Monday, October 01, 2012

Bolt Action WW2


Modern era wargaming has never been very popular at our club. Can't really say why. We play the occasional WWI or WWII game but the great majority of our games take place in eras before 1900. I think that we all have unhappy memories of playing WWII games with rules so technical and complicated that all of the fun of gaming was lost in computing penetration effects from such and such gun on just this much armor thickness at just this angle... ugh.

Our most recent game on Saturday (Sept. 29th) saw our group trying out one of the newest flavors for WWII gaming, Bolt Action. Never ones to do things the easy/simple way, we decided to put most of our collections on the table in a battle pitting the Americans and British vs. the Germans. We did hold off on adding any motorized units as none of us had really studied the rules very closely.

My first impression of the rules is that it reminds me of a cross between Disposable Heroes and General de Brigade. Now that is probably because DH has been my preferred rules set for WWII gaming and Bolt Action shares many of the same concepts in determining weapons types, troop abilities, troop morale, and so on. The hint of GdB presents itself in the FUBAR charts and some other "fun/quirky" event tables that add a bit of spice to the proceedings. I suppose the real reason that Bolt Action reminds me of those other rules sets is that they are the two sets I compare everything with!

Bolt Action is skirmish level and the basic unit is a squad or special weapon team. Each unit gets an activation marker dropped into a cup and the activation markers are then drawn out from the cup to determine the order that unit move, shoot, or (god forbid you try this) melee. In our game, there were 12 units per side. While our unfamiliarity with the game made for slow going at first, the game moved along pretty quickly as we soon memorized the key numbers for shooting and morale. Weapons are generalized into categories so that it isn't necessary to know the muzzle velocity and rate of fire for individual weapon types.

Our "test" game lasted @4 hours and was played at a very leisurely pace. As always with a "random draw" activation system, there was a bit of waiting around for your chance to move a unit but it wasn't too bad. With experience, the games will speed up and events will unfold much more quickly.

It looks like WWII gaming is about to be a little more popular at our club and that a new arms race has been ignited!

1 comment:

Phil said...

Looking very nice!