Monday, 27 February 2017

Monetizing a Miniature Gaming Blog

To begin, I would like to start by setting the frame. This article is about my experience monetizing my Blog. It is a long post that includes information on what I have done to monetize the Blog, my thoughts on the subject and my plans for the future.

For those looking for advice for their own Blogs, I can tell you that you have to love what you are writing about. It takes a lot of work and when I look at the income from the site versus hourly effort put into the site, I would make more money working extra overtime hours or freelancing my services as a technician. If you are in it just for the money, you might want to consider other alternatives. If you are still interested, please read on to learn about my experiences in Monetizing a Blog.

Making Money Blogging about Board Games and Miniatures Games


I would like to give thanks where thanks is due. It was my wife's idea and her encouragement that had me start the Must Contain Minis website. She encouraged me to start a hobby related Blog for years but it took until 2016 for me to actually listen to her and give it a shot. Let this be a lesson to the married guys out there - listen to your wife. I would have started Must Contain Minis three to four years earlier had I have followed her advice.   :)

I am sure she expected this Blog to take form as a Painting Log of what I have painted and what colours I used. This would essentially be an electronic version of the painting journal that I keep in my studio. A good idea, but I wanted to give back to the gaming community rather than doing just something for myself. To do this, I wanted to concentrate on the same type of content that I consume the most.

That content is online Reviews, Battle Reports, and Company Spotlights of Miniatures Games and Board Games Containing Minis. Why Company Spotlights? Because there are so many awesome small and medium businesses in the miniatures industry that one does not need to limit themselves to just the big three Manufacturers. Part of my mandate from the start is to shine attention on alternative games (and miniatures) and the companies behind them.

Must Contain Minis was launched on May 19 of 2016 with two posts - An Introduction to the Site and an Age of Conan Review. At that time, I had no idea that this site would become so popular (of course, I always hoped it would become popular). In under nine months, I had 120,000 pageviews to the site and a growing Facebook Page following. This attention is extremely encouraging to an aspiring Blogger.

Like many Bloggers, I dream about being able to support myself full-time with this endeavour. Having researched the Web and being a bit of a realist, I realize that it takes a ton of work and plenty of luck for a full-time living off this site to ever become a possibility. Most miniatures related sites don't generate that type of income, so I would like to turn Must Contain Minis into a "part-time" job, making "part-time" earnings. For now though, I am really happy that this website helps support my hobby and gains me access to experiences that I might otherwise not have.

Now, the meat of the article...

Monetizing a Miniatures Gaming Blog


One of the things that I found in this journey is that there are not a lot of web-resources out there about how to monetize a miniature wargaming website. What is out there is more generic and about monetizing blogs in general. Sounds like a good place to start for advice, but most of these sites are trying to sell their readers a product (mostly books or courses on how to monetize a blog). With the sale being the primary purpose of those sites, I found myself skeptical of their products and what advice they give away for free.

As a result, I fumbled around on my own with how to monetize the site. My first attempt at Monetization was through a program called Adsense. Adsense is ran by Google and places contextual ads on a website. Once one has enough content and traffic, Adsense is very easy to add to a Blogger.com website. That said, the first two times I applied for Adsense, I was rejected for not having enough content. With a niche site like Must Contain Minis, one has to have a lot of articles to get approved. I also hear that the traffic has to reach a certain threshold to get approved, but was lucky enough that pageviews was not an issue.

At the start, Adsense drew in about $0.00 to $0.04 a day. Not quite enough to justify the one to four hours I take to write each article. To find something better, I started looking at other options. My next attempt at monitziation was through a website called Project Wonderful. At the start, I was very pleased that I was making at least $0.01 a day and on many days $0.03 to $0.08 a day. Not bad considering that I was making less on Google Adsense.

Overtime, I decided to leave Project Wonderful and go back to Adsense. Adsense was now paying better than Project Wonderful simply because my volume of traffic increased. To gain more than pennies a day, I looked for another way to make money with Must Contain Minis.

The next method of monetization that I tested was the Amazon Associates Program. This program basically allows one to run an Amazon Store on their site and place Amazon Links on their pages. If people click on the links and buy stuff from them, you get a cut. To me, it seemed like a perfect fit. I review a lot of books and rule-sets. Many of those books and rule-sets, Amazon sells.

Of course, there were some drawbacks to the Associates program. The biggest being that you can only set up the associates program on Blogger to one country. Being in Canada, my account was tied to Canadian visitors. This meant that if anyone from a different country clicked on the Amazon link or bought something off of the store, I would receive no profits. Only 11% of my readers are Canadian, so this program was missing a large part of my audience. Over the course of five months, I made no sales. Deterred by the lack of sales, I took the Amazon Associates links off of the site.

To recap, my first three attempts at monetizing the site included Adsense, Project Wonderful and Amazon Associates. Of the three, Adsense produced the best results for me. Even so, I have not yet reached the threshold for my first payout (but continue to get closer). Currently, I average a few dimes a day. It's not much, but it adds up over time.

Then I found another way to monetize my site. This new way was to accept review products from companies. To me, this is a win-win. A company receives coverage on my site that they might otherwise not have received and some of my gaming expenses get covered through the Blog.

The traffic on my website has been good enough that companies were willing to send me Products for Review. It is in reviewing and writing about the products sent to Must Contain Minis that this website has become the most profitable. I keep my reviews honest, up-beat and generally positive. At the same time, I try to provide some criticism about each product. I created a "Sponsorship Opportunities" page so that companies know what to expect if they send products to Must Contain Minis.

To sweeten the deal, I offer an ad bar on the right hand side of my site to those companies that send product. Those ads (in the "Current Sponsors" area) stay up for a limited duration depending on the amount of support given to Must Contain Minis. In addition to the "Current Sponsors" bar on the right side of the page, I also have a "Sponsors and Partners" page where the link will live on indefinitely. For those wondering what determines the order in which the companies are listed, it is based on the aggregate amount of support that the companies have given to Must Contain Minis. The more support, the higher in the list they appear. So far, Must Contain Minis has not received any monetary funds.

Now, I belong to a couple of online groups dedicated to Boardgame Reviewers and Wargaming Bloggers. One of the topics that comes up in both groups is the issue of Monetization. One of the more interesting discussions in the Boardgame Reviewers group surrounds the topic of taking payment for Reviews.

Some Reviewers have taken the interesting route of charging the companies that sent them games for reviews (a cash fee on top of the Review Product). That is a route to monetization that I never came to my mind. It is great that they can get companies to agree to this, but for me - I have no plans to charge companies for Reviews. If I have a product that I am interested in, I will review it. If a company sends me the product that I am interested in, I will look at it, review it and write about it. My yearly budget for miniatures has been $200 to $300 a year. With those kinds of funds, one cannot buy many products to review. This makes me more than grateful when a company wants to send review products to Must Contain Minis.

Please note here, I have mentioned a few times that when I take in products for review that the items need to capture my interest. That is part of the reason why my reviews are mostly positive. For the most part, if Must Contain Minis is reviewing a product - then it means that it is a product that I already like or a product in which I am keenly interested. If I reviewed everything, there would be negative reviews; however, I am selective in what I take on as a project in my hobby time.

I want to give a quick piece of advice for fellow Bloggers wanting to set themselves up as Reviewers. No matter your position on whether you count products sent for review as a form of payment, the government sees it as payment for an anticipated service. This is true with both the American and Canadian Governments. This means that if you take a product in for review (especially one you request), you have to pay income tax on that item at its full MSRP. Keeping Must Contain Minis above the board as a business and knowing this piece of information helps keep me discerning in what products I take in for review.     

So far, I have found taking in Review Products as the the most profitable way to monetize this website. Despite what some people think, these products are not free. I have to pay income tax on the MSRP and companies that send the products expect me to write about them and photograph their products in some way. A lot of work goes into these posts. On the flip side, this has been a fantastic way to acquire products that I have always been interested in but have not yet purchased.

The second most profitable monetization method for Must Contain Minis has been Google Adsense. It is easy to set up but it requires a lot of web-traffic to pay out.

Accepting review products and using Google Adsense are two forms of monetization that I plan to continue on Must Contain Minis. I also plan to experiment with other methods to see how they work.

Future Experiments 


As I stated earlier, I would really love it if this website could draw in a "part-time" revenue to help sustain myself and the hobby. Because of this desire, I will be attempting a few more forms of monetization to see how they pan out. Please feel free to leave comments on how you would feel about these experiments and if there are certain actions that you would support more than others.

The next monetization scheme that Must Contain Minis is planning on is another Affiliate Marketing program. I really liked the Amazon Associates program in that it allowed me to place directly relevant links on my site. The fact that it limits the countries that sales can be made in really detracts from that program. What I plan to try instead are Affiliate links to the companies connected to OneBookShelf.com (specifically DriveThruRPG and WargameVault). The commission is low, but the product seems right for the readers of Must Contain Minis.

Another idea floating around in my head includes starting a YouTube channel and connecting it to the Must Contain Minis Blog. That would give me a second place to run Adsense and should draw in more people to the site. How these videos will take shape, I am still working on in my mind. One of the challenges is that the Must Contain Minis Studio is set up for photography and it would take some time and investment to upgrade it for videos; however, I might be able to do videos using images from Must Contain Minis Blog as a podcast style video fairly easily. Whatever way I jump into YouTube, I want it to look crisp and professional from the start.

Aside from a YouTube channel, I am also thinking of providing services to generate funds. Perhaps paid work as a freelance photographer or writer for gaming companies. That would be awesome! Another idea would be to write paid posts. These paid posts would state at the start and end that they are "Sponsored posts by (xyz) Company" and would not be reviews. Perhaps these articles would be previews of Kickstarters or something spreading excitement about a new product.

The final way I have thought about monetizing the site is through crowdfunding. Patreon seems like the default answer that everyone is going to these days. Recently, I had a discussion with someone that thinks that I should be on Patreon now. I disagreed as I want to increase my fan-base before diving into crowdfunding. What do my readers think? Would they be interested in seeing a Patreon at this point? Would you support it?

Donation Buttons and Kickstarters also seem to be popular ways for Blogs to generate an income. Yet... other Bloggers tell me that the Donation Button hasn't brought in anything for them and I am not sure about doing my own Kickstarter.


Why Monetize?


The reason to Monetize is certainly not to get rich. It is to better support the hobby and introduce more people to the hobby (and non-mainstream tabletop games). I have been absolutely thrilled with the review products coming into Must Contain Minis of late, but am also looking for liquid assets too. Liquid assets would allow me to expand and improve upon the business.

Items that I would like to buy for the business include...

  • A Replacement Laptop. I currently work on a laptop that is over 6-years old. 
  • A New Camera. One of my photography professors once told me that, "one should be able to take just as good of photos with a cheap camera as an expensive one. It is the image composition that matters." There is truth to this statement, but I am working with fairly old equipment.
  • A Video Studio suitable for YouTube Videos.
  • A professional lighting kit. 
  • An Airbrush and Compressor. 


Given how well this website has taken off, I really want to take the time, effort and money to keep improving it.

I hope that my readers enjoyed this article. It is something different than what I would normally write. I wrote it because I felt some of the fans might like a backstage look at my journey in monetizing a website and to help aspiring game Bloggers. I found that when making Must Contain Minis that there is not a lot of information available on how to monetize a tabletop gaming website.

Another tip for new Bloggers... The best resources that I found for new game bloggers were some posts over at Wargaming Tradecraft under the "Articles / Thoughts" tab. Dave Garbe has a lot of useful information on his site there for getting a Blog started.  

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Flames of War Showcase: Brenden's King Tiger (Konigstiger)

The response to Brenden's Flames of War Minis has been very positive. As such, Must Contain Minis wanted to continue showcasing his work. In this post, Brenden's German Konigstiger (King Tiger) is showcased.

The above image is that of a German King Tiger painted by Brenden for Flames of War. This model is 15mm (1/100) in scale.  
Personally, I like Brenden's paint jobs better than my own. He takes great care to ensure all of the details are painted well and he does a great job on camouflage. That said, I have been very lucky and able to compete with him and others at tournaments for the best overall appearing army.  :)

Now, a closer look at his Konigstiger for Flames of War.


An Image from the other side of the tank.
A top down look. 

Aiming down the barrel. Looks great!!!

A nice close up of the commander. An observant reader will notice that the face has some white on it. That is his beard. 

A look at the turret and commander from the rear / side. Looks phenomenal! 
As always, Brenden's work looks fantastic. Thanks goes out to Brenden for loaning his models to Must Contain Minis for a photo-shoot. His minis look great! 

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Rogue Stars: Pirate Crew

A while ago Must Contain Minis wrote a Review of Rogue Stars, and showcased its first 200XP painted crew. Must Contain Minis is gearing up for its first Rogue Stars Battle Report and I wanted to share with my readers my Pirate Crew. The crew is made up of 5 members; Jake, Thor, Rory, Garbe and Lamers.

I wanted to keep the models as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) but ran into two small problems for representations on the miniatures not matching up with what is in the rule book. The first is that there is no entry for a primitive morning star. To keep the model WYSIWYG, I upgraded Jake's morning star to an energy flail. The second WYSIWYG problem is that there is no entry for a club. That is fine, I just made a note in Thor's stats that the club 'counts as a sword.'

For the crew's tactical discipline, I chose "At the Double." This discipline gives my gang a boon in their movement.

Below are the gang members...

Jake... 53 Points Total   

Rogue Stars Pirate Crew
This is the Leader of the group... Jake.
  • Leadership (1): +1 Initiative, All squad members in LoS add +1 to Morale rolls
  • Reactive: +1 on Reaction Rolls 
  • Steadfast (1): + 1 on Morale to Morale Rolls 
  • Tough (2): +2 to endure rolls
  • Veteran: + 1 to Activation and Reaction Rolls 
  • Weapon Master (2): +2 to any melee attack weapons. -2 for all melee attacks against him 
Equipment
Force Flail: 4 Damage - Disarm, Clumsy and Energy
Sub-Machine Gun: 4 Damage - Automatic

Thor... 40 points   

Rogue Stars Pirate Crew
Thor is the group's extra muscle. He is good at getting in close and fighting in melee. 
  • Agile (2): +2 on all Terrain Rolls 
  • Difficult Target (1): All ranged attacks vs Thor are at -1
  • Fast (1): Moves 1" Faster 
  • Free Disengage: Suffers no free hacks when leaving melee 
  • Steadfast (1): + 1 on Morale to Morale Rolls 
  • Tough (1): + 1 to endure rolls 
  • Weapon Master (2): +2 to any melee attack weapons. -2 for all melee attacks against him 
Equipment
Club [counts as sword]: 2 Damage - Primitive
Knife: 1 Damage - Primitive, May be thrown
Slug Pistol: 4 Damage - Short Range

Rory... 44 points

Rogue Stars Pirate Crew
  • Tech (1): +1 to Tech Rolls 
  • Quantum Harness Opperation (2): +2 to Quantum Harness Operation
  • Steadfast (1): + 1 on Morale to Morale Rolls 
  • Light Worlder: Does not suffer Light World Affects and suffers no recoil when firing 
Equipment
Assault Rifle: 5 Damage - Automatic, Two-Handed
Fixed VibroBayonet: 3 Damage - Twohanded
Quantum Harness

Garbe... 31 points

Rogue Stars Pirate Crew
Add caption
  • Fire into Melee 
  • Marksman (2): +2 to shoot 
  • Steadfast (1): + 1 on Morale to Morale Rolls 
  • Heavy Worlder: Does not suffer heavy world affects
  • Self-Accelerating Projectiles: No -1 for firing in high gravity 
Equipment
Assault Rifle: 5 Damage - Automatic, Two-Handed

Lamers... 32 points

Rogue Stars Pirate Crew
  • Agile (3): +3 on all Terrain Rolls 
  • Fast (3): Move 3" Faster 
  • Medic (1): +1 on Medic Rolls 
  • Steadfast (1): + 1 on Morale to Morale Rolls 
Equipment
Assault Rifle: 5 Damage - Automatic, Two-Handed


Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Review: The Misty Moorlands TerraTile Set by RAINN Studios

A while ago, RAINN Studios sent me their entire collection of TerraTiles to review. Some of my readers will recognize the products because Must Contain Minis has already written a quick initial thoughts article about the product line and a product by another company has been showcased on the tiles. In this post, Must Contain Minis is going to take a much closer look at the Misty Moorlands TerraTile set. Be sure to read to the end of the article for some real eye-candy!

Terrain Review for 15mm and 28mm miniatures on Terra Tiles
Must Contain Minis Reviews the Misty Moorlands TerraTile set by RAINN Studios. 
The first thing to note is that this box is heavy and there is a lot in there. To give an idea of exactly how much is in there, take a look at these 15mm and 28mm against the stack of tiles that comes in a box.

Misty Moorlands TerraTiles Review
Left to Right... Flames of War 15mm Tank, North Star 28mm Barbarian, Pulp Figures 28mm WW2 Soldier. That stack of tiles is huge in comparison. The tiles are made out of heavy cardboard - similar to a well made gaming board in a hobby level boardgame.
The tiles themselves are double sided and can be configured in a vast array of possibilities.

Wargame Terrain Review
On one side of the tile is some foliage. 

Wargame Terrain Review
On the other side are some rocks.

So how do these look when assembled on the table? To see, I set up some action scenes in my home studio.

TerraTiles Review of Misty Moorlands - A Terrain System at 15mm or 28mm
Above is a picture of a table section being used for Flames of War. The 15mm tanks are absolutely perfect for the roads. The colours pop and the scenery is good enough to use the tile set as 2D terrain for wargames. 

TerraTiles Review of Misty Moorlands
A closer look of the same action scene. I love how the minis 'pop' right off of this background. It looks great. 

A small criticism that can be made about these tiles is that there is a bit of a sheen that can be seen in some of the pictures. I have photographed Boardgames in the same area with the same lighting, and I can tell you that these tiles combat the reflection better than most boardgames. The tiles themselves are actually fairly Matte. 

To give the reader a sense of how much light is hitting those tiles, Must Contain Minis now uses three 100W lamps (with roughly 1,600 Lumens each). Only two of which have diffusers. Over time, I want to upgrade my lamps and cameras, but that is a story for another post. Back to the story of the TerraTiles. Considering the amount of light hitting the tiles, they are doing fairly well with not reflecting light back to the camera.  

A Review of The Misty Moorlands by RAINN Studios
A Column of Tanks. Too bad for the allies that only two of the four made it out of the battle zone.

Now that we have seen the product with 15mm, Flames of War Miniatures, let's look at it with 28mm Bolt Action Models.

A 28mm 6-pounder gun on RAINN Studios TerraTiles
On top of that hill / Rock formation is a British 6-pounder gun. It looks fairly good there. Using imagination, one could envision that rock as elevated terrain.  

A Sherman drives by some British Soldiers. The roads are slightly too small for the tank, but the black lining of the roads fits the size of the tank treads perfectly. As a result, the model fits the scale of the tiles (making them usable for both 15mm and 28mm). The black lines on the roads are just tread-marks of earlier tanks. :) 

Here a Universal Carrier drives by some British Soldiers (in the woods) with a 6-pounder watching over its rear. The Universal Carrier fits perfectly on the rocky part of the road.

As one can see, these tiles are certainly usable as 2D terrain. If one wants a different set up, rearrange the tiles and flip some over (they are two-sided after all). While these tiles work as 2D terrain, they work even better when 3D terrain is used with them. The brighter colours of the tiles really makes scenery and miniatures 'pop' off the board. Below is a picture of a ruined XOLK structure placed on top of a Misty Moorlands tabletop.

With the TerraTiles underneath, the Miniatures and Scenery really 'pop' off the board and stand out in a good way.

Now comes the eye-candy that I promised my readers. To get the reactions of others, I took the terrain system to Phoenix Games in Kitchener (Ontario, Canada). Bill Kocher, the store's owner, allowed me to take pictures in the store and also allowed me to use his models. Bill is a much better painter than I am and if anyone is interested, he does commission work too. Let's take a look at what I was able to do while I was at Phoenix Games.

Product Review
The lighting at Phoenix is very good and above is what the table looked like after I set it up. Of course, the table is set up differently than the one in my studio. That is the one of the beauties of TerraTiles. The layout of the board can easily be changed and altered on the fly and between games. 

terrain popping off the gaming board
Look at this... when terrain is added to the tiles, the terrain just 'pops' off the table. It looks beautiful.

Great looking battle in 28mm fantasy
Add in Bill's excellent Green Skin minis and the table looks fantastic!!! Here we have a detachment of Orcs taking on some Goblins.

TerraTiles at Phoenix Games - setup for Warhammer / Kings of War
Look at how great that miniature looks on the table! Of course, it really helps that Bill knows what he is doing when he paints models. :)


TerraTiles at Phoenix Games - setup for Warhammer / Kings of War
Some brave Orcs take on the Giant Spider...

TerraTiles at Phoenix Games - setup for Warhammer / Kings of War
...Only to be flanked by some Spider Riders.

Overall, I like the product. I think that these TerraTiles offer some real advantages to the people that use them. At the same time, there some criticisms.

It is fairly easy to think of this Terrain System as a 2D gaming surface for miniature wargaming. When people first saw it sitting out on the table, they did not think to add scenery. Once scenery goes onto the tiles, the terrain system really pops and stands out as something special. Another criticism that I heard is that people were worried that the tiles would move around during play. I found this not the case. The tiles are heavy enough to stay in place on their own during normal play. They were even better at staying in place when 3D terrain was placed on top. One way that the tiles did not stand up to moving around was when someone placed a rule book on top of the tiles and accidentally moved the book. At that point, a section of tiles moved and I had to reset them.

In comparison to wargame mats, these tiles offer a much better variety in the number of gaming boards that can be constructed. That said, it takes longer to set up the tiles and light reflects off of them a little more than it reflects off gaming mats. What I like most about the tiles is how much they make miniatures and terrain pieces 'pop' off the gaming table. In many ways, it is nicer than playing on a carpeted or static grass table. The reason I requested these tiles from RAINN Studios is because of their adaptability. One can easily alter the set up of the table without having to buy an all new gaming mat when using this system.   

As stated earlier, this terrain system really comes into its own element when coupled with 3D terrain. If one already has terrain, then they are set to make some fine looking tables. If one doesn't, RAINN Studios has a solution for that. They also sell a 3D Battle Pack.  

Product Review of TerraTiles
Above is a picture of a tree set and ruins from RAINN Studio's 3D Battle Pack kit. These items are also built out of cardboard and very affordable to buy. 
A close up of the 3D Trees.

A close up of the ruins. 

I hope that everyone enjoyed this Review of the Misty Moorland TerraTile set by RAINN Studios.

Terrain Review for Wargaming
The Misty Moorlands TerraTiles.

It will be a while from now, but the next up in the RAINN Studios library scheduled to be reviewed on Must Contain Minis is their 3D Battle Pack.

Future Product Review

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Bolt Action Battle Report - 1000 points - British vs Germans

Recently I got another game of Bolt Action in at one of my favourite Friendly Local Gaming Stores. This place is always happening and check out the table that we were able to set up using Terrain owned by the Store, my buddy Dave and Must Contain Minis. This table is absolutely gorgeous!

Cigar Box Battle Mat with Plastcraft Houses for WW2
Check out this Bolt Action table at Forbes Hobbies in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. Between the store, a friend named Dave and Must Contain Minis, we were able to set up a gorgeous table!!!

Being that an odd number of players showed up, we decided upon a three player game. Must Contain Minis would play the British with Dave and Aaron running the Germans. Points would be set at 1000 points and the German players could split that value however they wished and run as either a single platoon or as two. They opted for two. Below is what the British brought to the table.

Bolt Action Army by Warlord Games
The British brought one First Lieutenant with two assistants (all with SMGs), two 10 man squads with one SMG and one LMG each, one 5 man squad with 3 SMGs and Anti-tank Grenades, a medic and assistant, a Sherman, a Six Pounder Gun Team, a Unversal Carrier (as a troop transporter), and a Forward Observer with two assistants (all armed with rifles). All of the units in this army except the Forward Observer are rated as Veteran. 
The Germans brought the following two platoons. 

Playing Bolt Action by Warlord Games
Aaron brought a Lieutenant, two 6 man squads (each with an LMG and one with an SMG), and a StuG.

Warlord Games
Dave brought a Lieutenant, an 8 man squad, a 9 man squad (both squads with Panzerfausts in them), and two SdKfz 251s.

For the Mission, we rolled Hold Until Revealed with the British Attacking. The Objective was placed on the hill in middle of the table and the Germans elected to have their two smaller platoons on the table defending that objective. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Under the mat is a hill, which makes the Terrain pop out a bit. At the top of the hill is where the objective was placed.
Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Above is the deployment of the forces at the top of the game. On the top left, there is a field of cows. Those cows are neutral in this game. The Germans have two small forces on the opposite side of the hill (centre right) near the objective. The British place their Forward Observer, Two ten man squads, Medic, and Lieutenant on the table to start. The Germans are going to be facing a lot of opposition right off the top. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Having some fun with the table. My Brits deployed in the forest. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Here I am keeping the Medic nearby the squad expected to take the heaviest casualties. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
A models eye view of the hill that the objective is on. The strategy for these guys is simple. Fix bayonets and charge. With the up and at them rule, there is nothing that will stop them from getting to that objective. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The Germans move one of the two guarding squads from behind the hill towards the house where my Forward Observer is hiding. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The Core British Attack Group rushes forward with the Medic and Lieutenant in tow for help. They will be on the objective in no time!!! 

Bolt Action Battle Report on a Cigar Box Battle Mat
From under the trees, the second group of British move to flank the Germans hiding behind the hill. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
A wider shot. Notice the StuG has come on the board and now has a good firing arc on anything coming down that road.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
A look at how the placement of the StuG changes things for the Brits. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
All of a sudden, the flanking Brits are Flanked themselves by a German Half-track. 

A Sherman Enters the Battle
See that coin by the StuG? The Brits call in an artillery strike there in hopes to encourage the StuG to move. They then bring on the Sherman and aim at the full SdKfz 251. A juicy target, but the tank misses. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The StuG does not move. Instead, it places a well aimed shot through the Sherman. To be honest, it wasn't the smartest move on the British side and hoping that the impending artillery would save the Sherman did not pan out. The first kill of the game belongs to the Germans.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Infantry piles out of the German Transport and peppers the British with fire. The British Advance and show the Germans how to aim. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
On the other side of the table the British Universal Carrier enters the battle.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
A long shot of the action on the table. In the front of the shot, the 5 man British team jumps out of the Universal Carrier and rushes to the unoccupied building. Meanwhile, the Forward Observer preps to jump into the Universal Carrier. On the far left, another loaded German SdKfz 251 enters the battle. Across from that, the British bring on a 6-pounder gun.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The Artillery Strike added pins to one infantry team and the StuG, but otherwise had no effect.

Brits take out the German troops
The Brits Assault and win against the Germans near the Half-Track on the right of the table. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Because they are now the closest models to the transport, the transport buggers off and is no longer part of the game.  

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
In retaliation, the Germans bring the StuG up to bear against the British assault force. One more Brit dies to Machine Gun Fire. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Meanwhile, the core assault force rushes towards the objective. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Another look at the British rushing forward! Based on their tenacity, I am thinking these are Canadian Troops.  :)

Germans lose. So I thought
The British Win!!!! Or so I thought. The Brits managed to get to the objective with no Germans within contention range. The thing is, in this mission, having the objective does not matter until either the final turn or the game's time-limit is reached.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
Over to the left side of the table, the Germans bring up a Half-Track full of infantry to the building. Knowing our time-limit was close, the British jump out of the house and Assault the Half-Track. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The men on-board jump out and meet the British in intense combat. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The Brits lose, but take a significant number of Germans with them. 

Cigar Box Battle Mats and PlastCraft Games Houses Terrain on Bolt Action 28mm gaming table
The Germans then Assault the British Carrier. The Forward Observer and his last assistant jump out to meet the attackers.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The Germans roll horrible and cause zero casualties. In retrospect, this die roll should have caused one casualty because the Forward Observer is just a trained unit (not Veteran like the rest of the force). This was an error that all three of us missed. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The British roll excellent and take out the entire assaulting German squad. Had we have caught the four as causing a casualty, the results would have been different. That said, we roared around the table at the heroic deeds of the brave Forward Observer and his Assistant. 

Terrain at its best
Now the German Transport is in clear view and would likely be captured on the next turn. 

It is not looking good for the Germans at this point. Below is how the rest of the Platoons ended this final turn. Although a mistake was made with the Assault Dice, it was not a game changing mistake. This was the final turn of the game. The Germans would not have been able to move back on the objective in time for the end of the battle.

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The British Main Assault Force secure the objective. The Commander and Medic follow behind them to provide support. The StuG on the top right is facing right to fire upon the fleeing British troops on the right (their left) flank. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
A final look at the gaming table at the end of the game. 

Bolt Action Battle Report - German vs British - 1000 points
The British are Victorious!!!
What a fantastic game!!! Bolt Action is fun on its own, but playing on a stunning table makes the experience even better! For those wondering, the mat is by Cigar Battle Box, the trees were home-made by Dave with a 3D printer and some foliage materials, the cows are also 3D printed and the houses are made by PlastCraft Games. To make the seamless hill where the objective is, we placed a hill under the mat. Special thanks goes out on my side to Cigar Box Battle for supplying Must Contain Minis with this beautiful gaming mat and to Forbes Hobbies for providing us with the gaming space with permission to take photos in their store. Forbes also supplied the PlastCraft Games houses and some other terrain pieces.   

I hope everyone enjoyed this Battle Report. There certainly is a lot of eye candy here!  :)

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!! 
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