I’m quite new to the historical end of miniature games but I’ve had an itch to jump into it for quite some time. I don’t know how many times I have decided what conflict and what scale to use but then change my mind. It’s been everything from War of the Roses to the Cold War.
We haven’t had much of the historical side in the club at all, a couple of members that plays Flames of War but that’s it and for some reason I’ve never seen the beauty of 15mm.
A bunch of years ago me and a friend came across Secrets of the Third Reich, a weird war game from Westwind Productions. We started playing it quite a bit and got a couple of other members to join in.
The game was fun, no doubt about it but the core system were flawed, very flawed. It’s a weird mix of old 2nd edition 40k with a couple of ‘more modern’ ideas like the removal of the I go You go system. Add to that a badly written rulebook and very unbalanced units plus the main selling point (for me) an interesting setting. So all in all a bad game that’s really fun, weird? Yes.
One thing led to another and after buying a couple of ‘real’ historical rules but not following through with them I ordered Bolt Action from Warlord.
Before I bought the book I spend quite some time reading reviews online and it’s really one of those games that people either love or hate with the simplicity being the main point on both sides. And yes it is a very simple and abstract game and for me that is a big plus and I think it’s a great gateway game for people like me who comes from a long ‘career’ of Sci-Fi and fantasy games.
The rules are very simple and streamlined and that works great in most cases but I would like to have seen a bit more details when it comes to the weapons list. But at the same time it would be hard to do and still use a D6 based system. Not that switching to a D10 (or more) based system would be a bad move for most games.
One of the things I were a bit skeptical about was how the initiative works. For each unit you have you put one D6 in a box, bag or whatever you have available and the you pick up one D6 at random and whoever the color it belongs to gets to (try to) activate one of his units.
How you activate a unit basically depends on two things, pin markers and training. Your units receive pin markers when other units fire at you and for each pin marker you have will give you a -1 to your morale and to hit when using a shooting order. Your morale value depends on your training level where 10 is the most. If the unit you want to activate doesn’t have any pin markers automatically pass the test and will act accordingly to the order you gave it.
If your unit does have pin markers you roll 2D6 and compare it with your morale value minus the number of pin markers. If you roll higher then said value your unit fails and if you roll two 6s you mess up.
Pin markers isn’t a new concept but it’s a good concept and one of my favorite rules in general. And one of the (many) reasons I love Epic as a game.
While I haven’t looked at all the army lists, the ones I have seen do seem quite balanced with the major nations do have a lot more options but then they should.
I haven’t bought an army just for Bolt Action this far, I retooled my Russians that I used in SoTR and I’m going to give my Brits the same treatment. I have started to plan either a German or Italian desert army to match a friends British North Africa army he’s building. I borrowed his copy of the German army book and while I’ve never really had any desire to play the Germans before, their African lists does sound quite fun. I’ve been trying to read up on the Italians but there isn’t that much about their lists online (that I can find at least). With the Perry brothers starting their WW2 line I doubt I can resist.
The game seems to be selling very well and with their vast amount of WW2 miniatures Warlord has it should get better and better. Plus they are putting up new units, scenarios etc on their web site.
I really like the game this far in and while I’m happy with it I’m thinking of trying out some of the other WW2 games I got before Bolt Action.
To be continued…