moving on to the table, exchanging some gun fire. The Sherman blasts away the Pak 40 in one shot - one less thing for him to worry about!

Two forests, two intact buildings and two ruined ones. The first
squad on the scene is the americans at right running for the house - a
strong position they'll occupy for the rest of the game.
Turn 2: More gunfire. The bazooka team gets cocky and tries to take out the Tiger, but gets wasted by a hail of MG fire for their trouble.

The scene at the end of Turn 2. Some pin markers on the americans
near the forest.

Turn 3: The 57mm AT gun and the Sherman both have a chance to shoot at the Tigers side armour and both miss. The Tiger fires back and misses as well. In fact, the Tiger crew misses every shot this game except for their MG fire against the bazooka team! The Wehrmacht needs to train these guys better. The US infantry unit in the center takes heavy causalties.

Turn 4: The German unit in their forest takes severe rifle fire and breaks. The beleaguered US infantry in the center is completely wiped out by rifles and MG42.

Turn 5: The US manage to kill the Oberleutnant and his men.

Nearing the end; things have started to thin out a bit. The left house is
full of Germans, the right full of Americans. The germans are very much

Turn 6: Combined shooting from many american units wipes out another german unit, leaving only the Tiger and the Germans pinned in the house remaining.

Turn 7: The Tiger tank has several pin markers from being hit, but never damaged by both the Sherman and 57mm AT gun. It is able to do nothing in the final turn. The allies pour most of their fire against the German held building, coming within one pin marker of breaking them.

The End: The Americans destroyed 4 units to the Germans 2. Two points is the minimum needed to score a win, so the Americans are victorious.

The Germans in the building are so pinned they are next to helpless.
The Tiger in the background is in the same boat.

Terry Wise vs. Bolt Action

These two games could not be more different. Terry Wise's rules are a few pages long and only cover the most common situations. Bolt Action rules fill a whole book, with plenty of beautiful pictures and artwork, and the rules are extensive enough to cover just about everything, and are very tournament ready. You could never play Terry Wise competitively.

Bolt action is oriented to winning your battle at all costs, throwing your men away to reach your goal is expected. Terry Wise works better as part of a campaign. You get points for troops that survive, so throwing them away needlessly is pointless. Terry Wise even suggests ending the game after one side has retreated off the board. This changes your strategy a lot. Should I commit my reserves and gamble on a win, or fight more conservatively, living to fight another day? It's a whole different mindset.

Which is better? Up to you of course. Bolt Action is a fun game that doesn't need a ton of figures. Terry Wise's rules work better with lots of figures and can only work if played in a co-operative spirit. I'll keep playing both.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Terry Wise WWII rules

Back to old-school wargaming. Playing modern games like Bolt Action is fun, but so is going back to the very root of the hobby. Terry Wise "Introduction to Battle Gaming" was one of the first wargaming books ever and got a lot of grognards into the hobby. And several decades later the rules are still fun.

This is a world war II battle. The Americans have been tasked with taking a German village that dominates an important crossroads.

The Germans: 1 company of 3 platoons. Each platoon has 10 men including an SMG, MG42 and a panzerfaust. They have one officer, a tiger tank and a pak 40 AT gun.

The Americans: 1 company of 3 platoons. Each platoon has 10 men including an SMG and a bazooka, except for third platoon which has no bazooka. There is also a heavy weapons platoon of 2 MG's. A sherman tank, 6 pounder anti-tank gun and 3 officers round out the assault force.

The village and its german defenders. Two intact buildings on the left, two ruined on
the right. German platoons in each intact building and the foremost ruined one. A tiger
stalks behind the village, with a Pak 40 in the forest in the distance. The americans will
enter from the right.

The Pak 40 awaits its prey, the Tiger waits in reserve.
Turn 1: An american platoon takes the hill, the other 2 platoons take the right most forest. The six pounder approaches from the far side of the hill. No one is in range to shoot.

Turn 2: The Sherman arrives and drives straight towards the center of town. All other americans advance. The Tiger fires at the Sherman, but misses.

The Americans advancing.
Turn 3: The Sherman blasts five Germans in the ruined building, riflemen kill 3 more, but return fire kills 3 americans.

Turn 4: The Germans in the ruined building are wiped out, but manage to kill 2 yanks first. The Tiger hits the Sherman, blasting its treads and leaving it sitting in place.

Turn 5: The 6 pounder destroys the Pak 40. The Germans in one of the buildings kill 2 Americans, taking 2 causalties in return.

Turn 6: The Tiger kills six more Americans, with the Germans in the adjacent building killing 2 more. 

Turn 7: The Tiger kills 4 more americans. 

The Americans killed most  of the Germans in the building across the road,
but then the Tiger arrived and nearly killed all of them, leaving only these
two behind.
Turn 8: The Americans needed only another kill or two on the Germans to force a retreat, but their advance was completely out of steam. They had almost no firepower in range of the German positions, their Sherman couldn't move, and the Tiger with its long range cannon was slaughtering them. The Captain called a retreat. 4 more Americans were killed by the Tiger, but the bazooka men stayed behind to try and hold off the Tiger long enough for their comrades to escape.

Turn 9: The Americans start to flee the table.
Fleeing Americans. The Tiger can be seen in the distance, poking its cannon
around the edge of the building, killing stragglers.
Turn 10: The Tiger kills one bazooka man.

Turn 11: The Tiger continued to pursue, killing one more man.

Turn 12: The surviving Americans escape as well as their six pounder. The last remaining Bazooka man surrenders.

Time to add up the points! In Terry Wise's rules you get points for your troops which survived.

11 points for surviving soldiers
1/2 point for their bazooka man taken prisoner
5 points for their remaining machine gun
10 points for their anti-tank gun
= 26.5 points.

50 points for winning the game
13 points for survivors
1/2 point for their prisoner
15 points for the Tiger
5 points for capturing the damaged Sherman
= 83.5 points

Thoughts: A fun game! Nothing at all like Bolt Action, but still fun. I would like to use Terry Wise's generic army organization diagram, so I need 2 more companies (six more platoons) of infantry to make a full regiment. I also need some troop transports to ferry my guys around quicker. I look forward to playing this again, once I have more figures painted.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Battle of Pont D'Eclair - WWII

The Americans and Germans met each other across opposite sides of the bridge of the little french village of Pont D'Eclair. A good excuse for a battle!

1st LT + 2 extra men
M4A3 Sherman tank (my new toy!)
Two MMG teams
7 men + BAR
6 men + BAR
=600 points

Panzer II x 2
6 men with 2 LMG and 1 Panzer Faust
2 squads of 6 men with LMG and Anti-tank grenades
=594 points

The scenario is Maximum Attrition: destroy as many units as you can! Simple enough.

Things started off bad for the americans and then just got worse. They advanced an MMG team, which quickly got blown away by MG42's. One squad got a ton of pin markers and broke. The LT and his men were picked off by german rifle and MG42 fire, as was the other MMG team. A total cluster fudge.

The view on turn 4. Masses of germans to the east, while the yanks have
a few men scattered in the woods, hunkered down in the dirt.

The American Sherman M4A3 peeks around the corner of a building.
It's not scared of the Panzer II's, but it knows a Panzer Faust is nearby.
The last american squad is killed - only the Sherman remains.
Germans in the ruins, advancing across the river, two Panzer II's and more
Germans off camera to the right.

The Sherman advances towards the bridge, looking to shoot a panzer.
A german armed with Panzer Faust fires out the window and hits...
but fails to penetrate.

In the end, the Sherman turned around and left, after almost complete slaughter of his platoon. Not only that, but the americans didn't destroy a single german unit! A completely one sided battle. Maybe next time guys.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Blow up the Base

A Demolition scenario for Bolt Action. Each side must get a unit in contact with their enemies Company HQ, set charges and blow it up.

1. 2nd LT and 1 man
2. Bazooka Team
3. Sniper Team
4. 5 Veterans with Anti-tank grenades, an SMG and Browning Automatic Rifle
5 and 6: As 4.
=449 points

1. Leutnant and 2 men
2. 5 man squad with rifles
3. 5 man squad with rifles
4,5 and 6: Panzer II with inexperienced crews.
=446 points

Overview of the battlefield. The german base is the
building in the lower right, the american is the other
building in the upper left.

The american bazooka team hides behind their base.

The Bazooka team leaps and fires at the Panzer II in the
distance - but misses.

Two American squads advance.

The bazooka team destroys a panzer.

Two more Panzer II's arrive.

A german unit is wiped out as americans close in on their base.

Americans reach the german base, set their demolition charges
and blow its roof right off.

Panzer 115 advances over the bridge, heading for the american

Panzer 115 approaches within point-blank range of the
american bazooka man - the only american with a
reasonable chance of hitting him - and blows him away
with his MMG.

The last american squad between panzer 115 and the american base
launches a desperate assault, but its hopeless.

The american base is blown apart.

Aftermath: Both armies destroyed the others company HQ so this game is a draw. I like the variety of scenarios in Bolt Action, though they are designed for 1000 pt armies they still work fairly well with games of half that size. See ya!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Point Defence

Another game of Bolt Action, time to try the Point Defence scenario.

400 Points
USA (The attackers)
2nd LT and 2 men
Bazooka team
Squad A: 10 men, 2 SMG and 1 BAR + tank grenades
Squad B: As A

Leutnant and 2 men
Panzer II
Squad 1: 7 men with two MG42's
Squad 2: 6 men with 1 MG42

The USA must control at least 2 objectives by the end of the game.

The objectives are: North Building, East Building and southern forest.
The Germans deploy a squad in both buildings, the Leutnant went in the southern forest and the Panzer II was in reserve.

The American prepatory bombardment causes a variety of pin markers and killed one of the leutnant's men.

Turn 1: American squad A rushes at north building while squad B heads for the eastern one. The Americans are helped that neither building has any windows opening on to their side of the table (The left or west).
The Americans rush east.

Turn 2: Squad A assaults north building. 3 are killed by German fire as they charge in. In the ensuing assault 2 yanks are killed, but the germans are slaughtered and the first objective is now in the hands of the usa.

Who's at the door? I'll tell those bloody Jehovahs Witness to get lost!
Turn 3: After failing it's reserve move before, the Panzer II arrives between east building and the southern forest. The bazooka team licks its chops in anticipation - and blasts the panzers tracks, immobilizing it.

Turn 4: The bazooka fires at the panzer again, this time starting a fire but the well-disciplined crew quickly puts it out. The Germans in the eastern building fire at the americans in the northern building with 2 MG42's and rifles. Two americans die.

Turn 5: The bazooka hits the panzer again, further damaging the treads. American Squad B assaults the eastern building from the building windowless blind side. However the germans had ambush orders - but fail to kill a single american! In the assault the deadly american submachine guns make short work of Jerry, thus securing the second objective and looking like an early american win - but Fritz has a trick left up his sleeve.

Turn 6: The Bazooka fires at the panzer yet again, finally blowing it sky-high. Only a single german remains - the Leutnant. He runs out of LOS of all American units right behind the building. This is enough to contest control of the objective, meaning that if the game ended right now the americans would be robbed or their win - but the roll for another turn comes up positive and the americans get another chance at victory.
This cheeky Leutnant almost steals the americans thunder all by himself. 

Turn 7: Squad B rushed out of their building and easily takes the sneaky Leutnant prisoner. The US controls 2 of 3 objectives and scores a victory.

A fun game that hinged on the single dieroll to see if their would be another turn for the americans to take out the last german. Happy new year!