I'm sure threads like this come up a lot here so forgive me, but I'm curious about this game as I keep hearing about it and everything I've heard has been pretty positive. I love WWII and have played Flames of War and Battlegroup, so this wouldn't be my first foray into tabletop WWII. So I have a few questions...
1. In a really general sense, what's it like? I still play a lot of 40K
and I've played Flames of War before, how does it compare to those in terms of gameplay mechanics?
2. Are the rules tight? I hate arguing over rules interpretations and RAW
3. How accurate is it? I'm not really too picky in this regard, I just want to know how simple it would be to get forces from the same time period and same theater onto a table together.
4. What's the infantry/vehicle balance like? I've heard BA
hearkens back to earlier editions of 40K
and in terms of scale a typical game is some blokes and a tank. Is that right?
5. I recall reading on this forum that machineguns in the game were seldom ever taken and were terrible. Was this rectified in 2nd edition? It would be very disappointing if such an iconic weapon in the war was so dismal on the tabletop.
6. What are the 'codices' like? I know there are 'armies of...' books, but there also appears to be theater books as well like Battlegrounds of Europe. What's usually used and what are the key differences there?
Thanks a lot for your help guys.
1. You'll see a lot of people say Bolt Action is "1940k", but they are wrong. They are 28mm platoon-level games, but the mechanics of the game systems are completely different. Activation is random, forcing you to plan and react to changing battlefield conditions; pinning and suppression allow you to control your enemy; close quarters is very deadly and the only good way to make enemy infantry move from a well defended position. So, it's far closer to emulating the 20th century battlefield in a fairly elegant and simple fashion.
2. Yes, especially with the new edition. With 4 years of first edition and tons of tournament feedback and the primary designer being actively involved with the playerbase, pretty much all the nonsense that people pulled off in first edition has been fixed. Several of the big tournament players helped in crafting the new edition in order to fix old exploits and to make sure no new ones were created.
3. It is as accurate as you make it. A lot of historical gamers immediately hate it because it has points - but like most grognards, they groan first and ask questions never. It's actually addressed in the rulebook - where it says, paraphrasing, play this game historically using historical scenarios and historical TO
&E, but if you want to play a pick up game, use the points and platoon selectors. I've been playing and running BA
events for years, and it's super easy to make a fun totally historical scenario for people to play, and then there's "hey man you want to do 1000 points this Friday after work?"
4. Assuming we're talking about playing with points, it's up to you. Some players love bringing a tank, some don't - my buddy plays Commandos with no armor support at all and does quite well. I however love taking a tank with my Fallschirmjager when I play them. Tanks are even better in second edition, as veteran tanks can easily ignore the pinning effects of weapons that can't hurt them (think of a 37mm shot bouncing off the front armor of a Tiger and it not caring). Expanding on your question, the "normal" game of Bolt Action is a reinforced infantry platoon - infantry squads with attached weapons such as mortar teams and whatnot, and maybe a tank, and transports. There's the "Tank War" expansion which flips it, so you field armored platoons with attached infantry squads. Tank games are definitely fun to play, but tend to be when players have a ton of tanks (which will happen) and want to have fun blasting each other with big guns.
5. Yes, MG
's were iffy in first edition, but thankfully we're not in first edition. LMG's (squad-level are fantastic, never leave home without them. They have a 50% range increase over your standard rifleman and put out four times as many dice (or five times, if you're German). Your three-man MMG support teams (machine guns on tripods with dedicated loader/spotting team) get an extra die. (I'm actually not sure what Vetrucio is talking about, as weapons teams are more maneuverable now than before - MMG teams can rotate in place and fire, for instance, in second edition)
6. The Armies Of... books detail all the units for that force, plus different platoon selectors based on historical battles, and any special rules. The Theatre books have tons of scenarios for those theatres and maybe some new units that were specific to that - mainly for the historically minded players. And the new Campaign books, starting with Battle of the Bulge next month, are designed for people to play particular battles as a campaign.