Thursday, 30 January 2014

Cancon Reviews

Ready. Aim. Shoot.
There have been a number of reviews of our efforts at Cancon and we appreciate all the feedback.  We had a really good time, enjoying hosting Bolt Action games for the whole weekend but it is really encouraging finding out what players and visitors thought of all our efforts.

The Man Cave:
Thanks so much for our battle royale in the Hotel in the afternoon session. A most enjoyable game and very well run it was too. Your table and terrain were fantastic. Thank you for all your efforts. I have posted some extra pics at my blog The Man Cave.
Best wishes!
 [A fine blog too]
The Pudding Wrestler:
A game of great magnificence, taught by youth of surpassing knowledge, and fought over scenery sufficient to cause envy in hippos. Truly a great day's gaming (and I should know, I was there and got my Germans pounded...)
Anonymous: That looks amazing! Great work bringing in new players and hosting such spectacular events. On behalf of the entire Bolt Action community, thanks!

Comments from the Bolt Action Forum: (A great place discussing Bolt Action)
I dropped by on Sunday afternoon after the BA tournament had been played elsewhere in that cavernous hall (and there were two such halls) and the photos - good as they are - do not do David's work justice. The two tables were awe inspiring, and David had a veritable party atmosphere cooking in his set up, which was perfectly placed immediately adjacent to the entrance of the corridor which connected the gaming/ trade halls, and through which literally everybody passed repeatedly over the course of the weekend.
His certified stats are also only the tip of the iceberg, as my own brother was one who came, saw and was utterly inspired, but who did not stop to play (in his case, because his back was playing up). There were undoubtedly countless others, especially from the 660 players in tournaments other than Bolt Action, who would have come by and had their imagination synapses woken and inspired by this amazing vision splendid (and we certainly had literally dozens come through the competition, get all excited and then express a sudden desire to play our amazing game).
Big thanks to you and your boys
Now.  Planning for next year...

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Bolt Action Index 1.2

New! Improved! With added Errata and FAQ!
I have just updated the Bolt Action Index to include the official Errata and Frequently Asked Questions.
This means when looking up a topic, you can find the information on the page number Errata (E1 to E2) or FAQ (F1 to F7).

The index is here.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Cancon Day Three review

Three more new players - all with fine hats
Phew.  Day 3 and Cancon is over for 2014. Sure, my feet are sore and I have regained my "convention voice" which means I can have a great deep James Earl Jones voice, but it was worth it.
Our plan for the weekend was to bring more young players into wargaming.  I'll do a post shortly listing the benefits of wargaming, but for the moment, seeing the gleam in the young lads eyes as they play the game is a flashback to how I felt when I first started gaming.  And seeing the parent's faces as they see their sons obviously not just enjoying but revelling in this new game is also a delight.
I told you the photo was for the blog.
Over the weekend we had 25 players who participated enough in the game to be given a name badge.  This means they played at least 2 to 3 hours with their parents either backing them up or going away and coming back, wondering how their sons were still involved.  My job was spruiking and catching passers by, but really the boards did most of the hard work.  The Pegasus Bridge, the Church and town, Stone Hotel and Beer factory boards all looked magnificent and we had many people stop to take photos.
This is how I began wargaming - at a games day organised by a local club.  I still remember destroying the other guys tank.  Mum and Dad were very good and drove me to club meetings.  Of course then I was time rich and money poor and I had to make do.  That is why we put in tutorials on this blog so you can make things cost effectively.
The boys that played today already know of friends of theirs that would be interested or were looking into it and now they know how to play after their games this weekend.
"That blue box keeps popping up!" said one young lad.
I was also really impressed with the way my boys guided the games and instructed players in how Bolt Action worked.  Their voices are also a little lower after all the talking!
We also gained experience from seeing all the players in the Bolt Action tournament - 40 players! - and all the great looking boards and armies.
The retailers at the convention told me that Bolt Action was doing really well. They knew what we were doing and were grateful for the support and we were grateful for their support and discounts they provided.
We had a number of Flames of War and Warhammer and Fantasy players curious about all the noise about Bolt Action.
"No! Stop the killer rabbit!" and the cameras kept rolling.
With a quick review of the unique mechanics and watching some games being played they saw this was a great game to get into with the ability to start with a relatively small army and easy rules to grasp.
(The picture with the rabbit is from a fellow that was putting his rabbit on a number of boards and taking photos.  He was amazed at the positive response he had from all the gamers obligingly moving figures and scenery to make room for a stuffed rabbit.)
Thank you to all who stopped by to play, ask questions, give us compliments and introduce themselves.  My sons were surprised how quickly the weekend passed as we were playing games almost non-stop for the 3 days.
Now a rest before we start planning our next demo game.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cancon day two review

Day 2 is finished and despite sore feet and fading voices we are looking forward to day 3.
Pegasus Bridge with our intrepid Generals.
Today we set up the Pegasus Bridge board with the 3 stage game.
The best part was our new young player who played a short battle yesterday with me and who today played the FULL DAY.  Thanks to his Mum and Dad who saw the light in his eyes and let him play for the day. This is an impressive effort from an 8 year old, energised by the excitement of playing a fun wargame.
Part 1 was the initial assault with the first glider of 28 veteran tough fighter British Airborne including Major Howard verses the much outclassed inexperienced shirker Germans defending the bridge.
Although over matched, the German challenge was to cause as much casualties as possible.  Our new recruit did much better than me in our test games and only lost about 10 men.
The reduced squad which close assaulted the bunker
The end of this game had the second glider landing and once all opposition was cleared rushing along the bridge ready to confront the awakened German defenders on the other side of the bridge.
Although they were also inexperienced shirkers, the Germans were in cover and all facing the open end of the bridge.
So it was a matter of charge ahead and get in range for more close assaults.
It takes a bit of practice to ignore all the guns facing you and charging right in.  The veteran tough fighters were able to minimise their own casualties until they ploughed into the defenders and defeat them in close assault.
At the end of this part the survivors had to reposition themselves and wait for the German counter attack.
We're ready!
Once more our new player did better than me and there were enough troops to mount a defence. 7 order dice across about 20 men to stop the German counter attack with a Marder III, 2 10 man regular squads, 2 8 man Volks Grenadier squads, a sniper and 3 man HQ.
"Hold until relieved" were the orders, and even though Major Howard died in a heroic frontal assault in game 2, the British held out.
Great fun all round.

Overall we have continued to enjoy ourselves supervising the demo games.
Stop shooting me and let me fire back!
The other game had Russians vs British (we ran out of Germans with the rather large requirement of the Pegasus Bridge game).
In the photo to the right the Russian T34/85 had 4 pins as he was being fired at by the Cromwell, 6 pounder and PIAT for continuous turns.  No penetration, just pins.

Tomorrow we will have the same boards for more of the same.

Thanks to all the guys who popped over during breaks in the tournament.  It was great getting to meet the real people behind the names I had liaised with on Facebook and the forums.
The strong and supportive Bolt Action community, consisting of fellows spread across Australia, is a great feature of the Australian Bolt Action scene.  Keep it up guys!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Cancon day one review

The Stone Hotel about the be boarded
We have survived day one.  Sore feet and weary throats bode poorly for our state by Monday evening.
But we are pretty happy with how it has gone.  13 players joined our games, most having played only one or no games of Bolt Action before.
Every game ended with smiles and satisfaction, with plenty of tense moments as plans failed and dangers were averted.
We set up last night so we could start pretty promptly at 8:30am when the public started coming in.  The day built up and we had the two tables going non stop.
I'm just leaning on my post laying my banjo.  Don't shoot me.

We had a handout for all players and spectators which showed a selection of our "eye candy" - the collection of interesting bits which enhance the table enjoyment.  If you have a close look at the photo here you can see the War Memorial and also a fellow leaning against a light pole playing his banjo.
It was a pleasure to see so many players and spectators lean down and take photos of many bits of scenery and some of the well painted figures.
The Hold Until Relieved board with the Stone Hotel complex centre piece was a great board for players with past wargaming experience.  The challenges of fighting through the building with all of it's myriad rooms and stairwells required some special rules.
These stairs are Mein!
Our special rules for the Stone Hotel (and other large buildings with detailed interiors are:

  1. All movement in the building is as per rough ground. i.e. 6 inches.
  2. All firing has hard cover protection.
  3. All Close Assaults are with intervening terrain so both fight at the same time.
  4. Squads can split fire across rooms, but must be on the same floor.
  5. 2 weapons per window or double windows can have 3 or 4 weapons depending on the width.
  6. Movement is determined by just using your tape measure.  Wrap it around up to 6 inches.

These rules worked out really well.
Men pouring in from all sides, with the objective flag on the back steps.
Our other board was the Battle for the Beer Factory which had plenty of challenges too, with lots of lines of fire.
Tomorrow we have the Pegasus Bridge board and a Battle for Little Big Town. More photos tomorrow.

The sore feet and weary throats are worth it all.  The boys and I have really enjoyed the games.  Even operating as advisors we have all still gotten involved in the games, riding the highs and lows with the players.

Now on to tomorrow!

PS: You may be interested in our planning battle report for this game too.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A couple of Germans for Cancon

Danger! Paratroopers!
We are almost ready for Cancon and just finishing a few final bits and pieces.
At around 00:18 June 6, 1944 Private Romer, an 18 year old schoolboy who hardly knew how to fire his rifle, was guarding Pegasus Bridge.From out of nowhere he saw 22 British airborne troops in their camouflaged battle smocks, their face grotesquely blacked, giving the most eerie sensation of a blending of savagery and civilisation, ready to fire their Stens, Brens and Enfields. Romer could see in a flash, by the way the men carried their weapons, by the look in their eyes and by the way their eyes darted around that they were highly trained killers. He turned and ran shouting "Paratroopers!" at the other sentry as he passed him. That sentry fired his Verey pistol. He was the first German to die defending Hitler's Fortress Europe.
(Taken from Pegasus Bridge by Stephen E Ambrose)
I'm out of here!
Later on Private Romer and a couple of others hid behind some bushes for about 36 hours and when the fighting had calmed down, they surrendered, very happy they didn't get shot.
Considering we will be having the big Pegasus Bridge battle, Peter wanted to make a small memorial to these first defenders of the bridge.
Right, who needs a bandaid?
In preparing the army lists for use in our games we have reworked several armies.  Due to some point changes in the Bolt Action army books, we had some changes in units which meant we could fit in a German Medic.  So Peter quickly whipped up this fellow, made from a Warlords plastic German, with a British backpack as a satchel and some paper as the satchel's strap.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Get the Church to the convention on time

Perfect to fight over - but don't disturb the parishioners.
An important part of any town is the parish church or cathedral.  Many model churches seemed too small, too expensive or too solid (what's the point of a building you can't fight in?).
We found a great church at Game Craft Miniatures.
It is MDF laser cut and a very simple design.
There is a short video showing how to put it together, but after putting together a 4Ground building or two and Pegasus Bridge, this was very easy.
It is also very good value at $42.50 (US dollars) plus shipping.
As this was built for wargaming, we had to put in some strengthening.

  • We glued it on a MDF sheet to give structural strength and an excuse for some extra scenery.  
  • We added in supports for the roof as we wanted it to lift off and place chappies inside.
  • We added in a platform in the tower so men could be placed at the tower window.

"That's a nice cross Daddy" approved by the 3 year old.
These made the building very robust.

But being a very simple MDF design we wanted some texture.
This meant adding some bits of cardboard to the Tower edges to serve as stonework.  Then we painted the exterior with textured paint inexpensively purchased as a sample pot from the paint store. We added a cross at the back entrance and built a crucifix at the top from an old crucifix we already had spare.
Game Craft Miniatures also gives the additional options of shingled roofing and stained glass windows.
The shingles worked out a treat and look very effective.
We have not yet put in the stained glass as we have plans to do the interior with inner wall, back room, pictures on the walls, altar and all the important bits that make the building a church.
I wonder where we will put the sniper?

We have finished the church up to what we consider "Stage 1".  This is enough to use on the table top and enjoy, but we are looking forward to Stage 2 for the rest of the trimmings.

The service was very good and pricing quite reasonable.
I'm sure you'll see this feature appear in a number of battle reports in the future!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Cancon - let us know you're coming

"Landing" the Horsa way.
As you should be aware (see our "Almost There" post or the "Cancon" series of posts), we will be running public participation games every day at Cancon from Saturday 25 January to Monday 27 January. We figured we would take on whoever wanted to join in as they came along and run a player's roster on the day.
But we have been getting interest from people wanting to know if they can book in times.

Our principle aim is to get brand new players, especially young lads, into wargaming, but we have structured the games so we can have multiple players. So if you are coming to Cancn and want to join in, let us know by leaving a comment to this blog post. Tell us your first name and last initial (no need for full names on the Internet) and when you will be around.

We will be starting at 9am each day and gaming till 5.30pm.  Game timing is typically 2 hours or so with breaks between games so we expect game start time of about 9am, 12pm and 3pm.

"Go! Go! Go!" yelled Major Howard.
The timetable:
Saturday - 2 boards, probably 5 or 6 games depending on demand and play time.

Sunday and Monday - 1 huge 6 ft x 8 ft table.

  • Battle for Pegasus Bridge.  

This is actually a 3 part game where players can join in for any part.
We will also have a second table for anyone that wants to get in a quicker game using 700 points which equates to about 90 minutes.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Cancon - almost there!

T-shirt and hat. Yeah!
There are only 2 weeks to Cancon and we are almost there.  In less than 12 months we have gone from Bolt Action newbies to being ready to run lots of public participation games at Cancon 2014.

If you are coming to Cancon and want to try a game of Bolt Action, drop by.  We will have space, even if we have to set up another table for you!  We want everyone to give Bolt Action a go.

To let everyone know who is running the games we will al be wearing the same coloured T-shirts each day. (Different shirt per day as this is Canberra in Summer in a tin shed!)
We have the hats to distinguish ourselves and enough spares for players to wear too.
Combined with name badges it should not be too hard to chat with the responsible people running the games.
Our resources include Periscopes, Turn Counters, Rulebook index, Ready Reference sheet,  Dice bags and Unit Cards.

We have the boards with all the appropriate terrain including:
Winter Board (Battle for the Beer factory), Stone Hotel, and the double board Battle for Pegasus Bridge.  We have made Hedges, Buildings, Ponds, Roads, Trees, Sandbags, Objectives and more.

And of course we have had to build, organise and paint the armies.
British 1000 point army:
The 1000 Point Army
 The standard 1000 point starter army is incorrect as it includes a Medium and light mortar in contradiction of the rules.  So we swapped a medic for the light mortar for the same points.
Posing dramatically around an objective

The medic
The German 1000 point start army:
1000 points as per the box
 The standard starter armies provide a good mix of infantry, armour and AT guns.  This has taught us a lot about each of the various options before we started experimenting.  Playing out the battles on the table top has shown that many troops fight better - or worse - than our reading suggested.
The MMG with action flash!
 Although MMGs are considered overpriced, they still play a useful part.
The squad posing beside the objective and Hetzer.
The 1000 point Russian army:
A mass of infantry and a mean T34/85!

The pose in front of the war memorial
The 1000 point US army:
1000 points on a little diorama

The pose in front of the WWI memorial
The standard 1000 point starter army includes a M3 Halftrack.  We felt this was a complete waste of points being open topped and transport, so we replaced the halftrack with a bazooka and 57mm AT gun.
Bazooka and 57mm AT gun
We have also created about 1,100 points of British commandos/light infantry for the raid on Pegasus Bridge and extra Germans for the same battle.
Add in the Australian army, Japanese and US marines and we have been quite busy over the last 12 months.
See you at Cancon!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Updated Bolt Action Index

An index and a bookmark!
We have updated the Bolt Action Main Rulebook index after some intensive testing. It is now clearer and the right size to fit inside the book and serve as a bookmark.  Many of the rules are referenced under different headings so hopefully you will find the rule quickly.
It fits perfectly on two pages ask prints well double sided.  We trimmed ours and laminated it as we use it so often.

You can get a copy of the Bolt Action Index here.


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