Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bolt Action at Recruits 2013

This was the Field House where the convention was held at Lee's Summit High School
If you read the previous post you would have seen that Jim Finneran and myself both ran Bolt Action events at Recruits.  It worked out great where we could help each other out.  We were both bouncing off rules questions, game situations, etc. between us.  This really helped me out.  I also got great tips on how to build a better board next time thanks to suggestions and ideas from Jim.  Can't thank him enough.

Anyway, Jim ran Bolt Actions sessions 1, 2, 3 and 4.  I ran Bolt Action in sessions 1, 2, 6 and 7.  Jim had this great idea to have a log in sheet which I will incorporate into my next demonstration games.  Just by the pictures below you can see that we both had a great turnout.

I ran an Italian scenario pitting squads of American GIs against smaller Veteran Squads of Germans.  The first scenarios we only used infantry units.  Then added a vehicle on each side later.  The rules are very easy to learn and everyone was pretty much moving on with minimal questions.

We covered all of the basic functions of the game.  Moving, firing, Hand to Hand, vehicles, etc.  We were at first a little weak on using HE but I think we have it worked out.  Many of the players had purchased the rules but have either never played or maybe played once.

Some comments that I will send off to our friends at Warlord Games:
  1. Can you give an advance order then have the unit Fire and then Move?  If it was legal I would enforce the move penalty (non USA).  I did ask Andrew at Warlord and got the answer.  But wanted to let my NCO Warlord Brothers know about it if it came up in their game.  Answer: Currently that is not allowed.  The unit must move then fire.
  2. If a unit runs or advances into a building our of LOS of an ambushing unit, can the Ambusher fire on them.  So it seems if the unit advances into the building they can elect to fire.  Then I would allow the Ambusher to fire first.  If the unit ran into the building they would not be sticking their necks out anyway so I would not allow the Ambusher's to fire at them since they didn't see them enter the building anyway.  Any comments would be welcome.
So here are some pictures with captions explaining the action.

Jim's Demonstration Table.  2 x 4 foot with room for troops and
dice rolling.  A small 2 x 2 gaming area in the center.  Perfect for a quick lesson!
Jim's other table for his "students" to play in an actual battle.  
This was his Tarawa board placing Marines against a couple of
squads of Japanese Troops, MMG, pill boxes and a tank.
Here is my BA Battle board.  It is collapsable.  One side folds on
top of the other.  We of course remove all of the terrain except
for the walls around the house and other field. 
We had 6 players in the American/German battle.
Everyone had a great time. 

Another view of my battle board.
Marines taking the beach.  Jim made these palm tress from scratch.  
His board texture is made using Durham Rock hard water putty.
The sea wall was made with wooden dowels.  It all looked great!  
Jim providing another taste of Bolt Action.  
Soon Jim had players jumping on his Tarawa board playing by themselves.  
Jim going through the rules
Americans and Germans fighting it out.
All three Bolt Action tables in action.
We took this picture because because it was an excellent Bazooka
shot on the Pz III coming out of the woods.
Once the Pz III went down, the Sherman was free to roam.
Americans moving quickly to take that house. 
Germans moving through the woods.
Americans getting into position

RECRUITS - Great time!

Lee's Summit High School - Recruits!
Doug and I just returned from Recruits in Kansas City.  The drive took a little over 9 hours but the I70 drive as you may know is pretty straight and flat.  Doug brought along an Audio book about the Mongol Empire.  It really made the time move along.  A couple of fuel and food stops on the way and we were in Kansas.  We stayed at a Fairfield Marriott about 2 miles from Lee's Summit High School.  It was a very nice place to stay with everything you needed between us and the School facility, i.e., restaurants, stores, markets, etc.

We were more than pleased with the whole trip.  This Con felt larger than our local events here in Denver.  I have to say what really made this Con was the hospitality of the Staff and all the people we met.  I can't wait to go back.

Nick Wilkowski coordinates Recruits.  Nick and his staff were so helpful.  The whole event was very well coordinated.  By the way, signing up games for the event was effortless.  Whoever handles their website and signup forms needs a pat on the back and our event leaders here in Colorado should take note.  Besides the registration staff they had members on the floor making sure all of the games were moving along and the Game Masters were taken care of.  They also had a snack bar at the Gym entrance which served up pizza, hot dogs, cookies, drinks, etc.

Nice Snack Bar
Entrance to Gym straight ahead
Recruits is scheduled in 3 hour sessions.  So they had Sessions 1 through 7 from Friday Evening to Sunday morning/afternoon.  They suggested that if your game took more then 3 hours simply sign up for the next session to make sure you had enough time.  So Doug and I ran Bolt Action in Sessions 1, 2 and 7 and an SDS Napoleonic in 5 and 6.  Well we did one SDS in 5 and Bolt Action again in 6.  Everyone had a blast.

Surrounded by Dealers 
Friday Afternoon setup 
The entry fee was $5 for the entire weekend.  There was no fuss with tickets and what events were open of closed, etc.  You simply showed up at the event and played.  I didn't see many people held out of any games.  The whole process was well coordinated.

The gaming tables took up the entire Basketball Gym with the dealer tables all around the edges.  It was a perfect setting playing your battles and able to get up between turns and walk up to a local dealer.  I was looking for the 40k guys so walked around a bit.  I noticed people going down one floor which basically is below the floor we were on.  Well, there they were, the 40K tourney in all its glory.  A very large space and couple of dealers that focused on Sci Fi were also there.  Very nice setup.

Tables starting to fill
As you know they used to have Spring and Fall Recruits but have decided to makes this a larger event and concentrate on the one.  As this event gets larger they will probably invite more Dealers to attend.  I know Bill Daniel and John Wharrier have been trying to get more of us from CMH to attend and now I can see why.  I mentioned to Nick that I would definitely be coming back and hopefully in force with more CMH and CSGA players playing and putting on games.  He also mentioned to bring stuff to sell.  He had a good point because he mentioned that they see a lot of the same stuff year after year.  We have the same situation so it would be great to inject different items for sale and trade from our clubs.

We did run into Bill Daniel and Todd Pressley.  It was great seeing them there.  And I met many new friends!  Dave Franklin, Bill Cauble, Larry Armin, Geoff McHarg, Phil Flores, Conrad, Mark Lueckenhoff, Jim Finneran to name a few.  It was so good to meet all of you!  I know we will be in touch and will be throwing dice with each other again soon.

I put on a Bolt Action Demonstration Game.  The board build was on my last post if you want to check it out.  We had a lot people interested in playing Bolt Action.  Jim on his demonstration boards and my battle board always had players throughout the Con throwing down dice, asking questions and really, everyone picking it up pretty fast.

So that is it in a nutshell.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Swashbucklers!  By Jeff "Gully" Gullion
Wind in the Wires (WWI)  by Steve, Ed and Chris
Freeblades by Jon Cleaves (Todd and Bill were in this battle)

Steampunk Battle by Jason and Kim Wilborn
Lobositz by Mark Pretzel (Geoff, Doug, Dave and Conrad)
Bolt Action - Jim teaching a demo game
Jim introducing more players to Bolt Action while the previous "class"
went on to play on his excellent Tarawa Board.
Pirates! - Raid on the Spanish Main by "Gully"

More of this excellent setup!
French and Indian War by Chris Cluckey - Beautiful Terrain!!
54mm figures fighting on this work of art Terrain.
More views
French Indian War
Great job Chris!

Boxer Rebellion by Bob Davis
Bolt Action (Todd, Geoff, Dave, Doug, Bill) We had a lot of fun!
Jim's beautiful Tarawa Board.  Marines taking the beach working their
way to the command bunker!  I also played a couple of games on his table.
More Bolt Action!

Monday, September 2, 2013

RECRUITS Bolt Action Board

Here I go again building out another gaming board.  A few ask why I keep building these.  Well besides the time it takes which is Therapy to me it actually is much cheaper in the long run for me.  I just hang these up on a closet wall and the next time I play it takes only minutes to setup for a battle.

Here is the usual framing.  I took two 2 x 4 foot sections, already cut from the local Home Depot.  This time I built up a 3 inch rail on three sides of each board and a two inch rail where I would join the boards together.  I will talk about that later.

After Power Grabbing the Foam sections and elevations to the board I cover with the usual Plaster Cloth.  Just shoot water and smooth it out.  I always have my vehicles, buildings, troops around for scale and to give me more ideas as to what I am trying to create.

Here is a look at the boards together.  I also added the Wooden and Pegs and holes at this point.  The concept is to be able to remove the trees, buildings, etc and place one board on the other using the pegs.   I will add the locks, handles and two wheels at the very end of the build.

I was going for more elevation(s) to make Line of Sight a little more challenging.  Bolt Action and any Skirmish Game system really takes that LOS seriously.  

Again, my new best friend is Tile Grout (Earth Color) to cover the plaster.

It goes on easy with a trowel and wear gloves!  It already provides a nice texture to it.  

Had this idea to buy some walls and then said, "wait a minute!, what about all this foam board you have laying around.  So I cut 3/4 quarter inch tall strips to create my walled fields.  You can also see the roads I put in.  That is simple Spackling putty and using some tape for the edges just smeared it on to get the paths I wanted. 

Roads got a Brown base and a lighter highlight at the end. 

Yes I wanted to get a more Spanish or Italian looking board and the Pine Trees may not be correct but I go a good deal on them at Caboose Train Store.  

The Buildings I believe are Miniature Building Authority.  Here again I am getting ideas and making sure the infantry have a good feel regarding the height of the walls.  

I got some Coco Matt from Tony Fryer, thanks Tony, using that stuff really makes a terrain board pop!

On the walls I smeared some Liquidtex Cereamic stucco available at the local craft store.  When that dried the walls got a black base and two shades of gray to give them a stone like texture.  

And then had this idea to hot glue some lichen to give it a semi bocage, hedge, vine growth kind of thing on the walls.  

Starting to shape up!  Note that the forest will be "unplugged" and bagged when in transport along with the buildings.  

This walled area will get full foliage on the walls while the other a little lighter.

The Building on the hill in the foreground was scratch built by Mr. Tony Fryer.  The interior even has wall paper and wood floors.  On this hill we are going to put the Ruined Farm that comes in the Bolt Action Normandie Starter Box.  

There is that house to the right that we will probably will not use.  Not about that dried up stream.  I saw some pictures when looking up Italy and Spain and one of those pictures gave me this idea of a dried up stream.  So I painted in some "puddles," dropped some rock and some wood pieces in there, then poured the liquid water and let it dry over night.  I also added some twigs from the backyard to make a makeshift foot bridge.  We will be creating a small forest path from this point to the road in the forest. 

A word to the wise, make sure you do your streams either before or after flocking.  Just make sure it is COMPLETELY dry.  I learned that lesson long ago.  It can make a mess when the stream is wet and you decide to start blowing off the excess flock.  Oh yeah, I did that in my early days...

Looking through the Forest from the road.  I was worried about having long open LOS.  Looking here if a tank got to that point in front of that wall it would be able to catch a vehicle coming around this bend.  Any further behind that wall the terrain drops a level or two which will make it difficult to setup that far away.  

And here is my Jedi painting, terrain, and everything hobby Master, Mr. Doug Wildfong.  He has been doing this for a long, long time and he knows his stuff.  He came over to my house with various flocking material and ideas to bring the terrain board to life!  

Doug will be running the Bolt Action games with me at Recruits.  We are also driving from Denver together, both our first time to this convention.  

As the work continues I mark the tree holes with screws so that we can flock away.  Probably a good idea to use the screws when in transport making it easier to insert the forest.

So here we are close to the final phases.  That stray field up left on that hill is where our ruins will be going.  And we are looking maybe to add some hedges or more trees on some open areas.  We should wrap this up in a couple of days.  Also note that I will be running some Napoleonic Skirmish in 28mm on the same board.  We plan to move a few things around and presto, some mano y mano skirmish combat.  
 I will update the blog showing the board hardware, wheels, handles, locks, etc.  Please stay tuned, join this blog to get the next updates over the next couple of days.