AdeptiCon 2023 – Bolt Action Doubles – The TO’s Recap

Following Combat Patrol on Thursday evening, Bolt Action Doubles took center stage on Friday at AdeptiCon 2023. Doubles has been a community favorite for many years and this was my second time as TO. The only thing better than a game of Bolt Action is a 2v2 game of Bolt Action! This was the biggest event Tom and I had ever run with 32 Doubles Teams lined up for a full day of 2v2 action. The Doubles format at a high level is:

  • Two players per Team
  • Three, two-and-a-half-hour games
  • 1,400pts, 18 Order Dice max, split any way the players choose
  • 2-4 Platoons per Team, up to 1 Armor Platoon per Team

You can review the full Doubles rules and the 2023 mission packet:

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.

The Armies

Our theme this year was The Rising Tide: 1939-40. The event theme was not enforced, but highly encouraged. The vast majority of Teams leaned in with Early War forces (24 of 32) and it was incredible to see. Of the 32 Teams that took the field, the individual platoon breakdown included:

  • Allies – 26 Platoons (13 Teams) – 40%
  • UK – 13 -20%
  • US – 5 – 8%
  • USSR – 2 – 3%
  • France – 2 – 3%
  • Partisans – 1 – 2%
  • Poland – 1 – 2%
  • Australia – 1 – 2%
  • Finland (Late-War allies with USSR) – 1 – 2%
  • Axis – 38 Platoons (19 Teams) – 60%
  • Germany – 17 – 27%
  • Italy – 3 – 5%
  • Finland – 2 – 3%

We had a heavy split between “mixed” and “mono” Teams. Of 32 Teams, only 10 were mixed (two Nations on the Team) and 22 were mono (single Nation Team). I’m not sure why that was. Maybe the overwhelming presence of options for Eary-War Germans? And like Combat Patrol, not a single IJA Platoon – surprising. The mono Teams were:

  • Germany – 16
  • US – 1
  • UK – 4
  • Italy – 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 UK Homeguard + Partisans (more on that later), a Late-War Lapland Finland + USSR combo, a German Tank Platoon + Anti-Tank Platoon, and several Commonwealth (a mix of India, South Africa, and Australia) Western Desert combos. The Team Platoon aspect is just one of the reasons why Doubles is probably the most fun you can have playing Bolt Action.

Be sure to give the armies a look in the AdeptiCon 2023 Bolt Action Google Photos Album.

Game 1

Sectors is a classic Bolt Action mission. Divide the table into six equal sectors and grant VPs for securing the sectors outside of your Deployment Zone. The enemy sectors were worth 3 VP and the neutral sectors were worth 1 VP. Pretty standard. However, for Doubles I added the additional requirement that in order to capture a sector, units from both players on a Team needed to be within the scoring zone. Thus, no single player could capture a sector, the support of their partner was a requirement. I wanted to force players to work together as opposed to just playing next to each other. Judging by the mission feedback I’ve received, it worked.

At the risk of resting on my laurels, no changes are needed to this mission.

Game One Result Breakdown:

  • 12 Wins
  • 12 Losses
  • 8 Draws

Game 2

Look, this mission is wild. In hindsight, possibly too wild. In an effort to create unique and interesting missions, sometimes I overdo the deployment rules. FUBAR! was no exception. The deployment was not only too complex, but it also had too many steps and took too long. This is a mission that works great in a mid-sized 1v1 game, but the 1,400pt 2v2 Doubles format was just too much. The idea is great, and the mechanics are great but with the clock ticking down there is simply too much to do.

I do think the idea of having one player deploy and their teammate arrive via First Wave is interesting though. I’d like to implement that in a future mission. Just not this one. Also, the turn cap at Turn 5 is something that all the Doubles missions need.

Game Two Results Breakdown:

  • 13 Wins
  • 13 Losses
  • 6 Draws

Game 3
Combined Arms

Five objectives starting with one placed in the exact middle of the table. The other four were placed 12″ up and in from each table corner. The winning Team is the one that captured the most objectives by the end of the game. The twist, similar to Game 1, is that objectives could only be captured if a unit from both players on a Team ended the turn within 6″. Once an objective was captured, it stayed captured until the enemy either captured or contested. Just like capturing, you could only contest if a unit from both players on a Team was within 6″. Again, this mission was created to force players to work with their partner. There was no chance of securing victory by going solo.

Folks enjoyed this mission. The feedback and buzz around the “combined” part of Combined Arms was a hit. However, vehicles were proven to be too powerful. A pair of armored vehicles zipping around the table may have tipped the mission too far in favor of Tank Platoons. To correct this I’ll make an adjustment that only one of the two units can be a vehicle to secure an objective. A simple but important change to the mission rules. Other than that – it worked! Oh, maybe allowing for Reserves and/or Outflank. Something to think about.

Game Three Results Breakdown:

  • 12 Wins
  • 12 Losses
  • 8 Draws

The Club Cup

Holy moly was it close. As Tom and I reviewed the final results, we couldn’t believe it. All three of the top two Teams from FLTN, Chicago Dice, and The Cronies scored a combined total of 206 points in Doubles. Wow. With a three-way tie in Doubles scores, the winners were determined by the previous day’s work at Combat Patrol. The final standings for the 2023 AdeptiCon Bolt Action Club Cup were:

ClubCombat Patrol Score
500 Max
Doubles Score
250 Max
Total Score
The Cronies373206579
Chicago Dice368206574
Clown Posse16480244
Dice Hosers57147204
Iron Dice06363

We have a new winner for 2023 – FLTN! A damn close battle for the Cup! But more importantly, there were eight Clubs all competing. Last year we only had four and seeing double the number of Clubs taking part in this “event within the event” was really great to see. We hope for even more participation next year.

Final Thoughts

As with Combat Patrol, the final results were very close. Dave & Chris secured Best Overall by just three points beating out Rob & Andrew (Rob won Best Overall at Combat Patrol the day before). Rob & Andrew did win Best Axis and Ben & John snagged Best Allies placing fourth overall. Derick & Mike walked out Best Painted at third overall and in fifth overall was John & Paul who, with one of the most characterful Doubles forces I’ve ever seen, won Player’s Choice. Paul B defended his Best Battlefield title from last year rounding out our six AdeptiCon Medal winners. I mean, c’mon. Look at this army:

There was no shortage of lovely and wonderful armies on display at Doubles. But I must admit, John & Paul’s stood above the rest. With only 14 points separating first from sixth, Doubles was as competitive an event as I’ve seen. Every point counted across all aspects of the hobby – paint, sports, and battle.

All told, there were 64 players at Doubles and 40 at Combat Patrol bringing the total to 104 players across two days and six games of Bolt Action. Combat Patrol was sold out with a significant Waitlist. We had a bit more room for more Teams at Doubles but with 64 players it sure felt like a lot! I’ve never attended a Bolt Action event with that many players and it really was cool to see. This was our second year at the expanded AdeptiCon venue and it’s started to feel like a home for Historicals.

Also, I cannot thank enough our most generous event sponsors who provided a plethora of prize support for our two events. Thanks to their incredible support, every single player walked out with a prize. And that is something truly special.

With AdeptiCon 2023 now officially in the rearview, let’s look to next year. Adjustments for next year are:

  • Move forward with the event theme. We’ve just completed Early War so let’s push on to Mid War. The theme for AdeptiCon 2024 will be The End of the Beginning: 1942-43. This theme will apply to both Combat Patrol and Doubles.
  • The Order Dice cap is too high. Too many games did not finish on time and a big part of that is the 18 Order Dice cap. For next year I am going to lower the cap. Not sure yet what the limit will be. Current thinking is 15 or 16.
  • The second change to boost the number of games completed will be to cap all Doubles missions at Turn 5. I’ll have to keep that in mind as I create, write and playtest the new mission pack. Simply put, too many games did not play to their conclusion. This is always going to happen at tournaments, but there are some changes I can make to ensure more games finish on time.
  • I adjusted the time between games and added a 90-minute break for lunch and Paint judging between Games 1 and 2. That longer break is here to stay.
  • The formatting changes for Player’s Choice and Best Battlefield voting worked much better than last year. The separate voting slips are here to stay.
  • Adding stickers with each player’s name printed onto the event packet and results sheets was not only a big hit, but it also made our job as TOs much easier. That is here to stay as well.
  • Tom and I are looking into table enhancements with official, branded mats for the “dead space” between each table. In the Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 events there is a 2′ wide mat with AdeptiCon branding between each table. This small addition really adds to the overall feel of the event and it’s something we’d love to implement over at the AdeptiCon Historicals venue.

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