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"Too fluid? Too much control?" Topic

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Warspite124 Jan 2021 7:33 a.m. PST

I have been play testing Bolt Action in 15mm during lockdown.

One problem I have encountered is that, apart from being pinned down, players appear to have too much control in any situation. Units and tanks move like chess pieces always where you want them and when you want them.

The first rule I am experimenting with is dicing to move. Once firing starts ANYWHERE on the table, units which you want to move have to roll a dice each time.

Militia, partisan, low grade regulars need a 4, 5, 6 to move
Regulars need a 3, 4, 5, 6 to move
Elite paras, marines, Waffen SS need a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 to move.

-1 from the die roll if under fire and already in cover
+1 to the die roll if under fire, not in cover but trying to move to cover this turn.
Infantry sections roll as a unit, tanks roll as individuals if not within 6-inches of the troop commander.

The idea is to try to simulate unit inertia and make co-ordinated planning a little more difficult and a wee bit more realistic.

Secondly (and I believe I have mentioned this here before) a simple morale rule where units which have suffered 50% losses will not advance on a known enemy unless a fresh unit is in contact and has passed through them sometimes referred-to as 'refreshing' an attack. The unit may then advance until it suffers another casualty and again requires refreshing. In effect a depleted unit becomes tired and wary and will not move forwards until others encourage it to do so. This also gives value to planning operations 'in depth' and keeping a fresh reserve which can motivate battered units.



d88mm194024 Jan 2021 8:34 a.m. PST

I always kind of thought that BA was a game, not a simulation. Your proposals make sense, in a simulation way, but could bog down a game generally meant for quick tournament play.
If you wanted to show friction, you should use the rules already there, instead of creating new ones.
For instance, there is already a mechanism in place that uses less action dice than you have units. 12 units, maybe 10 dice. If you wanted, if a unit goes to 50%, remove an action die at that point instead of waiting for it to disappear. If you no longer have action dice in the bag, but still have units on the board, they surrender. (Which, I must confess, is a made up rule. But what are you going to do if you no longer have action dice in the bag?)
This could represent an over-stressed command staff that can no longer give orders to its units.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2021 9:15 a.m. PST

In my experience, people who play BA don't want the granularity that you do. If they do, they are probably using a different set of rules.

Partisans should not all be lumped together as low performing troops. They show a lot of initiative, and probably have a solid Cadre of combat experienced members.

BobGrognard24 Jan 2021 9:16 a.m. PST

Chain of Command tends to be a popular alternative when people start to ask the questions that Warspite1 is asking.

Yesthatphil24 Jan 2021 9:29 a.m. PST

What d88mm1940 and 79thPA said.


whitphoto24 Jan 2021 11:13 a.m. PST

CoC has mechanics built in for shock (their version of pin counters) effecting not only firing but movement. A great 'upgrade' if you're looking for all those elements of 'friction' that BA is missing. I play(ed) both for their different strengths (pre-covid)

Thresher0124 Jan 2021 12:10 p.m. PST

I like your ideas.

The make perfect sense to me.

Warspite124 Jan 2021 2:40 p.m. PST

Thank you!
I was looking for a simple 'Bolt On' (no pun!) rule to give a greater feel in the game of what happens in real-life combat.

Better performing partisans would certainly be graded as regular on a game-by-game basis. I would also go that route with French Resistance led by highly motivated SAS, etc.
When drafting these rules I particularly had in mind the newsreel footage of the real French Resistance and FFI in Paris. They seemed to pin down very easily even when not under fire. If you want to see what I mean, watch the movie "Is Paris Burning?" or search YouTube.
One could also make arguments for inexperienced or badly led regulars moving up to 'partisan' ratings or poor SS moving up to either of the less effective bands.
Not all SS units were quite so highly motivated as the Leibstandarte or Das Reich as units recruited from non-Germans were all brigaded into the SS under the strict German law which forbade employing non-German nationals in the Wehrmacht. So Swedes, Dutch, French, Cossacks, Balkan Muslims and the 50 or so British ex-POWs were nominally 'SS' but do not seem to have been nearly so highly motivated.

You make a very interesting point. At what stage does a wargame cease to be a game and become a simulation? Chess is a game, for sure. Don Featherstone once called wargaming the 'chess of 1,000 pieces'.
I would put the word 'simulation' into the electronic sphere and use it for a flight simulator or tank simulator for training real service personnel. If we are standing at a table, throwing dice or drawing cards I would still call it a wargame.

*** *** ***

Overall, why did I write this?
I like the Bolt Action approach on most things but, as a wargamer of 48+ years, I cannot resist to tinker or improve, to nudge a set of rules closer to my personal version or view of reality.
If we eschew reality we might as well just admit we are all playing with toy soldiers!

Bob Roberts25 Jan 2021 6:50 a.m. PST

If we eschew reality we might as well just admit we are all playing with toy soldiers!

Sorry to spoil your fun, but we are just playing with toy soldiers.

SeattleGamer25 Jan 2021 5:19 p.m. PST

Decreasing the action dice so that you no long erhave one die per unit would introduce the element of needing to pick and choose which unit to activate more carefully.

Keeps the existing Bolt Action mechanics intact, and introduces the variability that some units are just not going to cooperate this turn.

Warspite125 Jan 2021 6:08 p.m. PST

@Bob Roberts:

Do not tell my partner that… I keep telling her we are NOT!

d88mm194026 Jan 2021 11:11 a.m. PST

Toy soldiers.
Forgive me this small side trip: Around 20 years ago, I had a small hobby shop. A customer returned to pick up his "man-dolls" that he had ordered. 3 or 4 regulars heard this and we all laughed our heads off. The customer said that is what his wife called them. It was disgusting, degrading and demeaning so we immediately adopted it!
Good luck on your search for the perfect rules for your "man-dolls"!

TheNorthernFront27 Jan 2021 10:53 a.m. PST

Bolt Action isn't worth your time

Warspite131 Jan 2021 4:59 p.m. PST

These are rules I am quite happy with. As with all things, the choice of rules is very personal.

arealdeadone10 Feb 2021 5:37 a.m. PST

I don't think the suggested dice rolls add anything tp the game especially as pinned units already test to see what they can do.

The 50% morale rules are also not necessarily accurate especially for Japanese, Soviets or other stubborn/fanatical forces.

And again given how quickly you take casualties in BA the 50% rule would turn the game into a stalemate.

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