Wednesday, 21 December 2016

583 - New FLGS and a 750pt Bolt Action Game!


Yes, all of the above is true - I've found a new FLGS: 'Darkstar Gaming' in Plymouth. It's fairly new, but open, friendly, and not too terribly inconvenient for me... which is a development!

To my particular joy, I broke my duck there with my pal Mattenbury: we played a friendly 750pt game to both try out a few ideas and increase our familiarisation with the 2nd Edition rules.

It was a blast!


Mattenbury very gallantly let me field a cheeky wee 'armoured platoon' - nothing too scary: a troop of Recce Carriers supported by two five-man squads, a Sniper team, a PIAT team (in a fourth Bren Carrier) and the obligatory Free Artillery Spotter. There was a 3-Ton Lorry to transport the Toms, of course, too. Oh, and a Cromwell CS:
My babies!
These pics came out well - I like the black background!

For his part, Mattenbury brought his Commandos (I was expecting Americans, but they're not painted yet): a five-man command squad (such a great idea!), two five-man squads, two(!) Light Mortar teams, a 25pdr, a Sniper team, Arty Spotter and a Crusader AA:
The Commandos were armed by squad: rifles or SMGs.
Set Up:

We rolled for a mission and got 'Demolition', which is essentially capture-the-flag, but it's instant death after a unit is plomped on the enemy's base - no contestation. 

Deployment in some missions of 2nd Ed has taken a clever turn: it's a little more time-consuming, but now you draw dice to deploy units. I liked this, although I didn't do it quite as well as I ought to:
My deployment edge. Foolishly, I split up my Recce troop,
and they couldn't benefit fully from their radios.
Mattenbury did a better job with what he had, I must say, setting up his 25pdr exactly where he should have - commanding the centre ground utterly, and managing very cleverly to give his Crusader AA far more flexibility than I thought it'd have.
Note the two objectives and the 25pdr's killing field (in red)
A close-up of Mattenbury's deployment: the 25pdr
covers its arcs, and the objective is that round base
just this side of the hill. White die = my arty aim point.
The Game:

Turn 1: The first turn was relatively quiet, as everyone was hidden. Artillery spotters on each side placed their aim points, and my sniper (to my great surprise) killed his. Having thus given away his position, my sniper was then instantly wiped out by a very lucky 25pdr shot. Bastard.
End of a Veteran Light Mortar Team
On my right, the Bren Carrier (carrying my PIAT) sallied forth and gunned down a light mortar team before his Crusader AA did some sneaky reversing and then let fly in revenge. Pins. My vehicles and troops on the left edged forward for pot-shots, but it wasn't until the turn's end that I realised flank I'd moved everyone on the left closer to his artillery aiming point! BUGGER.
Pins on the Bren Carrier from the sneaky Crusader (top-right)
The extent of my movement by the end of Turn 1. Note how foolishly
close so many of my units are to his artillery aiming point (red die).
Turn 2: This turn was a bit of a dud, really - both artillery rounds failed to materialise and we traded some ineffectual long-range shots. Mattenbury was being cautious because he was - quite frankly - out-gunned, and I was being way too cautious because I was unnecessarily afraid of both the artillery strike which had now moved to the centre ground and his 25pdr...which could easily kill a recce carrier but which, frankly, would struggle against the Cromwell. The only thing of note, really, was the blasted Crusader penetrating my Bren Carrier (the PIAT-mobile) and fluffing its damage, to give both it and the PIAt a bunch more pins. Boo.

Turn 3: At last both of our artillery stonks arrived and did untold damage on...nothing. The only casualty of both was the 25pdr, which took a couple of pins. If either had arrived on turn 2, it could've been a very different story indeed. During this turn, a number of key things happened: (1) I finally started closing on the objective, suppressing the 25pdr with MG fire as I went to pin it out of usefulness; (2) I realised (he told me!) that Matt's intent was to drive his crusader up to my objective and claim it that way...bugger. I hadn't thought of that - I'd assumed he would just inch his Commandos closer then overwhelm me. I could've been gamey and used my carriers and troops as a screen, but I try not to roll like that. Instead, I tried to bring the fight to him!
Shot 1 from the PIAT. A swing and a miss.
(3) With this in mind, my 6-pinned Bren Carrier rallied (2nd Ed 'Rally' is soooooo much better!) and disgorged its PIAT-toting passenger, who predictably missed a long-range shot at the Crusader; (4) Mattenbury's central squad of Commandos started their new game of ineffectually charging one of my recce carriers just to get a consolidation move out of it. I started thinning their ranks with some withering Bren and rifle fire, but they're tricky buggers to kill!
My 15/19 KRH Cromwell advances into the muzzle of the field gun...
...and the Comando HQ backtracks for morale support.
Turn 4: Mattenbury's Commandos on my right flank burst out of their building to unleash short-range SMG-themed death on my poor regular PIAT team...and completely fluffed it! They killed his loader, but he was made of sterner stuff, and after steadying his unruly Heath-Robinson contraption, sent a shaped charge right squack into the flank of the AA Crusader. Kaboom!
KA-BOOM! - I love this pic!
With this, the Commandos knew they were doomed. They fought on bravely, but as the Cromwell of Destiny rumbled onto the Objective of Sealed Fate, they knew it was game over...and indeed it was!
In Summation:

The game was an absolute joy to play, despite the simplicity of the terrain (more will be a-comin' as I understand it, as BA takes off) and Mattenbury was - as he always is - a very pleasant and sporting opponent. In particular, it's grand to play someone who's chilled about things like taking the time to look rules up as we go.

The movements of my various vehicles. Just experimenting.
Until next time, then,

Cheers for reading,

- D.


  1. Awesome! Beautifully painted forces and it looks to have been a lot of fun!

    1. Thanks, mate - it was indeed (but then again, Bolt Action always is!).

  2. Looks like a lot of fun. And congrats on the FLGS, as the best I can manage is 30 minutes for a semi-friendly semi-game store that has gaming one night a week or an hour track to a very friendly game store with very intermittent attendance by gamers.

    1. Ha!

      Well, my gaming 'club' night for the last year is very friendly and cooperative - as well as very very cheap to play - but it takes an hour of driving winding, often single-lane country roads to get there.

      This new place is an actual store, but as such it's more expensive to play and I have to pay for parking. BUT it is only about a 35 minute drive!

      And yes, *fully* friendly, which does help!

  3. Wonderful! A great looking game on beautiful paved roads and great looking minis!

    1. Ah yes, the gaming mat. Fantastic, isn't it? Even Mrs Drax was waxing lyrical about it!

  4. "I broke my duck"

    I had to google

    1. Tee-hee!

      I really cannot abide cricket either...I just like the expression. It was extended metaphorically (and inevitably, given the pastimes of the officer cadre!) into RAF slang, which is - I suppose - where I got it from.

      War comics, books and films!

    2. Likewise revulsion to the game of Cricket here, but I still use "Hit for 6" when something gets smacked to heck. Which of course confuses my American friends to no end!

    3. Would one 'hit a fly ball' in baseball? Not sure. Did go to watch the Cubs a few years ago though, and had a great time! I also knew what was going on - not like cricket at all in either way!

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Yep - a flyball is when the batter smacks it straight up and typically behind himself too. It counts as a strike though a batter cannot be struck out hitting a flyball.

      Bored yet? I know I am. :)

      I enjoy seeing baseball at a game but on television it is so dull...

      One thing that is fun is trying to explain cricket to Americans. Quite the task.

  5. Lovely game, that - and nice ISIHAC reference, too. :D

  6. You do seem to play a lot of Brit on Brit games. Still though, seeing all those Commandos on the table was pretty cool (My choice for Brit theme if/when I start a collection) and the game report was very fun to follow. I like also how you lot's dice rolling is on par with my own shite results!
    Glad you have a closer place to play! They charge to use their space though???? Not familiar with that concept - perhaps I am spoiled by the LGS's over here, none of which charge for tablespace?

    1. Don't have enough experience of FLGSs to comment, although I think it's fairly established practice in some fixed venues over here to pay a table fee. Certainly I asked in advance in full anticipation that there would indeed be a fee. I've no objection to it as it's so tricky for these places to stay open, let alone to make money!

      Regarding blue-on-blue fighting, I think it's the minority of my games, but yes: Brits are proportionally more popular over here; Germans proportionally less so. I wonder if that's for historical reasons...?!

      Still, I shall slowly try to redress that balance...!

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