Bugeater GT 2021 – Andrew’s Recap

Tournaments are back! After a year off, the Bugeater GT made a glorious return. The journey from Detroit to Omaha was long, but it was worth it for a chance to compete in one of the most competitive Bolt Action tournaments on the circuit.

The Army

Let’s take a quick look at the list I brought to the tournament via EasyArmy. The force selection for BGT was 1250pts, 1-2 Platoons, Theater Selectors and Campaign books allowed, no Tank Platoons. Before getting into my games, let me tell ya, folks really used that open format to it’s fullest. There were some pretty wild armies, as expected.

Using my existing winter German collection as a starting point, I added a couple new units and options to boost the competitive level of the list. I even added a unit of StuG Riders. One of the most OP unit options in the German arsenal. Kidding, they are actually pretty bad. But Rule of Cool over everything.

I knew I would be going into a competitive field and brought a list that could take a hit and keep on punching. With three units of 8 Vets (two with double LMG, one with x7 ARs) the core infantry is rock solid. Backed by a Neb, mortar, sniper and StuH 42, I knew I’d have enough HE and fire support to deal with most threats. For AT, I had seven Panzerfausts across three infantry units and one of my favorite armored cars – the 234/4. Rarely seen, but highly effective.

Game One – No Man’s Land – Ryan (Finnish Army)

My SMG StuG Riders moving up to cover past the wreck of Ryan’s T-28.

A Game One Grudge Match! I reached out to Ryan a few weeks before the tournament and asked if he wanted to Grudge for Game One and he immediately picked up the gauntlet. To make a long story short, we had a fantastic game. With Kill Points as the only objective, neither of us held back and just threw our armies forward!

Highlights from the game:

– Both of our armies must have been out of practice because at the end of Turn 1, there was not a single kill. Not only that, there was not even a single hit!
– Top of Turn 2, the Neb hit two of four targets and blasted some Finns off the table.
– The 234/4 had a clear shot at Ryan’s monstrous T-28 (gorgeous model by the way) and knocked it out before it could bring all those MMGs to bear against my infantry. It was a major relief as I was legit terrified of the thing.
– Ryan’s dice turned oh so cold the back half of the game (failed multiple Order Checks on 9 and 10) but he rolled with the punches and remains a true Hobby Hero.

Result – Win

Game Two – Meeting Engagement – Jackson (German 12th SS)

Jackson’s SS laying down fire from cover.

Jackson ran a force that was unlike anything I have seen before. It was two Platoons from Campaign: D-Day: Britsh & Canadian Sectors; a 12th SS Panzergrenadier Platoon and a 12th SS Heavy Mortar Platoon. I made of note of this Platoon in my hot take and it was awesome to see it on the table. Jackson’s Heavy Mortar Platoon was just a single Lt and four Med. Mortars! Talk about fire support. With all that indirect fire and a Panther, I had my work cut out for me.

Once again, the only objective was Kill Points and our two forces were out for blood.

Highlights from the game:

– It was a StuH v. Panther showdown! Somehow the StuH emerged the victor (that Med. Howitzer puts out a lot of Pins).
– The Neb shut down Jackson’s Mortar battery. The four Mortars were deployed so close together, the 3″ HE template from the Neb hit multiple Mortars with each hit!
– Intense firefight between the Jackson’s SS and my Vets but with the extra protection provided by a building, my infantry could not be shifted by small arms alone.

Result – Win

Game Three – Key Positions – Jeff (US Marines)

StuG Riders just inches away from the Objective, but that one Pin would be my undoing.

I really liked Jeff’s list. He was running a US Marines themed army, but was using the US Veteran Infantry rules for all the Marines, thus granting them Tough Fighter, which he felt was a more appropriate representation for the force. I wasn’t going to argue with that! Jeff also had a Zippo Sherman, MMG Jeep, a multi-launcher and a Flamethrower packing assault unit in a Truck. But the core of his army was the a legion of US Riflemen – possibly one of the most point-for-point effective units in the game. With only three Objectives (all set across the middle of the table) we both knew this was not going to be easy.

Highlights from the game:

– I doubt I’ve ever fought so hard for a Draw. Jeff had excellent positioning and I was on the back foot. But a series of critical failed Order Checks allowed me to get back into contention.
– Jeff’s multiple-launcher aced the Neb at the top of Turn 2. I was unable to answer back, despite four turns of Med. Mortar and Sniper fire trying to take it down.
– I have ever seen so many 1 Pin failed Order Checks.
– I had a successful Rally Order on a unit with three Pins – rolled a 1 to remove Pins 😦
– With the StuG Riders just one Advance away from securing the middle Objective (and the win), they failed an Order Check with one Pin and the game ends in a tie – one Objective each.

Result – Draw

Game Four– Sectors – Pat (US Marines)

Mortar Spotter attempting to get a line of sight on Pat’s Howitzer.

The first game of day two had me facing off against US Marines for a second time. Pat brought forth all the toys – Rocket Jeep, Howitzer, big HE Sherman, and a whole mess of angry Dogfaces.

We deployed diagonally across from one another, with significant line-of-sight blocking terrain keeping the initial turns relatively quite. The objective was to get as many units as possible out of your deployment sector and into your opponents. With how the table was setup, we knew there would be a scramble for positioning in the middle, but neither of us wanted to stick our necks out. The game remained very even until Turn 4 when I was able to rush four of my units into Pat’s sector to secure the win.

Highlights from the game:

– Pat made a made dash with his Lt to get into my sector on Turn 5. However, unluckily for him, my Lt had spent a lot of time at the practice range. Moved, Single Model, Long Range – bang, bang. One US Lt down.
– Even after taking multiple Med. Howitzer and Panzerfaust hits, Pat’s Sherman refused to die. It ended up immobile and stunned beyond belief but it still continued to blast away at my infantry as I tried to push forward.
– The table was filled with low and high hills. For the first three turns it remained a game of cat and also cat. We both fought for an opening and a couple unlucky Order Tests was the opening I need to launch a full assault.

Result – Win

Game Five– Point Defense – John (British)

John’s lovely (and Best Painted winning) NW Europe British.

Game Five. Top Table. Before we started, John said, “This mission is won and lost on the roll for Attacker / Defender.” Turns out, he was right.

It was Attacker/Defender and John won the roll-off. He picked Defender, and that left me with the unenviable task of trying to assault a strong point defended by one of the best players to ever grab an Order Die. I don’t want to take any credit away from John, he never once lost control of the game. But man, being Attacker in this mission is rough. In order to Win as Attacker you need to capture two of the three Objectives (the Defender places all three). To capture an Objective, you must have one of your Infantry units within 3″ without any enemy unit with 3″. No easy feat.

I gave it everything I had but after four intense games, I made a few misplays and John exploited my slipups. He’s too good a player to leave any opening. At the end of seven full turns, my assault force lay in ruin. I had launched a full assault on the deep right flank and was just one combat away from throwing John off the Objective (and securing a draw) but it was not to be. I gave a good account for myself – but the Brits emerged victorious.

Highlights from the game:

– As the Attacker I had the chance for a Prep. Bombardment to hit John’s units. But, I rolled a 1 and no bombardment arrived. Bit of back luck that.
– Turn 1, first shot, super 6 from the StuH 42 annihilates John’s Med. Howitzer. I was off to a roaring start!
– John’s Sniper immediately answers back – one shot on my Med. Mortar and boop! Gone.
– Cagey game of 234/4 v. AEC. You gotta love a good recce Armored Car battle for position.
– We both slugged it out, battling over every yard. At the end of the game, the kills were tied at 7, but John retained control of all three Objectives.

Result – Loss

Results

After five intense games I ended with a record of 3-1-1, thrilled with that result! I knew I was in contention but didn’t expect to take Best Axis General. All in all, it was a tremendous showing for Team Chicago Dice. Between Paul, Dexter, Ben and myself we managed to capture the Club Cup – a prize we have been chasing since our first BGT appearance back in 2018. The Cup traveled back to Chicago with us where is now sits proudly in HQ.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to put into words how great it is to have tournaments back. Seeing old friends (and battling against them) is the best. I met new players, reconnected with old pals and kindled some new rivalries. The Bolt Action community lost none of its incredibleness over the past year and half and I can’t wait for the next event (Michigan GT 2021).

Robert ran an impressive event. You can’t argue with a 40-player turnout! The terrain was top tier, the games started and finished on time and the prize support was tremendous. BGT is a special event. It has a reputation for being a gloves off no holds barred type of tournament and this year absolutely delivered on that front. Maori, Gurkhas, Mortar Platoons, Double Tank / Double Armored Car, I’ve never seen so many Staghounds. There is no other tournament like it. If you want to bring the noise, this is the event for you. Right now, BGT is in a great place and I think next year might be the best one yet.

Thank you everyone that made this wonderful weekend of Bolt Action happen!

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