Why I Love Playing Bolt Action

Today I published a Review of Bolt Action over on the Bell of Lost Souls. I decided to do a similar but different between the sites, but keep the content in both original. In this post, I quickly discuss why I love Bolt Action.

The Rules

First off, I just Love the rules. They are simple yet fun!

If you have played other wargames, most of what is in Bolt Action will feel vary familiar. The rules are not difficult and there are many similarities in the game to other popular systems.

The Dice Draw Mechanic adds a lot of variety and variability to the game play. Unlike other games where you get to move all your forces at once, you anxiously draw dice in hopes that you get one of yours so you can pull off your awesome plan. Some times you may even sit there and hope your opponent gets the next die so you can see what they are doing first. Either way, I find that the dice draw mechanic adds a welcome element of luck not found in “I go, you go” games.

The changes from the first to second edition (I played both) were not earth shattering and I think the second edition is a good refinement on the first.

The Miniatures

28mm World War Two miniatures are beautiful (in my opinion). Warlord Games has a large and great looking selection of Bolt Action Miniatures. There are also plenty of other companies that also make WW2 miniatures (in case you don’t like the cost or aesthetics of the Warlord ones). Personally, I like the Warlord Games ones and am constantly watching their site for their new releases. I wish I could own them all!!!

Before starting in 28mm WW2 Gaming, I played in the world of 15mm. I prefer to paint 15mm figures, but I much prefer building 28mm soldiers. The reason for this is that with 28mm you can take a lot more liberties in assembling your models. I prefer assembly over painting, so 28mm is a good fit for me.   🙂

I honestly like the Bolt Action Minis so much that two out of the three miniatures that I use for avatars for this site are actually from Warlord Games Bolt Action Line. Below are some quick pictures of those two minis.

Bolt Action Major Avatar
This is one of the miniatures that I love using as an avatar for Must Contain Minis. He is a British Major by Warlord Games.
Bolt Action Captain
This is the second miniature from Warlord Games that I like to use as an avatar.

The Terrain

One of the things that I really love about Bolt Action is the terrain is recognizable to our modern world (yet it is not in our current time). There are plenty of great companies out there that make fantastic terrain that you can use for this game. Cigar Box Battle Mats, PlastCraft Games and XOLK are some of my current favourites. Of course, Warlord also sells terrain too that you can use for the game for some really stellar tables.

As a note to the side, I recently heard that a huge Bolt Action tournament in the UK had some truly dismal terrain. If that is true, I feel sorry for those who attended. Please don’t think of that type of terrain as typical for Bolt Action.

Below is just a small sampling from some of our Bolt Action tables that we have used at Must Contain Minis.

Bolt Action Terrain
A Bolt Action Table from one of my recent Battle Reports.
Bolt Action (2nd Edition by Warlord Games)
Special thanks goes out to Warlord Games and Osprey Publishing for putting out such an awesome game!!! Check out that table and the Battle Report.
Bolt Action Tank War Demo Battle Table
Dave and Randall set up this demo table of Bolt Action at Hotlead.
Bolt Action MDF Terrain
A Demo Bolt Action table ran by me full of XOLK Terrain. Battle Report still to come.
Cigar Box Battle Mat and Bolt Action
A Demo Bolt Action Table with lots of open fields ran by my buddy Dave.

The Local Players

I met a number of great people through wargaming and one of the things that keeps me coming back to Bolt Action is the local player base. Hopefully you can also find a great selection of people to play, but I have two great companies in my area that strongly support the game – Forbes Hobbies and Crucible Crush. Both companies run events (or provide space) where people can play Bolt Action. I do my best to attend when I can, but I also have a lot of demands on my time. I would love to get out more than I do.

Constant Releases

Both Osprey Publishing and Warlord Games heavily support Bolt Action through new releases. Every month I find myself checking out there websites to see what is coming up.

Wrapping it up…

Hopefully you enjoyed this quick post about why I love Bolt Action. If you want a full review of the core rules, be sure to check out my review on Bell of Lost Souls.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

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3 thoughts on “Why I Love Playing Bolt Action

  • May 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I concur, entirely.
    I love the dice draw mechanic – in addition to adding a bit of tactical unpredictability, the draw-odds shift with forces and the momentum of battle, in real-time.

    As far as the 2.0 version goes, the only real noticable thing for me was the shift in utility and importance of Officers. They are finally worth taking and can have a noticable impat on the game, and while vulnerable can be utilized to mitigat some of the dice-draw’s unpredicatability, when you need to make that push.

  • June 13, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    The dice draw is interesting but ultimately a poor mechanic. It makes the whole thing purely random and promotes cheesy “dice loading” techniques (taking cheap units to ramp up number of dice).

    It also means that units operate on their own as opposed to in conjunction with others as you cannot rely on them to be supported.

    Games like Chain of Command or Battlegroup do the whole “friction” thing a lot better. They also do WW2 a lot better compared to BA which really doesn’t feel like a WWII game and promotes some really bizarre “tactics” and list choices.

    • June 13, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      A lot of the historical guys at one of the clubs I visit really enjoy Chain of Command. I tried it twice and did not enjoy it as much as Bolt Action. That said, everyone has their own opinion and that is one of the reasons I do not assign scores in my reviews.

      There is a possibility to load up the bag with more dice in Bolt Action, but, in so doing, you create weaker squads that are easier to kill. It is a trade off game for sure when you design your list.

      While I enjoy Bolt Action, I fully appreciate that others would prefer other games. Who knows, perhaps I will give Chain of Command or Battlegroup another go sometime. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the comment.


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