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WAAC Attack

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

For some foolish reason, three of us have decided to enter the Bolt Action Welsh Nationals in Cardiff April '23.

As opposed to a friendly historical lists normally used in the games tournaments tend to have a WAAC (Win-at-any-cost) approach to building your army. Not the regular tournament attendees tend to call the casual / historical players rivet-counters, and this post isn't about name calling!

Instead it is interesting the mind shift one has to go through to change your friendly, thematic list (i.e. Western Desert 1942 or Stalingrad) to one that will be able to take one all-comers and destroy them. This learning curve has been interesting and here are a few notes I have from the process.

1) Don't worry if your mix of troops isn't historical - nobody cares in a tournament.

2) What in a friendly club game would been seen as not sporting (mutliple M3 Stuart "dakka" tanks for example) is seen as just a sensible approach.

3) Everything needs a purpose. This seems obvious, but how many times have we all fielded a model because "we like it" or "we own it"... lots! For example, I have a desert camo Matilda II and it is a beautiful tank. However, with a light AT gun and a single MMG it is not going to help me win.

4) In Bolt Action - and check this with your TO about capturing objectives - infantry are the biggest problem. They can hold or contest objectives and also, they can be very difficult to kill. A 10-man squad of veterans in a building are going to put a dampener on your whole day!

5) Kill the infantry... didn't I just imply this above? Thought it worth being explicit about it. Kill the f*****ng infantry. Articles suggest that about 60% of your force should be anti-infantry. Either infantry itself, HE or DAKKA TANKS.

6) Close combat in Bolt Action is a quick and bloody affair. Take units that are effective in assaults are essential. ParaMurkhas (Paratroop Maori Gurkhas - yes a real think in BA thanks to a clitch in the army builder rules!) are the most formidible close assault unit in the game. Equally, spamming squads of Japanese Bamboo Spearman (YES SPEARS) is seen as perfectly acceptable and can win games purely due to the time taken to kill them all. To put these two in context 100 Spearman - 500 pts, 28 ParaMurkhas 500pts.

7) Use DAKKA Tanks. I've mentioned these before but what are they? Simply put tanks with LOTS of anti-infantry firepower. Top choice for the British are M3 Stuarts with twin LMGs, Hull Mounted MMG and turret co-ax MMG (with AT gun but who cares) a total of 18 dice worth of firepower! The Germans can include the Italian M3/13 tank which has 20 dice of anti-infantry firepower etc.. etc...

8) Most important thing I have learnt in building a WAAC list is to forget history. Don't go for a unit that would realistically fought together. Just pick the stuff that kills.

9) Order dice are your friend. For 1,000 points in a friendly game I normal have 8-10 order dice. In a tournament they would aim for 13-15 dice. The order dice let you take the initiative and dictate the course of the battle. The more the merrier.

10) With order dice maximising in mind. Don't take full squads. Yes, there are morale and other benefits of having squads with 10+ men in BA. However, the cost of them goes up quickly and allows you fewer units.

So, while planning for this tournament (or any tournament) shift your head. Don't try and be nice and happy but build a purposeful list with the best units you can afford and make sure you think how large those squads should be.

I'll let you know how we get on in Cardiff, not expecting great things but certainly going to enjoy the learning experience.


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