Chicago Dice was back in force for Bolt Action at this year’s Michigan GT, an annual event held in Lansing, Michigan. This was Ben’s first time at the GT and the second year for Andrew and Dexter. In a hall filled with hundreds of gamers playing dozens of games, the Chicago Dice Team was in the heart of the action.
Game 1 – Key Positions
Andrew’s highlight: My game against Bruce was something I never thought I’d see – Italians vs. Italians. My highlight from this game was the whole game itself! Bruce and I both played aggressively for the five objectives and neither player was able to get the upper hand. It was just refreshing to play a game were both players wanted to immediately get stuck in and engage. In the end a few horrendous dice rolls followed by a foolish decision led to narrow win for Bruce.
Result – Loss
Ben’s highlight: My first game was against Paul, the third Italian player at the GT this year. He ran a cavalry heavy list centered around a Major, with the intent of making big plays with the four-die “Snap To!”. We only had three objectives on the table, in a fairly even line across the center. My reserves were very slow to arrive, with my pistol squad and their truck waiting until Turn 6 to show up. Early on it looked like Paul was going to sweep me out with heavy cavalry charges, but sheer grit, a little luck, and some aggressive late game plays let me claim one objective and nearly force him off to claim a second, but his Major allowed his Autoblinda to remain in range to contest the middle objective despite being set on fire by a flamethrower and taking a morale check with 5 pins on it. Very close and excellent game.
Result – Draw
Dexter’s highlight: Soviets, why did it have to be Soviets to start the day? I rolled out with a small mechanized force this year and ran into a big ol’ 15 dice Soviet platoon. It was about as hard as my opponent could make it. We ended up with three objectives across the middle of the table, half forest and half small town, the objective in the town was solidly on my side of the board. My opponent spread across the board, with his infantry heavily invested in the leftmost objective. I deployed a mobile force up the middle, out of line-of-sight from most of his force which allowed me to move and respond while also forcing him to engage me with only two of his units at any given time. We smashed into each other for the whole game. In the middle, it was thrust, flamethrower counter-thrust. On the right side my small Grenadier squads pushed off the objective and eventually turned the flank allowing me to focus on the center objective and a spoiling attack on the left most objective. At the end it was 1-0 in my favor, two contested objectives and the rightmost solidly in friendly hands.
Additional thoughts, acing a Soviet mortar with a 251’s MMG on the opening shot is satisfying. Use your mobility to feint and do it hard, deploy aggressively, hit ‘em once while positioning for your escape, then roll out to your real objective. Works better in theory, but it’s very doable in Bolt Action on the table as well.
Result – Victory
Game 2 – Pitched Battle
Andrew’s highlight: Just a brutal game against Jeff’s U.S Airborne. I was once again reminded of how difficult it is to kill Vet. infantry – especially if they are in a building! Even though Jeff overran my Colonial infantry as they tried to hold the center, the Italian cavalry came swooping in on a deep flanking run to save the day and equalize the score. Top moment has to go to Jeff’s lone Bazooka team member firing a single shot, while pinned, at long range, at my Autoblinda and blew the armored car to smithereens.
Result – Draw
Ben’s highlight: The second game was killpoints against Jay’s force of Finns, who despite being a historic minor power are absolutely horrifying in Bolt Action. I deployed heavily on my right flank, utilizing a town and some ruins to push forward into his fairly limited force on that side. I made a couple mistakes, at one point moving my pistol squad too far forward allowing them to be assaulted in the open, then to compound my problems he held with a squad after being hit by a flamethrower and the flamethrower then ran out of gas, taking my 3-1 die lead and turning it into a 4-4 tie going into the final turns. He managed to keep one squad of veterans alive and Down with 8 pins on them. Another close game!
Result – Draw
Dexter’s highlight: I got to play Bruce next and hot damn his two platoon Paracadutisti list is a doozy. I love twin Armored Cars, should have thought about that… anyways, we ended up playing kill points with Bruce having twelve order dice to my wee ten. We met over an inverted farm if you will, wheat fields with heavy stone walls between a town and a row of burned out houses. Half of our forces began on the table, I threw out my LMG squads and he came at me with his infantry, from go he had me on the back foot. First die of the game went to his sniper, who did a little 360 no scope to eliminate my sniper, leaving me down in score and way behind in dice right off the bat. I went for a withdrawing left flank to try and suck Bruce’s veterans into the town where my flamethrowers could eat him up. I was smoked immediately, he pinned a few of my forces to the town with his Paras. The regulars and team weapons swung to engage my left flank, over the course of the match he would eat up my flank and fight me to a draw with an outstanding final turn. Bruce was a great opponent and that list was very fun to face off against, twin Armored Cars but no doubled up team weapons, he used his teams very very well, kept them safe in a kill point game and used each to solid effect.
Result – Draw
Game 3 – Manhunt
Andrew’s highlight: I gotta hand it to Bob – he played the mission perfectly. The deployment and terrain had my back against the wall from the get go. At the end of Turn 3 my LT was trapped between a massive building containing two enemy units, 40 Partisan infantry on the left, an impassable river to the front and a four-man Partisan cavalry squad to right. The first die on Turn 4 was Bob’s and he simply assaulted my Lt. with his cav, and just like that, game over.
Result – Loss
Ben’s highlight: It was widely agreed that Manhunt was not a great mission selection for a tournament. Game 3 I played against Germans run by Drew, who was running a mechanized force with small squads and five total halftracks. I won the roll and chose to be attacker, and on an open table with my truck-heavy force it was a done deal. Turn 1, three trucks rolled up on the woods in the center of the table and unloaded a squad of SMGs, a squad of pistols, and a rifle squad, pouring fire into the German defenders, then the first die pull of Turn 2, the SMG squad made a 6” assault onto the LT and ended the game.
Result – Win
Dexter’s highlight: Game three Bastogne is ON! Matt brought an American Paratrooper Force. Matt was a much nicer guy then me, he also messed up and brought an artillery piece. Where I dropped the Nebelwerfer (I’m mean occasionally did you see all the flamethrowers?) to upgrade my squads and teams to all Vet, Matt dropped his light arty and took a medic. Way nicer. We played Manhunt*, I was the defender. I dug in to the town and Matt assaulted me, it was about as straight forward as you could ask for, right up until I came on his long board edge with a flamepanzerwagon and my LT just walked away from his forces. In the end Matt valiantly was slaughtered to the man. My MVP goes to a squad of five vets in some rubble that held off many times their number in a series of close fought assaults. During which my LT walked into a ruin mostly ending the game.
Final thoughts on the tournament: Mechanized just doesn’t quite work. But, in this tournament where things like tanks and artillery were not allowed, it almost worked. I think that my future forces are much more likely to contain a small mechanized element in them. Some engineers and assault troops muahaha! Flamethrowers are still under costed on vehicles, but not worth restricting any more.
Result – Win
*I’m going to hop on my soap box really quick. There is a mission called Manhunt, it’s a core rulebook mission and is fine for a scenario. Please god it has no place in tournaments, it is straight shite.
Ben took home Best Minor Power General, Dexter snagged Best Axis General and Andrew won Best Painted. Needless to say, the team is thrilled with the results!
Huge thank you to Michael for running a smooth, well organized and on-time event. Thank you to Jon and the Warlord team for the prize support and shout out to Cody – the only player to go 3-0, taking home Best Overall! The Chicago Dice Team will be back in 2019!