Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Domination" in North Africa-Bolt Action AAR

Last night we gathered at LABRYNTH Games in Baraboo, WI for an epic 2000 points per side battle in the desert pitting the DAK/Italian forces vs. 8th Army/American forces in a battle loosely based on The Battle of Gafsa Heights.

There were a total of four players: Jarred, Nate, Brian and myself each of us brought 1000pt forces.  Brian and I were paired up as the Axis vs. Jarred and Nate as the Allies.  Special thanks to Jim who supervised and impartially puled dice for the duration.  Extra special thanks to Corey for staying late so we could finish.


Brian's Italians:
Jarred's Americans:
Nate's 8th Army:

As you can see we all brought a different colored dice.  We agreed to add all the colors to the bag and when that color was drawn only that force could activate.

The scenario we picked or this event was "Domination" which is published online at bolt


By Judson MacCaull (and Truck Stop Lauterbach, and Company of Heroes)

You and your opponent are fighting to dominate the field of battle.


Both players roll a D6. The player who rolls the highest number may choose to be the attacker or defender. The defender chooses which table edge to defend. The attacker attacks from the opposite table edge. Both players start the game with their entire army off the board. Starting with the defender, each side designates half their force (rounding up) to come on as a part of the first wave. The remaining troops are placed in reserve or outflank.

Game Duration

The game ends at the end of turn six, unless the game is extended. At the end of turn six roll a die. On a 1-3 the game ends. On a 4-6 play one more turn.


Objectives are placed on a 6' x 4' board in the pattern indicated on the map. The objectives closest to the players’ board edges are each worth 1 victory point. The objective in the center of the board is worth 3 victory points; the other two objectives are worth 2 victory points.

Both sides are trying to control as many objectives as possible by the end of the game. An objective is controlled if at the end of a turn a friendly infantry, tank, or artillery unit is within 3” of an objective, and there are no enemy teams within 3" of the same objective. Once a player controls an objective, the opposing player can capture the objective by ending their turn within 3” of the objective, with no enemy units within 3”. Until that happens, their opponent controls the objective. Transports cannot capture or control an objective.


The player controlling the most victory points at the end of the game wins. If players control the same number of victory points at the end of the game, count the number of units each side lost. The side that lost more units loses. If players lose the same number of units, the game ends in a draw.
Scenario Set up Map

I brought my North Africa terrain which was set up per the above map with seven objectives.

3 point center Objective is in the Building
2 point objectives are on the side hills.

The terrain was fairly sparse being a dessert map, but there was plenty of LoS blocking terrain.  The picture does not show it real well in the above pictures, but there were six hills/dunes which were placed under the table cloth to provide elevation.  We defined the terrain as follows:

1. since I only have so many palm trees they were treated as area terrain.  Units in the trees or behind gained light cover.  Basically for the hills that had trees the entire top was light cover.

2. The two large rocks were rough terrain impassible to all vehicles.

3. Hills were rough terrain impassible to wheeled vehicles.

4. The large rocks and the hills provided hard cover assuming more that half the unit was obscured.

5. All other terrain was normal.

Initially, the Allies won the die roll, but since Italians were involved we forced a re-roll and the Axis won deciding to defend and pick the board side.  Brian did not bring his defensive works, so they were not in play, but the allies were not allowed to run on turn 1 per the Italian special rules.  First wave was determined and units put in outflank.  Then the contest began.

Turn One:

Just saw initial deployment s and units maneuvering for position.  Only one German unit opened fire causing a pin.

Axis position forming on the right
Heavy mortar takes the heights for LoS

Allies bring out the big guns
American Infantry forming on the left
Turn two:

More rounds started to fly as the positions shaped up.  The Sherman arrived with a bang, but failed to produce a critical blow.  Axis mortars started laying smoke, but were not very effective.

222 started the game of cat and mouse
Smoked laid with little effect
Axis position starts to develop on the left
Turn Three:

Out flank units all came on to meet the developing threats.  The Tank battle aka "Mexican Standoff" began.  The PzIV was suppose to outflank to the left, but because the Sherman deployed deep into Axis side of the board we changed our mind which in hindsight was probably ill advised.  Had it deployed as planned with infantry support it would have likely rolled up the left flank forcing the Sherman to come to it to meet the threat.  The Heroic British medics proved their worth as the started to save the first of 12+ troops.

Pioneers come on from outflank and eliminate eight man U.S. Squad except the Medics saved three.
Allies quickly avenged their losses reducing the Pioneers
Sherman is only able to stun the Italian light tank
PzIV enters and gets it 1 and only shot off hitting, but fails to penetrate
Right Flank is fully developed and the Allies capture the 2pt Objective while the Axis secures the building.

On the left the German Vet and Regular squad do their best to hold off the advancing British knowing that the promised armor is not coming.
Allies launch the first of two bloody assaults at the building which the Italian defenders beat back.

Turn Four:

After the initial air strike failed to materialize on turn three the target was shifted to the 222.  The planes would not miss blowing up the target and pinning many of the defenders as well as the attackers.  The Tank battle was a none battle as the Sherman hit the PzIV, but only stunned  the crew.  On the left the German vets assaulted and eliminated a British section and then took the hill with their redeployment to begin to dig in for the long haul.  On the right more and more Allies moved to support the 2 pt objective and try to press the axis rear objective.

222 blows up and many units are pinned on both sides
Now reduced British section continue to push on the Axis left.
Tank Stand off lags on
Turn Five:

The Allies sense that the possibility to secure the building is slipping away, so the begin a hard push against the Axis right to capture the 1 point objective.  Meanwhile the Italian "tankettes" which are zipping around unnoticed as the giants slug it out get several kills.  Additional Allied armor arrived on the Axis left severely threatening the hold on the 2 point objective.  The U.S. Marks the PzIV for an Air strike.

With the defenders fading the Allies push hard on the right.
Italian "armor" makes its presence felt.

British armor finally arrives producing an serious threat.
Sherman fails to deliver a blow and the PzIV is marked for air attack

Turn Six (Final Turn) :

Due to time constraints all knew turn six was the final turn.  The Axis started the turn with a solid lead of 7-4 objective points, but were being pressed hard.  The Allies had to take the other 2 point objective and/or the Axis back objective for an win or force a draw.

The air strike materialized , but failed to kill the PzIV leaving it with 4 pins and down.  The Sherman could not produce the blow needed to knock it out, so what began as a stand off ended as a stand off. 

On the right the allies advanced, but due to a stout combined German/Italian defense they could not get within the required 3" of the back objective as the hills were rough terrain.  On the left the newly arrived cruiser tank was able to move forward just far enough to contest the 2 point objective.  The German Squad launched itself in a desperate assault against the tank which had moved.  The passed the command check and the tank fear, but could only produce one six requiring another six on the penetration roll to hope for a fire damage, but that did not happen leaving the two point objective contested.

Allies push hard on the right, but cannot get close enough to contest the objective
2 point objective is contested with no way to destroy the tank

Final score Axis 5 and Allies 4 

Despite pulling out the six turn win the axis forces were severely bloodied and reduced.  Had the game gone to a turn 7 it would have certainly ended in a draw if not a Allied win.  The Allies would have certainly contested the back objective, but not sure if they could have eliminated the 6 man German squad contesting the 2 point objective.

All in all a great game in classic bolt action style.  It did take a little long at a bit over four hours.  We liked dividing the dice, but probably should have used a multiple draw system or dived the table and used two bags.

The Domination scenario was a huge win for playability as well all enjoyed it.  It plays in true Bolt Action style.


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