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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bolt Action - How to Run a Multi-Player Bolt Action Game in the TL;DR Era

As we start war gaming, we play with just one other opponent at a time and everything is great.  But, then comes the time when we would like to try a multi-player game to get that feel of larger forces and extra players, to make a special day of it all.

Unfortunately, while most multi-player games are enjoyable, they tend to take forever, are often not completed in time, and there are large patches of inactivity waiting for other players.

At the Demo Gamers, we think we have a solution to this problem.

We have played with 4 and 6 players, but still completed a full 6 or 7 turn game in two to two and a half hours.  This also has the bonus of the same tension building of a normal 1,000 point game and frantic last move charges and rescues.  Start with the normal fun and excitement of a typical Bolt Action game, but add in the additional challenges of more players. Yeah!

So how did we do it?

The three part plan.

1. Pair off

Each pair of players uses their own dice bag.  This means a four player game has two dice bags, a six player game three bags and so on. Each pair moves along at their own pace, only waiting at the end of each turn so everyone moves to the next turn together.

Also, we always have at least one objective per pair of players.  This provides each pair with a primary focus as well as assisting their allies.

2. 600 points each

600 points allows four to eight order dice, depending on the mix of armour and support units. Free squads are limited to 6 men (as 1000 points = 10 men, 600 points should equal 6 men) This means the order dice bag for each pair has eight to sixteen dice, normally around twelve dice.  That moves the game along pretty efficiently.

The other benefit of 600 points is that it is very hard to unbalance your force with too many overpowered units.  With a HQ and two squads as minimum, there are not a lot of additional points to spare on multiple vehicles or artillery.

Finally with so few forces, each unit needs to be used well as there is little spare to be wasted.

Here are some 600 point options (We rounded points to make compilation easier):

United States (6 dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Sniper (2 men) 1 @ 50 pts = 50 pts

Regular Squad Mid (NCO (SMG),BAR,8 rifles) 3 @ 110 pts = 330 pts

M24 Chaffee (Med AT, MMG, Coax MMG) 1 @ 150 pts = 150 pts

Total: 600 pts

Britain 1 (6 Dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Infantry Squad (NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles) 1 @ 125 pts = 125 pts

Airborne Squad (NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles)

           - Veteran Stubborn 1 @ 165 pts = 165 pts

PIAT (2 Men) 1 @ 40 pts = 40 pts

Artillery Observer 1 @ 0 pts = 0 pts

Cromwell (Med AT, Coax MMG, MMG) 1 @ 205 pts = 205 pts

Total: 605 pts

Britain 2 (7 dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Heavy Mortar (Spotter) - Off Board 1 @ 65 pts = 65 pts

Artillery Observer 1 @ 0 pts = 0 pts

Infantry Squad (NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles) 2 @ 125 pts = 250 pts

Airborne Squad (NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles) - Veteran Stubborn 1 @ 165 pts = 165 pts

PIAT (2 Men) - Veteran 1 @ 50 pts = 50 pts

Total: 600 pts

Australia (8 Dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Sniper (2 men) - Veteran 1 @ 65 pts = 65 pts

MMG (3 men) 1 @ 50 pts = 50 pts

Infantry Squad (NCO (SMG),LMG ,8 rifles) 3 @ 125 pts = 375 pts

Artillery Observer 1 @ 0 pts = 0 pts

PIAT (2 Men) 1 @ 40 pts = 40 pts

Total: 600 pts

Germany 1 (4 Dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Heer Infantry (NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles) - Veterans 1 @ 155 pts = 155 pts

Waffen SS (NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles) - Veteran Fanatics 1 @ 185 pts = 185 pts

Panzer III J (Med AT, MMG, Coax MMG) 1 @ 195 pts = 195 pts

Total: 605 pts

Germany 2 (7 Dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Heavy Mortar (Spotter) - Off Board 1 @ 65 pts = 65 pts

MMG (3 men) 1 @ 50 pts = 50 pts

Heer Infantry (NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles) - Regular 1 @ 125 pts = 125 pts

Volks Grenadiers (NCO + 4 (Ass Rifles) + 3 rifles) - Green special 2 @ 65 pts = 130 pts

Sdkfz 234/2 Puma (Med AT, Coax MMG) 1 @ 160 pts = 160 pts

Total: 600 pts

Germany 3 (7 Dice)

Officer (2nd Lt + 2men) 1 @ 70 pts = 70 pts

Medic (Veteran) 1 @ 30 pts = 30 pts

Heavy Mortar (Spotter) - Off Board 1 @ 65 pts = 65 pts

Heer Infantry (NCO (SMG),LMG,8 rifles)

               - 2 x Panzerfaust each 2 @ 135 pts = 270 pts

Volks Grenadiers (NCO + 4 (Ass Rifles) + 3 rifles)

               - Green special + 2 Panzerfausts 1 @ 75 pts = 75 pts

Sdkfz 222 (Light Autocannon, Coax MMG) - Recce 1 @ 95 pts = 95 pts

Total: 605 pts

3. Full board dynamics

This is the important last point.  All of one side can fire at any of the other side's units, even if they are moving to the pace of another order dice bag.  This encourages the slow movers to hurry up as if they wait too long suddenly they may find themselves fired at while they are deliberating.  One player was pondering whether to run across the courtyard as there was a single man observer on ambush.  While he was pondering, the player from another dice bag had four order dice in a row and suddenly he was faced with four squads on ambush waiting for him to run the gauntlet.

The other benefit of multiple dice bags but interacting forces is that you have to concentrate on your opponent as well as consider helping your allies, but there is so much happening you miss opportunities.

From our play-testing it works out that two to three feet of board edge per player is about right.  That focuses each small force on their direct opponent with peripheral action to each side.

The results are pretty impressive.  We finished a four player (1200 points) seven turn game in two hours. We finished a six person game (1800 points) game in two and a half hours.

So go forth and play bigger games!

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Plastic Soldier Company IS-2 Review

Will at The Plastic Soldier Company was nice enough to send us a review box of the new IS-2 Tank.  PSC has been cranking out some bang-up stuff for the last several years, so we were anxious to get our hands on this latest offering.  Let's take a look!

The standard content on the box.  I did notice that the PSC's Battlegroup and paint lines are now advertised on the box - smart move.  I dove right in to the box, so let's move on.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Games USMC Plastic Box

Hello guys and girls. (Tobu of The LRDG is here to bring you some more Marine madness - Judson)

I was fortunate enough to score a box of the new Warlord Games US Marine Corps plastics at Conquest last week and thought it was my duty to bring you a review. So load up that Thompson, cut off those sleeves and let's ram this LVT straight into the thick of it. Semper Fi!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Bolt Action - AAR: Point Defense: The Outskirts, 1 of 2

One thousand points of British troops defended the outskirts of a European town against a German counterattack in a Point Defense recently.

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Outpost 309 Episode 9

Episode 9 of Outpost 309 is here!  Join Jared, Ben, and Rich as they present a videogame-centric podcast for your listening pleasure.  In addition to spending some time with the new and improved Diablo III, the boys mourn the slightly less-than-awesome Titanfall, see a ray of hope for WarThunder, gush over the announcement of the next Civilization/Alpha Centaurigame, and wax poetic about the Wargame series.  Wargame: Red Dragon gets the spotlight in this episode, and the boys even present a Steam group for WWPD in hopes that everyone will play this action-packed, Cold War-themed RTS! Also, Episode 9 was recorded next to a highway apparently. Sorry about that!

Kid's game of the Podcast:  Settlers of Catan Junior

Download the Episode Here!

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Beyond the Foxholes Episode 11

WWPD presents Episode 11 of Beyond the Foxholes!

Welcome to Beyond The Foxholes Episode 11.

We join Ben, Winner Dave and Adam as they talk all things Flames of War.

In Act 1 the guys talk about what they have been up to, talk about the new Italy books and what they are planning for the WWPD Italian campaign.

In Act 2 the guys dig deep into the mail bag (not male bag Winner) and then talk about Germans in Late War tournament play.

In Act 3 the guys round out the episode with 10.1 and a look at Mobile Battles.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bolt Action - Soviet Tank Rider Markers

For several months I have been telling myself, one day I am going to make proper tank riders for my Soviets, so that I don't have to balance models on bases on the backs of my tanks.   These tank riders will be purpose built, and give the impression that they are actually riding and trying to stay on the tank.  They will look like passengers.

After building my Soviet cavalry I took the oppurtunity to believe in myself and make my dreams come true. (Yes! - Judson on behalf of Lachlan) I turned Pandora to the Bruce Springsteen radio station, got out my hobby knife and glue, and started cutting on and assembling plastic.

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Years In, A Flames of War Retrospective

By Sean "Throckmorton" Sarah

So, about two years ago I walked in to my FLGS and finally took notice of all those cool looking World War 2 models on the rack and asked my mildly friendly proprietor "what the hell is that game all about?"

I was, you see, fed up with the ever increasing costs of Warhammer, the douche baggery of the Warmachine tournament scene and the failed attempts to buy into other miniatures games that seemed to show up, look cool, and disappear without notice.

I loved modelling, gaming and all the stuff that goes along with it. I'm a nerd, and pretty proud of it. But I was a nerd without a community. I needed a game I could call home for the long term, something I could dig my teeth into, paint a ton of cool looking stuff and go places to meet and game with new people. Plus, I freaking love World War 2 history.

And, after a good long time, I finally found a community to call home.

Say what you will about model shortages, housing delivery botches, odd editing flaws and ruling off the cuff
on the Flames of War forums; the game, it's system and the people who play it are simply superb.
He doesn't get bogged down....
I think we get bogged down in the day to day craziness of a small group of people trying to run a business for a group of dedicated, and well informed people, so I wanted to take a minute to reflect on how, after two years, I still wake up in the mornings wondering what my next army project will be and what drove me to first create my own blog then move on over here to the home of Flames of War for players around the world.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bolt Action - ANZAC Day, Lest We Forget

This morning, many of your fellow Bolt Action hobbyists, namely those from Australia and New Zealand woke up and joined the hundreds of thousands of other ordinary people of all ages in the cold darkness and rain before dawn, gathering at local ceremonies, large and small. Why? Well, to remember those men and women who served in war.

On ANZAC day, the two nations take time to remember all those lost in war, as well as thank those who lived through it and carry its scars still. Although it’s a military day, it’s not used to glorify victories in battle, but acknowledge the sacrifices made by ordinary men and women as well as build bridges with enemies of the past. We remember all those who suffered in war.

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Bolt Action - Patch's French Force

A quick guide to my French Forces

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Adepticon Pic Dump

Adepticon 2014

By Christopher Hecht

I recently went to Adepticon in Lombard, IL to play in the Flames of War Late War nationals and in the Bolt Action tournaments.  While at Adepticon, I took a few pictures to bring back and show what all went on that I experienced. 

Flames of War

The FoW Group getting ready to begin the 2 day tournament
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Bolt Action - AAR: Germans vs Soviets: Farewell Dex

A couple months ago my buddy Dex moved up to Alaska for work.  While he loved the State, his job only lasted a few months and now he's off to his next job.  We only got to game a few times, but always had a blast.  We got together for one last epic game of Bolt Action before he left.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Dropzone Commander Orbital Defense Laser

Following up on last weeks Monorail posting, we have another pieced of oversized goodness to look at, The Orbital Defense Laser.

The kit is made up of several large chunks of resin. There are four "legs" that attach to a main body, and a "head" that serves as an entrance. In fact, if you look at it upside down, it's a turtle!

The turret itself is free-sitting inside the main body. You could glue it if you want, but gravity will hold it down in the middle and allow you turn it as needed.

 It's quite a monstrosity of a kit. As you can see, an entire squad of Legionnaires doesn't even fill the gap between two of it's legs (that's what she said!), and even the mammoth Hades dwarves in comparison to it.

As with the monorail kit, there's no official rules pushed for this thing yet, but expect some PDF downloads on Hawk's website in the next week or two. Until then, you can always give one player the monorail, and give the other player than cannon, and see what happens =)

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Bolt Action - Oh Canada! The Sequel!

Hey guys, Anfernee here again.  A few weeks back I did an article talking about the history of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and their role in WWII during D-Day and beyond.  Well, now I am back to talk about how I've gone about making my list for the LRDG's tournament at Conquest, using that as the theme for my list.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

HG Panzerkompanie vs British Motor Rifles

My first game back in Richmond! Jon and I were both pretty jazzed to play something out of Italy. Like Jon, I'm pretty smitten with the HG Panzerkompanie out of the Fortress Italy book recently released for Late War Flames of War play, and also really wanted to get some Elefants on the table... just because. We rolled for the mission and came up with Encounter. I rolled as "attacker" and Jon rolled for first turn.

Jon's British Motor Infantry
  • HQ + 2 mortars (lead by 2iC)
  • Motor Rifle Platoon
  • Motor Rifle Platoon
  • 6 Pounders Battery (late)
  • 4x M10Cs
  • 4x Shermans, 1 upgrade to Sherman IIA (76mm)
  • 4 Priests + AOP
  • Recce Patrol with PIAT upgrade
Steven's HG Panzerkompanie
  • HQ: 1 Panzer III M, 1 Panzer III N
  • Panzer Platoon: 2x Panzer III M, 2x Panzer III N
  • Panzer Platoon: 2x Panzer III M, 2x Panzer III N
  • Heavy Panzerspah: 2x 8-rads
  • Schwere Panzerjaeger: 2x Elefants
  • Anti-Tank Guns: 3x Pak 40s
  • Rocket Artillery (Heer): 3x Nebelwerfers

 I start with all of my Panzers and the Elefants.  We both deploy heavily on the left (from my perspective- as will all references be for this game) 2/3 of the board.
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Bolt Action - Soviet Cavalry Painted

Last week I showed you how to make your own Soviet Cavalry using Perry ACW Cavalry box and a Warlord Soviet Infantry box.  Now its time to show off how cool these models end up looking once you put paint to plastic.
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Friday, April 18, 2014

AAR: Pieper's Charge Scenario Turn 1

By Jeff "SonBae" Flint

RangerDane and I started playing the Peiper's Charge Scenario for Flames of War recently.  This is one of the many historical scenarios that Battlefront has but out on their website.  Take a look under the "Hobby" tab and then look under missions.  On the left side of the page is a LOVELY list of historical goodness.

This scenario represents Peiper's mad dash to the Meuse during the Battle of the Bulge.  The scenario can be played as one MASSIVE 3 table long game or 3 single table iterations.  We went with the single table version since we were playing at our FLGS and were limited by space.

The scenario briefing gives maps and army compositions for each of the 3 games that make up the scenario.

Since the forces are prescribed for this scenario, there are several units that we didn't have, so there are a few proxies...and yes...even an unpainted unit.  I know...I know... I KNOW... but now that you have been forewarned. This does go to show that even if you don't have the exact unit, you an come up with a work there is no reason to stay away from trying one of these scenarios  ;-)

On to the scenario: 

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bolt Action - Converting Soviet Cavalry

On a recent episode of LRDG the boys were talking about converting partisan cavalry using Perry Miniatures American Civil War Cavalry and bits.  This got me thinking that I could use the same technique to make Soviet cavalry for my Russian army.  There are a hand full of manufactures out there that make Soviet Cavalry, but they are either ugly or pricey.  The ranges out there also have limited poses, which I don't care for.
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Bolt Action - Gamer Collecting, or a Collector Gaming?

How did I get to this? How did I acquire so much 28mm World War II gaming paraphernalia, and will I ever get a chance to even use even half of it? You see, I ask myself these questions as I sit down most nights to paint yet another squad of infantry or another in a very long line of vehicles.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Battlefront Heavy Rocket Mortar Battery (SBX32)

By Christopher Hecht

With the revisions to Red Bear and the addition of Desperate Measures, Battlefront created a new artillery piece for the Soviet forces: a powerful rocket artillery that is a massive threat to anyone dug in and holds the ability to remove its smoke trails with its special rules.  The release is the new box set of Soviet Heavy Rocket Mortar Battery (SBX32)! Moving into the realm of the heavier rocket support that the other nations have already had a taste of, the Soviets are given a bit of a treat.  Let's take a look at the kit.

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Bolt Action - Review: Revell Snap Tite Spitfire

The unofficial warplane rules recently debuted and I found myself lacking a 1:72 aircraft. Revell Snap Tite kits to the rescue!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bolt Action - Painting War - Season 1, Issue #1 - WWII German Army

by Patch

After seeing a bit of positive chatter around the various forums about this magazine, I decided to take the plunge and order it online. The magazine is the first in a new series dedicated to painting miniatures and in this issue Ruben Torregrosa "Heresybrush" takes the reader through step by steps on how to recreate WW2 German infantry in both 28mm and 15mm.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Battle Report: German Armor vs Russian Armor in a Late war tank battle.

By Eric "Truckstop" Lauterbach

The Desperate Measures book for late war play in Flames of War currently has the best tank lists for the Germans, hands down.  So, I have been working on a few lists with my brand new, fresh off the line, PAK patrols.  I had heard these guys can be tricky to run but can be a deadly tool.  Bob Rossi, my opponent for the day, is known as an attacking tanker who runs a lot of Russians.  We wanted to mix it up and see what our lists could do so we did Free-For-All. 

The Lists:

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Review: Dropzone Commander Monorail

Today we're going to take a look at Hawk Wargames upcoming Monorail scenario expansion for Dropzone Commander.

In the package, you get:
  • seven resin monorail support pillars
  • seven steel bases for the pillars
  • roughly seven feet of plasticish track
  • four resin monorail cars - one "engine" and 3 "cars"

There's not a lot of assembly to do. All connections to track require gluing a piece in that forms a "U" shape that grips the track. This is kinda neat, as it gives you some control as to how tight the cars and pillars grip the track, and avoids and issues of miscasts making for an unusable piece. It is kind of a pain to get just right, though.

The track itself is a semi-stiff, glossy, black plastic. It's flexible, and doesn't entirely hold it's shape, but it's not so strong that you can't curve it. It's hard to describe, and I don't know exactly what type of plastic it is.

You can see how thin it is in comparison to some Legionnaires. 

Assembly simply consisted of gluing the "U" shaped connectors to both the pylons and the cars, and then gluing the pillars into their heavy steel bases. The connection to the steel base is a round joint, so you could angle them if you wanted to - I kept all of mine at right angles.

The train cars sit pretty firmly on the track on their own provided you glued that "U" connector well, but they also can attach to each other via a simple tow hitch system.

I painted them pretty simple - The bases, pillars, and the cars were sprayed Vallejo London Grey and drybrushed white, and the monorail cars were sprayed Vallejo Black Metal and drybrushed with the Citadel Necron Compound Dry paint (I love that paint by the way!). I then picked out a few details such as windows on the cars and traffic control lights on the pillars, and washed everything with a very thin black.

As you can see, seven feet of track is plenty to cover a 4x4 board with some generous curves and some overlap off the board. It should even go across a 6x4 board diagonally with slight curves.

It sits roughly 4-5 inches off the table, which puts it at about the height of the Hawk flight stands. If you're cool, you'll make your fliers hit the deck and go under the monorail. Only lame people will fly over top of it.

Even the tallest ground models can comfortably walk underneath the track.

As far as moving the train on the track, it's pretty easy to slide it with two sets of hands, but it is gripped enough that it won't slide just from bumping the table.

Some scale shots show the pillar in relation to infantry and an AFV, as well as show how massive the Hades would be in comparison.

My monorail didn't come with any scenarios included, as they're still being playtested, but ultimately, the kit is likely to come with some scenarios. We've been making up our own, including one where infantry must get out in the open and set bombs on the pillars, but not until the train has moved on top of them! You could also do a Firefly inspired train heist!

I think the Monorail kit is a great addition to any reconquesting tabletop. Even if used for nothing more than scenery, it's sure to draw in much attention. I don't think a final retail price has been set, and whether the final product will include scenarios (or maybe they'll be put up as downloads on the website?) remains to be seen.

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