Friday 4 January 2013

Bolt Action

When Bolt Action was announced I must confess to being a little disinterested. Yet 'another' set of WW2 rules and oh look special dice was a bit of a turn off. However being the rules magpie I am, I spotted them for half price on Amazon (currently £13.83 from one retailer there compared to £25 RRP) and thought what the hell...

They are very pretty.

Not only lots of pretty pictures of toys but tons of pieces of artwork from various Osprey books by Peter Dennis. In some respects this proves a tad distracting when trying to read the rules and I do wish that publishers wouldn't inundate the core rules section with so much eye candy!

Reading through the basic rules I did like what I was reading and am planning that my 28mm section level games may get bumped up to the platoon, one support weapon and one AFV level of the game (after all I probably have the figures and do have some Solido French and German tanks somewhere). There are some (to my mind) pointless rules for a 28mm game (AA rules? Why?) but the basic game looks like it will be fun.

However I was disappointed that despite lots of photos and artwork of various combatants in WW2 (especially the French, Japanese and Poles) there were only basic army lists for the big four in the book. Now I am prepared to look up TO&E's etc. but given the amount of fluff and eye candy in the book I was disappointed the French, Italians, Japanese and Poles didn't merit at least a page including any specific army rules.

Kudos to Warlord though in that they have subsequently released free basic PDF's for the French and Japanese, hopefully the Italians and Poles will be next.


Looking forward I am not sure I like the national army list book approach and would have preferred a campaign orientated approach with all the 1940 stuff in one, Pacific in another etc etc. Having to buy three books for the armies engaged in the Pacific for example is a bit of a pain if one only wants to do Far East 1944 but whatever approach Warlord took I suppose would have been wrong. Anyway I'm not sure how necessary these army list books will be for informal friendly games.

Overall I think as a rule set they are worth picking up (especially at half price) even for the artwork alone! I like how the rules read and can't help thinking they'd make the basis of a good SF set as well - Las-Bolt Action anyone?


  1. I agree on the book front - but if you notice the armies are all pretty much identical in terms of the lists - while there are some specific details like platoon size and the points values of course - you could, in theory work these out. Didn't stop me from buying the German handbook

  2. Yea, the Army specific books will develop the 4 basic lists and I do give them props for doing the PDF "get by lists" and I was just telling someone that I be the Polish or Italians are next.

    Overall, I think it is a great game and a well done book. The rules are not perfect but easy enough to give the flavor of the game without being over the top.

  3. I am tossing up between buying Bolt Action or Deus Vult! (the Crusades game by Fireforge). Given that I am probably more likely yo go with BattleGroup Normandy when it comes out, I'll probably opt for the latter.

  4. I bought a pre-order copy if the rules but they've languished on the bookshelf since they arrived due to other projects.

    I'll have to dig them out and have another look.

    I have plenty of French, British and US figures stashed away, so I might as well make use of them!

  5. I am a big supporter of all things Warlord, in fact, it was their products (Roman Legionaries) that got me back into wargaming and everyone to their own etc. However, for WW2 gaming it has to be Nuts! ruleset from THW, for me, anyway ;)