First Bolt Action game.

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Midshipman Easy
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First Bolt Action game.

Postby Midshipman Easy » Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:26 am

The guys at the PWS decided that at our last meeting we we give the Bolt Action rules a go. This was the first time any of us had played the rules, we only had one rule book and our usual fare for WWII is Rapid Fire. SO as you can imagine there were more than a few mistakes made. Also I am going apologise here for the photo quality which isnt always the best. My phone was doing something odd.

Anyway the game was based on the Battle of Matanikau River October 1942. Here you had a Japanese SNLF company (2 platoons intially on table with another plus tank platoon to come on in support as well a four tube 100mm mortar battery off table) facing an American Marine company (2 platoons deployed with another platoon plus tank section to come on in support asd well as a four tube 75mm howitzer battery off table). So right off this is a much larger game than normal even with 4 players each taking a platoon.

American left.
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American Right.
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Japanese deployment.
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Japanese advance begins.

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The turn sequence flows well with the drawing of the command dice. Only problem is that despite having 3 colours of dice (the Japanese commanders shared theirs) we had two different shapes. Opps. Anyway the Japanese advanced upto the river whilst the Americans waited in prepared positions in ambush. The American right opened up first. There was a little confusion about how the firing worked. We started here firing as fire teams rather than whole sections. This was no problem for the MGs but led to some confusion about how many command dice we needed all up. After a couple of turns we had it worked out and running smoothly. The more constricted front on that side of the road led to more concentrated fire power. Rick really came to hate those HMG in the Marine platoon.

First section of SNLF melt away (these are the survivors up there on the right of the photo).
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On the left the Japanese took their time in getting to the river line. With more front to cover my two forward sections (plus 2 HMGs and 37mm gun) had 3 sections to target. I spread the fire around hoping to do some damage and get a few pins, not quite understanding how that worked. Not much was the result. However the next turn the Japanese commander facing me called in his four 100mm mortars, got two, rolled a 1 on the artillery table allowing me to place the aim point where I liked, smack in the middle of one of his sections. Much laugher was had all around as the Japanese took a couple of casualties and some pin.

Japanese come close.

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My sections fired during the following round/turn/new bucket of dice and included the 60mm mortar and 37mm gun. Here we had some confusion about how direct artillery worked. One dice to hit was fine, but then each type had its own dice. Was this to determined the number of hits or pins, we weren't sure and went with hits. Looking back now, and not being an owner of the rules, I think it might have been both. Anyway we plowed on. Japanese fire on the American right began to clear the Marine lines but before the situation became dire the platoon commander remembered his OP team and they managed to call in four 75mm guns and whilst not kill many, the guns put out a lot of pin markers.

Japanese coming under American artillery fire.
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The Janpanese brought their tanks on which allowed the Americans to call for theirs, one of which arrived immediately. I shot at the Ha-Go with a HMG and was unable to do any damage. Later in the game we worked out the "consecutive 6's" rule where if you need any value over 6 to hit/wound/damage you need to roll a "6" followed by another "6" which may have allowed me to kill it early. The 37mm missed as did the Stuart tank. The Japanese then brought down their 100mm mortars on the guns position. Yes this is a mistake as off table artillery only gets to fire once per game. Being used to commanding whole brigades under Rapid Fire rather than just platoons or even half platoons under Bolt Action, we just went ahead and kept call ing the fire in every turn. From here on the American right is safe. Rick is able to weaken the American line with some shooting but is unable to get enough pins of his SNLF to move or do much with artillery coming down on them every turn. Russel is able to move his sections around and reinforce his front line and keep Rick on his side of the river. This side of the battle has stalled.

The tanks arrive.
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Japanese cop some American "drop short" support, again, and again...
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To my front, on the American left, Michael had been steadily creeping forward and used one section to draw fire away from his other two by placing it at point blank range in front of my sections. Then, with the Japanese section dead and my troops having all fired, another section of SNLF charged into the Marine rifle section holding the centre of my line. Now this we got wrong too. We calculated hits as if we were shooting and then damage, when we should have gone straight to doing damage as if each figure fighting had hit their target. Also the Attackers (Japanese) went first where as the order should have been reversed as the defenders were in defences (at least that his how we now understand it). Anyway the upshot was that the Japanese inflicted no casualties on the Marines whilst they took 2 in return. Victory to the Marines. However under the rules that meant that the entire Japanese section was WIPED OUT. Harsh. We all thoguht that that was increadiably harsh and for this game houseruled that the Japanese would take the casualties, add that many pin markers and do a run move away from the victors. Maybe this would be a bad mistake but that section took no real further part in the battle.

Crossing the river.
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After the charge.

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Soon after the Japanese charged again. This time we got the mechanics right but I think we got the seguence wrong with the attacking Japanese going first and almost wiping out the section which could hardly fight back. I now had a gaping hole in my line.

American command tries to stem the Japanese advance.
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Another round of tank combat sees the American tank stunned, waiting for its section mate, whilst the Japanese tanks are unharmed and do and end run around the Stuart to leave via the American table edge. As both tanks did this, the Japanese claim their victory conditions.

The finish flag.
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All in all it was a good, fun game. The rules are going to need some serious study by all of us if we are going to play it more regularly. I sure regular players can see a lot of mistakes that we made, probably some that we haven't figured out yet. I could be wrong but I also think that a game of this size was stretching them a little too much. That maybe our inexperience with them but they didn't feel quite smooth. The turn sequence is interesting and lots of decisions about who to activate next to get the most benefit. Thank you to Rick who organised the game and provided the rules as well as all the figures. Thanks to Michael and Russel for taking part.
A captain goes down with his ship. Midshipman Easy Reporting!

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Re: First Bolt Action game.

Postby Admin Fella » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:12 am

Thanks for posting mate.

I have played a few times now, I quite like the rgame, I think the dice bag thing to determine who goes is a great idea, offering a certain amount of randomness. Different.

regards
Mathew


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