This evening I’ll be playing what I think is my 4th game of Bolt Action, but the first one that matters. At a glance, my history of Bolt Action looks like this…

  • The first game I played was a 2500pts-per-side, 6-person brawl. The main purpose of that was to introduce half those people to the game system/concepts (myself included) and so it can’t really be considered a ‘proper’ contest. I think my team won, but I can’t take any credit for it.
  • The second was a 1-on-1 at 1000pts, which was mainly for me to have another go at familiarizing myself with the rules, although I did have my own models this time. My opponent was pretty experienced at the game, having been to tournaments before, and went easy on me giving lots of advice. The game ended in a draw.
  • The third game was a grudge match a week later following the previous one. The game was 1250 this time, but the same mission. While I was tactically “on my own” for the first time and made a lot of mistakes, I was pretty lucky, and hung on enough that this game ended in a draw too.

None of these really count, but tonight my opponent is someone of a similar skill level (plays other games, veteran war-gamer, but is new to BA) and with a similarly tested force (a handful of games), so the battle should be much fairer and we’re both keen to get some practice in.

Plus, my gaming group are starting a round-robin tourney style thing for Bolt Action as soon as everyone has their V2, and I’d really like not to suck at it.

I haven’t ‘tailored’ this list in any way, because beyond knowing I’ll be facing British Desert rats, I have no idea what my opponent’s force will actually consist of. I think he may have a tank?…….

Seriously, no idea.

My list is as follows:

A Leutnant (Veteran) with an SMG

3x Heer Grenadier Squads (Regular) of 8 men. The NCOs have SMGs, one man carries an LMG and each squad has 2 Panzerfausts.

1x Waffen SS Squad (Veteran) of 8 men. The NCO and one other man have SMGs, one man has an LMG and the squad have a single Panzerfaust.

An MMG team (Veteran)

A Medium Mortar Team (Regular)

A Medium Howitzer (Regular) with a Spotter.

A Panzer 38t (Regular)

A Hanomag (Regular)dscn54601

I think it’s clear what everything is here. The spotter is the un-based model and the team shrouded in darkness are the Mortar team.

This list gives 10 order dice in 1000pts, has 4 decent-sized squads of men with a mix of weapons, and some anti-armour spread across the infantry.

The list has changed a lot from the first one I took to the field with and I’ve tried to follow a couple of principles.

  1. The first lesson I learned is that the number of order dice at your disposal is vital. Even though Veteran stuff is hard as nails, if three enemy units can activate before it can do anything, you’ll always be the defender and never the aggressor; the game balances heavily against small elite forces. This was the big mistake of my second game, and a problem still in the 3rd. I only had 7 order dice at 1000, and 9 at 1250 when in each case my opponent had 2-3 more. With this list I’ve managed to get 10 into 1000, mainly through dropping a more expensive vehicle for a much cheaper one and so I’m hoping to have a little more initiative.
  2. The second lesson is that Mobility is more important than raw numbers. I found out that having 4/5 large (10 man) squads gives you a great advantage if you don’t have to move, but situations where that is that case are rare. Having at least one unit in a transport seems to be a must, as I learned to my cost at the hands of Soviet Engineers.
  3. The third lesson is just a simple one about line of sight. I’ve got my positioning wrong on artillery and mortars two game in a row now, and don’t want to make the same mistake again.

I intend to take my camera tonight and write a battle report up tomorrow afternoon, at which point I’ll link this article at the top, sort of a pre-game review.