Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Bolt Action - A Review of the rules

I purchased My copy of BA at crisis, in November 2012 ( should have bought it on Amazon £16.00 ). Although I only paid £20.00 (Retails at £25.00). The Rules are, as most now days in a hard back cover, with lots of colour pictures and explanations you would expect. The basic rules are very easy to pick up and are based on a Reinforced Platoon. The rules use appoints system for competitive games, so do not be surprised to see BA competitions cropping up at shows. The game lasts for six turns (as all competitive rules seem to now, GW, KoW being the main two that I know of). Pointed games start from 500pts on a 4 x 4 table, and takes a couple of hours to get a result on this size table. The basic fighting unit is a squad of infantry from five to fifteen figures, or a support section. Each unit has its points value with add ons, and this way you build your force. Each Nation has its “National traits”, which add to the game. A nice little “gimic” are the order dice (which are not the best quality and chip in the dice bag). The dice are a six sided but have your orders on them and come in eight various colours. These are not rolled but placed by the unit you want to make an action. You get one dice for each unit in your force and both sides place them in the dice cup or a dice bag. With both sides dice in the bag, shake the dice in the bag (not to much as some chipping has occurred on some dice. The first turn begins by drawing out a dice. The order on the dice allows you to do a certain action for that unit. Your unit can Fire, Advance, Run, Ambush, Rally or Down. Find the order on the dice and place it by the unit, and then carry out the order. If your unit has taken fire previously you may have to take a morale check to carry out the order. Fire – Stay where you are and fire at an enemy unit Advance – move (normally half run speed), you can fire at the end of the move at a -1 to hit. Run – Move up to maximum movement of the unit but cannot fire at the end of move. Ambush – Place next to a unit you wish to Ambush next turn or any turn if the dice remains by the unit. If an Ambush dice was placed last turn and still next to unit, then you can interrupt any enemy movement by firing at them. You then turn dice to fire and fire!. Rally – This dice rallies a unit with lots of pin markers but requires a morale roll. If you pass remove a pin, then remove D6 worth of pins. Ie: roll a D6 and remove that amount of pin markers from that unit. If you fail, do not remove any pins and change the order to down!. Down – This allows a unit to “dive for cover” when being fired at, if not ordered yet. Simply elect the unit is going down and take an order dice from the bag and place a down order next to unit. It can still be a target but at a -1. A Down order is also given to any unit that fails a morale test (if it has pin markers), to carry out an order. The rules are set out in sections and breaks down each sequence of the turn. The rules do not come with play sheets, although they are in the book. You can download the play sheet free, from Warlord Games website http://www.warlordgames.com/ under Forums then BA general discussions, they are then found in the “command post” section. There is also a downloadable PDF of an index which is vital as the rules in the book seem to be all over the place, but do not be put off by this. We had our first trial game in January and by the second game hardly used the rule book and by the third game hardly used the play sheet as they are so easy to play. When you are fired at, and take casualties, you also receive pin markers. These are your units cohesion breaking down and will be used when taking morale tests and firing. If a unit receives more pins than your staring morale (even if you have not lost any men), the unit is removed, having lost all cohesion! When trying to carry out an order with a unit that has pin markers, you must take a morale test by rolling two D6 and add the pins to the result. If that result is equal to, or less than your morale, then you can remove one pin marker and carry out the order. There are other modifiers to morale, as in all rules. If you fail, then you receive a down order (hitting the dirt/ Finding cover,etc) Firing is simple in that all weapons roll a certain amount of D6 dependent on their effectiveness, eg each rifle rolls 1 D6, an assault rifle 2 D6, MMG 3 D6, etc. You add up your weapons values and roll the dice and add mods to dice for moving, cover. Every time you “hit” a unit, that unit receives a pin. Some Weapons cause multiple pins. The game is easy to pick up and it works best with infantry only games, as armour seems to dominate the table and the heavy MG’s are more effective than trying to fire HE. The game ends at turn six although we tend to play longer as we usually play on a larger than standard BA table. BA can be played with other scales, not just 28mm. There are Army books covering all the major powers and theatres. Warlord Games who produce the rules have really nice figures and vehicles to compliment the rules. Will be posting some pics of my troops at a later date