Friday, March 27, 2015

AdeptiCon After Action Review - Bolt Action

Last week we went to AdeptiCon - my favorite gaming convention. The venue was much larger this year so there was a ton more room for things like Bolt Action, Saga, Infinity, etc. I was beyond excited to play in Bolt Action tournaments, mostly just to get in extra games vs people I don't usually play.

There were four events total for BA at AdeptiCon: Team Tournament on Friday, Combat Patrol on Friday night, Singles Tournament on Saturday, and Tank War on Sunday. I figured I'd be too tired to do the combat patrol on Friday (we arrived on Wednesday, shopped and played Necromunda on Thursday, then I entered BA mode) so I just signed up for the TT, Singles, and Tank War.

Team Tournament
I signed up for the Team Tournament right when it first went up (when we were leaving the free Bills vs Jets game in Detroit) as well as the other tournaments using the Bolt Action track. I wasn't sure back then who else from our area was going, so I asked on Michiana Bolt Action, a FB group, if anyone needed a teammate. Mark told me he wanted to join up so we decided on Americans - him with his Army infantry and me with my USMC.

The rules were like this: 1600 pts per team, separate order dice for each teammate, separate officers etc. Limit of 8 order dice per player. House rules were in for trees blocking LOS and AA stuff. There was an overall 'meta game' where we had to find poker chips that were hidden for your 'side' - either Allies or Axis. The Allies definitely had the numerical advantage and won a secret bonus in the third game. Each board had its own scenario which I think is pretty sweet - it takes into account the scenario and doesn't just screw you if the terrain is bad for a particular round's scenario.

Mark brought something like this:
1 Veteran Sherman
1 Regular halftrack
1 Regular bazooka team
1 Regular sniper team
1 Lieutenant
3 Squads of 6-7 guys with 1 or 2 BAR

My list was this:
1 Regular 2nd Lieutenant
1 Regular flamethrower team
1 Regular Air Force observer
1 Regular Stuart M3A3 (Recce)
4 Squads of regular Marines, three BARs and one SMG per squad

Both our lists were rather simple and we didn't have a ton of AT. Armored platoons were allowed but we were lucky to only face one. My general idea was to try to put on as much pressure with the air observer as possible with pins then put tons more pins on from long range no movement penalty USMC.

First Game

Our first game was on this beautiful Caen board. The objective was for the attacker (starting from the left) to move across the board and hold one objective for a draw, two for a win, and none for a loss (I believe). They could use the boats to move around in the river as necessary.

The board, again, is beautiful. The opponents won the roll and chose to attack. We setup mostly in the buildings to avoid the preparatory bombardment as best as possible and provide cover from everything else. The opponents had a British armored platoon with three tanks and a Soviet infantry platoon with zero tanks. The Soviet infantry attacked up our right flank and the armored platoon held back a little providing fire support.

The Soviets made it pretty far - almost all the way to the road running down our side of the board. I hit him with two air strikes, which was extremely! lucky. All the pins stacked up and basically meant those squads couldn't do anything until they just died. He did push up the center with veteran engineers in body armor (have to roll a 6+ to kill) and held the center for a while; the air strikes allowed us to focus only on that squad, however, and they took a ton of pins then died.

We won the game mostly on the back of the air observer rolling well and pinning out the infantry. I was able to exit my buildings to remove more infantry right at the end and Mark held his side (our left flank, the little island) and combat the tank as they came on. I did outflank my Stuart and it got wrecked instantly.

Our opponents were sporting and it was a good time though I felt bad; I haven't played Americans in a while and the move and fire with no penalty + air force rules can seem really really strong.

Second Game
We entered the second game against Germans on a Foye board. Our opponents were awesome dudes - probably the best 'competitive' tournament game I've ever played, just a ton of fun with no rules issues that I can recall.

They brought German SS vets with a Panzer IV, flak truck, and Puma. The flak truck totally chewed up my large Marine squads while the German engineer vets our left flank just held us up totally. It was rough. The scenario was basically kill points, and at a certain point we just got way down and couldn't come back. Their heavy howitzer hit twice during the game when needing a six to range in on the first attempt. It was rough. I focused too much firepower early on on the sniper in the bell tower instead of moving up the field.

John and Aaron were very sporting opponents though, so it wasn't bad. We were now 1-1. I believe a ton of the other games had drawn in the first and second round.

Third Game
Our final game was again against German SS vets. This one was on the Pegasus Bridge board that was extremely well done. Pretty much every board setup was display level quality. 

The goal was to control the objective at the center of the bridge at the end of the game. It was a 'Hold Until Relieved' scenario where the Germans setup in the center of the bridge with some infantry and brought the rest on from first wave from their side of the board. Mark and I basically setup on either side of the bridge and hoped to get order dice early to move into the soft cover on the bridge. 

It didn't happen early, though. They brought on machine gun bikes, cavalary, etc. that held up my edge of the bridge and Mark had to tangle with assault rifle squads and a Puma on his side. Eventually, though, we managed to clear my side somewhat so our troops on the boats could paddle up underneath the bridge and control the objective. We were very lucky to pull out the victory by having our guys hanging onto the bridge from beneath.

We went 2-1 and I thought we might be in the running for best Allied general, although there were tons of other allied players. Like I said before, I think there were quite a few draws. The team that beat us in game two actually took best Axis general. They also handed out best theme and a few other awards. We managed to win Best Allied general and I couldn't believe it. Mark was kinda speechless too!

I have to say I don't think either of us thought we were going to win anything that day, mostly because our lists weren't really super tuned. We just focused on the objective and did our best. I was hoping to place at least third in one tournament over the weekend mostly because I love Bolt Action a LOT and I wanted to receive some validation for all the time I've put in :)

I really was over the moon at this point. The team putting on the event did an amazing job putting together a huge prize pool with tons of gift certs and models from Offensive Miniatures, Bob Emmerson, JTFM, and others. Hats of to those gentlemen. Our three games were great with good sportsmanship and not many rules issues. When there was a question the two judges knew the rules very well and were able to answer them and provide any implications for either team.
Singles Tournament
The singles tournament was held on Saturday. I was very happy from our results from the TT so I wasn't really expecting much. I knew I'd be facing vets and some nastyness but didn't really see too much jankyness, so to speak. I believe the only comp was only 12 order dice and no vehicle flamethrowers.

I brought my Fallschirmjaeger that I worked on in the fall. I had:

1 Veteran 2nd Lieutenant
1 Veteran Flamethrower team
1 Veteran Sniper
1 Veteran Pak36 AT 
1 Veteran Heavy Mortar
1 Regular Panzer II Luchs (Light Autocannon)
5 Veteran Fallschirmjaeger squads with two assault rifles and one SMG each

I knew I'd have a ton of shots and be able to resist assaults. I was worried that I didn't have enough AT which didn't really manifest itself at all. My general plan was to hope to out-firepower my opponent and move to the objectives.

First Game
My first game was against an opponent bringing... Fallschirmjaeger. He had two or three squads that were 10 man, a halftrack, a sniper, a Wespe artillery tank, a flamethrower I believe, and maybe one or two other things. This scenario was based on Top Secret so my opponent got their first with a squad coming out of a halftrack. After that it was a race to his board edge. I got lucky with some shots and eventually took out everything he had on the board minus the Wespe. I was able to secure the objective and win the game.

Second Game
My second game was against John who had beat my face in the day prior in our second game. He was a very gracious opponent an d we had another great game. The objective was to get as many squads into their deployment area or off their board edge (more points). He was using veteran British commandos and paras with a Sherman, artillery observer (free), sniper, Humber armored car, etc. We moved up to each other and beat the hell out of each other with tons of veteran shooting.

He managed to get his Humber off my board edge early, but then I assaulted his back line mortar and sniper with two squads and got two of them off. I thought I was definitely up on points (I was) but might need another turn to get some more points. He suggested we might not have enough time, but I asked the judge and we did. He managed to kill my mortar, push another two units off my board edge, and win 14-12 (needing two points above your opponent to get a victory). It was a super fun, bloody battle. I was now 1-1 and I didn't take any photos because I was tired and it was an intense game.

Third Game
My third game was against a Soviet platoon with a T28 (five MMGs?) and plenty of bodies. I managed to get two squads into a huge building in the middle of my side of the board (and remove the flamethrower that would threaten them quite a bit) and after that it was basically just mop-up time as I don't believe he had any artillery to move me out. He did kill quite a few squads but I held on. He was a great sport and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I ended up 2-1.

The tournament was a great deal of fun with tons of Warlord Games gift certs as rewards. The scenarios were interesting with stories (Major lost his cat, patrols meeting, etc). The boards were again beautiful with tons of 4ground terrain. I think I was probably 2nd place in the Axis generals.

Tank War Tournament
The Tank War tournament on Sunday was a bit of a question mark to me. It was super early (started at 8 am) and by Sunday morning I was totally exhausted as we had stayed up super late the night before. I almost didn't go but I felt better in the morning than I did when I went to bed.

You could take one tank platoon and an infantry platoon in support. I was pretty convinced that the infantry would be showing in force since many of the tank war missions are objective focused, but it didn't happen. I did see a ton of veteran Sherman US tanks that could move and shoot me into oblivion.

I chose to bring my Slovak Rapid Division force:

4 LT-38 Tanks (PZ38t) Regular
1 Panzer IIIN Regular (light howitzer)
1 Veteran Cavalry squad (10 men)
3 Squads regular infantry with rifles - 8 guys
1 Medium howitzer regular
1 Medium mortar regular
1 Light AT gun regular
1 Horse cart regular
1 Sniper team regular
1 2nd Lieutenant

First Game
My first game was against a veteran Sherman platoon with a couple 76mms. My Panzer38ts really didn't do much, heh. I think I destroyed one Sherman and pinned another one to hell but didn't do enough. Our objectives were just to kill each other, I believe. We started on the flanks. 

The PZ38ts really just didn't have enough. The light AT was OK but their paper thin armor just went down so fast vs the Shermans. My infantry was OK but not enough to assault and do much. He played it very well, focusing on things that might actually threaten him first. I was 0-1 after this.

Second Game
My second game was against the Soviets again with two T28s, a KV2, and various other small tanks. It was again too much. I rolled some poor rolls but he was able to move up field and destroy my 38ts. Our goal was to get things off the enemy board edge. I was probably going to move about half my force off, but he could get more off of my board edge. The T28s mulched my infantry while the other tanks were busy removing my PZ38ts. I went 0-2.

Third Game
My third game was on the same board. I went up against more veteran US tanks with huge guns and armor. He had painted them like the tanks from Fury and they looked amazing. The goal was to get to the center of the board and hold an objective until the end. I figured I had a good shot at doing it since I had so much infantry. 

Unfortunately my tanks were not able to do much to his. I rolled poorly on some but he was smart and kept his tanks back (night fighting was in effect for turn one) where I couldn't get some lucky shots in with AT or howitzers. I did manage some infantry on tank assaults that did some damage, and immobilized a few, but we called it when the tournament ran out of time because even though I could contest the objective he would have many more kill points than me. I ended up 0-3 but not really upset or anything, as I had realized that I definitely didn't bring enough tanks to... Tank War.

I was super impressed with the level of hobby that was brought all three days, but I managed to get some photos of most of the forces on Sunday. 

Everyone brought their A game. I was lucky enough to win the Tank War 'Pass and Review Award' which I believe is the Judge's choice. I felt extremely humbled by it and really glad that I had spent all the time with this army. Again, I felt like my efforts had been recognized and it felt really good!

Early next week I'll be posting up thoughts on the Con in general, Necromunda, etc. This one was a slog so I know you can't read anymore! Thanks!


  1. Very cool stuff there! I like the Pass and Review...I called my award the Officer and Gentleman Award where players voted on the favorite player, theme and army all weekend..

  2. Well, looks like I'll have y to sign up for tank war - good excuse to paint up some Hungarians! Great Slovak tanks BTW, what manufacturers/scale are the Czech panzer 38s?

    1. Those are WLG. I am planning on getting some PZ35s from Bob Emmersons kickstarter as well. He made some awesome Hungarian tanks

  3. Plastic Legions also did a write up of the Bolt action missions. I think that is the John who you seem to lose to in the second rounds of two of the events.