Sunday, January 13, 2013

First impressions of (Playing) Bolt Action

I hosted a wee games day at the house I am house sitting down by the beach (it is a tough life I know).  I am very excited to say that after having reading the books for months I was finally able to get a game of Bolt Action!  
My usual games club (Hampton Games Club) is currently shut down for the holidays so I invited the guys to come around yesterday afternoon for a few games, a BBQ and some fun.  My old mate Dave dropped by with a few starter armies of Brits and Germans and he talked me through a game (there is always a big difference between reading the rules and playing them).  

Since I am well into assembling a German army I opted to use them and Dave got to use his Scot's guard and Veteran Commando force.  We set up in the ruins of a bombed out town and I had to take two of Dave's three objectives in six or more turns (in this way it felt a lot like 40K). 

I had a four squads of Veteran guys with a mix of weapons (SMG's, Assault rifles, rifles, occasional panzerfausts), a tiger (YEAH BOOOOY!!!), a couple of small half tracks, a command section, a flamer thrower and a panzer shreck (a rocket launcher).  

Dave had very similar stuff...  lots of dudes on foot, an anti tank gun, a tank, a flame thrower, a sniper, and observer, and a few machine gun carriers.  

Basically we tried to incorporate lots of different types of toys to push around the table.

The first two turns were very slow and we went through the rules and nothing seemed to be dying.  Dave explained that since we were both playing veteran forces they were very sturdy.  When he plays against another Hampton member Greg and his Russians (inexperienced troops), Greg has loads more dudes on the table but they die like crazy.  I suppose that reflects the large difference of points between these troops (the better options for more elite troops weapons wise is nice too).

After we got into the swing though it played easily and was lots of fun.  

A few random thoughts:

Assaults are vicious!  You win or loose HUGE!  You loose, you die!  

Assault rifles are AMAZING!  They are expensive to give to your troops and only expensive elite troops can take lots of them BUT wow are they great.  Shooting, assaulting, everything. AMAZING!

Tanks are fun to use but honestly they didn't do much in our game until the very last turn when I parked my tiger on top of one of his platoons on an objective to win!  (Have I mentioned I LOVE the idea of the tiger?  Big, ugly and tough!)  Sooo much fun! Stupidly expensive but lots of fun!

Flame throwers are ridiculous at clearing infantry and kicking them out of buildings!  So good!

I like the option to go on overwatch.  I feel it really fits with the random nature of game turns.

It was a little weird to not pre measure everything (after playing lots of the last two editions of 40K and Fantasy) but that was definitely not the end of the world.

Overall I loved playing Bolt Action and playing has inspired me to get my Germans up and running (and to get out and buy a flame thrower team!).  Is it going to be my next gaming love... Well, I will have to play more to see and see how it works in organised tournament play.  Will I play enough to see.  Definitely!  

More soon!



  1. Looks like a good game was played. I am having a ball playing Bolt Action.

  2. Glad to hear it was so much fun. I am working on my first force for BA and hope to finally get my first game in soon. They are even trying out a tournament at Cold Wars this year at 1000 pts. I had made a list of Vet Fallschirmjager with 22 Assault Rifle's but it was frowned upon. I was told I was thinking too much 40k! Oh well.

  3. Great overview, sounds like it might be worth checking out. Have you played Flames of War? I wonder how the two compare aside from the obvious scale difference.

  4. Dave here who was playing against Brad in this game. I find Bolt Action to be a very different game to Flames of War. The very heavy emphasis on small scale games and infantry makes it a bit closer to a very simplified 2nd edition 40k set in WW2. Despite those differences the pinning mechanic and the random order dice makes it quite a unique game where you have to consider very different strategies than other I go you go games.