Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bolt Action-First Contact

Last night I had the pleasure of rejoining the Rockton, IL gaming group.  I had not visited them for the past two years due to deployment and crazy schedule with kids sports since I returned.  They are a great group of gamers who ritually meet every Wed evening to re fight history through many periods.  Our host, Mark has an amazing collection of figures and terrain that span history from ancients through modern and a spectacular gaming room to gather a large group for gaming.

Napoleonic Battle raging next to us
After several failed attempts to get back it finally happened last night.  I saw that Bolt action along with a Napoleonic Battle were on the docket.  I have been wanting to try Bolt Action for some time so I worked the schedule to make it happen.  I have been very interested in this game since seeing it last year at ROCKCON.  The company Warlord games intends it to be used with their line of 28mm figures, but as I confirmed last night there is no reason it cannot be played in any scale and I have a vast collection of 15mm A&A figures.  It is a skirmish level WWII rule set so the 28mm size does look impressive especially for a smaller scale battle.

Their were a total of six players for bolt action three of us had never played.  Scott who was teaching and playing joined Pete and myself with the German facing off against John, Brian and Brian's son Nick as the Americans.  The scenario was welled laid out with hills, roads, woods and four buildings.  Each side initially controlled two buildings and the objective was to control more buildings that your opponent.

Scott's quality troops
Scott provided the rules, charts and figures which were very well done despite his modesty.  Each player controlled roughly two squads, a couple of support weapons and a commander or medic or special weapon team.
The German Strategy was to press the right flank while defending the left and leaving 1-2 squads available to run up the middle if the opportunity presented itself.  Pete and I were on the German right while Scott defended our left.  We initially deployed 3 Medium MG and four Squads along with two command teams and a flame thrower on the right.  While Scott kept a Medium MG and two squads in reserve on the left and center.

American Squad Pinned on the wall
The right quickly turned into a blood bath as the American left cover of the wood line to take the wall surrounding our building on the right.  MG fire was extremely effective at initially pinning the U.S. down on the wall and the wood line and then decimating the trapped Squad.  Unfortunately the Germans did not learn as we next advanced to the wall with two squads getting the first destroyed within two turns.  The second was saved though as our MG were able to pin and damage the American MG in the wood line.  This move did draw American reinforcements away fro the center as the advanced to meet our threat.

Flame throwers race into action
As time was getting low both sides started to be a bit more reckless as the opposing flame throwers advanced into the open in hopes of wreaking havoc.  unfortunately for the Germans the U.S drew the first die and toasted the Germans while emptying their fuel tank becoming ineffective.  The Germans were able to advance a fresh veteran squad which managed to finish off one U.S. MG and the wreaked the U.S. squad holding the wood line.

While the battle on the right was coming to a climax and drawing Americans from the center the Germans successfully assaulted the American held building on the hill in the center.  This left the the U.S in control of the top floor and the Germans with the lower level leaving the building contested and more importantly taking control away from the U.S and securing a German victory as time expired.

Final disposition as time expired
Overall a very fun game with some lively banter and trash talk as the two sides engaged.  I really like the bolt action system.  Instead of the typical you go I go command dice are drawn each turn to determine who can move a unit when.  this really mixes things up and makes the order of actions a critical aspect of the game.

Bolt action was already on my want list and this action just confirmed it as a must have.  Now the question is can I really wait until Christmas.

Until Next time......


  1. Bolt Action rules do make a very entertaining skirmish game. If you're playing against the Germans avoid their MG's and flamethrowers, they can inflict terrible damage. Great looking terrain.


  2. Good pictures, and an engaging report. FYI, we've been doing BA in 15mm, and it works well; ranges actually appear a little more sensible, among other things. It's also dirt cheap. You can easily make a 500 point + list with a single platoon blister of FoW figures, for example.


  3. Very nice looking game. Glad you made the time to go and to share it with us.