When Graham recently visited for a gaming weekend, he mentioned the only non-Flames of War game he had played in the last few months was Bolt Action, and he indicated that he thought they gave a reasonable game. I have only played a single game of Bolt Action and then only half-heartedly; a small club game that I was invited to join when I had no game of my own planned. I must admit that I did not fully participate or concentrate, and spent most of my time chatting to other gamers about this and that. I recall that I was initially confused about the command dice, thinking that you had to roll them to ascertain you order type (clearly wrong), and my fellow players did all the calculations, simply telling me how many dice to roll and what I required. I remember we were British infantry, with some armour support, and we were hammered by the Germans who were armed with assault rifles and plenty of MG42’s. Snipers were also a pain, picking off targets at will, although officers/leaders did not seem to have any beneficial effects. My partner muttered about the Germans having a ‘gamey’ list choice, but I was just happy rolling some dice and enjoying myself, rather than worrying about winning or losing. Soon after Graham departed, I noticed reports that Bolt Action version 2 was about to be released, and my interest was piqued. I have since checked them out online and read a few battle reports.
WW2 has never been a major gaming interest for me, but I have dabbled and own a reasonable number of 20mm troops for the main European participants, and these have sat in their box files for many years. I have tried numerous rules; the simplistic (Rapid Fire), the flashy (Battlefront WW2), the innovative (Crossfire) and the popular (FoW), none of which has grabbed my attention. More recently I have played Chain of Command which I did enjoy but surprisingly, after the initial burst of enthusiasm, they have remained largely on my rules shelf.
So, the question is: Should I invest in Bolt Action 2? Are they any good? Or, am I not cut out for WW2 games? I ‘think’ I want a fast action set of rules focussed on Platoon/Company level infantry action, which can accommodate some armour (which is not over-powering), and which does provide a good degree of period ‘feel’. What I mean by ‘feel’ is some variation in the tactical approach used by the different nations, and forces that don’t just take part in a dice-fest, but instead use covering fire etc. to set up attacks, and do not fight on to the last man standing.
Any thoughts, opinions or advice out there? I have a month or so before they are released, and maybe I will dust off Chain of Command and see if I can wet my WW2 appetite again.