Warlord Games have released supplement that covers the Korea War, extending the game for the first time into the post-war period. Bolt Action Korea is an ambitious book, covering army lists for the diverse belligerents on both sides, and history and scenarios all the way from the initial, frenetic North Korean invasion to the brutal trench-warfare that lasted until the armistice three years later.
It is a terrific addition to the Bolt Action family, extending the game beyond the second world war into a complex and challenging battle space. This is clearly a labour of love by the authors, play testers and the Warlord production team. There are some good podcast interviews about where you can hear from the authors on their thinking and challenges. I recommend both the official Warlord Podcast and SNAFU for a listen, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Including lists for all the major armies is a wise choice. There is list for everyone. Korea, North and South, have dedicated lists, as do the Chinese. The UN forces are represented by British Commonwealth and US lists. Five distinct lists in one book.
The US list allows for many of the other UN nations with smaller contingents like Turkey. The addition of the Korean embedded forces is a nice touch that makes the US list feel different to their (late) WWII counterparts.
The missions help tell the history, and also showcase some of the armies such as the hoard aspect of the Chinese army. The missions in the core rule book, and I suspect many in the existing campaign books, will still work fine too. I like that not all the scenarios seem to be totally balanced. In any game that purports to a historical bent, this totally makes sense to me.
I have a few niggles with the book. It suffers from the usual frustrations around editing. Deployment descriptions can be vague, and briefing maps are not always clear. Not enough to ruin the book, but I know this puts some people off. Rather than a complete how-to, I think BAK is more of a source-book for your own inspiration. I like this, but I know this puts some people off.
What makes Bolt Action Korea different to the WWII range? Well, I don’t know for sure because I haven’t played any games yet- I’m still painting. I think missions will be the key to bringing out any distinct flavour, but even just a chance to get some late war toys on the table (for British and US players), and three new armies to try out seems like a winner to me.
Bolt Action Korea is a terrific addition to the range.