Sunday, July 13, 2014

Engagement Around Caen - Bolt Action AAR

Played in a large Bolt Action game yesterday.  Adam Clark (check out Adam's custom Bolt Action projects on his site ... - they are outstanding) was kind enough to invite me over to play at his place (thank you Adam!).  Along with two long lost Sacramento based friends Craig Hunter and Tom VanDyke, Tom's brother Bob VanDyke, and two excellent fellow Canadians Eamonn Glass and Rob Bauman who were down from Vancouver, much beer was drunk and it was one hell of a fun game.  The scenario involved a meeting engagement with victory points being awarded for the capture of farms and for destroyed enemy units.

The German strategy included a "feint-in-force" - a term jokingly coined by Adam during the pre-game strategy meeting ... our "FIF" strategy would change three times before games end ... adding to the age old saying "no battle plan survives contact with the enemy" ...

Order of Battle - Germany

Jay White, Adam Clark, Bob VanDyke, and Eamonn Glass played the Germans.
All units are regulars.

4 x Officers
12 x Infantry Sections (2 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 7 x Riflemen)
3 x Panzerschreck AT Teams
3 x StuG III G with Schurzen
3 x Panzer IV L
3 x Panzer III L/M with Schurzen
3 x Panzer III L/M

Order of Battle - British

Craig Hunter, Tom VanDyke and Rob Bauman played the British.
All units are regulars.

4 x Officers
3 x FOO (Artillery)
12 x Infantry Sections (2 x SMG, 1 x LMG, 7 x Riflemen)
3 x PIAT AT Teams
3 x Sherman Firefly VC
6 x Sherman V (75mm)
3 x Cromwells

Table and Setup

We played along the long edge of the table, which was 7.5' wide by 18' long.  Three farms spaced along the central road were worth 3 victory points each, with additional victory points rewarded for each enemy order dice removed from the game.  In order to hold a farm you must have a unit within 3" of one of the buildings in the farm, and not enemy units within 3" of any of that same farms buildings.  Units moved onto the table in the first turn.  A picture of the table is below.

The game was to go 6 turns, with players rolling a 4+ to continue to a 7th, then possibly 8th turn.  Victory points would determine the winner.

The table - 3 farms (3 VPs each), a central road, and
some forest/bocage on each side.

The Game

The game lasted 7 turns and victory went to the British.  The Germans at the end of the game had secured 1 farm and destroyed 10 enemy order dice.  The British held a single farm and had destroyed 11 enemy order dice by the end of turn 7.  One farm was hotly contested at the end of the game.  The Germans attempted to contest the central farm on turn 7 but just couldn't bring enough to bear on the occupying British units to get it done.  An additional turn may have shifted things back into a draw or perhaps with some good rolling a German win, but it was not to be.

The many pictures below should tell most of the story ...

The "ghost" of Craig Hunter is against the wall ...
the effects of moving during an exposure ... or
perhaps it was Craig who was exposing himself?? ;-)

The hill turned out to be an excellent position
to keep our tanks hull down against the British tanks.

One VC down ... 2 to go ...

These forces would secure their farm and start
to turn towards the central farm ... but not soon enough.

A smaller allied force meant to slow up the Germans
at the farm that was captured.

We (the Germans) made destroying the Firefly VC's a
priority --- we took out 2 of 3 ...

My StuGs struggled against the British armour ...

A tempting target for an artillery barrage ... or three ...

Adam's Panzer III's advanced to work on taking out
Craig's Cromwell tanks so he could further secure the farm
on his end of the table.

Proof ... Tom is a shifty guy ... ha!

This farm fell securely into German hands ...

British infantry massed around the central farm all but
guaranteeing they would secure it.

Desperate and bloody fighting occurred for this
farm - which would remaining contested at game end.

My beer is reaching concerning levels here ...

The Panzer III feels the heat against advancing British
infantry and PIAT teams.

The pins started adding up against the German armour ...
three artillery barrages helped make that possible.

The British right flank collapsed ...

Making a move to contest central farm - but to late,
the game ended before the Germans could get significant
forces in place to contest it.

This last Cromwell attempted to context the farm on the
German left flank ... but it would fall to an infantry assault.

That's all for now!


  1. Glad you liked it. The first FIF worked really well!

    1. Absolutely ... looking forward to the next engagement :-)

  2. Amazing terrain and models. You guys are doing amazing stuff.

  3. That is one excellent looking game, thanks for reporting it.

  4. That's an amazing game of Bolt Action! Great looking terrain and minis.

    How did the rules fare with so many troops and players? Did you pull all the order dice from the same bag or did you have separate sectors or the like?

    1. They game went very smoothly ... the rules scale up very nicely. We had a large bag of order dice ... and still pulled one at a time. We divided the forces by the number of players and then assigned a different colour of order dice for each player ... that way it removed having to get together for a conference every time one of our dice was pulled to figure out who was going to use it. Another way I've done this is to pull two dice at a time, just note which die got pulled first ... should there be any interaction between the two order dice and a question of who goes first.

  5. We also used very vanilla forces. Regular medium tanks and regular infantry sections all equipped the same way. This allows the scaling without to much additional complexity.

    1. Good point ... that did help a lot! :-) Thanks Adam!

  6. Well done off-road, fields, trees, buildings, and all the
    Very good and realistic colors
    (Appropriate for example even though the movie set design)

  7. Really, and i mean really great looking game!

    I love the different textures of the teddy bear fur, it adds an element of realism that is sometimes missing from some games.