I wanted to take a sec to share some recent Bolt Action activities that I’ve been involved in!
Rich at Chicago Terrain Factory and I ran our 2nd year of the Kursk battle at Adepticon. Check out his coverage of the event, it is excellent. We had a blast this year and I think the folks who played had a great time.
We limited the game to tanks and had a good turn out for each side. Over 20 tanks lined up and going at it. The Germans really held out this time, burning T34s everywhere!
The Fallschirmjager also made an appearance at Adepticon in the Team Tournament. We got stomped by our opponents but had a great time.
I am revising and doing some updates to the Fallschrimjager for Operation Sting 2017. I took them last year and had a good time running them. This year I am building the list around the paratroopers who fought the Canadian 3rd Division in the ruins of Ortona. The list will see a few changes including potentially adding a vehicle to the army, which wasn’t the case with the Monte Cassino version of the army.
One of the units which I am running in my half of the Bolt Action team tournament at Adepticon is a Panzer IVh. This is my armor support for the list that I am running with John for the tournament. Its been performing well in recent games, I feel that I am learning how to run a medium tank in a infantry heavy list.
Some of you may recognize this from this post where I showed some work in progress on the modeling.
Last week I picked up the excellent Warlord games Pioneer kit based on the new plastic Blitzkreig kit. These are a vast improvement over the previous plastic set. The metal parts that allow you to make interesting pioneer models as well are excellent. These include more equipment on their backpacks, some new heads, and additional and more characterful weapon options. These guys are the latest addition to my force for the Adepticon team tournament which I am participating in with John at Plastic Legions.
I wanted to update the look of some of these guys to give the unit a bit more of a mid-war period look, with camo smocks, and helmet covers. Three of the models which I modified are shown here to give you an idea what I have been up to.
I don’t know too much about the ‘pole explosives’ which some pioneers used blow up hard to reach places. Some photo reference shows that it is essentially a box on a stick. I added some wiring to give an impression how a pioneer may set the explosive off after put into position. This is largely my design, I’ve not found any examples of these sorts of triggers on these things, but I get the impression that they are sort of ad-hoc, so they may come in all shapes and configurations.
This guy may be a NCO, or simply a trooper with an SMG. He has the camo smock that the Panzergrenadier units were occasionally given, especially as the war went on.
Last but certainly not least is the flamethrower! I also took some liberties with the design of this figure’s modifications as well. Its only somewhat modeled after the flamethrower which comes with the pioneer kit. I made some changes which suited me when modeling this. Now I can run two units with flamethrowers which should be pretty sweet in upcoming games!
A local Bolt Action tournament called Operation Sting is happening this weekend, and I have a few models to finish up for the event. I’ve been getting back into an early morning painting routine which has been helping in getting stuff done. I was able to make some progress on the StuH 42 which I am very excited about. The plan is to get it to the same point as the SdKfz 222, which is about 95% done, and then to move on to some other touch ups that need to be done.
In addition to the Stuh 42, I will need to wrap up some basing and some details on a heavy mortar team. Tomorrow I am meeting up with my buddy John to play a practice game with our tournament lists!
Bolt Action – I have plans for a panzerpioneer platoon for Bolt Action and have scored some armored infantry & a Panzer IVh model! I am doing some light conversions on these to give some of the panzergrenadiers camouflage smocks and helmet covers. The Warlord Games German halftracks are fantastic models!
Warriors of Chaos – I am revising several of my Warrior units to add some large model unit fillers to bulk out these units. I also am aiming to getting my blood Demonprince finally painted!!
11th Hussars for Flames of War – The 14 odd Humbar and Daimler armored cars for my British in the Desert army are mostly assembled. These should be a blast to play. I need to finalize my 1500 point list and get some games in while I am painting this.
PAVN for Flames of War ‘Nam – I’ve been painting a bit of PAVN armor which has been fun. What I really need to do at some point is to get my support teams for the infantry locked down. I have some materials for some Vietnam Terrain as well which needs to be built.
Slannesh Chaos Space Marines – I got these guys up to a table basic paint scheme for Adepticon, but they are taking a back burner until I get some of these other items settled. They are off to a great start however so I can’t wait to continue on them.
As someone who is an avid armchair historian on the 2nd world war, I’ve made the natural progression to a new game: Bolt Action! I had been avoiding this one like the plague since I viewed demos at Adepticon. Dear Lord I do not need to spend time with another game… sigh…
After hearing an outline of the rules for Bolt Action on Bolt Action Radio, I started to become intrigued. I am a fan of Hail Caesar, and while the rules aren’t related, I feel that there is a similar vibe, and style to the way that the two games (both from Warlord Games) were developed.
The heart of the rule system is a random dice activation system with a robust pinning/suppression mechanic. When a player fields a unit (represented by either a squad of troops, a single vehicle, a heavy weapon and it’s crew, or a singular specialist with their ‘retinue’ like a Medic, or senior officer) that player gets an order die for that unit. These dice are put in a bag/hat/box and drawn randomly to see which side gets to activate a unit. This alone was enough to get my attention. Once the die is drawn it is placed by the unit that the owning player wishes to activate. That activation is resolved (in most cases) by having that unit preform one of the actions available to it such as moving/shooting, running, setting an ambush, ect. Once that activation is complete, the next player draws a die… repeat. This allows for a situation where one side may get to activate several units in a row. This is an elegant way to represent initiative and fog of war.
The second mechanic that helps this game stand out from others is it’s pinning mechanics. Most ‘Wargames’ that have a historical bent tend to have some kind of pinning mechanic to represent suppressive fire, but few integrate it into the flow of the game as universally as Bolt Action has. Each time a unit is attacked by an enemy unit and at least one hit has been scored on that unit, it receives a pin counter. Each pin counter makes makes the unit less accurate at shooting and the like, but also potentially paralyzes the unit in the way that it integrates with the dice activation ‘orders’ mechanic mentioned above. Units which have pin markers need to pass a common leadership test (2d6 vs a leadership value) to be able to perform the order given to it when their dice were drawn. Naturally there are ways to shed these pin counters, but that requires energy that could have been spent attacking or maneuvering your unit.
Hopefully after the holidays I will have an opportunity to get some Bolt Action in and I will post a proper set of thoughts about the game!