Back from Operation Sting 2017, Andrew and Ben highlight some of the key moments from their games.
Game one – Meeting engagement
Andrew: My first game was against David and his Brits. The highlight was an exchange of indirect fire. I was feeling good when, at the top of second turn I destroyed David’s super-heavy AT gun with a 6-to-hit from my medium howitzer. But, my happiness was fleeting as on the next die, David landed a 6-to-hit from his medium mortar onto my medium howitzer and destroyed it. We were off to a roaring start! I was able to finish with a win after a fierce late-game filed in razor’s edge close-assaults and clutch plays. Operation Sting had begun!
Ben: Game one I faced off against a Japanese force with a mixture of regulars and veterans. The board was Pacific themed, a board I’ve played on many times. The left side was taken by the USMC, with flanking maneuvers performed by my LVTs in order to deliver my veteran engineer and raider squads into close range of several IJA squads. Unfortunately both of my flamethrowers managed to miss their shots and then run out of fuel in the same turn, giving my opponent a kill credit for the individual flamethrower team and causing me to spend more resources destroying the remainders of the Japanese squads. The right side of the board was even less successful for the Marines, as I was able to apply a lot of pins to units and kill off significant portions of the enemy, but with the Japanese having both Fanatic and Banzai my opponent was able to continue rushing across the field until he made it to close combat, slaughtering several weapons teams and taking a lead on kill points. Final tally was 7-4 in favor of IJA.
Game two – Key positions
Andrew: Tough game two against Kyle’s British. The open city ruins board left me with little to maneuver my cavalry and inexperienced infantry around and I suffered greatly to the disciplined rifle fire of the British ranks. My last ditch efforts to assault late-game and secure two of the objectives did not go my way and I went down with a lose.
Ben: Game two was against Jeremy Williams and his Indiana Jones themed German force. We ended up rolling the maximum number of objectives at five, and placed two on the left, two on the right, and one in the middle in a fairly balanced setup. His Tiger was able to roll across the field without much competition, as my force didn’t include long range anti-tank, relying instead on a bazooka and flamethrowers to threaten vehicles that risked coming close (and even those aren’t all that effective against a Tiger unless you can get around the side of it). I took and held both right side objectives with infantry and LVTs, claiming 2 objectives, while Jeremy was able to claim 2 as well in his back line and the middle objective, while also contesting my left objective and preventing me from taking the win. It was close fought, with the Marines taking the edge in kills but unable to force the Germans off of their objectives.
Game three – Surrounded
Andrew: Game three was absolute insanity. The Confused Fight special rule meant that units could enter the battle from any table edge, resulting in pure chaos. The moments of pure ridiculousness were when Dan’s unit of nine SMG toting Soviets assaulted my medium howitzer crew – and were defeated in close-combat by the crew…wow. Later in the game Dan missed a point-blank panzerfaust shot on the rear armor of the M11/39. My sniper team also managed to miss a medium mortar for three turns in a row. Like I said, game three was nuts. The game ended in a victory for the Italians.
Ben: Game three was against a force of regular Italians. Allied players were the defenders in this scenario, setting up a few units in the center of the board, while Axis players could begin entering from any table edge. The objective of the game was kill points again, and with the possible threat from any flank I set up weapons teams in ruins in the middle of the field, with machine gun teams trained outwards towards both the near and far table edges, as well as a mortar and sniper supported by a rifle squad. One LVT was able to arrive behind my opponents heavy howitzer, unloading machine gun shots before dropping off the Marine Raiders to finish the job with a hail of SMG fire. On the other end of the board, an Italian tank destroyer rolled in and began shelling my center, only to have my bazooka then arrive behind it and fail to do any damage on a point blank shot to the rear armor. His armored car ran rampant through the center but was unable to clear units for the most part, and the Marines edged out a fairly convincing victory overall on kill points.
Game four – Hold until relieved
Andrew: Bruce got no love from his dice in game four. His veteran French Foreign Legion squad managed to FUBAR and retreat not once, but twice. That pretty much sums up how the game was going for Bruce. He was within striking distance of victory all game but could not catch a break. One of the highlights of the game was my inexperienced cavalry squad charging out of the woods deep in enemy territory only to be destroyed in close combat by a four-man medium howitzer team. Clearly, those artillery teams are not to be trifled with.
Ben: Game four was against Jeremy Olsen of Empire of Ghosts. He was fielding a Hungarian force, including a Panzer III, a Panzer 38t, and an armored car (who’s designation I cannot recall). In this scenario the Axis were defending, so he began with a machine gun team and an infantry squad holding the center of the town while Marine forces hidden in the woods began to advance on them. USMC forces came in from both the left and right flanks, with an LVT delivering Raiders to the left side in turn three taking out a squad and a machine gun team before being overwhelmed, and the other LVT arriving on the right, killing off Jeremy’s medium howitzer and disgorging engineers, who had apparently forgotten to bring fuel for their flamethrower again. After their flamethrower died the squad lost it’s potential for anti-tank and was withered down by MG and rifle fire from the Hungarians, who finally arrived after many turns of failed reserve checks. With time winding down and both sides rushing infantry towards the objective, a failed order check on a rifle squad of marines resulted in them FUBAR-ing and running off the objective. The inexperienced Hungarians ended up one inch outside of capture range, resulting in a draw as neither team was able to actually claim it for themselves.
Game five – No man’s land
Andrew: Oh boy. Game five did not go well. John is an excellent player and the Italians got off to a rough start. John played his Gurkha’s perfectly and sent them deep into my deployment zone where I foolishly charged with my cavalry only to have the Gurkha’s put down absolute carnage. All told that one Gurkha unit destroyed three of mine in close combat. It was rough. On the flip side, it took John’s Sherman seven turns to destroy my 15 point artillery tractor, so I had that going for me. All told, I am embarrassed that I didn’t give John a better game. I think that once it was time for that fifth game I was mentally spent and made a few major mistakes and continuous sloppy play.
Ben: Game five was against another force of Germans belonging to Aaron Schmidt. This force was entirely veteran, but was made up of small units and teams that gave them a dice count to match my own at 15 apiece. The 30 die pool meant the game took a while to play, and we had only finished five turns (of a possible seven) when time expired. Early on things were going very well for the USMC, but due to the stubbornness of Fallschirmjager several squads ended up with one man remaining who were able to hide behind cover and prevent me from capturing the dice. The USMC was able to hold an advantage on units killed throughout the game, but late plays from the Germans were able to capture a pair and brought it to a 3-2 final (with a 2-die advantage needed for the win). Had we been able to continue I think the USMC would have pulled the victory due to how depleted many of Aarons units were, but there’s no way to be sure. A very hard fought game!
Andrew: Operation Sting is quickly becoming one of my favorite gaming events. The tables, the armies, the players and the TO’s are all the highest level. The event ran smoothly, the community is incredible, the prizes were amazing and everyone just seemed to be having a great time. It is clear to me that the Bolt Action community is made up of like mined player that are all looking to roll some dice, have a drink and have fun. Even though the event ended last last weekend I am already pumped for next year!
Ben: Operation Sting was a fantastic time as always. Brent and Seamus did a wonderful job of organizing it, and the terrain was excellent, with both new and old tables making appearances. I really enjoyed that the event was limited to 1943 era units/theaters, as we ended up seeing some units and themes that you wouldn’t see regularly at other Bolt Action events. One thing I would like to see next year would be more of the games focused on objectives or other game types, as I personally feel that while it’s fun now and then, going for kill points is the weakest of the objectives in a game like Bolt Action.