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"Ranges in Bolt Action" Topic

16 Posts

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World War Two on the Land

836 hits since 11 Jul 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Grumpsh11 Jul 2018 11:15 a.m. PST

A criticism of BA is the short ranges of the weapons, and initially i didn't like the game for that reason. Other than to make the game playable on a reasonable tabletop, I have a different idea about the short range of the weapons.

It doesn't reflect the effective range of the weapons, but more the 'engagement range of the soldier. I think the soldiers all realize that giving fire draws fire, and there is the natural hesitancy to kill a stranger. Unless the enemy is a direct threat, definitely coming towards you with purpose and means, fire would be desultory. Also, even though we can see the target on the table, in real life soldiers try to reduce their exposure, taking advantage of cover. The shooter is crouching down in cover, and the target is dashing from cover to cover, or even crawling, there may not really be much of a target until they are close.

What are your thoughts?

Rich Bliss11 Jul 2018 12:54 p.m. PST

I understand your point , but even with this considered, the ranges are still screwed up. Especially for artillery and suppor weapons.

uglyfatbloke11 Jul 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

Grumpsh – I wrote an article about just that for the Warlord site and also about the distance at which you can actually see an enemy soldier.
Rich Bliss – totally agree. We quite often play what I like to call 'true scale' games where LoS is all that matters save for a few items – PIATs, Panzerfausts – but we do really stuff the table with cover.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jul 2018 2:13 p.m. PST

Depends on the ground scale. i have not seen these rules though.
I expect they have made the ground scale different than the figure vertical scale. As a guide , if 1 inch = 10 yards would give a PIAT a 6" range. The rifle would then shoot about 30 inches effective. Multiply up and down depending on the ground scale.

I would suggest that soldiers are more likely to shoot at strangers, than wait and see.

Hope that helps.

Daithi the Black11 Jul 2018 2:45 p.m. PST

I play FiveCore on a 2'2' board. Most weapons are line of sight for range. Pistols and submachine guns are shorter range. I rarely see shooting beyond 6"-10" because of cover.

Here, you can see one straight shooting corridor across the board. The rest is too cluttered:

repaint11 Jul 2018 4:33 p.m. PST

Games are designed for effect not for "realism".

You take design decisions to model a particular aspect you want to have for your game, in terms of engagement, speed, interactions, constraints.

You could make a parallel with movies. They have a scenario that is aiming at making the film entertaining. To achieve this effect, you take certain liberties with reality and it becomes drama, with a challenge. Something you can relate to at the core, even though the likelihood to have a genius detective like Sherlock Holmes or spaceships as in Starwars is very… remote.

In short, think: game design decision and effect.

FlyXwire11 Jul 2018 7:16 p.m. PST

I like that Repaint, and what you wrote resonates for me. Under your "interactions" I can place my desire for – command decision "opportunities".

Sundance11 Jul 2018 8:22 p.m. PST

Play it with 15s and it feels better, though I still have an issue with some of the range breakdowns. Not that it matters that much.

D A THB11 Jul 2018 10:36 p.m. PST

I just add a +1 for shooting over the maximum range.

I suspect the ranges were made short for tournament play.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jul 2018 6:32 p.m. PST

There are so many silly things in Bolt action, picking on the ranges feels just plain mean.

uglyfatbloke13 Jul 2018 10:06 a.m. PST

Has anyone found a set of rules that does n't have silly things?

Grumpsh13 Jul 2018 11:29 a.m. PST

My ideal wargame uses real world tactics and strategy. If it follows the basic tenets, concentration of force, economy, indirect approach, maintaining the objective, and such I don't care if its lizardmen vs mechs, its a good game.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2018 4:36 a.m. PST

UFB: +1

uglyfatbloke15 Jul 2018 3:17 a.m. PST

Thanks Joe's Shop. It's not really a criticism so much as an observation about inevitability. Wargames are not simulations, just games rooted in historical events. BA is not really any more or less historical than any other so long as you want it to be….mixed forced of paras, commandos, standard infantry, single tanks and lonely field guns say more about the player than the rules. We've never bothered about points or lists, we just go with historically valid units and structures and I don't think we've ever had an outcome that was not historically credible.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2018 8:40 a.m. PST

UFB: agreed. We do not bother with points/lists either.

I think it's worth noting the design choices behind the ranges used in BA.

Obviously some people will take exception to these choices but often it's a case of gamers trying to modify or simply complain about a design aspect they disagree with.

From Rick Priestly interview – Wargames Illustrated No. 297, July 2012:

"Weapons ranges and movement distances were necessarily dictated by the size of the playing area rather than worked out to any fixed scale and assumes that players are going to conduct their games on a tabletop roughly 6' x 4'".

"Given this basic parameter to work with, we settled on a maximum range for rifles of 24" (half the table width) and worked out other ranges relative to that, compressing the longer-ranged weapons whilst extending out the shorter-ranged weapons to enable pistols and sub-machine guns to be used effectively.

Thomas Thomas16 Jul 2018 10:29 a.m. PST

You can have reasonable levels of realism (even as to ranges) with playability – its just a bit of a design challenge. Companies know the money is in selling miniatures (so put that artillery on the table even if looks/ranges are silly) not in spending money on design and playtest. Using d6 also constrains modifiers so adjusting for range/cover/skill becomes very difficult.

So we get Bolt Action. But of course as gamer/consumers with should push for better designs not more expensive miniatures.


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