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Monday, October 13, 2014

Bolt Action - Old Man Morin's Post MOAB Thoughts OR Do Mechanised Armies Work in Bolt Action

Well Gang,

MOAB is done for another year and, as usual, I am glad that I made the trip up. It is always great to catch up with Bolt Actioners from around eastern/southern Australia. Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney has a growing BA scene made up of really rad people, many of whom I finally got a chance to play against/ get to know better.  I want to thank all those folks who dropped by to say “howdy.”  It was great connecting people’s faces to online handles and FB profiles. 

This year’s event was run by’s own, Patchimus Prime and Bryan (“Cookie”).  The tournament spanned 5 games and was spread across two days. It had 18 players and used missions straight out of the book. Because everyone knew and was comfortable with the missions, timing for rounds was not an issue.  Most rounds finished significantly early despite some players taking multiple platoon lists with lots of order dice.  Also, because there were two TO’s, there were more hands on deck to handle the running of the event.  This meant that a TO always had time for a rules question, had the time and patience to talk to you about your game (or your hobby), was willing to explain the game to interested by-standers and, most importantly, were always calm, organized and ready for anything thrown their way. Fantastic work guys!
As many of you know from my previous article (Seen Here), I took an early war German list based on a mobile, heavily mechanized DAK list. I had not really seen very many people mess around with transport heavy lists so this was a grand experiment in mobility as a means to dictate the location of the fight, to better serve my purposes.  Three out of my five games took place on tables with roads.  To make a really obvious observation: wheeled vehicles are sensationally fast on roads. I was able to hold my field cars filled to the gills with assault weapon packing veteran troops in reserve unit I needed them. When I did need them, I could generally get them where I wanted them in a hurry.  My transport gamble paid off. I only lost one game out of five.  In that game, I had to get across the entire board to jump on three separate objectives. I just didn’t have enough bodies to get the job done. Had I chosen to defend, I really feel like my field cars would have been perfect for counter attacking and disrupting my opponent’s offensive thrusts. Would I have won? Maybe, the Russian horde was a tough match up for my list, but I would have been far more comfortable with how my army worked. Patch and I played the same mission the night before the event and I won that game as the defender.
Another star in my list, that was great in every game I played, was my forty point MMG regular motorcycle. Tiny, maneuverable, and irritating, I used my biker really aggressively. I would run it up into my opponent’s army to wipe out small teams, put pins on critical units and shave big units down before recceing away. I often keep this guy on and around roads to double my movement and as a sort of vanguard role before getting my field cars stuck in. More than once the bike ended up behind enemy units sniping at support weapons. It was great and really played into the mobility idea I was shooting for with this list.  As I have the models floating about, I might paint up a unit of German Motorcycle troops to replace one of my anchor squads. The maneuverability of motorcycle troops (and their ability to sting and recce away) is something that I definitely need to experiment with some more.
The grille was an inte”grille” part of my army plan that was a mixed bag of glorious success and outright failure on the battlefield. In a few games it came in big and destroyed/ crippled units and really put my opponent on the back foot. I looked at the giant gunned wonder as a 160 point throw away distraction. I would often run it away from the rest of my list and (usually) it did wonderfully at pulling fire away from my other units (much like the MMG bike).  Turns out, heavy howitzers are hard to ignore. I would also try to hide it with cover as much as possible. The harder to hit, the longer it lived, the longer people were not shooting at my field cars. Open topped was not too much of an issue, usually if an opponent dealt with the grille, it was destroyed not pinned into inactivity. Would I take it again? Probably, I did paint two of them and they are iconic. I would rather have a wespe for 15 points less(same vehicle with a medium howitzer) and use the extra points towards buying my command squad a kubelwagon (one more mobile asset to use to get stuck into my opponent’s face).  Too bad the DAK didn’t use wespe’s!  lol
Another change that I would make with my list would be to dump the light AT gun. While it was handy in many of my games; (Yes gang, I like the light AT gun as an up gunned ATR) I often wished I was throwing more dice at my opponent’s units. My solution, find ten points somewhere in my list and replace my light AT gun with my next experiment unit: a heavy autocannon. It has twice the shots and almost twice the range (with almost the same pen value and the same HE level). With the extended range you will often be firing at vehicles without the -1 to penetrate for long range that light AT guns seem to often suffer from. I am not entirely sure about this unit but hey, it is a rarely seen field gun (down here anyway) that I think looks cool on the table.  (SOMEONE COME TAKE MY MONEY AND GIVE ME ONE PLEASE!!!!)

The German national rules that gives an extra LMG and MMG dice was great at helping to keep enemy infantry and soft skin vehicles at bay. The MMG with five shooting dice was essentially the same as an extra squad that didn’t move around (with a much better range) and was an invaluable addition to my army. Iconic and utilitarian in my list, I will not be leaving home without my MG 34 without a good reason anytime soon. The LMG’s were expensive for what they did but the additional range and the ability to kick extra shots from building windows was pretty handy.  While I doubt I will take LMG’s without the German special rule, I will continue to play around with them in my DAK list.
Here are the vehicles that I painted that did not make my final list.
Apparently I just missed out on the best AXIS general award (And came 3rd overall), so I guess I did pretty well all up. All in all, I am pleased as punch with my list and I look forward to monkeying with it further in the future. 

I think the next step is to try an entirely mechanized army. Time to paint a few more Opel Blitzes! 

Til next time!

Lachlan "rehydrates" between games

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