Friday, August 31, 2012

World War two returns in 28mm.

The Bolt action range of miniatures by Warlord games has been on the market for some time, quite an extensive range of world war two plastic (multi-part) and metal miniatures were sold to be used for world war two 28mm miniature war games and Warlord's own Operation squad miniature war game, a game that as it wasn't too well known nor supported didn't got the attention it (might) needed.

Some time ago Warlord announced the publication of the Bolt action WW2 miniature war game, a little later i stumbled upon their website and read some reviews and articles from the producers, the impression from what i read led me to believe that we are in the first steps of a new brilliant game that will take its place among the big games out there in the market - Warhammer fantasy and 40k, Flames of War, Warmachine and the rest.

The reasons are: the rules of the game who are written by veteran game designers Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley are simple fast and easy to understand and also close to what we used to play with the warhammer 40k 5th edition and the brilliant range of miniatures who can only be compared with the top manufacturers in the market right now.

I always felt that it was always missing, a 28mm game in the world war two era, the biggest war the planet ever had to face in the heroic scale of the 28mm size - you will say - hey! there is already a game with the world war two: Flames of War, yes - i know it (already have a collection of its models) and i like it very much, but the game's scale is totally different, FOW is about an army of hundredths of men fighting against equivalent forces with tens of tanks and lots of artillery - that is cool (for us war gamers - that is) but it misses the individuality and the heroism of the one - two guys who if even wont do anything heroic in the game itself the miniatures themselves will be posed like still pictures of heroes from a war comic book, and this for me is also (very) cool.

The rules look incredible cool, i have to admit, i am starting to like very much this guy Cavatore, first he writes the 5th edition warhammer rules and then he goes and re-visualize chess (see: Shuuro) and now he comes and writes simple fun and fast rules for a 28mm miniatures war game, from reading articles about it - it looks a bit like warhammer 40k 5th edition with lots of changes, but its simple, quick and easy to learn.

Lets see some parts of the rules, while the rulebook hasent been published yet from articles and reviews made by people who already got beforehand the rulebook we can get a good idea about what will be some of the most important parts of the rules.

Germans waiting on their sprue for assembly so that they can conquer Europe. (don't forget to listen to Wagner when you assemble them)

One turn, two players.
The game doesn't follow a two-times-single-player-turn-makes-a-round, one player doesn't move then shoot your army into tiny bits and then smack them to the ground while you sit there happily waiting for your turn, no, Bolt action follows a innovating (yeah-right) system where a cup holds one dice for each unit in the game different colored for each player - for example Germans get black - Americans get white - each time a dice is picked from the cup, the color picked means that this player side can activate one of his units, the round ends normally when the cup runs out of dice. 

No World War two miniature game would be ever complete without having the GI Joe's available to the gamers.

Now you can save your own private Ryan. 

Suppression fire.
Yes, it has it, i always had that in mind, while it is normal (for me) for WH40k not to have something like suppresing fire (shooting at people so that they keep their heads down) just because everyone in the 40k world is just too fanatic to do something like that - and half the combatants are so fearless that simply no one would get suppressed - it always had me thinking of how well and nice tactically speaking a 28mm wargame would look with squads trying to suppress each other while other squads take the opportunity to close with the enemy - real modern firefight tactics.

Apart from getting dead from fictional bullets shells and grenades in Bolt Action your heroic plastic guys will also get pinned, that is - really starting to worry about the time where you, their player will pick them up from the battlefield and put them back to their storage box waiting for the next time where you will get them out to play with them (i really start to feel sorry for them, so that you know) SO - the more shots they get they worry, the more they worry the more difficult they get to move from the place they are and the more difficult for them it becomes to shoot straight.

The defenders of France now come in boxed sets (just add water).

Fire, Advance, Run, Ambush, Rally, or Down
Depending on what you want to do with each of your units they can follow one of the six avaliable orders, a unit may fire: sit where it is and fire its weapons, Advance: move and fire their weapons to a lesser ability in aiming, Run: as fast as they can, Ambush: set up to fire when the opponent moves a unit in line of sight to them, Rally: clear pinning and regroup from the chicken's trail to safety, or get Down to the ground (and pray that the enemy doesn't have flamethrowers).

How diverse can an army be in Bolt Action? in World War 2 the Polish still used cavalry (Greeks did too!) so worrying about if the armies will look too much the same (infantry and tanks against tanks with infantry might not be the case).

Each model rolls a dice and a roll of 3+ causes a hit but there are modifiers to this roll, for example advancing while shooting causes a penalty and so do soft cover, target in "down" mode etc, any shots that landed on the target might cause "damage" this looks a lot like Flames of War with the possibility of getting dead depends not on the skill of the shooter but on the skill of the guy who gets the shots, inexperienced guys see their maker in a roll of 3+ while veterans are more likely to survive (avoid getting shot) at 5+ normal guys get their chance with the grim reaper at 4+.

There are no armor saves, since the majority of the folks in WW2 didn't used armor anyway, the player who owns the unit getting shot at chooses the models to remove as causalities with the exception that if you roll a 6 in the damage roll and then re roll that and get another 6 the shooter can choose the model removed from that dice as causality (easy, simple and deadly).

The "Soviet Naval Brigade" is a separate army entry listed in the Bolt action range of miniatures, did you knew that this kind of force existed?

The main book will have four armies to choose from, Germans, The United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union but from the selection of models in the miniatures range a lot more combatant countries of the era will be provided including Japanese (Banzai!) French (one more chance to defend this country from the invaders) Belgians, Italians, Poland (tough brave guys) and... (what no Greeks again?) Partisans (ah here we are), in the future dedicated army books will be provided for every country.

The rule book
At 216 full color pages as far as i read on reviews, its hard bound with a lot of examples for the rules,  there are a lot of miniature photographs too, i guess some history articles will be included too. 

You used to carry your troops with Chimera's and Rhino's huh? now you will carry them with the Phanomen Granit H25 Truck!

The cost
Here comes another important issue, it looks like that most armies will need two to three boxes of infantry those can be found at 22 to 25 euros each and they contain about twenty to twenty five models, most of the infantry sets will also produce officers and some special weapons but you might (will) need some extra miniatures for commanders and soldiers with weapons not on the plastic sets, additionally you will probably going to get some vehicles and heavy guns like artillery and anti tank guns, for price examples lets say that a Panther tank right now costs about 30 euro's but probably you wont be getting more than one to three tanks in your army anyway. Another good thing is that a lot of companies make WW2 28mm models who can be used easily on the game and individualize your army. In a haste, i don't think that the overall cost for starting to play in this game with lots of infantry, tanks books and dice will exceed 150 to 200 euro's.

Anyway, that is mostly all, visit the Warlord site to see more about the game and the immense selection of models for it, plus see their other selections of models and rules about the ancient era (ancient Greek's, Persians, Romans etc) the Pike and Shotte era (1500-1700) the Black powder era (Napoleon, Waterloo etc) and the Bolt action. 
Pictures used without permission from the Warlord website.

Have fun and be well.
For the Invulnerable


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