Saturday, 28 December 2013

Bolt Action Tournament Alicante 2013

For about a year I have been thinking about returning  to the period where I started in wargaming all those years ago, World War 2. Flames of War just didn't look right to me with loads of tanks lined up in a row etc, due to lack of space on the table top. When my club announced they were going to hold a Pachanga (friendly) Bolt Action Tournament, I decided it was time to have a go. I went for the Burma theater mainly I have always liked this era and also if I didn't like Bolt action , I had already another system (crossfire) I could fall back on.

I shouldn't have worried, Once I had read the rules and watched a few demo games on YouTube, I knew it was going to be a good game, I played my first game a few weeks back against  Kevin´s U.S marines. It was a great game and we hardly had to look at the charts (although we still did a few things wrong). Last Saturday I played against a friend from work, it was his first ever wargame and we both had a great time . For the tournament I decided to take my Chindits because I needed a few more Japanese to make a 1000 point list . After my practice game with Kevin , I decided due to my Chindits having no tanks, I would double up on my heavy weapon teams and have 2 Platoons. I made a mistake of thinking you could have 2 free artillery observors.

Points Accum    
2nd LtInexperienced3535
1st   Platoon 
Chindit Veteran Section A
NCO with SMG  18
PVT   with LMG 20
Loader 15
5   Pvts with rifle 75128163
Chindit Veteran Section B
NCO with SMG  18
PVT   with LMG 20
Loader 15
1   PVT with SMG 18
4   Pvts with rifle 60131294
MMG 3 man Team Veteran62356
1 PIAT (2 Men) Regular40396
Sniper Team (2 Men) Regular50446
Medium Mortar Team Regular
3   men + 1 spotter 60506
Art   Obs Regular Free

2nd LtInexperienced35541
1st   Platoon 
Chindit Veteran Section A
NCO with SMG  18
PVT   with LMG 20
Loader 15
5   Pvts with rifle 75128669
Chindit Veteran Section B
NCO with SMG  18
PVT   with LMG 20
Loader 15
1   PVT with SMG 18
4   Pvts with rifle 60131800
MMG 3 man Team Regular50850
1 PIAT (2 Men) Regular40890
Sniper Team (2 Men) Regular50940
Medium Mortar Team Regular
3   men + 1 spotter 601000
Art   Obs Regular Free

In the end we had twelve participants which was just the right size for the club, any more and it would mean using a larger venue.

The games were decided by throwing a dice and then everyone playing the corresponding numbered scenario from the book. The first round the players were drawn randomly although as we had six Axis and six Allied player we could player Axis against Allied in the first two  games.

My first game even though it was completely random was my Chindits against Juan Marcos' Japanese on the Jungle table using the envelopment scenario.

                                    I  was attacking so threw for pre-bombardment as usual I got a one so the artillery failed to show up.

My right flank was slightly stalled because I was waiting for the Japanese who were hiding in the Jungle to show themselves.

In the centre I had a problem with an enemy flamethrower team who came around the corner of the house and began to burn one of my infantry units, who luckily survived and stood their ground. However they did receive five pins. In the next turn I had to choose weather to fire or charge, I think I took the wrong action and fired, I past the morale test but with four pins already on the unit my shooting wasn't good enough to get rid of the pesky flame thrower. In the next turn he managed to finish off my unit.

My artillery observer called in a bombardment which this time was sucessful. I was able to hit a few of his units in the centre, But the main success was against his Officer unit who had fifteen hits on them so were obliterated.

In the last couple of turns I managed to get two flanking units off the board. But the problem was I hadn't read the victory conditions properly and didn't know how many points the defender received for killing my units. If I had realised I would have been more conservative with commiting sucide charges with small teams, to try and stop the flamethrower in the centre. In the end the game ended in a draw with eight victory points each.

My second game was against Ronin and his Waffen SS Army. This scenario was top secret and so the objective was placed in the middle of the table. This time I carefully read the misión victory conditions. Realising that I wouldn't lose any points by losing units I decided to go for it and placed my Infantry units in the centre to charge down the road to try to get to the objective first.

My front units of Chindits came under fire from Ronin's Stug but they still past their morale test and manged a run to reach the objective. Ronin sent a unit of SS infantry fanatics to kill off the Chindit section and to take the object . 

 I fired with all my units and weakened the SS unit so I attacked and once again captured the objective. However this was the last turn, because we had run out of time. Which was a pity because it was becoming an interesting game. On a side note I tried to kill his Stug with one my Piat teams they moved 6 inches towards the tank set up there PIAT and fired. Unfortunately they turned out to be 13 inches away from the Stug and out of range (theres no pre-measuring in Bolt action). So the missile flew in the air and landed in an inch in front of the tank.

For the third game, I played against the opponent who was on  the closest to me on points. This turned out to be Coronel Bambu with his British Comando Army. We played the "Hold the line" scenario and I was the defender.

First was the pre-artillery bombardment which killed my artillery observer and put quite a few pins on the rest of my units.

His main attack came on my left flank, I had a sniper in a building that was able to kill a NCO of one of his infantry squads before he was killed by the cannon fire of the Cromwell tank. With no serious threat  on my right and centre flank. I was able to concéntrate on defending my left flank objective. At the end of the time limit I still had all the objectives under my control and so won the game.

                                                  A view of some of the other games going on.

                                                   Kevin playing his final game against Joses' Italians.

             One of the players, Fran, brought his U.S Armoured force. Normally this would not be allowed in a normal Bolt Action Tournament, but due to it being a friendly tournament there was no problem the more the merrier. It contained 3 Shermans, 2 Half Tracks and 14 Marines. The game he was playing next to me looked like he wasn't having much luck. I asked him after the tournament about how he got on . It seemed the lack of activation dice was a major part of his downfall, also his opposition were able to get lots of pins on his tanks. Quite surprisingly he was defeated in all his three games which meant he finished with zero points.

It shows what a good game Bolt Action is , you don't need to pick a so called "uber" force to win games and tournaments. Just pick an army you really like to paint and collect and with sound tactics and a bit of fortune from the dice Gods you can beat any army.  

             Kevin won the Tournament with his U.S Marines getting the maximum 9 points with 3 wins.

Myself and Coronel Bambu in our last game.

                I finished with 5 points out of 9 with 2 draws and 1 win.

The thing I like about Bolt Action is its a fun quick game with plenty of cinematic moments in the game. I am already thinking about other Armies to collect and play. Also the system can be easily changed to other ages and I am definetely going to be writing a variation for  the Plain Indian Wars. As well as using most of the system for ACW gaming.

         Everybody had a great time, and we will be definitely organising a competitive tournament in the near future. Maybe next time though I will be taking my Japanese or maybe Polish Paratroopers or Hmmmmmm.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Lasalle Tournament Alicante 2013

On the 19th November in Alicante we held our annual Lasalle Tournament. In the end there was eight players after two players having to drop out due to work and family commitments. We were going to play with one support and have three games using the normal set up and winning conditions as laid down in the rules. For the  system for working how many points we had after each game we used the SUM 20 rule.
I have a love hate relationship with the Lasalle rules, I like the simplicity of the rules but there are a few major things that happen due to the rules that I personally feel do not reflect the tactics of the time. A few months ago I decided to try out the Austrian Infantry División with linear tactics, there were a number of reasons for this.
1) Due to the units being large, I`m more confident in standing and firing when an enemy unit is attacking me. This the main thing for me, because I can fire my muskets more often which feels more like a Napoleonic game. Instead of retreating and then attacking in the next move.
2) Using an army using linear tactics who can only charge when in line is quite challenging especially when attacking.
3) You get nine or seven large infantry units if you are attacking or defending respectively.
My first game was against Kevin, who had kindly stepped in when somebody had to drop out at the last minute. When I said I have a love hate relationship with Lasalle, Kevin has a hate hate relationship with the rules, the last time he played in a friendly tournament he vowed never again and sold his Austrian army (to me). So it was very good of him to give up his day to help the other guys out at the club.
Kevin on the left, begining his first move.
              Kevin had borrowed my French army which was Conquest Infantry División with Light Cavalry Support. I chose to defend and for additional terrain I used my two thin hills (ridges).


Kevin begins by bringing his artillery to threaten my right flank.


                               My Infantry mounted the ridge and prepared to defend against the French Infantry that advanced directly against them. I reinforced my  threatened right flank with my Hussars.

The French advanced and charged the Austrians, the French all lost their close combat and fell back. This was the only large attack the French managed to make on my centre and due to my Austrians not been able to charge it settled down into a musket duel.

A large cavalry battle was being fought on my right flank.
By turn twelve Kevin had reached his breaking point and managed to hold on to turn nineteen where he failed his morale roll. Therefore it was 18 points to me and 2 points to Kevin. The first game went right up to the time allowed so I only managed to get a few photos of the other battles.

Francois´s French 1814 Liberation Army with Light Cavalry Brigade against Javi´s Spanish Army with Cavalry support.

With both players arriving late, I think Javi´s Spanish came out of their defence lines to try to crush
the French but time had ran out and it was a draw. Francois had  7 points and Javi 13 points.
Jose´s French Conquest Infantry with Light Cavalry support defended against Toni´s Russian Infantry Guard División with Guard Cavalry support. This ended in a victory for Toni´s Russians with 13 points to Toni and 7 points to Jose.
Dani´s Prussians with Light Cavalry support attacked Juan Marcos´ Ottoman Turkish army with Heavy Cavalry support.

This also ended in a draw with Juan Marcos gaining 12 points and Dani 8 points.

                                             After the first round the scores were as follows

                                  Phil  (18)                   
                                  Javi   (13)               
                                   Toni  (13)               
                                   Dani  (8)                 
                                               Total    52                        

                                   French and Allies
                              Juan Marcos  (12)      
                              François           (7)  
                             Jose                 (7)
                             Kevin               (2)  

                                       Total                 28

     Round two and I was playing against Juan Marcos and his Ottomans, we both wanted to defend, but I lost the dice off and became the attacker. Juan Marcos deployed first and used a stream to bolster his defence.

It is quite tricky to attack using linear tactics but the important thing is to get as near to the enemy as fast as posible, luckily Juan marcos had sited his artillery on a flank where I wasn't attacking.

I was holding my Hussars back in reserve waiting for his reserve cavalry to arrive, but Juan Marcos sent a couple of irregular units of infantry over the stream  and into the woods. It was opportunity too good to miss, so I charged into the  woods with my cavalry. The first enemy unit was destroyed.

The Ottoman Cavalry then arrived, although they found it hard to fully deploy due to lack of space.

In the centre my Austrians were beginning to find it tough going, due to the hard pounding by the newly sited artillery and cavalry advancing through the woods.

I had deployed my artillery and a unit of hussars on the Ottoman left flank, these had soon destroyed one Ottoman unit and were bombarding the other units. To the front my infantry had finally reached the enemy, but the first attack was beaten back, however there were plenty of enough waves of infantry behind the first one.
Sadly we had come to end of the alloted time and the game was declared a draw which was a pity because I was sure If we had gone the full number of turns we would have had more of a decisive result hopefully in my favor. The score was 12 points to Juan marcos and 8 point to myself. 

On the next table was Jose`s French attacking  Javi´s Spanish

                             This game ended when the Spanish army was broken by turn 10 and Javi had thrown his 5 dice getting 2,2,2,2 and a 1 (I´m glad it isn´t just me who can do this ). Jose gained 15 points and Javi 5 points.


                          Kevin´s French defended a stream line against Dani´s Prussians

Kevin used the stream barrier to great effect, when I had looked in, halfway through the game. Dani had broken through to the otherside of the stream with an unit of cavalry. But Kevin managed to shore up his defences and held on for a draw gaining 12 points and Dani 8 points

   The final game of the second round was Toni´s Russians defending against Francois´ French
This ended in a victory for Tony with 15 points and Francois recieving just 5 points.

So after the second round the results are as follows


                                   Toni  (28)              
                                  Phil  (26)                
                                  Javi   (18)              
                                  Dani  (16)               
                                               Total    88                        

                                 French and Allies

                                Juan Marcos  (24)      
                                   Jose                 (22)       
                                Kevin               (14)     
                                François           (12)    

                                      Total                 72

 After a quite awful meal at a local restaurant, which I dont think we will be going back any time soon. We eventually arrived back at the club for the final round. I was paired off with my old adversary Jose and his French conquest army.

I went back to the role of defending, hoping my troops would be able to break his army.


 Using my two  ridges to hide my troops, I realised Jose was going to try to combine his infantry and cavalry into multiple attacks. So a little too late I adjusted my position to allow my cavalry into the frontline. 

I managed to get my cavalry into the front line, just as the French rose over the crest.

Unfortunately I had no room to maneuver so my all cavalry had to charge two units each. Although I came worst off in the combat, Jose did not manage to take advantage of this and his attack began to falter.

To give Jose something else to think about, I sent two Infantry batallions around his left flank. With his attack stalling in the centre and neither of us anywhere near our breakpoint time had run out and the game ended in a draw. With 12 points to me and 8 points to Jose. 
On the next table Kevin managed to win the dice off to see who would defend. Meaning Javi´s Spanish would have to uncharacteristically attack. Kevin placed the stream once again to slow the Spanish advance. Even though Javi managed to get his irregular cavalry over the stream and behind the French lines. By the end of the game, surprisingly  neither player lost a single unit. This game also ended in a draw therefore Javi gained 12 points and 8 points to Kevin.
Francois' French attacked Dani's Prussians. Dani set his troops up to allow máximum fire from his troops onto the French troops. This once again ended in a draw with 12 points to Dani and 8 points to Francois.
Toni's Russians attacked Juan Marcos' Ottoman Army. Well done to Toni , for achieving something that myself and Dani couldn't achieve in winning against the Ottomans.
So the the final score were as follows
Coalition Armies
1  - Toni (Russia) ; 3 victories, 0 draws and 0 defeats, 41 Points
2- Phil (Austria)  ; 1 victory, 2 draws and 0 defeats,  38 Points
3- Dani (Prusssia)  ; 0 victory, 3 draws and 0 defeats   28 Points
4- Javi (Spain) ; 0 victory, 2 draws and 1 defeat, 30 Points
   French and Allies
1- Jose (French) ; 1 victory, 1 draw and 1 defeat, 30 Points
2- Juan Marcos (Imp. Otomano) ; 0 victory, 2 draws and 1 defeat 31 points
3- Kevin (Francia) ; 0 victory, 2 draws and 1 defeat, 22 points
4- François (Francia) ; 0 victory, 2 draws and 1 defeat 20 points

Coaltion had 137 points and the French 103
Therefore the Coalition players won the team game.
Francois' reaction on hearing the French have lost the Tournament and Napoleón had abdicated.
The Trophies


Juan Marcos won the Trophy for the most freakiest Arny with his Imperial Ottomans.

Javi's Spanish won the Trophy for the best painted Army.
Toni recieved his Trophy for comimg first in the coalition side and overall winner. 
Jose just pipped Juan Marcos to the first position for the French, due to him winning one victory. Actually the only victory won on the French side.


We also had the prize giving ceremony afterwards with some great donations from our Sponsors. Who were:
Andrea Miniatures
Atlantica Juegos
Wargames Bilbao
Breaking War
Merceron Games
Bandua Wargames
Warmodeling Miniatures
De Dados
Xan Miniatures
Pinturas Vallejo
Once again thanks for everybody for making the day a great event, hopefully for next one we can see more players from other áreas. Also a  special thanks to Salva who organised the event and unfortunately was unable to participate.