Into The Crucible…

This past weekend I did something that I had never done before. I took part in a competitive wargames tournament. That’s right…my first. I have been a historical miniatures gamer since 1972 (actually earlier if you count playing with plastic soldiers out in the backyard as a kid). Since then, I have hosted and played in any number of games at events ranging from local game days to large conventions but I had never taken part in a competitive tournament. That is until this past weekend.
The problem was that I really wasn’t interested in the games that were played at these tournaments. Warhammer did nothing for me. It’s a visually beautiful game and I’ve seen some incredibly well painted armies. However, I wasn’t interested in the game itself especially when Games Workshop put out the edict that players could only use their miniatures in the Official Tournaments. I did buy the Mordheim setting book because I got it at a discount. It wasn’t a bad game but apparently not using the Official Miniatures was a big no-no.
When Warhammer 40K came out, I decided to give that a try. It was at least somewhat science fiction/fantasy. I bought a small contingent of Cadian Imperial Guard which I painted up in WWII German Wehrmacht colors. I also added a Space Marine Space Wolves Squad and a small contingent of Sisters of Battle which I thought looked pretty cool. I started playing in the local game stores. It was there that I ran into the WAAC (Win At All Cost) Adolescent Geekpunk. After a month or so of having to stifle my urge to pop their pimples with a two by four, I bailed on the whole scene. It was getting massively expensive any way and I just couldn’t see investing any more time and money into a game that I no longer enjoyed. That was about 15 years ago.
In 2012, Warlord Games in England brought out a WWII game called Bolt Action. I’d already gotten several of their rules and supplements and liked them so I got Bolt Action about a year or so ago. It mostly sat on the shelf while I played and ran Disposable Heroes/Coffin for Seven Brothers from Iron Ivan Games. Once I completed my move to Gainesville, I set up my wargames table. I took a look at Bolt Action but had little playing time with. When the opportunity came up to play in a Bolt Action Tournament, I drew up a couple of US Army lists, packed my toy soldiers and off I went to Orlando.
My tournament experience was interesting to say the least. First of all, all the other players were some of the best people I have ever gamed with. I only knew two of them from previous conventions. The rest were very welcoming and congenial. They are a great bunch of guys and I look forward to gaming with them again.
As for the results of my battles, of the eight games that I took part in I drew twice and lost the rest. As a result of this performance, I came in last and had a ball doing so. My prize was a bag of plastic Army Men. It symbolized the player who had the most fun playing with his toy soldiers.
I will most definitely be back again next year…as for my analysis of the Bolt Action Rules…that will be my next post.
Play Games and Have Fun!

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