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Polar Vortex 2017 – Operation Wendigo After Action Report with MadDog

Greetings wargamers! MadDog here with an after action report!

 

Let’s start off with a BIG Windy City thank you to Dan Zedan of Draxtar games and Seamus Hamrin (AKA Weekend General) for running another awesome event. Once again, under the General’s leadership, the tournament went smoothly and without a hitch. Fun was most definitely had by all players!

I have something I’d like to cover before I get into how the day went. It appears that Version 2 of Bolt Action is finally starting to be understood by the community and gamers are getting the hang of all of the changes to the system. This was definitely a change of pace for me as my last tournament was Dragonfall, which was the first tournament with Version 2 rules.

So, moving on to Operation Wendigo. Thanks again to Seamus for running ANOTHER fantastic tournament. Just like World at War last year, Operation Wendigo was a great success. This was my second tournament using the Armies of Germany book, and I selected a somewhat mid-war list.

 

One First Lieutenant with an assistant.

One Artillery Observer.

Two full Rifle squads.

One Medium Machine Gun Team.

Two Half Tracks

And one (dun dun dun) Tiger I.

My entire list was Veteran, which is a very big change for me, as I’m used to running regular and inexperienced Soviets. The only Veterans I’m used to using are my T-34s and my Soviet Assault Engineers.

It definitely made a big difference in my units’ toughness, which is to be expected with 5+ to wound. It also made a big difference, naturally, in leadership tests. Utilizing my 1st LT, I was able to keep most of my order checks at 10, however, I did have a grand total of three FUBAR order checks throughout the day. Twice in just the second game.

And if you’ve ever played against me, you know, that’s just how I roll.

Another thing I’m not used to running is up-armored transports. I will typically use soft skinned trucks for my Soviets, which are very fragile. So, having my units transported in 7+ was yet another change of pace for me. I will say, I am of the opinion that half tracks are still getting somewhat of a bad rap. Even though its tracked and it’s movement isn’t that of a truck, the points value and up-armor makes them worth bringing to the table. As always, just be mindful to utilize cover as best as you can and be careful not to park it in front of an AT gun, and you should do well.

In Version 1, I became fond of using the Soviet IS-2, for its high damage HE capability on infantry and it’s armor value. Now, I will admit I was skeptical about the transition to templates for HE weapons in Version 2, but I have certainly come around. The Tiger I definitely ranked as my MVP for the weekend, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The extra shot with the hull mounted MMG proved more useful than I initially expected, but the Super Heavy AT gun was truly devastating when it hit. Which, of course, is to be expected.

 

Game 1: Sectors – Rules set from the Main Rule Book

This game was very fun. For anyone unaware, the table is divided into quarters and opponents deploy on opposite quarters. This is much more dynamic and fun for me than just setting up on long table edges and marching forward. The objective is to hold as many quarters at the end of the game with extra points for holding the enemy’s deployment quarter. This is a really cool concept and adds a lot to the game.

I played on the aptly named “Burma Board” against a beautifully painted Chindit Army and its General, Andrew Verticchio. My Germans seemed somewhat confused while fighting Brits in a jungle with funny hats.

I started with my fastest units on the board to try and take what real estate I could, then hopefully sit and wait things out. This was a somewhat difficult task for me, as I’m not used to holding tight with Veterans. My play style with my Soviets is very “FORWARD!”. This was my first game using a majority Veteran list, which was nice as I had troops survive past the second round!

Once my Tiger came out to play, I placed him near the left side of the board, so I could use it as cover for another fast unit in a half track to rush into the enemy table quarter and secure more points. Which, in the end, worked very well and the units on this side of the board were unable to deal with the Tiger.

Here is the fast attack unit I moved up the left side of the board. The units on this side of the board were unable to deal with any armor at all, even just the 7+ half track, which was another situation in which I was very glad to have the armored transport, even if it was somewhat slow moving at 9″-18″.

Moving up was a grind, but I had units in the enemy zone and the neutral zone. The game resulted in a German loss as General Verticchio had units in my deployment zone as well; just more than I had in his.

 

Game 2: Surrounded – Rules set from the Main Rule Book

This was another very fun game with a very dynamic concept. I, of course, rolled low and the enemy General, David Leonard, won initiative. So my Germans were surrounded. We played on my Hydra Airfield board which continues to evolve and has things added to it each time it’s brought out.

I risked preparatory bombardment damage to have the Tiger out as part of my initially deployed force. Along with a half track and an MMG Team, I positioned myself nearly dead center of the board, hoping to use a wrecked T-34 as cover and setting up fields of fire. Which mostly worked for the first part of the game.

This rules set allows for reinforcements to be brought in from any table edge, with one minor exception. General Leonard set up his main force mostly on his table edge, while having his artillery piece lie in wait for the proper opportunity.

I should have realized what opportunity he was waiting for and continued to deploy my force from my table edge, as the exception to the deployment rule was simple; only one table edge could be used per activation. So, along comes the artillery piece, and it had my Tiger’s tail pipes in sight.

Tiger fear meant nothing to this brave artillery crew, but something got into the main gunners eye! The shot was a miss!

The Tiger’s retribution was swift and decisive. Enough said.

 

Game 3: Scalps – Custom scenario and Rules set

Now THIS was a cool game concept. Thanks to Seamus for throwing this together. Your objective is to get your lieutenant some scalps because apparently you owe him 50 scalps. The cool twist to this is each individual unit gets a “scalp” when it destroys another unit, BUT, if that unit itself is killed, you don’t get credit for the scalps. 

This was my fastest game of the weekend. We powered straight through and it was a bloody match. My artillery observer got a kill at the beginning of turn 2, and in order to keep that scalp, he moved behind cover to keep the point.

Much of the game was a stalemate as the board was somewhat constrictive. Lots of ambush orders and waiting. Using outflank, the enemy was able to get around behind my Tiger and was the first to kill it. It took a lot of fire and ended up being mostly stuck for a good portion of the game.

 

After all was said and done, I came away with 3rd place over the weekend. And, following the theme of things we all expected to happen, Mr. Duane Zoldak won the illustrious and highly sought after Zoldak Sportsmanship Award. Which at this point, I’m curious about what might happen if there ever comes a day that he doesn’t win his own award. As we all know, he wrote the book on winning the Sportsmanship Award.

And here are the rest of the winners with yours truly taking home third.

All in all, another amazing tournament with a couple new faces and some familiar ones as well. The community we’ve built here in the Chicagoland area has become very close knit and I can’t wait to see everyone again at the next big tournament. If you’re in the Chicago area, check out the Facebook page Chicago Bolt Action.