Met with Chris and Nat for some Bolt Action yesterday. The play Gates of Antares and were intrigued by the system so much they bought starter armies for BA, US Marines and IJA. (Chris being a Marine himself.) I brought up Germans and Americans while they assemble and paint their forces, to give them a preview of this fine game. We played Maximum Attrition, using 1st Edition rules. Essentially, who ever kills the most units in 6, or possibly 7, turns is declared the winner. The German forces had 1062 points and the Americans 1066. BA aficionados may note that the US list is illegal as it contains a SPG as well as an AFV. Tough shit; I just bought the M21 mortar carrier and I was going to use it.
The German list consisted of fewer, larger units and the US with more and smaller units. The idea was the US would use their mobility and and ability to move and fire to whittle away the Germans while the Germans would maneuver to bring their superior firepower to bear in as close proximity as possible. Crazily enough, it sort of worked out that way. Nat's Americans had the early edge and looked to be unstoppable, but then the Germans got close and blew away the Ami's. The game ended in a draw, 3 units destroyed on each side. Funny, there was not a single Close Combat assault in the entire game. Didn't make any difference as the telegrams home would still be the same.
I also improvised and included a medic on each side. Instead of giving him an order die though, I allowed them to be attached to one unit and function essentially the same: assisting any unit within 6" and not counting as a part of their base unit for shooting or being shot at. It worked; a few wounds were saved.
The Battlefield. The Germans entered on the right, the Americans on the left. Each side held off a few units in Reserve. Then, incredibly, I think something like the first 9 dice pulled were ALL German, so Nat had the advantage of seeing what units were coming in where and who was left in Reserve.
A view from behind the American lines.
US forces enter strong on their right; the M21 taking up a firing position in the plaza.
The Germans come in strong in the center. The Fallschirmjager unit in the center and a Heer unit flanking their HQ. The Sturm squad in the HT took immediate fire from the mortar.
Needing a 6 on a d6 to hit, Nat promptly zeroed in the the HT, pinning it. Unfortunately, in the two turns it took the crew to get the nerve to move forward, Nat continued to hit (near miss) but couldn't damage or destroy it. But their days were being counted in minutes as it would turn out...
The Gerry left finds shelter in a ruined farmhouse.
The US HQ advances to catch up with the forward elements of the attack.
Bad news for the FJ! The US air support observer has drawn a bead on their unit and is radioing for air support!
The US left advances down the road. Further on, you can see the Sturm squad has successfully disembarked from the HT. 81mm mortar shells are definitely NOT your friend while sitting as a passenger.
Americans advance through the rubble of a ruined church.
Finally passing a Leadership test, the HT advances to become a mobile MG nest.
Too bad the M4 has a LOS to him though.
US squads advance into the burning remains of a coffee shop that served those really good French pastries. (Notice the French themselves are all somewhere else.)
Here it comes! The US air support comes in the form of a fighter/bomber that takes out 9 dudes in the FJ unit! It passes it's MC and remains on the field, but not for much longer. Their huge firepower was never used.
MkIVJ's are cool. Supporting the Sturm squad, it had only to fear what came from the skies as it would more than likely shrug off anything the M4 could throw it's way.
Hmmmm, see those observers in the steeple?
Less than before. See the dead piling up off the table in the background? The forces were now engaged in small arms range.
The MkIV wasn't playing.
US airborne support, following the HQ into firing position.
The US left. Two full squads, one airborne, plus the HQ square of against one German Heer unit and their own HQ.
The German flanking maneuver finally arrives 36 inches up the table edge. They catch a US unit in the open and do bad things to them. They also take out one of the American MMG's.
War is hell. The M4 took out the German HT before itself being knocked out by the MkIV. One Strum trooper remains. Chris' other Heer unit was also down to one man but both managed to survive, securing a come from behind draw.
The game had a 50/50 chance of continuing to a Turn 7 but the dice said 'no'. Here's a look at what was left.
Part of the German's ability to climb back in this one was the well placed artillery barrage that, while not killing anyone, put shit tons of Pins on all units within 10" of where it came in. Included was the US air support observer team, which never passed a Leadership test after that and were not able to call in the second US air strike. Had that come in, I like the US chances. A lot. But if my mother had wheels, she'd be a wagon. Would, coulda, shoulda... in any case, it didn't materialize.
I also didn't include too much AT weapons just to keep the game simple and also to avoid having to enter the table with a gun. If I was building a competitive list, it would include some Panzerfausts and bazooka's, Gammon Bombs and the like. The M4 wasn't likely to kill the MkIV but the airplanes surely could; they just never got the chance.
Overall, I think it was a good introduction to the game. Both Chris and Nat seemed to enjoy it and are planning on making Pacific terrain, which is a good sign.