PHOTO RECAP: Arctic Thunder playtest, 7-9-21

Looking forward to Archon this year, and I’ll be running Battleground WW2’s classic module “Arctic Thunder,” in which a platoon of Soviet NKVD forces go after a downed plane in the Finnish wilderness, only to be attacked by several families if enormous ice trolls. It was the first BGWW2 module I ever played, and it was the module that prompted me to buy the BGWW2 ruleset, which I still have and which I still believe is the best skirmish level wargame ruleset I’ve every played. That said, when I tried to run in two years ago at Archon, I got zero signups. So, I thought that converting it to the newer and more well-known Bolt Action ruleset might get a few players this year. Here’s how things went:

The NKVD started at the southern end of the board, heading toward the down plane, which was easy to see. There was an ancient ruined church in the middle of the valley, but no Finns – a lucky break.

It wasn’t long, however, before groups of angry ice trolls emerged from their caves, ready to defend their valley from the Soviet interlopers.

Upon spying the trolls, the Soviets rushed for the relative safety of the plane, and called up their armor support, a single KV-1.

High explosive rounds from the KV-1 took out several trolls, but they kept pouring out of the caves. It looked like the Soviets would be overrun.

Concentrated rifle fire kept the trolls bottled up in the old church.

Behind the plan and next to a small ridge, the NKVD riflemen decided to make a stand.

The trolls charged into the teeth of the Soviet rifles, taking significant casualties.

The command squad came under heavy fire from the trolls, as immense stones and tree-sized spears reained down upon their position.

The ridge from above. Second squad moved up to support First, and provide covering fire against a group of trolls that were attempting to flank the ridge rifles.

The troll clans were moving forward but without the speed of the Soviets, and often found themselves in the open, vulnerable to Soviet rifle fire.

The trolls won big here against the KV-1: the first spear lodged in the turret mechanism, wedging the turret in place; the second spear pierced the armor place and entered the crew compartment, killing several tankers. The KV-1 was down.

Grenades proved effectives against the trolls, who were attempting to close the distance and bring their claws and teeth to bear. Several Soviets went down against the troll onslaught, but slowly the trolls sustained loss after loss.

The riflemen on the ridge look out over the corpses of the brave but not bulletproof trolls, turning their rifles down the ridge toward the flanking troll clan.

Shocked by their losses, the troll-king’s clan retreated to the safety of their caves, giving the Soviets a victory.

The final battlefield. The equivalent of a Soviet squad lost, but the trolls took far more significant casualties.