Saturday, 13 May 2017

Birthday Bolt Action

Bolt Action appears to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity at our club, so on Thursday a four-player game was arranged to allow some of us to get used to the rules. It was also Caesar and my birthdays, so there was cake, but not this one; this one was the one I got with my coffee at the cafe we frequent each morning:

Back to the Bolt Action. Members of our group have their own forces, but none have enough to stage a game big enough for four layers. So we threw history out of the window and put together an Axis force (consisting of early war Germans and some Japanese) against an Allied one (Americans and Russians). There was no objective as such; we just lined units up at random and went at it.

I didn't take that many pictures. I had the Americans, and ended up with my troops on each flank. The bulk of my infantry had the cover of some hedgerows, but some sneaky Japaneses can be seen top right.

The other half of my force had a tank, and was on the other flank where they faced a Japanese tank. It didn't last long; it caught fire from the first shot I fired at it, and the crew bailed out.

Gary's Russians were in the centre, mostly in a village. They were charged by some Japanese ...

... and Gary counter-attacked, keen to try out the assault rules. The Russians lost.

The rest of the game seemed to consist of the Americans and one unit of Russian conscripts, mowing down hordes of charging Japanese and groups of cautiously advancing Germans, whilst trying to stay in cover as much as possible. Eventually we reached a point where the Axis troops in the village (and there were a few by the end) were looking down the business-end of  Sherman tank but with no anti-tank support with which to oppose it. It was not going to end well for the Axis.

Bolt Action gives a fast and furious game, mostly because the rules are incredibly old-school and seem to have little in the way of trimming. The activation mechanisms (of drawing dice out of a bag) does force some interesting decisions about when you try and do certain things, whilst firing and movement are very basic. It does feel a bit like a WWII Warhammer, though, with the way troops have special abilities or special units attached to them - we jokingly dubbed it Warhammer 1.94K. It's probably not a game for which I'm likely to buy the rules or any figures, but one I'd play again.


  1. happy birthday! Are you going to complete the scenarios of One Hour Wargames? I enjoyed them very much.

    1. Yes, I will complete them, albeit slowly :)

  2. There's a very good reason it plays like Warhammer. It's the same bunch of people what wrote it.

    1. I'm surprised they haven't found a way of making WWII armies obsolete every two years :)

      "They's eliminated the British from the universe altogether. And Germans are only viable if you buy the really expensive King Tigers now!"

    2. It's Warlord Games, not Games Workshop. Different ethos.

      I've not played Bolt Action but I've got the first edition of the rules. They just seem very bland to me. I like the idea of the order mechanic though. I'd probably give the sci-fi version a go at some point but I'd never invest in it as I have too much like that already.

      It's very popular at my club thoughand dragged many 40k players from their little bubble into the wider club.


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