Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bolt Action Terrain and first game

I have finally finished my initial armies to include the vehicles, so it was time to play.  Before that could happen I had to set up suitable terrain.  Now I have gamed for years, but my collection includes 15mm and 10mm armies and this is my first adventure into 28mm.  As a result I had to think on a grander scale as the majority of my terrain to include trees just was not big enough.  After building the forces my wallet told me I was limited on what I could do.  After searching online I discovered 4Ground building as reviewed on Bolt Action.Net.

Better yet I found some in stock and on sale at my local game store.  As a result I became the owner or three buildings and some walls.  They were super easy to assemble and only required white glue.  I think I used a hobby knife twice to free a part,  The quality was beyond any other items I had purchased for the hobby.  Other 4Ground items will be on my future want list.
4 Ground Damaged House Type 1
4 Ground Tudor Timber Framed Cottage
4 Ground Ruined House Type 2
This purchase exhausted my remaining hobby funds for the time being.  So the rest of the terrain would need to be on the cheap.  Fortunately I had a bag of woodland scenic larger trees  not assembled which blended with my existing smaller trees made for a nice effect. I also made some low stone walls using cork board I had previously purchased to make walls for my 10mm ACW gaming.  I simply made them a bit taller and they worked out well.   Overall I was happy with the initial result and there will be plenty of improvements that can be made overtime.
Initial Terrain set-up

Before starting out I also found one other valuable resource and Quick Reference Sheet(QRS).  While the Bolt Action Rule book has a nice reference section in the back I have always found a QRS very handy for all Miniature war gaming as it puts the basics in each players hand.

Now it was time for our first game.  My eldest son Justin volunteered to be my opponent for our first practice game on our own.  I had played once before at our club, but never used vehicles. I had since read both the German and American Army books as well as the base rule book.  No matter how many times you read the rules it is never the same as playing.
American Force: All Regular except Inexperienced Bazooka Team 999pts
We decided to play the annihilation scenario for our first game and just duke it out.  Justin played Americans and I the Germans.  He won the die roll and wisely choose the side with two buildings.  We set aside our reserves and then drew the first order die-GAME ON!
Germany Force: 1st and 3rd SQD Vets and Inexperienced Panzerschrek Team 999pts

Sherman Damaged
The first turn was spent moving troops up and then turn two we started to bring reserves forward after seeing initial deployments. The key moment came early on when the Americans unwisely exposed his Sherman before the Panzer IV had moved.  Our first tank combat unfolded before us as the Panzer fired and hit the Sherman and then penetrated.  Due to lack of familiarity we thought the Sherman was knocked out, but then noticed the damage table on the reference chart and realized there was another role to make.  The German's fortune ended there when the roll came up with only immobilizing the Sherman.

Greyhound gets revenge
What happened next essentially decided the game.  The Americans boldly advanced the Greyhound for a shot on the Panzer IV in the open.  Not only the greyhound hit, but it penetrated.  The damage roll resulted in a fire so there was a chance to keep the Panzer IV in the contest.  Unfortunately the crew did not have the stomach for it and bailed knocking the Panzer IV out.

The rest of the game spent maneuvering  to finish off the damaged, but lethal Sherman.  In the meantime the Greyhound moved about the field of battle with impunity knocking out my MMG and others.

In the end I finally finished off the Sherman, but that was the only American unit completely eliminated.  In the meantime I had lost four completed units.  The game did go seven turns which allowed me to close the gap slightly in the final turn, but the final score was a resounding American victory as I scored 305pts to his 500pts.
Battle to Finish off the Damaged Sherman
Panzerschrek caught in the open while German Squad is pinned in the wood line

While my son is always happy to beat the old man the game helped us work out several issues for firing vehicles, mortars and resolving assaults.  It also showed how valuable pin markers can be as units failed to make moral rolls on multiple occasions.  

The game showed us that these two armies are great for a friendly game, but will certainly require some tweaking to be competitive.  I can now see the value in smaller squads to allow a second platoon to get an additional leader to affect morale rolls as well.

The most important aspect was that my son really enjoyed the game and is looking forward to playing again which makes it all worth while.


  1. Excellent Review. I also enjoy playing with my sons. We learn something new every game and every game has a tale to tell the rest of the family. Thanks.

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