Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The New Contender: Bolt Action


I have found, what I believe, to be the holy-grail of miniature gaming systems. It's simple, fast, and most importantly, FUN to play. It is everything I love about wargaming in a hardbound tome of WWII awesomesauce. This game is the sweet sweet love-child of Warlord games and Osprey publishing, aka the company that employs most of the old crew from GW (Rick Priestly, Alessio Calvatore, Warwick Kinrade, Paul Sawyer, the Perry Twins, and more)  AND the company that has written more reference books for historical wargaming than any 5 others PUT TOGETHER.
Allow me to introduce my new gaming love:

Bolt action.
*Insert God rays*
The system itself is very intuitive and simple, revolving around 5 core mechanics:
  1. D6 system 
  2. The Order Dice System
  3. Veterancy System
  4. Pinning 
  5. Standard Weapons Array
The D6 system is the standard system we all know and love: Roll a six sided dice and see what happens!

The Order Dice system is super simple. Each unit in each army gets a (colour-coded by army) six sided orders dice. Each face of said dice has an order on it (hence the name) which represents what it can enact when activated. Each of these dice, FROM ALL UNITS/PLAYERS INVOLVED IN THE GAME, are placed into a cup or baggy or what have you and mixed together. Then each player, or a neutral third party draws a dice, and the player who's army owns the corresponding coloured dice, gets to choose one of their units to activate and places the dice, with it's corresponding order that the unit is enacting, face up. Once complete, draw another dice, rinse, repeat, etc. until all the dice have been pulled and all active units have gone.
Then put all the dice back into the container and begin again!

The Veterancy System is a process where, when purchasing your units (the standard points buy system from almost every miniature game ever. ie: Let's play a 500/1000/256,000 point per side game) you may purchase your units at a higher or lower experience level to represent their training and morale. The four levels are: Inexperienced, Regular, and Veteran, as well as the Green level.

  • Inexperienced is just that, raw recruits with little to no knowledge or skill. They have low morale and are easy to kill as they don't have enough field-craft to keep their heads down, or to treat superficial wounds. They will often run from a battle when they take casualties. On the bright side, they are cheap to purchase!
  • Regular Troops are experienced warriors who know what they are doing and can usually be counted upon to get things done. Moderate morale, average killability and usually don't run unless under serious pressure. You're average GI.
  • Veteran Troops are the ultra-elite. They can often be counted upon to stick around till the last and are exceptionally hard to kill having been in the field for numerous campaigns and, as a side, will often be equipped with the best gear. To off-set these qualities, these troops come in at a premium points cost.
The Pinning System works as follows: If your unit gets hit, whether from shooting, close combat, or any other action which could result in the death of a model(s), then the unit is issued a Pin Marker. This represents the unit going into confusion as shots are fired, men are hit and panic sets in. Each pin marker reduces squad morale by one and, as a side note, means that if you want to issue an order to the unit it must take a morale check on 2d6. If this morale check is failed then the order is still spent, but the unit goes down (one of the orders available to be issued) and cannot do anything in its turn as they attempt to restore some order to the unit and fall into confusion.
Naturally this means that more pin markers are bad, as each one has a cumulative effect against morale.

The Standard Weapons Array is simply the concept that every armies weapons are basically the same, with individual armies having various buffs and debuffs to certain items, but, in the majority, everything is equal. A Rifle is a rifle is a rifle. An 80mm mortar is the same for one army as it is for everyone else, same stats across the board. This streamlined system makes things easy to remember and allows players to worry about the crunch of army building and actually playing the game instead of which model has the Super-Powerfist of Johnny Awesome the Grimly-Grimdark and which one just has a regular Powerfist (which is still better than that armies powerfist because fuck Xenos blah blah blah).

Put all of these mechanics together and you have a fast paced, super easy game to while away the hours upon. My suggestion: Give it a try.

Oh what's that? How much is it?

the main rulebook (which clocks in at 216 glorious, full coloured pages) comes in at a hefty

 Yep. That's it. Less than a box of Marines or a night out at the movies with a lady friend.

Additionally they even have a starter set, that includes 20 Americans, 20 Germans, a hard-plastic ruined farmhouse kit, orders dice AND THE FULL HARDCOVER RULEBOOK (not some namby-pamby little rules-lite book) for $95. Aka less than the cost of a box each of the models and the rulebook.

So, what does this all mean?
It means you'll be seeing a lot about this little ol' game on this blog in the future. In addition it means that, thanks to a conversation with my brother and a few others, I'll be doing the unimaginable:
Converting my first love of wargaming to another system.That's right kiddies. I'm going to create, before your eyes, in the coming months, a TOTAL CONVERSION of Warhammer 40,000 to function using the Bolt Action ruleset. I shall name it BOLTGUN ACTION.

Ok, probably not (as I'll probably get sued into the next millennium), but that title gives me a bit of a giggle and therefor is my working title for now.

That's it for now, so until next time,
Do you figure a Space Marine would count as Veteran?
Bean out~

1 comment:

  1. The pin markers don't just affect morale, it also affects their combat efficiency(your hit rolls drop too)


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