Tuesday, February 4, 2014

State of the Union - Bolt Action

What's this?? Two posts in quick succession?? Have I gone mad? - nope, just trying to get caught up in nearly 2 years of blogging, normal service will resume shortly.

So, My new years resolution of 2013 was 'Only buy models once I've painted some, a 1 in, 2 out system' This fell rapidly by the wayside as I started not 1, but about 4-5 new systems :s These include:

  • Bolt Action
  • Saga
  • Judge Dredd
  • X-wing
  • Dropzone commander
First one I'm going to post about is the one I've played the most of, Bolt Action. So what is it?

Bolt Action is a 28mm scale 'platoon' level world war 2 game published by Warlord Games. I'd read about this game for a few months before finally jumping in with a couple of clubmates - the initial plan was to use our existing flames of war miniatures and playing it in 15mm, this quickly went out the window as we looked at the 28mm scale figures and also seeing how reasonably priced the models were.

More info after the jump:

For anyone not aware of Bolt Action i'll give you a quick overview of how it works - It's a 'platoon' level game, what this means most armies will only have a couple of vehicles and a few squads of men - a bit like 40k used to be. The USP of this game is the activation order, instead of a you-go, I-go, or even an alternate activation system Bolt Action uses a system of 'order dice', at the start of each turn each player places one order die for each of their units into a bag, then a die is drawn to determine who activates a unit - so if you're particularly unlucky your opponent could activate all their units before you get to go, although you'd have to have my level of luck for that to happen. This system adds a level of risk and excitement to the game, you can't go 'balls out' expecting to go first as you're just as likely to get shot up before you can activate your units, also you need to have several plans in order just in case something goes wrong.

Another thing that Bolt Action brings in is the concept of Pinning. Every time one of your units gets hit by an enemy unit it takes a pin marker, this reduces the chance of you being able to do something with the unit and also reduces the effectiveness of their shooting. 

When you activate a unit you can give it one of 6 orders:
  • Advance - Move and shoot
  • Fire - Just shoot (obviously)
  • Rally - Try and reduce the number of pin markers the unit has
  • Run - Move at double rate
  • Down - Hunker down and reduce the chances of being hit
  • Ambush - Overwatch - shoot at someone moving into your line of sight
 Normally if you give a unit an order it works automatically, unless the unit has a pin marker, then it needs to take a test on it's morale value minus the number of pins - the worse quality the troops are the less likely they are to succeed, for example a vet unit needs a 10 on 2d6, a inexperienced unit needs an 8. What all this means is that you want to get as many pin markers on your opponents units as possible to reduce the chances of them doing what they want.
The vehicles of the LRDG ready to roll

That's a brief overview of the orders system and what I think makes this game so good. This system coupled with the 6 different missions makes for a fun and frantic game as you need to push to complete the objectives before your units get bogged down in pins and/or destroyed.

Since starting playing the game about 6 months ago I've got 2 complete armies and I've just started another two, this is mostly due to the cheap cost - historical miniatures are normally quite cheap, but Warlord Games produces some excellent plastic infantry kits at a very low price - around £25 for 25 soldiers - their army deals are also great value - you can get a full 1000pt (standard size) army box for ~£75, there's also tonnes of other manufacturers out there that produce WW2 figures, so there's a huge selection for you to choose from.
Perry Miniatures Desert Rats

I've got a US Army, a LRDG British Desert Force and I'm just starting some Polish Partisans and a Russian list. - all for probably less than a single 40k/Fantasy army.

I've posted some pics below of the models I've got so far, it's nice to paint something historical rather than fantasy/steampunk as it's a lot easier :D

Ford LRDG Truck with Light AT gun
LRDG Chevy Truck from Offensive Miniatures

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