Category: Wargames Rules

My Review of Warlord Games’ Bolt Action.

Last weekend, I attended the Crucible 3 Convention in Orlando, Florida. I took part in the Bolt Action Tournament that was organized by my friend, Patrick Ballinger. I’ve already blogged about my experiences there in my previous post. Now I’ll review the rules.
First of all, Bolt Action is a physically impressive book. Warlord Games has teamed up with Osprey Publishing and the result is some of the best looking game books on the market.
Too bad the actual rules are considerably less than impressive to me.
It seems as if Bolt Action’s rules are descended from the Warhammer Basic Rules. I didn’t care much for WH’s way of doing things. I found them to be very limited in terms of tactical decision making. These limits have found their way into the Bolt Action rules. Here are a few examples.
Usually under most rules, squads can divide down into teams with each team operating seperately. In Bolt Action, the whole squad operates together. There is no provision for setting up a base of fire with your BAR/LMG Team while your rifle team manuevers to close with the enemy.
The next one really floored me. I have a German Panzergrenadier Platoon as well as an American Armored Infantry Platoon in 28mm scale. Every rule set I have ever played assumes that each APC comes with a Driver and a Gunner. In Bolt Action, a unit is required to stay in the Vehicle in order to fire the pintle mounted MG. This leads to some bizarre situations such has having your unit medic staying behind in the halftrack to fire the HMG. It also pretty much nullifies the use of any APC. You’d be better off buying trucks and jeeps.
Snipers, in this game, are way overpowered and deadly. They can take out an entire weapons team with just one hit. That’s right…I lost a 60mm mortar team and a MMG team to snipers. Under the Bolt Action rules all it takes is for the sniper to Wound the Gunner and magically the remaining team members are also removed. The last time that happened to me was in a Warhammer 40K game as the result of a Plasma Bolter. I wasn’t aware of the fact that apparently the Wehrmacht had them as well…or at least an equivalent weapon.
In conclusion, after playing BA at the tournament, I’m going back to Disposable Heroes from Iron Ivan Games. It is, in my opinion a superior rules set. However, if you are used to playing in the GW style and have experience with Warhammer and Warhammer 40K then Bolt Action would be a good set of rules for you to get you into WWII.

Have Fun. Play Games!

New Year’s Goals!

Well, here it is. January 1st, 2014. It is that time again when folks make New Year’s Resolutions and then promptly forget them within the month. Resolutions sound so binding. So rather than make a bunch of resolutions that I more than likely won’t stick to, I’ve decided instead to set some goals and work towards them. As far as gaming goes and blogging go, here are the goals I’ve established for myself…subject to change of course.
First of all, I would like to blog more. At least once a month if not more often. I’ve had a bad case of writer’s block for a while now but that has seemed to go away. In order to help do this, I’m adding Role Playing Games to my purview. I have lots of them. I’ve been playing them since 1977 and all of my published writing has been for RPG’s. My original plan was to establish a separate blog but it makes more sense just to add it here.
As for miniatures gaming (which I’ve been doing since 1972), there are several projects that I would like to complete. One of them is getting my Horse and Musket army painted up. I plan on having to Imagi-Nations ready to go. The first is my beloved Ruritania and the other are hordes of Kravonia. I have several sets of rules and am basing my troops to be able to them all. While the Army of Ruritania is in medium gray (Army Painter Uniform Grey) with various colored cuffs, breeches and vests to designate the individual units, I have yet to settle on what color the Kravonians will be wearing.
There will also of course be more Skirmish Gaming and lots of WWII action. I’m also planning on running some WWI games as well since this year is 100th Anniversary of that war. I will also be writing some convention reports and generally talking about the hobby.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope that 2014 brings much happiness and success to all!

Play games and have fun!

Stepping Back Up!

Whoa…it’s been a while since I’ve stepped up to the Skirmish Line. Many things have happened since my last post a lot of which have nothing to do with wargaming. Now on to the wargaming stuff.
I’ve picked up a set of new skirmish rules along the way.
The first is In Her Majesty’s Name which is a set of Steampunk skirmish rules from Osprey Publishing. For those of you not familiar with Osprey, they are a longtime publisher(founded in 1969) of military history guidebooks. They have several different series out including Men-At-Arms, Elite, and several others that all relate to military history topics.They beautifully illustrated with full color plates of the subject under discussion. Check them out at
The rules themselves are a easy to learn and play. Unlike other rules sets, IHMN is not tied to a specific line of miniatures. I’ll be reviewing these rules in more depth in a later post.
So yes, I’ve stepped up to the Skirmish Line again.

Play Games and Have Fun!

Brink of Battle: Skirmish at Cockroach Creek!

I tried out the Brink of Battle skirmish rules this afternoon. It was a solitaire game as I wanted to take a look at how the gaming system operated. So without further ado, I give you Skirmish at Cockroach Creek!

Background: It is 1905. Most of the major powers have been economically devastated by a Great War. Two of the unscathed ones, the United States and Imperial Germany have maintained an icy detente…until now. The German Empire has finally decided that now is the time to put the upstart Yankees in their place and seize territory in the Caribbean. Neither the British or the French are in any shape to oppose them.

The Germans begin their invasion by landing troops in Florida. They are hoping that a quick victory will bring the Americans to the bargaining table.  The vanguard of the German assault force is heading for Tampa when they first encounter a squad of Florida National Guardsmen near the banks of Cockroach Creek.

As the Sentry Player, the Americans set up first. One of the big problems facing them was the fact that they only had 5 Activation tokens for an 11 man unit. This problem would plague them for the rest of the short, sharp encounter.

Part of the American squad advancing in skirmish order.
Part of the American squad advancing in skirmish order.
Another view of the American line.
Another view of the American line.
A dreadful occurrence!!!!
A dreadful occurrence!!!!
Disaster strikes again!
Disaster strikes again!

At this point, Pvt Wehmeyer of the Brandenburg Fusiliers after taking careful hit Pvt Fritzlar who dropped like a rock. The unit leader, CPL Wainwright, failed his morale roll and bolted for the rear. Private Bowman is hit and dies instantly shot through the heart. Private Funston breaks and joins Corporal Wainwright in headlong retreat.

A revenge of sorts is extracted on the Germans. Private Wernicke is slighty wounded.
A revenge of sorts is extracted on the Germans. Private Wernicke is slighty wounded.

This was the only casualty that the Germans suffered. After that, I concluded that the Americans would be pulling back. Which they did.

Overall, I found the game easy to run and quick moving. The only die that is used is a D10 for each side. I highly recommend these rules. They are fun and challenging. They can be found at http://www.brinkofbattle.com

Skirmish at Cockroach Creek 001

Until next time, Have Fun and Play Games!

Brink of Battle IV: Call Out The Guard—Send In The Marines!

In the last post on Brink of Battle, I said that I would develop an American Battleforce to counter the German Invaders. Well in this case, you all will get two for the price of one as it were. We’re going to create two different battleforces to illustrate to other types of troop organization.
We’ll start with The Horde. Once again we will have 525 points to use as we are using a theme which gives us a 25 SP bonus to our base 500. In this case, the theme is a US National Guard Unit that has been called out to stop the Germans. As a side note, the Army National Guard was established in 1903 by absorbing the various State Volunteer units so it fits with our overall theme of “Invasion: 1905”.
The Horde has a minimum of 7 figures up to a maximum of 20. There is 1 commander, 0-1 veteran, and 6+ troopers. The Commander is built using up to 25% of the available points. If a Veteran is included then they get up to 20% and the Troopers take the 55+% of the remaining points.
This squad is built with the concept of the old Veteran commander and everyone else is a fairly green Trooper. It looks like this
National Guard (507 SP’s)
Corporal Edson Wainwright Commander 87 SP’s
Ratings: Combat 4, Command: 5, Constitution 4
Traits: Command, Old Soldier, Marksman +1
Gear: Rifle, Bayonet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness

PVTS Anderson, Bowman, Carriger, Dennis, Fritzlar, Funston, Heldern, Jones, Langford, Muncie
Ratings Combat 2, Command 4, Constitution 3
Traits: None
Gear Same as Corporal Wainwright
There are a total of 11 men in this force which is a standard full strength squad for this time period. They are led by a veteran NCO. The Troopers are green (CMBT 2) but they are motivated because they’re defending their homes and are in reasonable physical shape.
The next American Battleforce we’ll create is a small unit of United States Marines. We’ll use the Elite Force Organization for them. Once again we’ll start with 525 Supply Points.
The Elite Force get 1 Commander who can be built with up to 30% of the Supply Points, 2 or more Veterans who get up to at least 50% of the available point and 0-3 Troopers who can be built with 20% of the points. The unit has a minimum of 3 figures up to a maximum of 10.
United States Marines (516 SP’s)
Sergeant James Grant( Commander) (148 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 7, Constitution 6
Traits: Command, Belay Order, Marksman +3
Gear: Rifle, Bayonet, Rucksack, Tactical Harness, Extra Ammo (+3)

Private John Benson (Veteran) (127 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 6, Constitution 6
Traits: Command, Marksman +3
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant

Private Charles Evans (Veteran) (120 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 5, Constitution 5
Traits: Marksman +3, Sharpshooter
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant

Private Edward Richards (Veteran) (126 SP’s)
Ratings: Combat 6, Command 5, Constitution 6
Traits: Marksman +3, Burly
Gear: Same as Sergeant Grant
These are some tough hombres. They’ve seen action in China (1900), the Phillipines and the Spanish American War. What they lack in numbers they make up for in proficiency. As an added historical touch,the names of the Marines are taken from the roster of the USS Baltimore’s Marine Detachment at the Battle of Manila Bay.
Overall, this is the most labor intensive if you will part of the game. Once you get the hang of genning up a Battleforce the easier it becomes. I found it to be fun and challenging.
With the forces drawn up, all that is left now is to send them into the heat of battle. Probably start with the Brandenburgers taking on the National Guard. Until then…
Play Games and Have Fun