Following the Combat Patrol event on Thursday night, Bolt Action Doubles take centerstage on Friday at AdeptiCon 2022. Doubles has been a community favorite for many years and I jumped at the chance to TO the event. The only thing better than a game of Bolt Action is a 2v2 game of Bolt Action. The Doubles format at a high-level is:
- Two players per Team
- Three, 2.5 hour 2v2 games
- 1,400pts, split any way the players choose, 18 Order Dice max
- 2-4 Platoons per Team, up to 1 Armor Platoon
With the event format in mind, let’s take a look at the three missions, how they went and what I’d like to change for next year.
I did not enforce any level of theme or Axis/Allies requirements for 2022. It had been two long years since the previous Doubles event and I wanted to keep the field open and allow players to bring whatever forces they would like. Of the 24 Teams of two that took the field, the individual platoon breakdown included:
- Allies – 32 (16 Teams) – 67%
- US – 16 – 33%
- Soviet Union – 8 – 17%
- UK – 2 – 4%
- France – 2 – 4%
- Belgium – 2 – 4%
- Canada- 1 – 2%
- Australia – 1 – 2%
- Axis – 16 (8 Teams) – 33%
- Germany – 11 – 23%
- Japan – 2 – 4%
- Italy – 2 – 4%
- Finland – 1 – 2%
We had a good split between “mixed” and “mono” Teams. Of 24 Teams, 9 were mixed (two Nations on the Team) and 15 were mono (single Nation Team). The mono Teams were:
- US – 5
- Germany – 5
- Soviet Union – 2
- Japan – 1
- Italy – 1
- Belgium – 1
Both players did not have to field the same nation on a Team, but many did. Some of the more unique Team combos were US Marines + Australian Army aka Team Salamander, The Franco-Russian Alliance (France and Soviet Union) and a Canadian Tank Platoon paired with a Soviet Guards Platoon. That is just one of the reasons why I love the Doubles event. You never know what kind of forces to expect. I’m still waiting on the Partisans + SAS for a Jedburgh operation.
Game One – Spearhead
Similar to Combat Patrol, the objective of the first mission was to break into the enemy deployment zone. Each player deployed half their force. The other half was left in Reserve (not Outflank). In an effort to speed up the game, the first turn was played with only the Order Dice for the deployed units in the bag, all the Reserve units were added into the bag at the start of Turn 2. Although the mission is basic, it works. However, there are few tweaks to make.
The deployment zone needs to be bigger. the 2×3′ corner deployment works just fine in a 1v1 but with two players worth of units on the table, everyone needed a bit more room to deploy. I’d also adjust the game length. Just a slight tweak to play five turns guaranteed with a Turn 6 happening on a 4+ (instead of Turn 7). Finally, I think the VP structure could use some reworking. Both boosting the number of VP for getting a unit into the enemy deployment zone (3VP per unit) and adding in a single VP for each enemy unit destroyed.
Game One Result Breakdown:
- 9 Wins
- 9 Losses
- 6 Draws
Game Two – Fuel Shortage
The inspiration for Game Two came from an Age of Sigmar scenario that Jeremy played at Armour Con 2021. The “push your luck” concept behind holding and then destroying the objectives was just too interesting to pass up. Although I don’t think anyone had played a mission like this in Bolt Action before (unless they had attended Polar Vortex 2022), all the players grasped the concept quickly. I want to keep this style of mission next year, a few adjustments are needed.
First, adding in the clause that the winners must win by two or more VPs (like the other missions). Next, the six objectives was too many. Four would have been better. Removing the two middle objectives would open up the entire table and give players more units to assault the enemy with. And finally, I want to unify the objective capture rules with Take & Hold (Game Three). Forcing units to babysit the objectives is an unnecessary requirement. I truly think there is a classic mission in here, it just needs some streamlining.
Game Two Results Breakdown:
- 9 Wins
- 9 Losses
- 6 Draws
Game Three – Take & Hold
Five objectives starting with one placed in the exact middle of the table. The players then placed the remaining four objectives. The twist on this mission is that units to not have to babysit objectives once they been captured. If at the end of the turn your force holds an objective, it stays yours until the enemy comes and gets it. This frees up units to continue pressing the advance and does not stall out the game. It’s a small but important adjustment to objective capture.
Changes for next time include a standard objective layout for all the tables (X-formation) and putting in a hard cap at Turn 5. I’d also like to add the option to Outflank. Some of those deep objectives are very difficult to reach if you are walking across the table and a late-game Outflank may be your best strategy to go and get them.
Game Three Results Breakdown:
- 11 Wins
- 11 Losses
- 2 Draws
As with Combat Patrol, the final results were awfully close! Brian & John of FLTN secured Best Overall, beating out Sam & Tom by only three points. Of course, Sam & Tom did walk away with Player’s Choice, the Franco-Russian Alliance proved to be a crowd favorite! John & Cody took Best Allies and third overall (just one single point behind Sam & Tom) and Paul & Jeff achieved Best Axis with a Double Italian army! Ben & John won Best Painted with their truly fantastic winter Soviet force. The display board alone was pretty spectacular. The first annual AdeptiCon Club Cup – decided by each Clubs top four scores in Combat Patrol and top two scores in Doubles – went to Chicago Dice! It was hotly contested but the crew stepped up to the challenge and secured the win.
All told, there were 48 players at Double and 38 at Combat Patrol brining the total to just shy of 100 players across two days and six games of Bolt Action. The previous AdeptiCon was all the way back in 2019 and I was worried that maybe the players either wouldn’t come out in force or would maybe have lost a step or two. I was proven wrong on both accounts. Not only did we have a huge turnout, everyone dove right back into the games. It was a joyous occasion for the hobby and one that I am proud to have been a part of.
With AdeptiCon 2022 now officially in the rearview, let’s look to next year. Adjustments for next year are:
- Bring back an event Theme. We’ve done it in the past and it’ll be back in 2023 – Early War! Both Combat Patrol and Doubles will be 1939-40 themed.
- More time between rounds. Boost the first break to 90 minutes (more time for lunch and for paint judging) and boost the second break to a full hour.
- Minor formatting and layout changes for the event packet like separating out the Player’s Choice and Best Battlefield voting slips from the score pages. Also, print out all the players’ names on stickers for the score sheets. Just a few adjustments to make our lives as TOs and the players’ lives just a bit easier.
- The new Sportsmanship scoring was a big success and will be used in future events.