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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian09 Jul 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

36% of you said "yes, I like them and will play them"

24% said "no, I did not like them and will not play them"

27% said you haven't played

TMP link

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2018 1:02 p.m. PST

A fun 'game' that is ideal for introducing new players to miniature gaming.

rustymusket09 Jul 2018 1:13 p.m. PST

I recently began collecting figs for the game. A friend and I played it at a local shop game day and enjoyed it enough to go for it. I like easy to learn, easy to play games with enough realism in it to call it historical.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2018 3:13 p.m. PST

The Texas Bolt Action club has "converted" a large number of 40k players over to historical gaming!! World War II in 28mm is cool!

Texas Bolt Action tournament

picture

TacticalPainter0109 Jul 2018 3:16 p.m. PST

It's a game and in that it succeeds very well. A good way to introduce kids to miniature gaming,.

The Texas Bolt Action club has "converted" a large number of 40k players over to historical gaming!! World War II in 28mm is cool!

However, play it with people well versed in WWII tactics and history and there are far too many "what the ****" moments to justify caling it historical. If the world of 40k is your benchmark for ‘realism' then it probably works just fine.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP09 Jul 2018 4:28 p.m. PST

TacticalPainter01

Ouch! I see BA as a results oriented game. Chain of command and Battlegroup as more process oriented.

What games do you prefer?

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 4:24 a.m. PST

I am well versed in WWII history and tactics and BA is still just a 'game': the Bleeped text situations don't bother me at all since I know going in what I am playing.

In fact, when they do happen they are funny and can be used as 'teaching moments' for new players.

Capt John Miller10 Jul 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

Joes Shop, then what game is realistic? Also, doesn' t it make a difference as to the playing style of the players. There are those who would say, "No, we're not doing that because in real life they would not do this action."

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 6:18 a.m. PST

CJM: honestly, in my opinion, no game is realistic. I spent 28 years on active duty: realism in gaming is an illusion and while gamers enjoy arguing about it vis-a-vis rule sets that doesn't mean that an 'unrealistic' rule set can't be fun to play.

Of course, some games are better simulations but even that is highly subjective: everyone has their own opinion.

Last weekend I played several games of MB's 'Dogfight' with a friend. Realistic: no, but we had a blast. Is it an accurate simulation of WWI aerial combat – no – and knowing that did not detract from my enjoyment of the game.

My local shop (only 1 in my area) was a hotbed of 40K / Magic for years. My only reason to go there was to pick up paint and accessories.

Two years ago a new owner took over and devoted an entire wall to Warlord/Bolt Action. I walked in one day and saw several tables surrounded by 20-30 year olds playing BA. I went over, introduced myself and was playing in a game a few minutes later (I have /know the rules). The irony was that these kids were surprised that an 'older guy' like me was interested!

"No, we're not doing that because in real life they would not do this action."

Good point: however, that depends on the group you're playing with. Most of the kids I interact with come to BA from other types of gaming and since they see it as a 'game' they generally do not know the history – at least not going in.

Usually, if I'm there and something like that comes up I'm called over to the table and asked about it.

Again, it's really situational: at home it can be 'ASL' or 'CrossFire'. In the end, for me, it's about having fun.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 7:30 a.m. PST

Joe's- But how far do you go? If everything is "just a game", why bother with miniatures? Why wargame at all?
Why not stick to chess or monopoly?
Why not use Black Powder to play WWII? Naval rules for dogfights?
I'm being deliberately silly to make a point. I've read Featherstone. Are we now at the point where the "historical" aspect of "historical wargaming" means absolutely nothing at all?

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 7:46 a.m. PST

PM: no, I didn't say "everything is just a game". Perhaps, I am not getting my point across. I love history, learning and increasing my knowledge base. For me, history, modeling and miniature wagaming are all parts of one whole – one hobby.

Would I prefer to play what I consider an historical simulation: of course. That said, I can enjoy a game that is not a serious simulation if I understand the construct and constraints going in.

"I've read Featherstone"

I spent many enjoyable hours speaking to and corresponding with Don. I would say that while he would stress 'history' in gaming his overall goal was to have fun.

"Are we now at the point where the "historical" aspect of "historical wargaming" means absolutely nothing at all?"

I truly hope not! I'm simply saying that any type of gaming has to be put in context and the perspective of the individual gamer.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 8:44 a.m. PST

Capt John Miller, Joes Shop, Pan Marek,

What games do you prefer?

I believe that if you played the same scenario with BA, CoC or Battlegroup Kursk, barring extremes of luck or disparity of player experience, that you will end up fairly close to the same result. Objectives captured or retained, heavy casualties or not, etc.

In addition to being a true gentleman, Mr. Featherstone was a veteran of the Royal Tank Corps.

Guys, what specific games do you prefer? This is not a bate and switch maneuver but a genuine question.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 9:13 a.m. PST

BR: my preferred set of rules would be 'CrossFire' for miniatures and AH's 'Tobruk' for boardgaming.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 9:59 a.m. PST

Thanks JS.

I was one of the original play testers (in a microscopic way) for CrossFire and its still one of my favorite games. The only problem we had, while perfect for one on one, we couldn't find a multi-player version that worked for us. Maybe you have a suggestion?

AH Tobruk always appeared a little daunting. The other day when you posted about new counters, I took another peek and felt re-daunted. Although the game looks interesting, I'm just a little too feeble minded for a game with that much granularity.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

BR: understood. I'm the 'Joe Kelly' listed in the CF Rulebook.

Have you tried the Advanced Rules, page 44, Section 1 for Multi-Player – ?

Agreed re Tobruk: I'm glad I learned it back in '75 when I had more brain cells. But, if you take it slow and follow the Programmed Instruction(s) it gradually sinks in.

Everything, well, almost everything about Tobruk is based on 3 Questions: Has a hit been scored, If so, what part of the target and what damage has been done. I think when you break it down that way it is less daunting. Consider you're playing Scenario 1 after only 3.5 pages of rules.

The 1st Scenario pits 9 Grants vs 21 German tanks: way too many for a new player to keep track of.

Reduce that to 1 Grant vs 1 PzIIIH and the armor system is easy to learn / absorb.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

BR- Currently enjoying Battlegroup Kursk, although admittedly a stiff learning curve to speed it up. Found Crossfire got the point of 20th century infantry fights across well.

Munin Ilor10 Jul 2018 2:00 p.m. PST

I am a huge fan of Chain of Command. I played BA a couple of times and thought it was all right, but it was definitely WW40K. Then again, from the perspective of attracting sci-fi minis gamers to historical gaming, that might be one of BA's strengths.

TacticalPainter0110 Jul 2018 2:02 p.m. PST

I've always thought an historical game should present the players with some of the command decisions of the period. A well crafted set of rules should leave players feeling that not only are the outcomes historically plausible but also the process of getting there.

To take one example, we all know a key issue WWII commanders faced was the empty battlefield. If we want to put ourselves in the shoes of a commander of the period this must be a factor we need to deal with in our game. A rule set that allows both sides to know what each force contains and has it displayed on the table does not represent an accurate portrayal of the command dilemma of WWII. It is not ‘realistic' to say that those commanders had this complete level of awareness.

Another example would be platoon and squad structure. One major innovation in infantry combat prior to WWII was the advent of the light machine gun and the way it dramatically altered the capability of a squad and therefore the capability of a platoon. A skirmish/platoon level game should have this represented to accurately reflect the effect of an LMG and the significance it made to fighting in that period as opposed to earlier periods. Limiting the effective range of an LMG in the interest of balancing play means this would no longer be a ‘realistic' representation of the situation faced by a period commander.

The challenge for rules writers is to distil this into something that gives us the essence of the period in a game format that is playable. Then you have an historical wargame, as opposed to the alternative, which is a good game that's been dressed up to look like WWII.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 2:42 p.m. PST

TacticalPainter01,

All valid points.

Empty battlefields can be simulated with hidden units, blinds or a map and umpire, whichever game rules are used.

Accurate MG range for 28mm WW2 would be somewhere across the room or maybe to the neighbor's house so some scale compromise may be necessary unless one is playing on a tennis court or using 2mm figures. Terrain density and therefor visibility can also effect table top LMG range.

Which WW2 game(s) do you recommend to cover these points?

FlyXwire10 Jul 2018 3:53 p.m. PST

I'm not sure you're going to get historical games, simulations, or whatever is being held up here as the "ideal" without the game presenter knowing a little about their subject beforehand. There's often the 40K criticism leveled against Bolt Action – is this because it's expected most of its players have come to the system without any knowledge of WW2 – and so they don't know any better not to like it?!
Actually, you can have a great game with Bolt Action if you design your own scenarios for it – and this can occur for all rules…..a good scenario will always make any rule system seem awesome.
I don't play tournaments, never have created points "armies", and so half of the rules marketed today contain "40K" elements in them to me…..I just ignore those elements, and go about analyzing if the game mechanics might allow for elegant immersion into the subject period, and really, the rest of making a good game is on me! If you play points games, tourney style, have come to Bolt Action from this side of [and recent form of] the hobby here, I'll not criticize you. Warlord is trying to educate non-history minded players with a wealth of background, support additions, so these gamers can get "up to speed". For the rest of us who know too much about history, or WW2, etc. – if you can't have a good game with Bolt Action, you aren't as clever at putting on games or crafting interesting scenarios as you think.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

FlyXwire: +1

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP10 Jul 2018 4:12 p.m. PST

FlyXwire +2

TacticalPainter0110 Jul 2018 10:47 p.m. PST

if you can't have a good game with Bolt Action, you aren't as clever at putting on games or crafting interesting scenarios as you think.

I can have a good game playing BA, but the question I would ask is, can BA give me a good game representative of low level combat in WWII? Simply having a game that looks like it is set in WWII doesn't make it a game about WWII.

TacticalPainter0111 Jul 2018 12:18 a.m. PST

Accurate MG range for 28mm WW2 would be somewhere across the room or maybe to the neighbor's house so some scale compromise may be necessary unless one is playing on a tennis court or using 2mm figures. Terrain density and therefor visibility can also effect table top LMG range.

If a gun could fire that distance then I see no reason to compromise, it should be able to cover the entire table, assuming there is line of sight. You won't think or act like your WWII counterpart if you can walk your men across a road in sight of an LMG without worrying about being shot at.

Which WWII game(s) do you recommend that cover these points?

I'd suggest Crossfire and Chain of Command both do a good job handling the empty battlefield. I think Chain of Command does it more elegantly because it requires less book keeping, but the Crossfire method remains very playable. In addition Crossfire's very fluid phase sequence contributes to the level of fog of war and the air of uncertainty.

Both rule sets also give most weapons unlimited range at the scale they attempt to portray. Not only is this historically accurate it also avoids gamey events where players only move secure in the knowledge they are 1" out of enemy range. They also integrate the weapons into the unit structure in an historical fashion and what tends to happen is you see games and tactics unfold in ways that mirror what you read in the history books.

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 4:57 a.m. PST

I'm getting the impression here that some of these mentioned game examples are being played in small settings, between just a couple of players, and maybe without time restrictions to accomplish. That's not how many of us play games anymore. It's not a criticism if you're enjoying this one-on-one type of game setting (Bolt Action as a tournament system enables this too), but there's a lot that can be done, like managing hidden unit placement, and tracking hidden movements if it's happening between just a few buds who have agreed to accomplish this, or more importantly, within a game that has a moderator who is tracking it. Although I don't play tournaments, I can see how there has to be some finite and clear methods for managing hidden units within a game match format.
But if not playing in matches, and if not playing at a public place with time restrictions, and if you can even leave a game set up to accomplish it in multiple play sessions, what keeps anyone from playing Bolt Action with hidden movement? I've done this with Bolt Action too, and not used marker blinds. I've done it with a pre-made map of my board's setup, but I need a map anyway to allow for a quick setup of my scenario for playing it at the shop or convention setting (which is how many of us mostly play now, or where we put on our games).
So now, I can say I've never seen Crossfire or Chain of Command being presented at the shops or conventions I frequent here in the States. I'm sure it's happened, but I can say Bolt Action has penetrated far and wide (perhaps even greater than the voting results in TMPs poll here might indicate), and it's not only being played one-on-one as a "40K"er, but in multiplayer format too. So now, what is it about Crossfire or Chain of Command (both excellent systems) that limits their penetration?

David Brown11 Jul 2018 7:26 a.m. PST

F,

I would suggest because Bolt Action is easy, whereas CoC and CF less so.

That's not an overt critic of the game or rules, just that it's far easier to set up and play a game of BA. BA uses "old" mechanisms that many will be familiar with, (even my son picked up on the fact that an Assault Rifle in BA, is the Bolter in 40K!), and those that are not familiar with the system will find it familiar after just a few turns or games.

With both CoC and CF you need more preparation, a knowledge of WW2, more reading of the rules, more planning and more thought to play the game, thus their "entry levels" are higher. IMHO.

DB

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 7:28 a.m. PST

"So now, what is it about Crossfire or Chain of Command (both excellent systems) that limits their penetration?"

Good question. I believe it comes down to a combination of marketing and presentation / point of sale at the local shop. Like you, I've never seen either of these rule sets played in stores in my area.

'CrossFire' and 'Chain of Command' are both available online or at cons but I have not seen either at local shops (New England). Further, these rule sets are stand alone products and do not have a complimentary range of figures / vehicles / supplements to support them.

A customer at my local shop has complete one stop shopping available with the majority of Warlord WWII products on display. Since BA is what is being played there – there is no real reason to look into other systems.

Additionally, 'CrossFire' requires a density of terrain far above the other two rule sets.

Munin Ilor11 Jul 2018 7:33 a.m. PST

So now, what is it about Crossfire or Chain of Command (both excellent systems) that limits their penetration?

Marketing. Warlord Games has dropped a huge amount of money into marketing and promoting its games, especially Bolt Action. And by creating a system that supports structured tournament play from the ground up, they have put themselves into a position as a direct analog to the typical 40K event structure. This gives Bolt Action a "familiarity" for many players of other (non-historical) wargames. By actively participating in tournament events with prize support, etc, they have done a great job at breaking into the US market.

As a little bit of an aside, it's worth pointing out that wargames in the US happen in an almost (but not quite) completely different environment than they do in the UK/Europe. With a very few notable exceptions, we don't have wargaming clubs here in the US (and by "club" I mean an organized group with a dedicated location, dues, shared terrain, etc). You either play at an event held by a game store, or you play with a handful of friends in someone's basement.

In that context, it becomes easy to see why certain systems thrive – if all of the people at your local game store are playing 40K and you want to get some gaming time in, you play 40K.

But in the basement groups? I think many other systems are alive and well. All of the people I know who play WW2 games vastly prefer Chain of Command to Bolt Action – but it's important to note that none of us play in gaming store or large event venues. I played CoC just last weekend (we get it to the table every couple of weeks, generally alternating with Infinity), introducing two of my co-workers to it. They both loved it and are eager to give it another go.

Finally, while no one is disputing that you can put on great games with Bolt Action (or any other game), it's worth pointing out that some games make it easier than others. If you're strapping on map-based movement, blinds, or a host of other add-on rules, at what point are you actually playing an essentially different game?

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 7:39 a.m. PST

Mostly agree Dave (although "more thought to play the game" depends on the players involved and the scenario quality itself). And I'll offer that CoC and CF have that air of the "boutique" – for whatever good or bad someone might personally associate with that.
So, is this hobby going to go forward on the back of rules like Bolt Action, or by sets like CoC and CF?

Munin Ilor11 Jul 2018 9:16 a.m. PST

Wargames have two important components; rules and miniatures. So here's another thing to consider: Warlord Games follows the GW model of selling both rules and miniatures. This gives them a "product line" to which game stores can dedicate shelf space. Who doesn't love walking into a game store and seeing shiny boxes of soldiers and tanks and whatnot?

By contrast, TooFatLardies don't make or sell miniatures. Their "product line" for CoC consists of a single book and (as of right now, though this is about to change) a single supplement. While you could argue that this would make it easier to gain penetration into the market because there's less shelf space involved, at the end of the day game stores want to move product. And most wargame companies view the rulebook as a loss-leader that enables the sale of the real money-maker: the miniatures.

Including myself in this sweeping generalization, most gamers are lazy bastards who want to buy all of their stuff in one place, and this is doubly true if you're just getting into a particular game. Because TFL don't sell miniatures, a newcomer to the game couldn't walk into their FLGS, see both rules and miniatures on the shelf, and take the plunge into the game with a single purchase. The only way that could happen is in a store that was already selling other WW2 miniatures…which are likely Warlord boxes…which means they're already selling Bolt Action rules. And for a lot of people (especially newbies), mixing rules and minis of differing manufacturers is like crossing the streams in Ghostbusters.

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 9:57 a.m. PST

So, let's revisit the first couple replies in this thread here -

Joes Shop – "A fun 'game' that is ideal for introducing new players to miniature gaming."

RustyMusket – "A friend and I played it at a local shop game day and enjoyed it enough to go for it. I like easy to learn, easy to play games with enough realism in it to call it historical."

Torokchar – "The Texas Bolt Action club has "converted" a large number of 40k players over to historical gaming!! World War II in 28mm is cool!"

This is what Bolt Action has done in my area too – whether it's been through Warlord's marketing strategy (and by their hobby presence), or the game's offering a tournament play format, it's ease of accessibility & with familiar game mechanics, or all the above.

Now a confession – my generation of gamers have fought our battles (in more ways than one), and there's nothing more rewarding to me now than seeing new guys and kids being drawn into the historical side of the hobby – it actually makes me feel younger (and relevant too). I try to take pictures of the game days I organize monthly, to visually reinforce what we do, and to share the events and the fun we're having. Then again, I look at all the grey haired heads, the sagging faces, and wonder how I would have reacted as a kid when some old guy asked me if I wanted to play in a game he was putting on?!

As game enthusiasts, we can argue about perceived excellence over accessibility, or marketing power over process, but really, I've got a different agenda now.

David Brown11 Jul 2018 1:44 p.m. PST

F,

Agree with your point about scenarios, etc – as you say a good scenario can do wonders…

re:

So, is this hobby going to go forward on the back of rules like Bolt Action, or by sets like CoC and CF?

Going forward is interesting phraseology!

BA isn't going forward in wargame design respects but it's still a solid game, accessible to many, and while tacked to an aggressive market strategy its very good at what it offers.

Pushing game design to create something different – maybe just getting players to think a little more like platoon commanders – is certainly CoC/CFs domain.

They are, to my mind, moving WW2 games forward from just "firepower wins" based rules to "tactics AND firepower wins" based rules.

DB

TacticalPainter0111 Jul 2018 2:44 p.m. PST

So now, what is it about Crossfire or Chain of Command (both excellent systems) that limits their penetration?"

Just a recap of the opening post – 51% of respondents won't play or have never played BA. Only 36% were players. Popular, but not with the majority.

I understand they have sold in excess of 24,000 copies of the Chain of Command rules. Every major game show in the UK this year has featured at least one game, if not more. The TFL forum is very active as are the several Facebook groups. The very popular Beasts of War YouTube channel has featured several reviews and game sessions. Discussion and mention here on TMP is frequent in all WWII folders. From what I can see for a game from a small independent publisher it is punching above its weight.

I know less about Crossfire but it suffers from little support from the writer and publisher. As mentioned earlier it's as much about marketing – you can't try out a game you've never heard about. If your only source of information on what is available relies on what's stocked in your local game store then you are limited to what they choose to stock.

People posting here in support of BA are stressing how enjoyable it is as a game and how easy it is to find an opponent at the local store. That's great. However it also purports to be a game about WWII, so if I'm interested in gaming the period it's a valid entitlement to ask, how well does it represent that?

The same question is asked and debated in every historical folder in TMP and why shouldn't it be? It wouldn't be called historical wargaming if we were not trying to draw a link to the history. We are discussing BA in the WWII folder after all, not the ‘family games' or ‘fantasy games' folder.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

Your use of the poll numbers should include the breakdown plus the poll itself only garnered 121 total votes.

Out of those 121 votes – hardly representative of any large WWII wargame demographic: 1 voted – this is ridiculous and 5 voted – not a WWII gamer.

43 voted – like them and will play.

33 voted – haven't played.

29 voted – do not like.

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 5:10 p.m. PST

TacticalPainter, so let's talk tactics and weapon's effectiveness in the field.

You wrote -
"Limiting the effective range of an LMG in the interest of balancing play means this would no longer be a ‘realistic' representation of the situation faced by a period commander."

Then -
"A rule set that allows both sides to know what each force contains and has it displayed on the table does not represent an accurate portrayal of the command dilemma of WWII. It is not ‘realistic' to say that those commanders had this complete level of awareness."

Then how realistic is it for any LMG crew to fire at some claimed maximum range, or at some maximum rate of fire, if they had no situation awareness to do so? Do your favorite rules assume that weapon crews engaged in a situational bubble, with unlimited ammunition supply, without fear of retaliation from enemy weapons? Does your favorite set of rules assume all LMG crews wouldn't consider a risk level when exposing their position by fire? Does it assume all LMG crews wouldn't respond differently to a roving patrol compared to an actual assault? Then does it assume all LMG crews could discern potential enemy reactions, or threats from higher levels, from potential enemy supporting fires, but these crews would always engage with maximum firepower in all situations, and so why does your game allow players to assume this "complete level of awareness", which "means this would no longer be a ‘realistic' representation of the situation faced by a period commander?"

TacticalPainter0111 Jul 2018 6:18 p.m. PST

Then how realistic is it for any LMG crew to fire at some claimed maximum range, or at some maximum rate of fire, if they had no situation awareness to do so?

Let's assume you are playing in 28mm on a 6'x4' table, then the whole table represent an area between 240-400 yards. That's not maximum range for an LMG, that is comfortably within effective range. We are playing a game where units are very close to being in contact, if not in contact already. That said, neither Crossfire or Chain of Command allow for complete awareness. If you don't know Crossfire it has no turns and measurements, it's quite possible, to catch a defender unaware and with no situational awareness. A defender who sets up without taking into account the chance this might happen will most likely be punished. Chain of Command has similar mechanisms, in fact it assumes units are focussed on only a very small part of the battlefield and even then there attention is not 100%. I like rules that limit the power of the gamer to see all and be all.

Do your favorite rules assume that weapon crews engaged in a situational bubble, with unlimited ammunition supply, without fear of retaliation from enemy weapons?

No. Both rule sets heavily emphasise friction and uncertainty.

Does your favorite set of rules assume all LMG crews wouldn't consider a risk level when exposing their position by fire?

Sure, put them out in the open, exposed to return fire and they won't last very long.

Does it assume all LMG crews wouldn't respond differently to a roving patrol compared to an actual assault?

They assume you have very little idea what you are up against and must respond as events unfold.

Then does it assume all LMG crews could discern potential enemy reactions, or threats from higher levels, from potential enemy supporting fires, but these crews would always engage with maximum firepower in all situations, and so why does your game allow players to assume this "complete level of awareness", which "means this would no longer be a ‘realistic' representation of the situation faced by a period commander?"

You are correct, that wouldn't be a realistic representation and I wouldn't consider rules that were like that. The crew are given an assigned task by the squad or platoon leader. The rules allow the crew to try to perform that task with limited awareness, at a varying speed of response and subject to the effects of the enemy. They will sometimes fail, you should plan for that.

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 6:58 p.m. PST

"Let's assume you are playing in 28mm on a 6'x4' table, then the whole table represent an area between 240-400 yards. That's not maximum range for an LMG, that is comfortably within effective range."

And so -

"Limiting the effective range of an LMG in the interest of balancing play means this would no longer be a ‘realistic' representation of the situation faced by a period commander."

Huzzah!!!

So what 'realistic' representation of the battlefield are we assuming? One that proposes games comfortably within effective ranges? OK!

Btw, Bolt Action does have guidelines for board sizes too, and as Joes Shop mentioned, Crossfire has recommendations for heavy terrain density boards if that rule system is to work properly. So claims of 'realistic' battlefields, and then rule's requiring close terrain boards for proper functioning can't be very inclusive of lots of potential WW2 historical wargaming. Hmmmm, that might be a huge problem, even for our newly arriving 40k'ers!

So we can assume limiting our game boards to just effective weapon ranges is not unrealistic as previously claimed, and even requiring prescribed, close-terrain boards is acceptable to some too – hey, perhaps we're making room for lots of gamers and play styles, but are you sure –

"We are discussing BA in the WWII folder after all, not the ‘family games' or ‘fantasy games' folder."

TacticalPainter0111 Jul 2018 9:08 p.m. PST

So what 'realistic' representation of the battlefield are we assuming? One that proposes games comfortably within effective ranges?

Yes. BA is a platoon level skirmish game, as is Chain of Command and Crossfire (well company level actually), both take place in a very small area over a very short time frame. If you want a larger force and a longer time frame then you want a game at battalion level or higher where you aren't representing individual men or fire teams but much larger units and your table scale changes accordingly. This requires a completely different set of rules.

The aim is to create realistic conditions and decision making cycles. You can do that on the table in a number of different ways.

Crossfire has recommendations for heavy terrain density boards if that rule system is to work properly.

Crossfire is an area movement game (no rulers), you move from terrain to terrain, hence the need for the representation of terrain. Most other games abstract the diversity of terrain into movement rates and tactical abilities to represent units finding cover on our rather featureless, flat table tops. Crossfire is very innovative in that sense. It isn't perfect and works best for infantry only fights in dense terrain (think urban, jungle or bocage). Within that limitation it works well.

So claims of 'realistic' battlefields, and then rule's requiring close terrain boards for proper functioning can't be very inclusive of lots of potential WW2 historical wargaming.

I'm talking about trying to create realistic conditions, not the amount of terrain on a table, that's to miss the point.

Crossfire is a rather unique set of rules that creates a playing area in a different way than traditional table top wargaming. What it seeks to represent is the way a unit moves from cover to cover, from one distinct location to another, rather than a specific measured distance. It's an abstraction that works very well in my opinion and seems realistic – "take your men to the woods, then advance to the farmhouse" seems more plausible than 'move a few inches, just until you have line of sight to that squad in the field'.

Other rules like Chain of Command can be played across quite open terrain. It's challenging to cross, but so it should be. It creates the conditions that feel realistic – an open field can be swept by an LMG, you would be unwise to advance into it without thought and preparation. Those conditions feel right to me.

So we can assume limiting our game boards to just effective weapon ranges is not unrealistic as previously claimed

No, you have misunderstood. At the scale of BA most weapons are effective across the full length of the table and beyond, assuming there is line of sight of course. How effective is a matter for the rules and their reference point in the real world. Regardless, units should be moving around with a great deal of caution at this scale, knowing they are likely to be in the danger zone. Now that strikes me as being realistic.

Northern Monkey11 Jul 2018 11:09 p.m. PST

It might be width saying that WRG never produced figures but their rules were the hobby standard for many years. Ditto with Warhammer Historical rules. No figures were produced by GW for them. TFL would seem to be in that mould rather than Warlord.

Equally, figure companies like Crusader, and Artizan are careful not to link themselves to one set of rules. In fact that's probably true of most figure companies and again that is what has typically been the case ever since the hobby began. It is Warlord, with their clever marketing of rules plus toys who are doing something different, but that doesn't mean that the old business model is now defunct. It clearly isn't. Are TFL a "small independent publisher punching above their weight" or are they a big independent publisher who have consistently produced rules which are popular because they aren't developing rules as a vehicle for selling figures.

Regarding CoC not being played at US Cons, I know for a fact that Richard Clarke is attending Historicon at the moment where the Lard America group have organised a large number of games of CoC as well as other of his rule sets. What's more, I believe he's picking up some award whilst over there. So clearly the TFL market penetration is greater than some people assume. I think it's very easy to think that what's being played in our own flgs is representative of the hobby as a whole, but often just down the road people are playing something different.

FlyXwire12 Jul 2018 4:20 a.m. PST

Yes, and the utility of Warlord's marketing continues as the core Bolt Action game engine functions ably in Konflikt '47 and for the sci-fi genre in Beyond the Gates of Antares. There's new reaction mechanics that have been introduced, which can be bolted onto the Bolt Action engine easily for WW2, and ones my group enjoy using also.

It's been a long time since I presented Crossfire, and I don't play CoC, it's just not going to work for our group's purposes. A half-dozen guys have even stated directly to me that they're not interested in learning and playing another WW2 ruleset – they're interested in maximizing their playing time now and in the social aspect of gaming, and reaching out to bring along new gamers. This is where Bolt Action shines too, it's a successful formula, it's a tool, and a tool kit. We can play, and teach Bolt Action as we prefer, and K-'47 too, and Antares is being readied for the tabletop now. At the same time there's Bolt Action tournaments occurring at the shops regularly, and at our local cons (thank you Warlord USA for showing up and sponsoring game demos for us recently here), and next month we'll be having a Test of Honour game premiering at our local games day (and this game being different in its own right). Oh yes, of course we also play other game systems too, one of my favorites being Muskets & Tomahawks, that we can play multi-periods with (playing it ACW-modded here now), and with common core mechanics that reinforce familiarity and rules retention.
So, our focus is well beyond just WW2, and yes, maybe this is really about a family of games, which can allow gamers with different likes to learn a core game system and to choose which one they want to play at the moment. Market penetration, yes can't deny Warlord's success. Accessibility, ditto. Multi-genre 'port-ability', also. Maybe most importantly, shops have wares to sell, and products with sponsoring to support their businesses. Remember, we play at shops here, it's where we meet lots of like-minded gamers, frankly, it's a fun and vibrant environment if you're lucky to have a successful local game store too, but this requires an understanding there needs to be a mutual relationship and customer base.
As much as enthusiasts want to criticize Bolt Action, or Warlord, you're really missing the big picture as it pertains to so many of us gamers, and for ones both young and old.

FlyXwire12 Jul 2018 6:06 a.m. PST

Hey, how about some Bolt Action Picture Time! (post yours too if you like) –

Here's a few from games in the past half-dozen years (some played in the basements – sorry for the lighting, most setup at the shops). Bolt Action got my dormant 20mm figs back into action, and recently started collecting some 28s (that makes 5 scales just for this period – an obsession, but hey, I know I'm not alone!). :))) the first here w/friend Tim's nice European buildings

Eastern Front multi-platoon assault

Below, a custom-made squad position modeled on the actual field schematic (out of twist-epoxy – don't ask how much I $pent to make a full reinforced-platoon's worth, including support weapons pits and HQ bunker)

Normandy "The Alamo" scenario – "This is our final position men!"

Recce patrol proceeds a general assault on a fortified Soviet position – will the Soviets reveal their positions prematurely? (with hidden placement and movement)

OK, now I'm spamming :))), but this one is on a vinyl mat I textured

This past year I began to make teddy bear fur mats for my scenarios (easy hill placements under the grass-scapes that look good, and no more roads overlays to set up). w/friend Pat's Marines (my Brigade Games Japanese sneaking up out of the jungle – beyond).

From one of our recent monthly shop days I organize (some young blood joining – but lots of us old farts still havin' fun). Two BA games drawing players, a Sudan game "Get on the boat Gov'na!", and Gaslands – which its a great local draw too


Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP12 Jul 2018 10:03 a.m. PST

FlyXWire: nice pics – thanks for posting!

FlyXwire12 Jul 2018 10:28 a.m. PST

Thanks Joe! I'm always looking for an excuse to show or jaw about the fun stuff. :)))

OK, more jawin'…..here's a Bolt Action storage tip I use that might resonate, and it's really useful if you've mounted your figs on steel washers for their bases. The below pic shows the German forces organized for a scenario pictured above. It involved a depleted German platoon holding out in the edge of a Russian village that had been out-posted by the Soviets, but which they had seized late in the preceding afternoon. The game action began with these German Grenadiers waiting to step off with the first light, in order to press up to the enemy's MLR. As such, these depleted squads were charged with performing a reconnaissance in force – but w/o much force left!, to locate the Soviet main line (and so the question was how far the game players would/could press their troops forward, before they realized what they were up against, and being greatly outmatched by a hidden entrenched enemy)? The second array of troops in the German force tray here were for the Panzergrenadier platoon ordered to assault through their forward screen, but arriving some time later in the scenario (this setting up a dynamic tension between the players of the depleted [over-taxed] infantry squads, and the expectations of the fresh, hard-charging gepanzert platoon). The force tray here has the troop contingents organized, and ready for the scenario briefing to be given to the German players (with pertinent info laid out for the forces). Nothing particularly innovative here, but an idea on how to input efficiency into a presentation, for at a shop or con, when explaining troop organization pre-game needs to be straight forward!

Well, so now here's where mounting your figs on steel washers (the best), or with magnetic sheet fixed underneath makes for an even more efficient system – the retention is stronger, the figs travel more securing, they're staying organized in their unit formations if traveling, they're ready for any pre-game scenario briefing, but if you've taken a picture of your game trays (and taped that to their lids), you can put everything back in order, check for missing figures post-game, even better, recruit your players to do this while they're losing their troops during the game, and the figures will be ready to go home, organized for another running of your scenario in the future.

Even though many Bolt Action players are campaigning their forces via tournaments, having smooth storage methods, and ways to get them back into their carriers I bet is one of the things we've all thought about, and maybe how to improve traveling with, and better protect our toys in the process!

Munin Ilor12 Jul 2018 12:49 p.m. PST

Absent the photo taped to the inside lid (a great idea, BTW!) I use exactly the same system (and I mean exactly, because I recognize both your bin and magnetic sheeting) for my troops for Chain of Command.

A great suggestion I heard recently for vehicles: attach some long foam blocks to metal strips or washers with hot-glue, then arrange it as needed to "block in" whatever vehicle you happen to be transporting. Clever!

BTW, I don't want to give the impression that I was denigrating either BA or Warlord Games. I point out their marketing success not with scorn (like, "myeh, they're only successful because they're glitzy, myeh"), but rather with some degree of admiration. I've only played BA a handful of times, but Warlord's website is my first stop when looking for WW2 minis (especially vehicles).

And as for preferring CoC over BA, I came to historical wargaming after a long career in 40K. For my money, CoC does a really good job of providing me with difficult and nuanced command decisions right from the jump (i.e. without any modifications), and provides a substantially different play experience to what I was used to previously. The fact that CoC's emergent game play so closely mirrors the tactics of the period fascinates me from both an arm-chair historian and game-design perspective.

But I recognize that that is purely a matter of taste. I wouldn't call BA a "bad game" because it's not – it's very good on a variety of levels, and its continued commercial success is in many ways a testament to that.

I just don't enjoy it as much. ;)

FlyXwire12 Jul 2018 1:19 p.m. PST

:) That's very cool Munin! Btw, I think they know me better at my local Michael's than most of the ladies that shop there – That's right, REAL MEN shop at craft stores too! Though we accuse one of our crafty, local gamers of hanging out in the toy section way too much – really he says, "I was just shopping for toy animals"! Aha, right Bill. ;)
For Bolt Action, I've not seen the need to utilize the magnetic attraction offered by mounting figures on steel washers to attach top-mounting markers onto a base, an option via rare-earth magnets, but let me throw that utility out here too (and see if any of this "sticks" for someone or for some game use). So here's an AWI figure showing a cork "stone" that has a magnet glued underneath, and which can ride along with the figure. We'll be using these stone markers in an up-coming ACW game series, to temporarily mark Green game units.
So now with magnets, we've got all sides of the hobby covered – literally! :))) (a potential to get some of those game markers off the table and stuck where they need to belong)

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP13 Jul 2018 12:04 p.m. PST

FlyXwire,

While not in the same league as your games, here is a photo of a BA game we recently played at my gaming buddy's house:

US advances towards a German held village. 28mm Bolt Action. Resin Sherman by Warlord, infantry by Black Tree and Crusader.

picture

FlyXwire14 Jul 2018 5:09 a.m. PST

Big Red that looks sweet!
Hey, I get discount adverts from Black Tree Design for their figs all the time – what do you think of their castings?
(they seem to have good availability and great pricing)

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

Just as a note, I painted the infantry long before Bolt Action was published.

Black Tree WW2 miniatures are a little hit or miss. The figures are well proportioned medium build, are 28mm tall and fit well with Crusader and other of similar design.

The original German, US and Soviet sculpts were done by Nick Collier and are generally excellent with excellent detail. The US helmets are just a little off but work for me.

The Germans are sort of mid-war with various equipment, some in boots and others in ankle length leggings.

The Soviets are my favorite and are well sculpted and full of character.

Later miniatures are from other sculptor(s) and while generally fitting in with the Collier figures they are nice but not quite as well done. For variety, I mix originals and others together and all differences seem to blend quite well.

I'm not familiar with their WW2 lines for other countries although my friend has some of their Afrika Korps and prefers Artizan. Another friend bought some WW2 British and didn't like them at all.

Is there something in particular that you are interested in? If so and I have some I would be more than willing to try and take a photo and send them to you.

FlyXwire14 Jul 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

Big Red, thanks for all your good info, and generous offer for figure help. I've got to resist the temptation…..but oh, the Afrika Korps and Desert Army would be so cool!
Do you have any game pics of you guys mixing it up in the desert scrub?

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2018 5:39 p.m. PST

This was the only one I could find. The others must have been lost when I upgraded the phone. Artizan Afrika Korps, Blitzkrieg PzIII and Warlord tank commander.

picture

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