Thursday 27 October 2016

578 - Bolt Action Tourney Aftermath: Part 2 - Prizes!

Where was I?

Oh yes: two games down and lunchtime. The important things here are that (a) I had some nice pizza, (b) I bought some raffle tickets, and (c) me and my mate Mattenbury took some pics of our paired Desert Rats forces on a themed board. Here's one - more to follow next post:
My lot's on the left; Mattenbury's lot on the right.
And yes, those are camels. This tourney was remnant v1 rules,
and cavalry in v1 was still fearsome...even camelcav!

Round 3:

Now I was up against the charismatic Pim and his dastardly Germans. It was a straight 'fight to kill each other' (I forget the name of the mission - winner is decided on order dice killed). The table was fairly open but for a cluster of buildings in the middle, but Pim pushed for us to play that infantry could only see over one wall/hedge, which really restricted lines of sight - especially on his side of the board. Including where he placed his sniper! 

Long story short, I won in every way... except in technically securing a victory: the field was mine - as, we agreed, was the moral victory - but I was only one order dice ahead, so it was a tactical draw. Fair enough!

Man of the Match? - my sniper, without a doubt. Having shaken off his shameful cowardice against the Finns, he opened up the game by taking out Pim's sniper. Nice! Having then relocated to another window, he realised that no more targets were likely to present themselves and so, after the briefest of discussions, he and his spotter leapt out of the window, pegged it past the stunned Panzer outside and fell upon the German command team, pistols a-blazin'. 
Left of centre, toward the end. The washers are Pim's pins;
my sniper (and 2 Sect) are in the building bottom-right.
Shifting right a bit . The German Officer is at the top.
Having killed of the enemy officer, my brave duo were set upon  - at short range in the open - by a squad of six or seven grenadiers (in the pic, above)...and they very nearly won that too: taking it to two rounds and taking yet more Germans with them. Brave lads. 
On the left, my sterling Humber Mk II surges forward.
Actually, it was an uncharacteristically assault-y game for me, as I soon realised that having successfully denied Pim my right flank there was sod-all that I could do to draw a bead on his units unless I charged the crap out of them.

I hadn't much choice but to leave these two units exposed, but
the 25pdr and Crusader dealt out some decent damage,
especially against his tank!
The game ended on turn five or six - had it gone to more then a firm victory would certainly have been mine, but so it goes.

A lovely guy, and a resident of the Netherlands, one of my favourite countries. Thanks, Pim!

Round 4:

Now I got the chance to play on the high table: a 12'x4' table with three parallel battles, and I was on the left of the Allied flank, trying to defend my left-flank base from the Germanic onslaught of Luke's veteran Fallschimjager. 

Luke had a cracking start - his medium mortar took out my sniper and started levelling the building with HE right from the off, but his luck soon started to drip away, and despite early advances, he just couldn't make the dash across open ground to flammenwerfer the crap out of my building without my brave Sikhs laying down just a little too much suppressing fire. It wasn't 'death-by-pinning' but it was 'infuriating-inactivity-by-pinning', and once I'd won the firefight it was just a matter of mopping up. 
Mopping up in the end-game. My table edge is the right of the pic.
My right flank was always bound to be sacrificial, but even as my medium mortar crew were butchered by the three Germans who'd pegged it all the way across to assault them, the 25pdr beside them managed to know out Luke's (woefully unlucky) panzer.

We were - as it happened - allowed to support our allies on flanking tables, but the proud Nordic God known as Svein (TTB founder and Ally on my right) was having none of it. Regardless, I'd set up my arcs to cover him just in case, and the idea of cross-game support was inspired!

Result: after a very shaky start for the Sikhs, a very very comprehensive win. Go Team!


The day was absolutely stonkingly good, with a top, top group of people there, and the only things which made it even better were that...

(a) I won a prize in the Help for Heroes raffle: I chose a gorgeous Rubicon Models M5A1 Stuart/Stuart Recce...which I've already built and primed! *huge smiles - it's a lovely kit*
Mine's built as the version front-left (sans prongs, of course)
but the recce version (front-right) is interchangeable,
and as that's what 11AD's Stuarts soon became, that is how
mine will mostly be fielded. They called it the 'Stuart Jalopy'.

(b) I was awarded the peer-voted 'Best Themed' award for my Desert Rats Sikhs! 
Needless to say, I was astounded by this turn-up, and profoundly flattered, because the competition (friendly though it was) was seriously impressive. What a delightful bunch of people the TTB lot are, eh?
My winnings. Such excitement! 11AD didn't really use Churchills -
I mostly got this one because I simply could not resist the kit.
It's gorgeous, and I think it'll become an AVRE attached to my
Sikhs when they start venturing onto Itaalian shores...
As with February's inaugural TTB 'UK Gathering' event, this was all organised by a lovely Irish-Brummie guy called Kieran: we're all indebted to him, and I personally am also indebted to another chap - a Finn called Jarkko who let me crash, borassic, on his hotel room floor.

You know a group of gamers is pleasant when you turn up to the hotel at 2030 on a damp Friday night and they've set up a beautifully themed gaming table in the hotel breakfast room, right by Reception where they're playing a doubles game of Bolt Action watched admiringly by a coachload of pensioners also staying at the hotel. 


In my next post there'll be a breakdown of my army list, some other pics (of them and sundry other bits) and some deliberations on future projects...

Cheers all,

- Drax.

Sunday 23 October 2016

577 - Bolt Action Tourney Aftermath: Part 1

Well now.

750 Points // Early War (upto Dec '41) // Four Rounds // 4'x4' Tables // Axis Vs Allies // Birmingham, October 2016
Back row L-R: 3 Sect, Humber II, 2 Sect, Lorry, 1 Sect,
Front L-R: Crusader I, 2Lt, 3" Mortar, Sniper, Boys AT, 25pdr.
This was the second friendly 'UK Gathering' tournament hosted by the excellent - this time in conjunction with the equally excellent 'Combined Operations' podcast.

The day was - without a doubt - brilliant, and we all had an absolute blast. My Sikhs acquitted themselves very well (army list coming in Part 3) and I even got a couple of little bits to bring home with me!

Round 1: 

I faced Ash and his Japanese infantry in one of those games where you have to get into the enemy's 6" deployment zone and keep them out of yours. 
Round 1. My table edge is on the right.

My view. On my left flank, my 25pdr and the 3"Mortar spotter.
They fought the good fight.
...and my right flank. Here we have the yin to the left flank's yang:
3" Mortar co-located with the 25pdr spotter. A useful tactic.
The Japanese start to advance.
Ash apologised for them only being base-coated.
I was happy with my plan and it worked a treat - I bimbled off down my right flank as he attacked my left. Despite the Japanese being a swifter force by far, I was actually doing alright! I anchored the middle and whittled his squads down with some withering fire...I should have won...but two things worked against me:
1) I was unlucky on a couple of key rolls, and
2) I failed to accurately read all of the victory conditions. 
Actually, we both did. At the end of a cracking game, we thought it was a draw with him killing one more unit than me. We were wrong. Turns out Ash had won quite handsomely, although the working-out escapes me now. 
Holding the centre ground; holding the enemy at bay.
Fair enough: it was, after all, a smashing game and Ash was a top, top opponent. In the spirit of the friendly TTB tourney, we helped each other out and played a fairly open and utterly agreeable match.
The last shot of my subaltern - in the doorway - before he caught it.
Thanks, Ash.

Round 2: 

Now I faced Ian and his Finns. Finnish infantry in defence. Ouch.
Finns. Dug in. In defence. *shiver*
Luckily, I had a fairly mobile force with two armoured vehicles. And a plan.
My brave boys advance up the left flank. Cautiously at first...

This was a mission from the book, similar to Round 1 - only this time I was the 'attacker' and I had to get units off his table edge for 3VP each. It was a turkey shoot. 
My Humber II played the ace card by trolling onto the board turn 1 and killing his sneaky sniper outright with four 6s in a row. Sweet! 
Otherwise - with the exception of my cowardly sniper who took pins before spending the next four turns trying to hide or run away - my tactics went totally to plan. It helped that he only had just one unit - an AT rifle - that could threaten my vehicles, and his only vehicle was some twin-MG tank, that was - luckily - late arriving.
Sme stuff happened on the right flank too, but...meh.
I used the good ol' refused flank tactic, but it was made far juicier by the fact that the flank I decided to race down also had a river separating it from the rest of the board - with just one pinned down squad to guard it, I was able to run five units off whilst barely breaking a sweat.
A river runs through it.
Ian was an absolutely sterling opponent - phlegmatic in the face of misfortune. It really didn't hep him that my AT rifle and 25pdr on 'ambush' let fly at his tank as soon as it eventually arrived; nor did it help in any way that his commanding officer - desperately needed to boost some morale - spent five whole turns comfortably drinking schnapps back in the rear echelon before bothering to arrive.

A very comfortable win for me.

Tune in next time for Rounds 3 and 4 and the results!


- Drax.

Sunday 9 October 2016

576 - Test Game with the Sikh Desert Rats Vs US - 750pts


It's a busy morning here and I'm tired, but last Friday night I was able to get a game in with my newly completed Sikhs. Details and lots more will follow before too long (I have my friendly tournament next weekend!) but here are a few pics, at least, from the game (still v1 rules, because the tourney is):
It was a cracking game, but I'll save a write-up for another time...!


- Drax.

Sunday 2 October 2016

575 - Desert Rats 25pdr


Another unit finished, and now I've very nearly finished the Sikh Desert Rats contingent that I'll be taking to the ' UK Gathering II' in just under 2 weeks' time! Yay!

That said, I wasn't hugely impressed by this mini. Take a glance at these late-night mobile pics...!
 (Above) collapsed view, showing the removable loader crewman and my 'storage solution'. The wheels are pinned to the turntable. The pointing guy is the 'spotter', seeing as how Warlord insists upon the 25pdr needing only three crew...

Whilst it was fairly good value - gun, limber and four crew for just £10 +p&p from West Wind Miniatures - the crew models are not much cop. Bad molding lines, blobby hands and faces and slightly weird poses did not really impress me, although the gun itself is pretty decent in its simplicity.

Interestingly, although a bit of research pointed toward the carriage getting narrower as the war progressed, this carriage+gun combined is significantly smaller than the late-war 25pdr mini that Warlord Games makes... although in turn, this is actually quite good, as the Perry Miniatures Sikhs I have are more slightly built than the Warlord Brits. 

Overall, it is done; it is finished. At least a lack of detail means a quick paint job, eh?!

Almost there...

- Drax.