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Category: Tricks

An Ultra-Cheap Bolt Action Army

Allow me to present a thousand point Bolt Action list for the poverty stricken!

Bolt Action is a great 28mm World War 2 game from Warlord Games and one that our gaming group have decided to jump straight into. We love it!  It’s nice and dynamic, quick to play and a really good change from the I go, You go of a lot of other games.

You’ve heard good things about it, right? You want to get involved but the children, wife and cat must be fed, the bills must paid and you cannot start another system…! Right? Well, that need not be true. One can get a decent 1000 point force for very minimal outlay. Warlord Games do excellent starter sets for the main belligerents for €85. They get you all the plastic troops you will ever need, a tank and a second vehicle, anti-tank gun or howitzer and some support weapons. This single purchase can be used to form the basis of your entire collection or, indeed, it could be your only purchase.

But wait, €85 is still too much, you say. Well, there are other options…. Perry Miniatures produce a plastic Afrika Korps box and a plastic Desert Rats box. These boxes come in at around €22 and contain 38 of the highest quality miniatures and all the bases you need. Let’s have a look at what kind of list we can make out of the Das Afrika Korps box to start.  Our gaming group is using the 1000 point, 12 dice limit of the latest Warlord Tournament Guidelines so that makes list design pretty simple

No matter what you do, you can’t jolly up a swastika.

First thing we need is a leader: We’re going to go with a Veteran Second Lieutenant and give him one extra guy.  This give him an ablative wound but keeps him as a small unit for the +1 to hit them.  This comes to 78 points.
So points spent: 78 Order Dice: 1
Bolt Action is primarily an infantry skirmish game so it’s the poor bloody infantry that do most of the fighting.  BA is also very suited to multiple small units but because of our 12 dice limit we are restricted a little in this so we’re going to go with four squads of medium size with a mix of experience levels depending on their roles.
Our first squad will be a work horse squad, they will have a close combat bent and will be expected to find the enemy and take objectives etc. We’re going to go with 8 Veteran guys with 5 SMGs and antitank grenades which come to 135 points for a nice hard hitting close range squad.  We like symmetry in our lists so we’re going to do this twice.
Points spent: 348 Order Dice: 3
We’re going to need some units to put pin markers on things to allow our forward element to advance, to that end, we’re going to build some nice base of fire squads.  They’re not likely to be quite as much in the thick of it and they’ll taking advantage of any buildings or other cover about so we’re going to go with Regular troops. This squad is all about hunkering down and putting a pin on something so we’re go with a bare minimum 5 guys with a LMG and one SMG.  This comes to 73 points and again we’re going to take two of these.
Points spent: 494Order dice: 5
Next we need some support for our infantry.  Killing tanks is something that we’re going to have to consider.  We’re going to be low on high AT value weapons so we are going to take a Forward Air Observer.  This can be a bit dicey but the fact that we have no tanks ourselves to suffer from any unlucky friendly fire means we think it’s a good bet.  We’re going to take a Regular FAO and give him one guy to keep to him company.  That’s 75 points and will kill the opponent’s precious tank stone dead if it gets the chance.
Points spent: 569Order dice: 6

Next we’re going to take a Light Mortar and Medium Machine Gun.  The Light Mortar mightn’t be the best unit in our book and, frankly, we’d prefer a medium mortar but a little bit of indirect HE is still not to be sniffed at.  The MMG is better and taking advantage of the ‘Hitler’s Buzzsaw’ special rule we’ll enjoy an extra shot. We’re going to make them Veteran to keep them in the fight as we intend getting these up in support rather than having them sit on the back edge.  Another 111 points gone.
Points spent: 680  Order dice: 8
Now we’re going to take a Regular Sniper and a Medic with friend.  The Sniper is solid gold.  He gets +2 to hit, ignores cover and we’ll be choosing the victims of all his wounds.  We love him.  We’ll make him regular as he’ll definitely be hiding somewhere.  The medic will save a wounded guy in any unit within 6 inches on a 6 and is basically the cheapest order die we can get – sign him up!
Points spent: 768  Order dice: 10.
We’re going to take an Anti Tank rifle team now.  You may think this is rubbish… but you are wrong.  With its +2 pen is can put a pin on vehicle, kill soft skins and at 39 points for Veteran is a steal.
Points spent: 807 Order dice: 11
Now, if we’re honest, at this stage we’d probably take a tank, armoured car, howitzer or something else tasty. Because of our budgetary constraints, we can’t do that, so what we’re going to do is go back and add a fifth infantry platoon.  This may not be a bad option as tanks can be white elephants in BA and it really is infantry that wins the game. We going to go the whole hog with this squad– 10 Veteran guys with 2 LMGs, an SMG and antitank grenades.
Points spent: 1000Order dice: 12
So there we have it, a 1000 point, 12 dice list. Now granted we’ve hit 51 infantry models but we’re pretty confident that you’re going to able to find a friend who’ll split a second Perry DAK box with you. All done then for a fraction over €22!  Is the list perfect and fully optimised? No.  Will it be fun to play and have a decent chance in the 12 dice limit environment?  Yes.  The great thing about the above list is that the addition of just one or two units would make it very effective –  a medium mortar, an armoured car or maybe a decent tank but you have the core of a good list that’s playable right out of the box. 

Next time we’ll see if we can perform a similar trick with the Perry Miniatures Desert Rats box. 

Pythagoras and You

Proud to present a rare treat from OnTheStep.net’s Bristolscale7. A veteran Warhead you’ll be seeing Bristolscale7 cruising the Irish scene with his new Grey Knights!!

Below we have a standard Grey Knight castle in a pitched battle or spearhead scenario. Three psyflemen* dreadnoughts castle behind three razorbacks. The dreads are tall enough to shoot over the razorbacks but obscured enough to receive a cover save when taking return fire. They are accompanied by a librarian with the Shrouding psychic power which improves the dreads’ cover saves to 3+. If you come within 24” of this formation you will be subjected to withering stormbolter and psycannon fire.

How should you proceed? For the sake of this article we’ll say that you do not have sixty outflanking genestealers at your disposal. Instead, let’s assume you play the ever popular space wolves and bring fifteen missile launchers to the table. The trick is to deploy your Long Fangs beyond the range of the dreads but within reach of the razorbacks. Turn the GK castle into a prison! Your Long Fangs can take solace from the 6th century Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras.
Granny always says that pretty teeth and book learning only get you so far in life, but we all know the older generation is as thick as pigshit, so let’s see what he has to say. The Pythagorean Theorem, for those of you who slept through math class, states that a^2+b^2=c^2 where c is the hypotenuse of a right triangle and a and b are the other two sides. Like so:

We know that the table is 48” across, and because we were observant and jacked up on Red Bull during our opponent’s deployment we know that the most vulnerable razorback is five or six inches on to the table. Thus if we put a missile launcher one inch onto the table in our deployment zone he will be 42” away from the razorback and about 45” away from the nearest dread—not far enough. The Pythagorean Theorem can tell us where to deploy our precious Long Fangs such that they will be within range of the razorback but safe from those meddling dreads.

In our triangle above we know that the length of A is 42” and we know that we want the length of C to be 48”. We adjust the formula accordingly to b=√(c^2 )- a^2 and when we crunch the numbers we get just over 23” for side b. Deploy the Long Fangs one inch onto the table and 23” to the right of the razorback and they’ll be ready for action.
What’s that you say? How the @#^& are you supposed to be know where 23” to the right of the razorback is without pre-measuring? There are a number of possible solutions to this problem. If you are playing a seize ground mission perhaps you demonstrated foresight and placed an objective as close to the corner as you could—12” from each table edge. You now have a visual 12” measurement to work with. If you are playing either capture and control or kill points you’ll have to estimate the distance. If the deployment is spearhead you will know where the center of the table is and where 12” extends from the center. If all else fails a razorback is just over 4” in length so try to visual a line of five of these extending from the target razorback. The most obvious solution is to get good at estimating distance—you know like Fantasy players used to be able to do before they got to pre-measure everything.
Next time I’ll show you how understanding this can allow to control the outcome of a dice roll
– BristolScale7
*Grey Knights Dreadnought armed with two twin linked autocannons and upgraded to include psybolt ammunition.

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