Wednesday, April 20, 2016

AdeptiCon Experience - Bolt Action National GT

Earlier in the month we all went down to Chicago for AdeptiCon, the most comprehensive wargaming con in the USA. I was lucky enough to participate in the Bolt Action National GT with 41 other players.

This was extremely encouraging to see so many dudes playing Bolt Action. This is the first year for the GT and I think the second year of having Bolt Action at AdeptiCon, so I can only see it exploding in size for the next few years. AdeptiCon has done a great job at embracing new games that are bringing in so many new guys to the con experience, however there were a few hiccups.

The Good

The tournament itself was run really well. The TO (Jeremy - check out his wrap up here) did a great job with rulings, although there weren't very many needed, and setup a ton of really quality tables. He had rounds ready to go quickly and efficiently. The work he put into this cannot be overstated.

My entire force with objective markers from Army Group North Miniatures
I had a ton of fun playing a variety of people. Lots of people from the upper midwest and states other than just Illinois, which was cool. It seemed like last year it was mostly just Chicago people. I didn't have any bad games, in fact all of my opponents were very not serious-business. It was easy. 

I didn't actually win much - in fact I only won one game, but it didn't really matter. Most of my games were close and we had a good time.

There were quite a few really well painted / super inspired forces on display. In particular, the Hungarians which I had been watching for a while up to the event looked great. I was happy to see some partisans, quite a few Italians, Polish, and a lot of Pacific forces. I didn't see any double howitzer lists or anything like that.

The terrain was pretty great and varied. Each table was themed - you didn't just play on a table with two buildings, two roads, two forests, etc. The buildings are so common now that it is easy to play with them. The house rule they use for forests sometimes threw me for a loop because I usually play LoS by the book, but I could deal with it.

The missions themselves were really good. They were somewhat based on book missions, I believe, with some twists that made them more interesting and strategic. Props to the TO.

The Bad

We were a little cramped for space. There wasn't any space between tables so you kinda had to set your display board on a chair next to you. There is plenty of room in the hotel so we should get our own ballroom with plenty of space.

Bicycles take the field!

The Ugly

The bad and the ugly are things that are out of the TO's control, but AdeptiCon seriously needs to look at how they allocate space. The Bolt Action room was upstairs way out of the way and REALLY DARK. Bolt Action should be at the front! This game is exploding in popularity and Warlord Games is a huge vendor in the vendor area. 

Polish Lancers slam into my poor farmer infantry
I cannot state enough how annoying it was that the BA room was forced upstairs in a dark, dark room. I read another blog that said that AdeptiCon staff treat it as a 'specialist game', which definitely seems true. BA should be in a brightly lit room by itself, not with 8 man tournaments and demo games. 

The Games

I don't think anyone really wants to read a play-by-play, but I'll summarize my five games here:

Cavalry take the field
Game 1
I played against a Polish cavalry force. It was a brutal game with a lot of stuff being taken off the board. It was also an objective game and I failed quite a few orders tests. My opponent played well and pulled out a minor victory.

Game 2
I played against Australian 9th Army on the railroad board. Aaron was a great opponent, we played last year. We had a close fought game, but he ended up edging me. I thought I had it at one point! I failed an orders test or two that really hurt and I just didn't get there. 

We played the railroad as difficult terrain which made it really hard for me to move up, as my objective was to move into his deployment zone, and I had two cross the railroad twice. We probably shouldn't have played it that way.

Pedal faster! We have to get to the front
Game 3
I played against Josh's British Airborne. This mission had us attempting to get into each others deployment zone and take objectives. I had a very mobile force with bikes and horses and trucks while Josh didn't, so I felt bad. He also flubbed his artillery roll and I forced that back into his area. I ended up with a major victory here but he did inflict a ton of losses on me.

Game 4
I played against French infantry in this game. The gent I played was another cool guy from the upper midwest. We played on a tarmac board where we both had to basically run into gunfire with not a lot of cover. I got lucky with my howitzer tank a few times, but in the end he used his tough fighters to take out more of my guys. He took a minor victory, I believe.

A sniper team that did nothing but shoot about 4 NCOs in one game. Super props to Jeremy O for making a sweet eastern front board
Game 5
I played against a beautifully painted British Airborne force. I was outclassed in this one by an opponent who had a better plan and took my units off piecemeal. My opponent was very sporting and cool. This was the last game of the tourney so I was pretty exhausted.

My Force

I had gone over my planned force for AdeptiCon but it just didn't pan out. I tried the motorcycles and they didn't really do much of anything, and I didn't really mind losing but I didn't want to get massacred, haha. So I shifted a bit and instead took mostly infantry with a bicycle squad for fun. I did end up changing the tank, as well, to a Panzer 1 Sig33 Bison, because I thought it looked really cool and would make a nice project. It is also a heavy howitzer tank, heh.

I followed the instructions here pretty much to a T and I think it worked out pretty well! This tank did participate in East Front actions although I do not know if it was in Army Group South. For the purposes of my list I made it detached from 22nd Panzer, as they were there.

Overall everything did pretty well. The bicycles were funny and people loved seeing them. Not having any veterans or SMGs makes my list pretty soft - I don't put out a ton of shots. I did, however, have a heavy howitzer tank, a medium howitzer, and a heavy mortar, heh. They didn't really do as much as I'd hoped which showed in my overall W/L.


I had a lot of fun. I can't say how cool it is to get dozens of people coming up and complementing you on your army, mentioning they saw it on WWPD, follow your blog and YouTube, etc. It is really really cool and validates a lot of the time and energy I put in, for sure. 

I ended up at 14th out of 41, which I never planned on doing - I figured I'd be in the bottom 3rd or 4th of the pack with my soft list. What I was really going for was paint and theme, and I did very well. Jeremy Olsen's Hungarians did win best paint overall, which he definitely deserved. I got a 14 (out of 15, I believe) on paint which I was super excited to get! I got a 4 out of 5 on theme I think mostly because of the HE I brought, heh.

Next year I will definitely be upping my game regarding display and all the extras. I didn't even bring a nameplate this year which was a huge mistake, as I think some folks didn't even understand what country I was representing.

Anyway - I can't believe how awesome it was this year and I hope it only does better next year! More photos below.


  1. Great writeup, thanks! Can you tell me who makes the Panzer 1 Sig33 Bison model you used?

  2. I actually purchased a Panzer 1 from Warlord Games ( and the Sig 33 Artillery piece ( and scratch built it from there using the instruction link I posted above

  3. I thought the lighting was bad in some of the bigger rooms as well.