Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Modern Bolt Action

I have watched tons of online videos and read countless blogs about everything from painting, basing, rules, terrain, how-to's, how-not to's (I'm sure I'm leaving something out) since I got back into wargaming historical miniatures last Christmas. It's almost a full-time job just trying to absorb the information. I have learned much to say the least, especially that there are more opinions about rules sets than I would have imagined. I've also learned to stay pretty quiet about the subject myself because if you do make a reference about a particular set, you are very likely to find yourself in a back alley knife fight with some rules lawyer. That said I have discovered one thing, I enjoy my models based individually and I like more of a skirmish style game.

My go to rules so far have been Force on Force and Danger Close. Both offer me the kind of quick, modern skirmish game I like to play. I am still experimenting with various rules and have also learned that having an open mind can be rewarding in this adventure. Many of the guys in my wargaming group on Miniature Modeling Mayhem play Flames of War and Team Yankee. I have not played those yet but I enjoy learning about the history of WWII from them during our video chats. I have recently been looking at options for WWII games and 20mm miniatures for WWII skirmish style games. I have a few moderns in 28mm, but I prefer 20mm just for the fact that I can store the models, terrain and vehicles more so than 28mm. During my search I stumbled upon Jay's Wargaming Madness blog. Jay is in California and plays a lot of Bolt Action as well as moderns with some really cool terrain and models. While digging around his blog I found a version of modern rules Jay has created using the Bolt Action rules.
 I downloaded the files Jay posted for free and gave them a try this weekend. They are easy to learn, fast play and very fun. I don't own the main Bolt Action rulebook or the associated order dice but I was able to use some dice I had laying around for this purpose. The rules are fairly complete as they are but I think I might pick up a copy of the main rules as well. I really enjoyed the mechanics of the game and like I said it was really easy to pick up. Of course (this is the part where rules lawyers should close there eyes and skip ahead) I added a few elements from other rules like Random Events ie: Fog of War to add some spice to my solo game. You can download his ruleset for free and he has also created some army lists to go with them. If you are looking for a fun, quick modern rule set I would encourage you to give them a try. That said, I am no expert on anything rules or even weapons for that matter. Some of you might find these rules to simple for your taste, etc, etc. I found them to be fun for me so that is about the extent of my approval. Below are some photos from the other night. Sorry for the quality of the pics. I was more concerned with picking my way through the rules.

Scenario (generic middle east to keep it simple): 
A 5-man US Special Forces team are entering a village to extract a high level warlord from his compound. His compound is guarded by his personal six-man security force. The SopF are entering the town on foot from the west. The plan calls for the team to drop a sniper on a rooftop with line of sight to the warlords' compound as an overwatch element. Once the SopF sniper is in place two Ranger fire teams will enter the town from the main northern road. They are tasked with securing the street and bazaar in the middle of the village and acting as a blocking unit for the SopF. The village is controlled by the warlord and has three cells of militia present. Due to the value of the target of interest, the US forces also have two Apache gunships that can be mobilized if needed for Close Air Support.

Board size: 2'x2'    Scale: 20mm    Rules: Bolt Action Modern w/house rules for Random Events

Turn 1 action 1 saw the US Humvees get hit with a random event (red markers) right out of the gate (this is not a part of Bolt Action). The first Humvee takes incoming sniper fire.

Another action die draw for the US gets the SopF guys activated and running toward their objective.

 I was feeling pretty good about the US forces drawing the first three order die from the bag. It gave me the momentum to get my forces set-up. The fourth one went to the insurgents and the US was back with the fifth order dice which allowed them to get the SopF sniper on the roof. Everything was going well and then I realized that the US would only have one more order this turn while the militia still had four (each unit get's one order die). Yikes. Pretty nerve wracking to know that all hell is going to break loose and you are kind of out of options. Just two order die later would see the demise of one of the humvees and the four Rangers occupying it. I'm not sure I could have played that out any differently, perhaps concentrating on moving my SopF guys but that would have left them totally exposed on the street without the cover of the Rangers. I think what intrigues me about the way the basic order of play unfolds is that once you have played a turn or two, you realize very quickly that every single move you make needs to very strategic. Especially if you only have a few units and they need to get from point A to point B. You can find yourself in a really bad place if you don't think your way through each order.

I'm pretty positive I missed a bunch of stuff during this first game, I hope not. But I stress, although the rules might not be to your taste, I found them to be a very fun game and really quick to pick-up the basics.

Here are some additional photos. Not my usual AAR as I was trying to use the game to learn the rules but I didn't become bored or over confused when playing so I'll be trying this one out a few more times.