It didn't involve tennis in any way, shape or form however. Rather it was my first ever game of Bolt Action, Warlord Games' table-top wargame set during the years of the World War II.
|The field of battle - we deployed along the right hand table edge|
I've played Warhammer 40K before a few times, but never tried Bolt Action. Despite the epic nature of the game (6000 points per side on a massive 10' x 6' table, and almost 12 hours of play) I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed myself, and found the game rules simple to pick up.
I took control of the forces of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and my team-mate took on the role of the US Army. Arrayed against us were three friends controlling various factions of the Russian Armed Forces. Over the 6 turns of the game we battled for control of three victory points and finally emerged victorious.
It became apparent that we would win the battle pretty early on, to me at least. Our opponents made some tactical errors that we took advantage of by working as team.
|The British forces, ready to deploy|
We piled all our forces on at the start of the game, meaning that by the time our opponents had brought their reserves on in turns 3 and 5 we already had control of much of the board. This was helped by pushing the US Rangers forwards at an accelerated pace. Knowing our opponents would field a lot of heavy armour we used light scouting tanks as tank-killers, placing them initially on high ground.
|Initial deployment of the Allied forces|
The Russians placed their tanks in a wood, meaning their manoeuvrability was restricted and making them easier targets. The enemy also failed to utilise their high ground properly, fielding only a single sniper unit on their hill, which meant we could move more troops to the center ground victory point.
|Let battle commence!|
The British heavy artillery did their job (despite losing one spotter early one, which limited the effectiveness of one of the guns). With a spotter in the tower of a hilltop church I was able to direct my fire over the hill and into the town of Caerentan where another victory point lay. One shell penetrated right through to the ground floor of a building and exploded, destroying the building and two large units that were hiding within in one foul swoop.
|An artillery spotter in the tower calls in strikes against the town of Caerentan|
A call to off-field artillery by a forward observer unit thinned the numbers in the town, which were then mopped up by my Churchill tank. The Crocodile variant of the tank came with a flamethrower, which proved very effective in clearing buildings of enemy.
The US Rangers followed up and the Caerentan victory point was captured with little loss.
|Russian armour deploys in the woods|
The Russian's failure to use their high ground and late deployment of troops meant that the north most victory point remained secure for the duration of the battle. I simply sat a load of troops next to it on Ambush, and apart from a brief skirmish with the enemy sniper they were never called into action.
|US tanks and allied troops use the high ground|
The final victory point was captured by the British Commandos, swarming onto the bridge after the way had been opened by the US Rangers. All told it was a decisive victory.
|The Allies surge towards the central victory point on the bridge|
That's not to say that the enemy didn't have some successes. Their sniper team kept us pinned down for a while and took a lot of effort and time to defeat. A late-deployment of a flamethrower team and flamethrower tank took out a unit of US Rangers. Overall however there were few losses suffered by the Allies.
|Smoke rises beyond the bridge as Russian tanks move out of the woods to defend it|
So, I had a great time and I'm definitely looking forwards to my next game. Hopefully we'll have fewer units next time so that the turns can move more quickly (over 100 dice in the bag, and over a minute per die meant that each turn lasted a long time!). Thanks to Jim for hosting, to Rich my erstwhile team-mate, and to Dave and Chris for being graceful losers!
Here are some more photos.
|A single Russian sniper team (on the hill to the left) holds off the Allied forces|
|A US M24 Chaffee scores a hit against an enemy tank, which blazes in the streets of Caerentan|
|US Rangers, equipped with anti-tank grenades assault a Russian tank|
|Another enemy tank falls!|
|Enemy armour, aflame and destroyed, litters the battlefield|