February 24, 2014

Gathering in the Desert 2014: Recap

Gathering in the Desert February 22nd-23rd, 2014

This past weekend was Gathering in the Desert 2014 and it was hosted at Imperial Outpost Games.  GitD originally started back in 2008 as a 'Lord of the Rings' tournament with the final LotR event taking place in 2012.  Tim K the organizer of the 2014 GitD was taking a new approach this year with 'Bolt Action'.  I have not helped/attended GitD since 2010 (nor any large event since 2010) so when I found out GitD will be played with 'Bolt Action' this year, that got me back into gaming last month and the start of my Soviet Union army.  So with only 2 games under my command, my son and I were heading into the tournament.  My plan was to use GitD to play 5 games, have fun, learn the rules better and to meet up with some old friends.

With GitD 2014 being the inaugural year for Bolt Action, there were 14 players that had signed up for the event,  7 Axis and 7 Allies with 4 of the players coming from my old hometown Chicago.  Tim's plan was for each Round that it would be Axis vs Allies.  I was obviously playing my Soviet army, and my son (since his US army is not done yet) was playing one of Tim's German armies.

When we arrived Saturday morning at 9:00 AM, the store was all set up, tables ready to go, and the battles to begin at 10:00 AM.  There was going to be 3 games played on Saturday, and 2 on Sunday.

As I entered IOG with all the tables setup.
Table 1
Table 2
Table 3
Table 4
Table 5
Table 6
Table 7
All the tables looked amazing and I want to thank everyone that was involved making the terrain.  I will be 'stealing' a lot of the ideas from the tables for my own 'garage table' so my son and I can game.

Onto to the battle reports, I wont go into too much detail, just some quick highlights.


Game 1
Scenario: Recon
Objective: Exit the opposing sides table edge.
Special Rule: Night Fight
Armies: Soviet Union vs Germany (Kyle T)

In Game 1 were playing with the special rule add-on for night fighting.  This made it very difficult for anyone too anything to shoot, which I knew was going to cost me.  One other thing that hurt me in this game was not taking advantage of the 'outflank' rule for 'reserves'.  Since I was still learning the game I did not want to get too involved with the advanced rule, but since the objective of this game was to get more models off the opposing sides edge than your enemy, 'outflank' would have been very beneficial.  Early on in this game a German Fallschirmjager unit with 4 Panzerfausts shot at my T-34/85 tank and easily destroyed it (that was going to hurt).  With the night fighting rules it was very hard to kill units.  The Germans were able to open a hole on my right side of the table and at the end of the game managed to get 2 models off the table.  The Soviets lost the game 2 models to 0.

Game 1
Game 1: Soviet T-34/85 destroyed.
Game 2
Scenario: Maximum Attrition
Objective: Destroy the enemy.
Armies: Soviet Union vs Germany (Robert B)

This past weekend I had two awesome games that I have ever played in my life and this was one of them.  Not because I squeaked out a victory (ok, that may be a small part), but my opponent Robert was just a very fun opponent to play against and helped me to understand the rules even more.  In this battle you scored 1 victory point for each enemy unit killed and you had to score 2 or more victory points than your opponent to win.

This game was tight the whole way.  I jumped out with a quick kill when my T-34/85 tank destroyed the German Wirbelwind tank, but from then on the game was basically a draw till the end.  The unit that one the game for me was my 'free rifle squad', these guys were able to take a Flamethrower team giving the Soviets a narrow win.

Game 2: T-34/85 destroying the German Wirbelwind.
Game 2: Soviet riflemen wading through the river.
Game 3
Scenario: Take and Hold
Objective: Control more objectives than the enemy.
Armies: Soviet Union vs Germany (Dragi V)

The final game of the day had me paired up against my son for a Take and Hold battle.  Going into this game I was 1-1-0 and I was really hoping (expecting) another victory.  The Soviets could just could not hold the objectives.  A few mistakes on my part in prioritizing some of my orders had hurt me, other than that my son out right beat me.  The Germans ended up controlling 4 objectives and the Soviets controlled 1.

Game 3
So at the end of day 1, my record with the Soviets was 1-2-0 and my son with the German army was also 1-2-0.

Once all 3 games were over for the day, most of us headed out for a group dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery, it was a great place to relax, drink some good beer and enjoy the camaraderie with the other players (even though half of them were the enemy).


It was now time to finish up the last 2 games of the tournament and hand out the awards.

Game 4
Scenario: Top Secret
Objective: Seize the objective and carry it off your table edge.
Armies: Soviet Union vs Germany (Chris T)

As I mentioned above in Game 2 with Robert, this was the second game of two that I enjoyed most, and probably the most fun game I ever played in my life (even though I had lost).  Chris's German list was a well balanced list and were basically equals on the battlefield.  I knew this game would come to a blood bath in the center of the table near the objective marker.  The Soviets were able to control the objective first with a Guards Squad and was all setup to do some hand offs the following round for a victory.  The turn after seizing the objective, the Guard Squad had 4 pin markers on their unit and were doing an order test to 'advance'.  With the Senior Lt. near by they only needed to roll a 7...........an 8 was rolled and the unit had to go 'down'.  By failing to advance and the hand the objective to another unit to run with it, a German unit assaulted the Guard Squad and won the fight.  The Germans now controlled the objective and had to make run for it.  The Soviets did all they can do to stop the objective...... the Germans were only 11.5" away from their table edge and a German dice was drawn from the cup..... the game was now over, the German unit passed their ordered test and ran off the board.  It was a very hard fought battle with an awesome opponent.

Game 4: Soviets approaching the objective marker.
Game 5
Scenario: Demolition
Objective: Destroy the enemy base.
Armies: Soviet Union vs Japan (Jeremy W)

I had one battle plan entering this game and if it failed, I knew I had to fall back to my tactics of when I played Imperial Guard in Warhammer 40K.  The objective was to destroy the enemy base and protect your own.  The game would end at the end of the turn that the opponent was touching the enemy base.  Playing against Japanese for the first time.... I knew they were crazy and had to get into assault.  My battle plan was to take my T-34/85 tank and destroy my enemies base.  I was able to deploy my tank near a road, I was going to take advantage of that road to move at double speed to the enemies base.  The tank encountered a unit of Japanese infantry on the way and assaulted them, but with the Japanese having their 'banzai' special rule, they automatically passed their test and my tank just continued on right by them.  The T-34/85 was now only 3 inches away from victory.  The next turn, the Japanese assaulted the tank and was able to immobilize it.  There went my battle plan for the game.  Now I had to go to plan B which was to keep my units protecting my own base (which I kept 3 Guard Squads and my Senior Lt. to protect it).  The Japanese spent 2 turns trying to destroy my tank, causing it to be on fire twice but never knocked out which I think really hurt them.  The Japanese infantry probably should have just concentrated on advancing towards my base.  With my units protecting my base, I had kept them on 'ambush' orders through out most of the game.  As a Japanese infantry would approach, I would jump out and destroy them.  This had worked in my favor and was able to take a full Japanese infantry unit and and Flamethrower unit.  We managed to play through 6 turns of the game and rolled for a Turn 7...... the game ended..... it was a Draw for both the Soviets and Japanese.

Games 5: T-34/85 approaching the enemy base.

So I ended the tournament going 1-3-1 and my son finished 1-4-0.  We now got to chit-chat with some old friends while we were waiting for all the scores to be tabulated........

Best Sportsman: Robert B (very well deserved)
Best Painted Army: Brent S (also well deserved, you can see him US army HERE)
Best Overall: Jeremy W (with his Japanese)

Once Tim gets some relax time in, he will be posting all the results and winners of awards on the Gathering in the Desert site.

As I mentioned last week after my first two games of playing Bolt Action..... I really enjoy this game... I love the 'period of the game' and I like the simplicity of the game.  Of course there are still questions that arise, but for the most part it is very easy to play.

Now it's time to continue painting and playing some games with the locals.


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