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Bolt Action - learning the rules AAR

Last week I played my first game of Bolt Action with my friend. We played a skirmish using my house rules for skirmish play.
 Basically the rules remain the same, but individual figures are given orders instead of whole sections.

 Whenever we play a new set of rules we play through the game by reading through the rules & practicing each major ruling before going to the next stage.

 With this in mind I "chucked" some scenery on the table to block a bit of line of sight and we begun playing through the various phases of the game.

 Using my Alternative History as the background for the game I played the evil Chinese, while my Friend played the Heroic Australians.

 The distance between the troops meant we were able to practice allocating orders and movement before any combat occurred.

The Chinese deployment

The Australian deployment

Chinese dry fire and movement

The Australians advance

The Australians take cover as the Chinese open fire on them

Both sides advanced and the Chinese initiated the firefight, pinning the lead Australian scout.

 Returning fire, the Australians kill one of the Chinese and pin some of the others.

The Chinese casualty meant that some of the Chinese were outside the command radius, meaning I had to move those troops back in to command. This put a bit of a dint in my attack as I had to draw my left flank in a little.

 We ran out of time for the game, mainly due to talking after catching up for the first time in over a month, but the Australians won on body count alone.

 We found the rules worked very well. They are simple enough to learn and play, yet give enough scope for tactics and the initiative system can cause some tense moments when issuing orders.

 There are a lot of people bagging 'Bolt Action' but I don't see what their gripes are all about. The few things I wasn't so happy with I changed. Simple. See an obstacle and climb it.

 Maybe these nay sayers need to do just that - build a bridge and get over it.

 We intend to play a lot more games of Bolt Action, especially as it is easily adaptable to other periods.  I would like to play more games using the Australians vs the Chinese, but there is a general lack of figures in the Chinese range that will make this a bit hard to do.

 Hopefully I will remember to take more photos of the next game as well.

Gaming updates

In my last post I mentioned some things that arrived in the mail; now I have some photos to go with it.

First up is a photo showing a sample of the banana trees I purchased for my Vietnam game:

 And yes, they are as shocking to the eye as what you see in the photo.  Fortunately they lose the nuclear appearance once a bit of paint goes on them.  I have painted one up as a test and will post photos once I have based a few up ready for my game.

 The trees are just a bit taller than the 28mm figures, but they will do nicely for placing around my Vietnamese village for my games.

Next, I have some 28mm Gangster figures for my "Mad Dogs with Guns" game.

 I have painted two of the tommy gunners. One represents one of my gang members, and the other is a generic opponent.

And I painted all of the police figures that came with the tommy gunners:

 I am not so sure what to do with the bases for these figures, so painted them a grey colour to represent concrete.

 Since I purchased these figures I picked up some extra ones on ebay from an Australian seller; some female civilians, some sleuths (including the 'not Tintin' and 'not snowy' the dog) and the pack of gun molls.

 This will add to my gang and allow me to put civilian figures in harms way, which is part of the rules, so I am pleased with getting these figures.

I also purchased a crypt rather cheaply that is made by GW.  As per every thing GW there are too many spikes and skulls on their models, but fortunately I was able to cut the spikes off the top of the crypt to match my tastes a bit better.

 This will be right at home in a grave yard for my Strange Aeons games, and I really should paint up the Heresy Miniatures ghouls I have floating around somewhere.

 There is still the photo of the well I am painting up for Strange Aeons, but I want to finish the whole thing before displaying this.

During the week I was also able to get a introduction game of Bolt Action in with my friend, and I took a couple of photos. 
 I will make another post in the next day or so about this game, as it deserves a post of its own.

a few goodies in the mail

This last week has seen a few hobby items turn up in my letter box.

 First is issue 3 of "Shocking Tales" for Strange Aeons. This arrive last week and has some interesting things in it.

 There are new rules for Psychic agents, but it is very hard to actually get to use them in a game, so some house rules may be in order there.

 The majority of the book is dedicated to three "Black Dossiers" (read scenarios linked together) which isn't that useful for my games, but within the Dossiers are stats for giant insects, man eating plants, Dunwich denizens and a Servitor.

 The Servitor allows me to dust of an old cthulhu miniature of a servitor that I had lying around.

 Also in the mail earlier this week was a crypt that only cost me about $3.50. This was one of the crypts from warhammer. As with most of GW items there are too many skulls on it, but it will do the job I want for my Strange Aeons games.

 When I was ordering the crypt I also found some banana trees, so I ordered those at the same time. I now have some banana trees for my Vietnam game.

 My Copplestone Castings Gangsters and Police arrived today, and just in the nick of time.

 I have been creating spreadsheets for my "Mad Dogs With Guns" game and started the campaign.  The first scenario I will be playing is the "Showdown" scenario, which pits a single opposition gang member against one of my own.

 So now I can play out the campaign turn with some actual miniatures.

 Painting wise I have started painting something I purchase over a year ago; Reaper Miniatures "Well of Doom" miniature.  This lovely, um, figure is a well with four tentacles coming out of it.

 I purchased this to use as a "scene of horror" for my Strange Aeons game.

 Photos of all will be posted soon.

Mad Dogs With Gun - my Gang

One of the fun things about "Mad Dogs With Guns" is creating your own gang.

Using the rules I have put together a gang, and I will use this post to record each character, and display the image of a figure I intend to use for each character.

Reading over the rules I have decided to create a gang with an Irish theme.

As I will be wanting to name each character, I created a name generator of Irish names so that I didn't have to struggle to come up with names.

To create a gang I have $1000 to spend on hiring and equipping the entire gang.

The first to be created is the Boss.  The Boss is free to hire, and I decided to use the dice rolling system to create him.

 I purchased a Gun Moll and an Accountant, as all Gangs need them.

An Enforcer makes up the Boss's Right Hand Man, and I had enough cash left over to hire two Hoodlums, two Sluggers and a Punk.

All figures shows are the intended figures from Copplestone Miniatures that I want to use to represent my Gang.

Claire Murphy - Gun Moll

 Ronan Fitzpatrick - Accountant

Patrick Hyde - Enforcer

Fergus Gallagher - Hoodlum 
Darcy Fitzgerald - Hoodlum
Martin McGrath - Slugger
Sean Doyle - Slugger
Reilly Magoo - Punk

 I have two packs of figures on the way that I ordered before buying the rules, one of which contains the "Hyde" figure and the other some policemen.

 When I get the figures I want for my gang I should have enough left over to make an opposition gang for scenarios which will be good.

Mad Dogs With Guns - a review

For years I have wanted to play 1920s & 30's Gangster games, put have never managed to get into the project due to a number of factors - no figures, no scenery and no rules.

 Earlier this year fellow blogger cmnash sent me a copy of issue 57 of "Wargames Soldiers & Strategy" magazine that featured 1920's Gangsters. I read every article relating to the topic within the magazine several times, purchased my first Gangster figure, and then did nothing further about it.

 Until now that is.

 Very recently a set of rules was released called "Mad Dogs With Guns" that is in PDF format. The teasers online was enough to catch my attention and I wanted to know more.

 I asked a question about the game's campaign system on TMP and the author of the rules promptly replied, as well as letting me know a printed version of the rules was released.

 After umming and ahring about the pros and cons of getting either the PDF version or the book version I decided on the PDF set.

 Regardless on the format of the rules, I am glad I purchased them, as they appear to be a simple yet enjoyable set of rules.  Disclaimer - this is based on reading the rules and creating my gang for game play.

The basics of the game are very simple - game turns are based on drawing cards to see which side gets to activate a figure or figures. Once an action has been decided/acted on, another card is drawn.
 This allows for one player to potentially have more than one action in a row, making for some tense moments - such as when your Boss is out in the open trying to get in to cover and a group of enemy hoodlums are closing in on him.

 Two joker cards are in the turn deck, the use of which ends a game turn. This can mean a turn ends before some of your figures get to act for the turn.

 The basic game mechanics are very simple - roll a die vs the relevant stat of the gangster making the action.

 If the result indicates a success, roll a die to see the outcome.

Creating a Gang is a bit of fun too.  Each player has a budget with which to hire and equip gang members. You can either use pre-generated gangsters, build your own or roll dice to determine the make up of each gangster.

 A variety of Gang themes are provided from an Italian Crime Syndicate, to tough Irish Gangs and even Chinese Tongs. Players are free to choose the background of the gang they outfit.

A good number of scenarios are provided in the book, with players fighting to gain the most loot. Loot is important, as it allows you to hire new gang members, bribe officials and improve the gang members you already have.

 If your gang becomes "too successful" they can expect a visit from the Police or the G-Men, and this is covered in the rules as well.

 A simple yet very effective campaign system is included in the rules, and this was the key selling point for myself.

 I love a campaign.  I especially love to create characters for a game and follow their 'career' as they struggle to survive each scenario.

After spending money collecting figures, painting them and making the scenery to go around them I want to get my money's worth and maximise their usage. The best way to do this is play a campaign.

 The fact that "Mad Dogs with Guns" has a campaign system was very important in my decision to get the rules.

 The campaign system in "Mad Dogs with Guns" is designed to get the maximum mayhem and violence out of the rules possible while players attempt to expand their empire and take control of the city.

 Players can hire and bribe city officials, wage war on other gangs, expand their business interests, or fight to hold on to what empire they have.

I also feel that it would be easy to play this game solo. The scenarios certainly can be played solo due to the card activation system, and I am already thinking of ways to use the campaign system for a solo game to.

So, if you have ever wanted to play a 1920's Gangster wargame please consider "Mad Dogs With Guns" - PDF version can be purchased at Wargames Vault/RPG Drive through etc.

My next post on these rules will be to present the Gang I have created for game play.