Friday, 28 September 2012

First Look: Bolt Action

I ordered in Bolt Action a while back for myself and about half a dozen of the local gamers that I know I've manged to get a game in and here are my initial thoughts...


Forget about the usual I move all my stuff and shoot,assault i.e. 40K & Warmachine, and the you go I go swapover i.e. Epic, Relics. Bolt Action has a activation system that I've never come across in all my years of gaming!

You put your order dice or two types of markers, one of the chaps suggested drafts pieces as there the same size, then reach in and pull out a random dice/marker and then activate a unit of your choice.
All sounds good on paper but in the middle of a game when you really need to see your dice pulled out of the bag so that you can get a first shot against the firefly that's got you eyed up it can produce some colourful banter!

The to hit system is pretty simple its always 3+ but then you apply modifiers like long range, moving, inexperienced etc.. but if you need more than a 6 to hit then you need a 6 followed by a 6 so you have some chance if what slim of hitting the target!

Once you've hit the target you then apply a pin marker to the unit and this affects the target unit further along in the game where you need a moral check before you can perform an action with -1 to the moral for each pin marker as well as reducing the effectiveness of the shooting.

which brings me nicely on to the actual actions that you can make, so all the usual ones but you can rally where if you pass your remove D6 pin markers.

wounding the target that you've hit depends on there skill level think flames of war, so vets its a 5+ regs a 4+ and so on,

an in a nutshell that's basically it! there are special rules for different weapon types like flamethrowers and the like but most of it is common sense.


I'm yet to find a 28mm WW2 skirmish/mid level system that is easy to play and simple to pick up, this certainly fills that slot and I've had a German army painted up for quite a while so finally I get to use them!

The army list selection hasn't gone down well in the historical community and some gaming forums this is due to the unit options that some nations can take example being is a reg German unit can take two LMG's and kit the rest out with FG42 assault rifles so not really how it was but the amount of firepower that the unit can pump out is mindblowing!!

So if your not a rivet counter/anal gamer the points/torney type army lists are really nice with loads of options being available for the four nations Russian, German, British and American in the actual rule book you've got Army books being released and I'm sure these will have expanded lists and rules.


Well Warlord bought out Boltaction a while back so have there catalogue on there website but they have also been making plastic box sets for various nations so can be easy to bulk out your force, of course there are also loads of 28mm WW2 figures out there and varies on the price and quality Coops' commandos that I faced in the report below are from artizan miniatures.

Warlord have just released pre-orders for the starter set,

And for £60 you get quite a bit...

  • Full-colour 216-page hardback Bolt Action rulebook
  • 40 multi-pose, hard plastic 28mm miniatures:
  • 20 US Army infantry
  • 20 German Heer infantry
  • 1 hard plastic Ruined Farmhouse
  • 8 Bolt Action Orders Dice
I'll be doing this starter set for £51 pop an email to if you'd like one!

Warlord have also done a downloadable crib sheet downloadable-bolt-action-rules-summary

So onto the actual battle that myself & Coop's played..

So the table set up, 

My Germans laid out in "cloud" formation

 Coop's Commando's looking a lot nicer!

So the mission we decided to play was one where the army moves onto the table edge you can decide how much you want to leave in reserve, the first issue I discovered is that my pak40 wouldn't be able to move as it's a heavy anti tank gun, so I need to buy a transport for it!

so after turn one, lots of running for the building it was a smash & grab!

A German squad followed by a 2 man medic team, if you have units that are 1-2 figures then there is an additional -1 to hit.. ;)

The MG42 set up in the ruins with a good field of fire, with some weapons they have a special rule called fixed, which means they have a 90 degree arc of fire.

The table after turn two, again lots of running about and diving into cover!

As I couldn't see anything worth shooting with my MG42 I put the unit on ambush and waited for the commando's to de-bus and promptly opened up on them! The great thing about Germans is that the LMG & MMG get an additional dice for firepower so 5 shots from the buzzsaw certainly made its mark!

end of turn three, by this point my pak40 had been "de-crewed" thanks to the firefly, I was very eager to get my panzer4 on to get rid of it!! 

Meanwhile the sniper team was taking pot shots at the vickers team to great effect!

 and the MG42 was still pumping shots into the pinned commando team in the open, every time coops went to do an action with them they kept failing and just went down, great for me pants for coops!

 and the squad in the building polished them off with some awesome dice rolling!

and the panzer 4 still refused to arrive! to get reserves on the table you make a moral check at -1 and guess who forgot these guys were vets..... 

but they found the"go" stick and rolled on taking a pot shot at a half track but completely missed!

then rolled a bit further forward and took a pot shot at the firefly and still missed! the firefly and panzer4 exchanged shots for about two turns with neither of them hitting ought, so we didn't discover how to blow up armour and the like! 

 Someone mentioned that you can recrew weapons so the medic and his mate ran for it and got shot up in the process by a half track! Geneva convention... humm... ;)

and the game ended there, in the end it was 2-1 on killed units and this still classed as a draw but I was in a very healthy position but not sure what coops could have done differently? 

overall a good game and I can see myself playing this quite a bit more...