I played my first Bolt Action game last week using some of the Winter War minis and terrain that have been built at the club. The game pitched roughly 1000 points of minis on both sides with the Russians fielding two tanks and hordes of inexperienced infantry and the Finns fielding 5 regular infantry squads, a small veteran squad, a HMG and an antitank gun.
The goal of the game was for the Russians to break through the Finnish side with them gaining 2 points for every unit through and 2 points for every destroyed Finnish unit. The Finns on the other hand gained 2 points for every Russian unit destroyed. The game was to last 7 turns, but we ended up stopping at the end of turn 6 when it became apparent that there was no way that the Russians could win or even tie the game.
We made some small alterations to the rules to better reflect reality. All belt fed MG's received one more attack dice to make them feasible and the requirement for a second crewmember was removed from magazine fed LMG's. In addition we use a special rule for Winter War russians to reflect the mass wave assault tactics used by them. Any Russian infantry unit destroyed can come back on the board as an inexperienced infantry unit according to the rules for reinforcements.
The game started out with a small Finnish force preparing to hold against the Russian onslaught. Preliminary bombardment by the Russians was fairly effective causing a lot of pin markers on the Finns. The first turn involved the Russians blasting away at an exposed Finnish unit killing their NCO and LMG gunner and causing further pins, which pretty much put the squad completely out of action for the rest of the game.
Finnish reinforcements start arriving with a HMG team and an antitank gun taking positions on the flank and a rifle team moving up into the cover of a forest to be in position to shoot at the approaching russians.
Finnish rifle fire starts taking a toll on the attacking Russians with most units losing men and acquiring a lot of pin markers. Commissars are busy at work motivating the men forward with shots to the back of the head.
Russian attacks manage to wipe out the Finnish HMG on the flank, but counterfire from close by rifle teams wipes out the offending Russian unit. Thanks to bad reserve rolls the destroyed units only manage to come back on turn 6 meaning that they have no chance of reaching to Finnish lines.
The game ended a clear victory for the Finns with a rifle team and the HMG destroyed while the Russians lost 6 rifle squads and most of the other were in no shape to push forward on the attack. The scenario didn't really afford the Russians too much of a chance even with the Human Wave special rule as the Finns could just sit back and blast away at the closest teams. The lack of artillery and mortars really hurts the attacking side badly as they are lacking a reliable way of putting in pins and smoke screens on the enemy. And even sides really favors the defender a lot especially if the attacker splits his forces like the Russians did in this game.
A nice game and the rules seem to be quite quick and easy to play. Rules wise it's a bit weird that there is no way for a team to be prone and fire as they either go down for cover or then fire in full sight. We really need more support weapons as especially the attacker is really in a bad position without any supporting artillery