Bolt Action Loving

I really enjoyed my first three games of Bolt Action, courtesy of the Opening Skirmish and hosted by the Hampton Games Club. Fine fellows all.

While I’ve seen some grumbling on different forums that BA is “not historical” and Chains of Command from Too Fat Lardies is better; I’ve also seen folk raving about how much better than Flames of War it is.  My take is that this wargaming caper is pretty broad church.  Did I mention that I enjoyed the games of Bolt Action that I’ve played?

The dynamic of drawing lots for which unit acts next creates terrific a tension as you try to execute on your plans and thwart your opponent, it also has the unexpected bonus of keeping both players very much engaged the whole time. There is no opportunity to duck out for a fag (if that’s your thing). The experience of having both players involved the whole time is good.

The pinning dynamic is a great abstraction of the growing tension of keeping troops together under fire. I like the ability to stymie even veterans and other tough units through suppression fire even if you don’t have the ability to really destroy them. This really brings the officers into the game too, to keep your troops going forward.


I was pleasantly pleased that historical tactics are rewarded particularly fire and manoeuver for squads. Machine-guns and mortars are dangerous don’t play with them unsupervised, kids.  Even without really knowing the rules, I found I could be competitive on the day by focusing on tactics.  This has to be a good thing ™.

The scenarios are a really important and integral part of the game. A part that might be underplayed by players more used to points based meeting engagements.  Adding more scenarios rather than more troop types or rules will be a terrific way to keep this game challenging and fresh.  I think this is showing up in the new theater books, something I will have to investigate.

So an ace day. Thanks to my three opponents: Josh (commanding some British paras); Brad (leading DAK); and Tom (with some veteran Germans). Worthy opponents for my Germans.  Thanks to Brad from LRDG – and now Ghost Army (link to podcasts)- for organising and the very generous sponsorship from War and Peace Games and Warlord. Every player won a prize on the day. Nice work.


Now back to the painting table to add the next 250 points.

4 thoughts on “Bolt Action Loving

  1. Nice.

    I gave BA a try out a couple of times recently, with the players each blowing the dust off their old 40K armies for play. While some of the rules are a bit clunky I found that there was still a lot to like about the system. It suits what my gaming group and I are trying to do with our miniatures these days too: its simple, engaging and (mostly) intuitive. We will be playing it again (but using the sci-fi forces that we already own rather than getting stuck into 28mm historicals, for now at least).


    • That sounds rather cool; I know the trend in 40K seems to get lots of toys on the table, but I’ve been enjoying some smaller format, more skirmish style games. I’d be interested in what you group makes of the Gates of Antares beta rules. Similar to BA, but with a reaction for each action would change things up again (downside is needing lots of d10). cheers.


      • Im all about the smaller, skirmish sized games using 40K figures these days, using Pulp Alley usually. The roughly company sized games that BA and Antares aim for are suitable for using with the armies that I already have. I dont intend to again paint army sized projects the way that I used to, I find them too large these days.

        We played a quick game of Antares with 40K figs too. The reaction element of Antares makes it appeal a little more, but some of the stripped down simplicity of BA is also lost, which does not. I can see us trying both again (or possibly a hybrid of the two perhaps).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s