April 20, 2016

Top Secret in Bolt Action

Had another game, this time as the GM for a pair of friends who've never played Bolt Action. They were given briefings in advance, but were unfamiliar with many of the mechanics and probably made a few mistakes they would have otherwise avoided.

Here's the German briefing...

The US briefing was similar, though obviously with a different view of the battle and without knowledge of the German objective. The US goal was simple to push the Huns from Lason.

Somehow I forgot to take any photos, but I tried to recreate the action on the maps below.

After a quick tutorial on the basics, the players took it in turns to set up their units and both elected to hold a few in reserve which I informed them would allow entry from one flank as well as their own base line.

The battle opened with the German infantry swarming up the center while the Americans advanced more cautiously. Long range sniping from tanks and mortars caused little damage with Sherman placing a pin marker on one of the Volks Grenadier squads, but causing only a single casualty.

On turn two, the Sherman fell from friendly fire with a deadly assault by a ground attack aircraft (second time in two games my USAF Forward Observer called down fire on his own side... I am beginning to wonder if he is a spy). All of the reserves managed to come on and center of the table was suddenly very busy! The lead Paratrooper squad took cover behind some crates stacked near a fence and wondered why the entire German army was bearing down on them...

The US commander suddenly realized the German objective as an enemy officer dashed to the crates at the center of the field. In a very Warhammer moment, he charged (yes, charged) and cut them down. He in turn was charged by the remaining Volks Grenadiers on the next order die from the bag. The Volks Grenadiers were then subjected to a withering hail of fire from the second Paratrooper squad, a lucky '6' from the mortar team (their only hit of the game), and SMG fire from the Forward Observer who had advanced out of the ruined inn to lend a more direct hand. They were forced to test morale and failed because of three pin markers and no officer in range. The sniper team killed the Forward Observer. The second Paratrooper squad was bogged down with six pin markers (they had several from last turn) as they took hits from all directions.

We ran out of time and called the game there, but talked through the last turn. The US player conceded the Germans would have easily secured their objective. He still had hopes of landing a hit on the Panther with his last remaining Bazooka team, but felt he had been pretty well thrashed.

The US player felt he had divided his forces trying to avoid coming under fire from the Panther and ended up fighting with only one squad against three. His support units caused little damage and of course the airstrike proved disastrous. One of the days, the blasted thing is going to hit the Germans! On the other side, the German player was amazed by how tough the US veterans were as it took all three squads and fire from the armored car to shift the first one.

They had a blast and have already asked when we can play again. I promised the Germans a few veteran Herr Grenadier squads next time and maybe some more armor for the Americans. I have it mind to run a modified version of the 'Operation Warboard' scenario which features an outnumbered German detachment hunkered down in a village facing three Shermans and supporting infantry. However, a river splits the board and the only way across is a single bridge. I'm off to see what I need to paint to accomplish this!


  1. Nice game report Clarence but I think you'll find over a number of games that 1 Panther against 1 Sherman doesn't go (or is that just my dice rolling?) and the Panther will just dominate the table. Bringing it on as reinforcements might help even things up.
    My gaming group have 2 end of turn dice in the draw pile which adds an extra dimension to the move as your not sure when it will end and will you get to use all your troops. We originally only used to use one die but felt it came up too often so we added the extra dice and the move only ends when both have been drawn.