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.