The fantastic Golden Rhino Games in Ypsilanti, MI has begun hosting a series of monthly Bolt Action events. Sunday, April 10 was the first event for the growing GRG Bolt Action community and I was thrilled for the chance to roll up and roll some dice. Three games, 1,000pts, single Generic Platoon. I would have loved to see Theater Selectors allowed but with how young the community is, I’m totally cool starting with just Generic Platoons.
It was time to dust off my old favorites, the Italians! It had been far, far too long since this glorious force marched to battle and it was fantastic getting them back on the table. My North Africa Italian force (EasyArmy) for this event came in at 995pts with all three units of Cav, two units of Colonial Troops, the Autoblinda (never leave home without it), M11/39 Light Tank and some support teams. I’ve been running this force for a few years and it’s always a blast to play.
Game One – No Man’s Land vs. Gino (US Airborne)
Straight up kill points. One point scored for every enemy unit destroyed and you had to win by two. Gino (who I played a demo game with a while back) brought his lovely looking US Airborne with a Sherman in support. Although he didn’t have many units, all his troops were Vet (including the Sherman!) and packed serious punch. Luckily there was plenty of terrain for me to try and bring my Cav around the flanks.
Highlights from the game:
– Gino’s Forward Air Observer put the entire US Army on his back and kept the his forces in the game. I have not seen an Air Observer on the table in a long time but the US ability to call it in twice is absolutely devastating. And it’s not just the target of the airstrike – it’s all the Pins added onto units in the path of the attack. A single airstrike shutdown my entire right flank (Pins everywhere) and opened the door for the Airborne to move in.
– Late in the game I had a chance to secure the right flank by launching a Cavalry change into a unit of Airborne. If I won the combat, I would also destroy the empty Half-track. It was a chance for a huge two kill swing. I charged in, bugles blaring, and killed not. a. single. one. of the Paratroopers. My entire unit of Vet Cav were then removed from the table. Just brutal.
– Cagey play on both sides of the table. The game was close all the way through Turn 7. Neither of us were able to pull away and the game ended in a close Draw, 6-5 in my favor but you needed to win by two!
Result – Draw (6-5)
Game Two – Envelopment vs. Cody (German SS)
An Attacker/Defender mission?!? Is this even possible? Cody remains a total Hobby Hero for suggesting we play a mission in Game Two that would allow for those Italian Army Special Rules to shine! Cody had to arrive via First Wave, I deployed most of my army with a few units held in Reserve. The Prep Bombardment did some some serious work and left my defenders scrambling for the first two turns. But hey, at least I got to use my walls.
Highlights from the game:
– Autoblinda? More like Auto-blenda! That armored car went HAM on several German units and managed to stand tall against Cody’s Kugelblitz. I need to track down a Theater Selector that allows for more than one.
– Never underestimate the Inexp. Colonial Troops. A volley of just 10 rifle shots was enough to kill three Vet. SS and that stopped the German advance dead in the center. Without those Inexp. Infantry, this game would have been a lost cause.
– As expected, Cody played at the highest level. He was always thinking a turn ahead and caught me sleeping a few times. He snuck two units off my table edge (6 points), ran an Infantry squad into my deployment zone on the last turn (2 points) and killed four of my units (4 points). I was able to eliminate six of the attackers (12 points) leaving the game at a dead draw. Without the Italian Defensive Strategy, this would have been really rough.
Result – Draw (12-12)
Game Three – Key Positions vs. Jackson (Soviet Union)
Always been a fan of Key Positions. The only part that I would tweak is a change to ensure an odd number of Objectives. It’s far too easy for a game to end in Draw when there is an even number of Objectives. Now, I’m not saying that the our game was a forgone conclusion, far from it! But I had a strong suspicion that I would go 0-0-3 as soon as we rolled up four Objectives.
Highlights from the game:
– Jackson’s Soviet firebase could not be stopped! His Medium Mortar aced my Med. Howitzer on Turn 1, his Zis-3 blasted the M11/39 off the table in a single cross-table shot, his Sniper did not miss a single shot! When the enemy fire is that oppressive, it’s hard to get your troops into position.
– We had multiple Outflank Cav charges and it was a glorious sight to see. I don’t often get to make 18″ Assaults with these horsemen but when I do, boy is it awesome. My Cav swept the Soviets off the right flank but it wasn’t enough! Jackson expertly repositioned his forces from the middle of the table to ensure I wasn’t able to push all the way to the middle Objective.
– And it was another incredibly close game! If my Colonial Cav had passed their Turn 6 Order Test to make an assault onto an Objective the game was mine! But alas, failing a Morale 7 Order Test is an all too common experience. With my just standing there, Jackson was able to sneak his Sniper down the ruins to snag the Objective. The game ended with both of us holding one Objective and contesting the other two.
Result – Draw (1-1)
Great event! After three hard-fought Draws I ended third overall. I’ll take it! I certainly felt the rust and made multiple mistakes each game. I am proud with how my Italians played, I think I did their legacy proud.
The Bolt Action community at GRG is off to a fantastic start. I was able to give demo games to a few folks back in late-2021 and I’m thrilled to see new players diving in. Ian (the store owner) is going all out with support for Bolt Action and we already have a date set for the second event in May. Although GRG already has a thriving AoS, 40k and Conquest community, I believe there is room for Bolt Action to make a splash. Not sure if I’ll bring this or a different list to the next event. I do have a few ideas cooking for new and updated armies. Stay tuned!