Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bolt Action Escalation League

I was recently invited to play in a Bolt Action escalation league at The Labrynth Games in Baraboo, WI.

What is an escalation league you ask?  I asked the same thing.  Basically players start out with a build and add to it as the league progresses from one round to the next.  the key is you can add to your army list, but you cannot take away.  This league started at 500pts and will end with 1250pts.

Round 1-500pts
Round 2 -750pts
Round 3- 1000pts
Round 4-1250pts

The 500pt round had just wrapped up when I joined so I started with a 750pt army.  First I had to build a 500pt army and then add the additional 250pts so I would not have an advantage over other players.

There were already 11 players in the league with 6 allies and 5 Axis, so I chose to go with Germany to even out the Axis vs. Allies playing field. 

My 500pt list included:

Regular 2LT-50pts
Regular Grenadier Squad (NCO w/SMG+5 men, 1 LMG)-83pts
Regular Grenadier Squad (NCO w/SMG +4 Men 1 Assault rifle)-58pts
Regular Grenadier Squad (NCO W/SMG +5 men) -63 pts
Regular MMG-50pts
Regular Pz III J -195pts
499pts Total

I then added to the above to create my 750pt Army:

Regular 1LT +1 man-85pts
VET Grenadier Squad (NCO w/SMG +7 Men, LMG) -127pts
VET Grenadier Squad (NCOw/ Assault rifle, +7 men, assault rifle, LMG)-134 pts
VET Grenadier Squad (NCO w/SMG +6Men W/SMGs) -112 pts
Regular MMG-50pts
Inexperienced Heavy Mortar-46pts
Regular Pz III J-195pts
749pts Total

In each round you are required to play five games with only 1 game per player.  you can play more, but only the first 5 count toward the league score.  The standard scenarios is the book (less top secret) are randomly decided with a die roll.  A win=2pts, draw=1pt and a loss=0pts.  We are playing for pride at this point.

The game boards and terrain are supplied by the store and are generally of very nice quality which makes for some nice visual games.  So far I have had the pleasure to play four games this round and currently stand 2-1-1 with 5 points.

First game was against Tyler U.S. force.  The scenario was Maxim attrition and resulted in my first win as I was able to eliminate two more order die than he did.  It was a well fought game on both sides.  the deciding factor was probably that his American Air severely under performed.  The Pz III was in outflank so the first strike came against one of my VET Squads which wisely went down. As a result he rolled a 2,1,1 on only scored 1 pin.  I was not able to take out the FAO and his second strike came against the PzIII.  This time he rolled a 1 and the air strike bounced back taking out his Medic and pinning 4 of his other units.

First Air strike under performs
Heavy Mortar lays down smoke
VET Grenadiers from outflank tear into Rangers
U.S. Engineers Flame MMG

2nd Air strike results in friendly fire
Pz III attempts to assault large regular squad with 3 pins and the make the morale roll
Daring infantry assault take out MMG

Germans escape with a narrow victory
My second game pitted the Germans against Brian's Italians.  This was maximum attrition again.  It was another extremely close game and at one point the Germans had a the lead.  the deciding factor was the lack of performance from the PzIII against the two Italian light tanks.  Out of five shots the Pz III hit once and failed to penetrate.  The final shot was a point blank range and only needed a 2 to hit, which of course I rolled a 1.  The Italian light AT responded and finally hit setting the Pz III on fire.  I only needed a 8 to save and rolled box cars.  That ended up being game set and match as I had nothing to respond to all the MMGs that the Italian armor carried and he nearly tabled me resulting in a massive Italian victory.

Germans begin the attack in good order

Mortar placed some good smoke and fighting erupted around the ruins
Stand off at close range after three misses.  Italian squad racking up pins
Boom! Deciding shot of the game as the PzIII goes up in flames
In the third game I faced off against Austin's DAK Germans in a training exercise.  This time the scenario was Demolition.  Austin played a good game, but he did not have any armor and his PAK 40 was not able to come on from reserve.  His squads were armed with panzerfausts which kept my PzIII at bay for awhile.  The PzIII was a non factor in the game other than drawing his attention.  When it did come on from out flank it attempted to run down a DAK squad the next turn and he made the morale roll despite having four pins.  The deciding action was a successful assault vs a building that allowed my greatly reduced squad to displace onto the objective after eliminating his full squad in the assault.  Unfortunately I did not get any pics of the actual game other than the table set up which Austin did a great job on making a city scape.

City Scape board
In the fourth game I faced Jordan's American airborne and regulars.  We set up a very nice table with a large church at the center.  Then we rolled maximum attrition for the scenario which did not work real well with all the blocking terrain.  The American howitzer was on one side of the church and my heavy mortar the other both without spotters.  Due to all the hard cover we traded many shots at range which produced many pins, but did not do a lot of damage.  The tank battle that ensued was comical as the PzIII once again proved it needs more time on the range.  Again is 5 shots it only hit once and did not penetrate.  fortunately his Lee did not better with two AT guns a medium, and a light.  In the end he did take out my command team a racked up more attrition pints, but the game was a draw.
Opening moves, lots of LoS blocking terrain
Tanks square off, Pz III missed first of many opportunities
No side could gain a clear advantage and both fired from a distance with minimal results
As it stands now in the 750pt round my Germans have had a decent showing with a 2-1-1 record and one game yet to play.

More to come as the league progresses.