My 28mm WW2 collection has been growing slowly. At present, they are really more some cool figs in search of a game-system. I have been pleasantly surprise with how much fun 28mm skirmish has been via SAGA, and I don't hold huge hopes of 28mm sci-fi, so when some others got some ww2 stuff I jumped on the bandwagon... No matter that the rules they were considering didn't yet have an up to date WW2 version and were pretty far from the semi-board game carnage that is SAGA. Ironically, I have had more games (one) of the 28mm Sci Fi version of the rules than I have had using Force on Force for WW2. In the meantime, Nathan has got me play not one, but two, different WW2 skirmish sets now. First up was Operation Squad. Now I've had a run using the new Bolt Action rules by Warlord games. Here are my first impressions based on an all infantry 500pt game.
First up, the game is larger in scale than Operation squad. Even at 500pts, there are about four times the figures. At the usual 1000pts there will be even more infantry plus a tank and some guns. Before playing, I had been worried that this would be too much cramming off 'stuff' onto the 28mm table but I think, given the simple mechanics (summary here), that it will work pretty well indeed. Squads of guys with some guns and the odd tank rumbling around. Could be fun. I can't wait to tangle with a Tiger in a village with my assault engineers...
The game is a d6 system with modifiers. Every unit gets one order dice each. They all go into a cup, with both side's dice all mixed, then they are drawn out one by one and the player who gets one of theirs gets to move a unit. Sometimes a unit will act out of turn as a reaction (say by going to ground when under fire) and this will both use up a dice and prevent that unit having other orders this turn. Distances wise, infantry move 6" (x2 for a run) Vehicles move 9" (x2) and some fast ones move 12" (x2). Rifles shoot 24", SMGs 12", MMGs 36", LMGs 30".... and heavy mortars and howitzers may not have the range to cover a full table.... Shades of the lunacy of Flames of War there. Oh well, can't get everything right!
Units have a morale rating, and there are three grades of troops. The better they are the tougher to kill (you roll to wound/kill in this game, which is analogous to infantry saves from other games) and the higher their morale. As you come under fire, you need to pass morale tests to act, otherwise you can always perform more straightforward tasks like hitting the dirt! Really poor troops are poorer shots than usual. That's about the rules as far as the game goes, without vehicles and larger caliber weapons.
I had two squads of the tough Soviet Assault Engineers, played as Vets to help model their body armour. A third 11 man squad of Green Inexperienced infantry was free as per the Soviet special rules. This seems balanced for 1000pts so was a real perk for 500pts! Backing these guys up were my trusty Kommissar (using the medic rules, a 6+ save on nearby units due to the power of Scientific Socialism...) a Vet Sniper team, a Vet Flamethrower team (hehehe) and a Vet MMG team. Nathan had the edge on ranged fire, while my guys were going to be filthy up close.
The Germans to my right were fast discovering how much accumulating pin markers sucked. I like the mechanic, like accumulating fatigue in SAGA. Essentially those guys were getting more an more unlikely to hit anything and less able to follow orders. Except of course hitting the dirt, for the all the good that was doing them. Meanwhile, my lead Assault Engineer Squad had run through the gap in the hedges and onto the road and were quickly paying the price for their fervour....
After initially proving very hard to kill (Vets are 5+ to wound/kill), their body armour seemed to end up too riddled with holes to work anymore and the unit ended up pinned down then eliminated by concentrated German fire.
The Soviets may have steamrollered that game but the free squad was very good for 500pts and I'd take flamethrowers and a sniper over massed LMGs any day, in Bolt Action. Germans can have all those toys too, plus the extra LMGs.
First impressions? Loved it. Fast, fun. Can be tactical. Mainly focused on letting people run around with whatever toys they find cool. I am going to order some Plastic Soldier Company Soviets to bulk out my force. And then a Tank(s) with maybe some transports for my Scout figures. And some guns....
Can't wait to play again.