Sunday, 6 January 2013

This Gamer's Reaction, To a Bit of Bolt Action!!

The Table set up
Managed to haul my sorry backside over to New Buckenham Gamers, and found myself four wiling victims, to help playtest my shiny new set of Bolt Action WW2 rules. With no real scenario in mind, I set up a few random bits n bobs, and allocated the commands. On the Republican side we had Stuart and Mark, neither of whom had played the rules before, and on the Nationalist side, we had Lee and Steve, Lee had a few games under his belt, and Steve had not had a go at all.

We set every thing up, and prepared to get stuck in. Thankfully Lee had brought along his 2 sets of Bolt Action dice. Yes I did say before that is simple to use anything you like, well in reality, its a lot bloody easier to use the special dice sets!

After all the excitement of the game, what was the verdict on the rules?

 I asked the game participants, on the group Facebook page, what they thought, and got these replies.

Stuart -Thanks very much for the game, Nigel. Stunning figures and terrain. Seems a good set of rulesWith some nice additions, and no obvious anomiles yet.

Steve - Thanks Nigel, it seems a quick set of rules, melee and firing is resolved quickly which means there is more chance of getting a game finished in one night, so for that reason, it could be a good set of rules for the club.

Lee - Yep a great game cheers guys and thank you Nigel for stunning board and the use of your excellent miniatures. I've played about 7 games now of Bolt action and have always had a game finish with a result. They seem to cut out the rivets so to speak and concentrate on just a clear war-game. They might not appeal to those that like to get stuck in to heavy rules but they do what they say and thats a quick, fun non complex game.

So. what was my overall verdict on the rules?

Well, To start with, lets look at the errors I made, which did not help us to get a .

conclusive finish to the game

1) The two armies were just a bit too big, I should have gone for a couple of 500pt forces to start off with

2) I put too many different things into each force, in an attempt to have a go at all the stuff. Two nice simple forces would have made it a bit easier, and a lot less rule book shuffling would have been done!!

3) Far too much cover on the table, lead to a lot of sneaking about, and general hidiness(?) Although when you did get into the open, it got very messy, very quickly!!
If I had thought a bit more, it would have been easier
but saying that, by the end few moves, the players were getting the hang of the rules mechanisms, and using the quick play sheets ( a must have to help you along, and downloaded from the Warlord Games webpage) We all found the rules simple to use, and easy to pick up. The random turns sequence works very well, you find yourself waiting for the dice to get pulledf rom the bag, and hoping you will get a jump on your opponent, in some circumstances it makes a hell of a difference to go first!!
As Lee said, if you want an in-depth ruleset, then this set will probably not be for you, but if you require a simple set of rules, for a quick clubnite game, then you can't go far wrong with these, and they are worth a look / try.
The subsequent army book releases, will help flesh out  the forces, and will give you a few different options. I can see hardcore win all the time gamers, constructing a super beardy army to play with, and there are a few options that will enable these type of gamers to do this.
So will they be any good for the Spanish Civil War? 
I think they have the basics right, and with a bit of tinkering here and there, and some careful work on the 
listings for the forces involved, I should be able to construct some very interesting games. After our first try, it was enough to get a couple of the gamers interested in looking more throughly, into the Spanish Civil War, it also got us interested in looking at other options, like early WW2, or possibly ,Vietnam!!
Here are one or two pics of the game.
The Foreign Legion Deploy

As Do The Moroccans

XVth Brigade move up

XVth Brigade Defend the Madrid Road

First go, Nationalist Artillery get set, and find a target
They miss the T26 though!!

Cagey Moroccan commander

The Local Plod, and the Italian Super weapon

A Nice Armoured Bus Drive in the Countryside

Followed by the Local Peasant Rabble

Sneaky Coppers

Moroccan antitank unit, they die horribly later on.


  1. Nigel

    Nice looking kit - we played a Bolt Action SCW game over at Curts (
    on Friday night. We also had a CV35 and an armoured bus on table.
    We all thought it gave a good game.

  2. Lovely figures and terrain - looks great. I've been wondering about Bolt Action - interesting to hear views.

  3. bloody blog!! struggling to get the wordy bits to appear

  4. Nice looking game! We've tried out Bolt action, today with a SCW flavor, and some of the commnts about the rules we second.

    We've not tried armor, but infantry and trucks, yes! Seems to be a set that will 'port' back and forth in time as well. At least the 20th Century conflicts should be easy to set up for playimg.

  5. Beautiful stuff here Nigel - looked to be a great game.

    I agree with your assessment of Bolt Action. It's certainly not perfect, and it's not for those who love to get immersed in the minutiae of gear/vehicles/guns, BUT it gets so many things right. It has a great pace, keeps players engaged through its activation system and we love the way the pin mechanic works. It needs a few tweaks (no real reflection of pinned status in close assaults seems weird) but on the whole it gives a lively game and 'feels' right for squad-level engagements.

    Looking forward to seeing more from your group!