Replacements & Heroes Bolt Action Event Recap

Always excited for a new local event! The Michigan Bolt Action scene is goingg strong and this 14-player, one-day, three-game tournament is a perfect example. I’ve been to the fantastic Bastion Gaming Center a couple times before but I’ve never seen it at capacity with a full tournament underway. It was a sight to see! First-time TO Chris led the charge on this event and had a hell of a turnout! Getting 14 players rolling up to a “local” store is no easy feat. Quick event breakdown:

  • Three games
  • 1,000 pts.
  • 1-2 Platoons
  • Generic Reinforced Platoons only
  • No Theater or Campaign book units

So it’s a pretty basic structure. Nothing fancy but you can’t blame a new TO for keeping it simple for their first event!

The Army

It’s finally happened! The Kriegsmarine are out in all their glory! Well, maybe not all their glory, I need access to Theater Selectors for that (Replacements & Heroes was GRP only) but that didn’t stop me! I’ve been talking and writing about this Kriegsmarine project for the last few months and it was a great feeling getting them completed for the event. It’s a non-standard, unique force that no one expects to see across the table. Especially not at a tournament! The list is:

Generic Reinforced Platoon
Officer
1st Lt – SMG – Vet – 90
x1 Buddy – SMG – Vet – 13
103pts
Infantry
HG Panzergrenadier Squad (Sicily,10-12 July)* – Reg – 9 men – 81
x1 SMG – 3
Unprepared
Motorized Infantry
84pts
HG Panzergrenadier Squad (Sicily,10-12 July)* – Reg – 9 men – 81
x1 SMG – 3
Unprepared
Motorized Infantry
84pts
HG Panzergrenadier Squad (Sicily,10-12 July)* – Reg – 7 men – 63
x2 LMG – 40
Unprepared
Motorized Infantry
103pts
HG Panzergrenadier Squad (Sicily,10-12 July)* – Reg – 7 men – 63
x2 LMG – 40
Unprepared
Motorized Infantry
103pts
MMG Team – Reg – 5050tps
Medium Mortar Team – Reg – 50
Spotter – 10
60pts
Anti-Tank Rifle Team – Vet – 3939pts
Artillery
88mm Flak 36 – Vet – 192
Spotter – 10
Super Heavy AT Gun
Gumshield
202pts
Tow
Horse-Drawn Limber – Reg – 1010pts
Tank
Sd.Kfz 7/1 Half-track – Vet – 158
Quad-Light Autocannon
Soft-skin (Armor 6)
Open-topped
158pts
Total – 11 Order Dice996pts

*Unit taken from Campaign: Italy: Soft Underbelly with the TOs permission.

As I said, it’s a force that no one expects. I think the last time I saw an 88 on the table at an event was back at Polar Vortex 2022 – and that player was me! I’ve also got the ultimate Glass Cannon – the Sd.Kfz 7/1. It’s just a truck with that massive quad-autocannon on the back. Every one of my Infantry squads has a one in three chance of dropping down to Inexp. when they take their first casualty. It’s like the Green rule, but worse. I’ve played a couple practice games and made a few tweaks but I really had no idea how this army would fair in a tournament setting.

Game One – Supply Drop vs. Derek (IJA)

Supply Drop is possibly the most fun scenario Warlord has ever published. You’ve got d3+3 objectives placed by the players to represent the small supply canisters. Each one is worth 2 VP with the chance of being worth more (you roll on a chart for each canister when a unit moves within 2″). And then at the top of Turn 4 – the plane crashes down! Massive impact dealing out Pins and hits to everything within 12″ of the impact. The plane is worth 6 VP! Such a great mission.

Highlights from the game:
– Derek rolled up a massive double-Platoon IJA force, 16 Order Dice. Against my 11, it was going to be a tough fight for table control. Especially considering we rolled the full six objectives!
– I was able to keep Derek on the back foot for most of the game. In the end, I had removed six IJA units and only lost one of my own (our Order Dice were even), but I didn’t have enough control to push beyond the crashed plane.
– On the final turn, I had secured all three of the objectives on my side, was contesting the plane crash and all I needed to do was one a unit to contest one of Derek’s objectives. Sadly, the first unit I Ran was cut down by an incredible Ambush order and the second squad (my last hope) failed an Order Test on a 7. Brutal.
– Derek played a great game! If he had been a tad more controlled with his movement, I never would have stood a chance. As it stood, I caught of few of his units out for some relatively easy kills. But it didn’t matter, it was just too many IJA units to cut through and that failed Order Test sealed the deal.
– Game ended as close as possible with an 8-10 VP loss (to win, you had to outscore by two VPs).

Result – Loss (10-8)

Game Two – The Crossroads vs. Player Not Found

There was an unannounced 15th player so we had an uneven count for Game 2. As I was helping Chris with some of the back-end TO work, I volunteer to take a Game Two bye. I spent the round watching games, helping with rules questions, and walking Chris through scoring and pairing options on TTO.

Highlights from the game:
– As I had some time to kill during Game Two, I went over to La Marsa (just a few doors down) for lunch. Some of the best Mediterranean I’ve had in a while. Highly recommend the Lamb Kabob.
– I worked with Chris demoing some of the additional features in TTO, it’s a damn shame the site is shutting down this fall. I hope I can find an alternative by Polar Vortex 2023.

Result – Draw (0-0)

Game Three – No Man’s Land vs. Joe (Late War Germans)

The third and final game was straight kill points. No objective other than to destroy the enemy. 1 VP per kill and a bonus VP for a kill in close combat. Joe and I have played several games this year so the Grudge Match was on! As fate would have it, we had just played a practice game for this tournament the previous week so we already knew each other’s lists!

Highlights from the game:
– What a bloody engagement! I don’t know if it was because it was Game Three or what but Joe and I just threw our forces forward. The mission allowed for both Reserves and Outflank, we both chose no such option. Just tossed it on the table and got after it.
– I sneakily deployed the 88 in a ruined house inside my deployment zone and that kept the entire right flank locked down. Even Joe’s Low Fuel Panther didn’t want to wander into the crosshairs.
– My army has four units with Unprepared, and Joe’s army has four units with Mixed Quality. It was a fantastic time rolling for all these units and seeing if they would upgrade to Vet, downgrade to Inexp or stay Reg! Reminded me of playing Orcs & Goblins.
– After a pretty sleepy Game 1, the Sd.Kfz woke up for Game Three and went on an absolute tear. That thing was all cannon, no glass, and was shredding units. I can understand why folks are terrified of it but it only takes one lucky Rifle shot to knock it out. Maybe I need to upgrade to the Armored Cab…
– Joe’s dice. Those poor, poor dice. They started cold and got even colder. On the final turn they finally heated up (killed a full squad of Kriegsmarine and the Sd.Kfz 7/1) but by then the damage was done. There was no coming back.

Result – Win (11-5)

Final Thoughts

All told I ended the day 1-1-1. Even Steven. I did also manage to take Players’ Choice for the Kriegsmarine and that’s the real win (for me anyway). I’ve always set goals for the hobby awards and it’s great to earn that recognition for a newly completed hobby project.

What a great event! I was thrilled to see 15 participants make the trip to this “little” event. A great mix of old vets and new players with some really standout armies. Tim’s German’s especially. And I wasn’t the only one with an 88! It filled my heart with joy to see another one on the table! You have got to love it. Chris did a fantastic job as TO. He kept the event moving, kept the environment light, and set us up for a lovely day of gaming. Big thank you to Bastion Gaming Center for hosting and to Jeff for providing the majority of the tables. I’ve had a wonderful time getting involved with the Michigan Bolt Action scene and hope there is another event soon.

6 thoughts on “Replacements & Heroes Bolt Action Event Recap

  1. Great write up. I’m now hunting for the supply drop scenario.

    The quad AA gun on opel blitz with the armored cab has become a terror in my gaming group. I’ve used it to shred veteran infantry units.

    Also an amazing list, those kriegsmarines a beautiful.

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    1. Cheers! The Supply Drop mission is from Campaign: Fortress Budapest, let me know if you need a copy of the mission.

      I should look into adding the Armored Cab to mine! Getting the upgrade from Armor 6 to 7 would be a massive boost on survivability, that’s for sure.

      Appreciate it! It was a super fun project and it feels great to see them completed.

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    1. There was originally! Chris (the TO) had a concept for units that took casualties or were destroyed in Game 1 needing to be replaced in Game 2, etc. And units that survived or secured objectives would earn experience and gain new abilities. A lot of very narrative and campaign style ideas. Sadly, the system wasn’t fully built out in time. Thus, the tournament format was pretty standard.

      Don’t get me wrong, it was a great time – but hopefully we can see some of those ideas and themes next time.

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