For the longest time I’ve used Savage Worlds as my go-to miniatures skirmish game. It’s a generic miniatures skirmish game that can be pretty easily adapted to almost any period. I like this because I’m a bit of a thick-o and can never keep rules straight in my head and so the less sets of rules I have to remember the better.
I have to admit, however, the game kind of breaks down in the twentieth century, I’ve never been entirely happy with the vehicle rules or modern combat involving automatic firearms, etc. Morale plays a huge part in the modern battlefield and the SW morale system is… somewhat lacking. Oh, it’s still a great game and I’ll use it for any skirmishing before WW2 and even still use it for modern role-playing. But for skirmishing WW2 and more recent conflicts I finally had to admit I needed… something more!?
Last fall I decided to pick up two new sets of rules: Force on Force and Bolt Action – both published in partnerships with Osprey Publishing. Because I was more interested in more modern conflicts at the time I decided to try out Force on Force first (honestly I’m pretty much sick to death of WW2 – I’ve played so much of it because so many of the people I end up gaming with LOVE it – love, not like… LOVE!!! – and I’ve tried SO DAMN MANY different WW2 games… I digress…). Because I wanted to really wrap my head around Force on Force I left Bolt Action alone because I knew trying to learn two completely new rule sets would completely befuddle me and I would never get them straight.
Somewhere along the line I decided to DELEGATE! I gave (loaned) my copy of Bolt Action to Christian who promised to read it and run a game with it for me (and others) (using my toys, of course…). And so he did. What follows is a report of our first games of Bolt Action – run by Christian with my rules (which I couldn’t be bothered to read) and toys…
Christian had decided to run two quick scenarios to try out different aspects of the rules. The first was to be a quick infantry engagement, followed by a quick engagement involving armour. As it turned out we got started a little later that planned and ran out of time.
Normandy, June 1944
The Regina Rifle Regiment has found itself fighting elements of the 12th SS in the bocage of Normandy. No. 17 Platoon of D Company has been tasked with pushing through to the next field. Their other platoons of D company (No. 16 and No. 18) are advancing on their right and left (respectively). Supporting the platoon are 2 Vickers MMG teams
Advance through the field and beyond.
No. 17 Platoon, D Company, Regina Rifle Regiment
Platoon commander + 2 riflemen
Medical Orderly + 2 Stretcher-bearers.
3 Sections of Infantry, each with:
-1x Section commander - Sten
-1x Section 2IC – Sten
-1x Bren Bunner – Bren
-7x Riflemen – SMLE
Light Mortar Team (gunner, loader, observer)
2x Vickers MMG teams
Elements of the 12th SS
2x Panzer-Grenadier Sections, each with:
-1x Section Commander – MP-40
-1x Section 2IC – MP-40
-1x MG Gunner – MG42
1x MMg Team – MG42
Gary and I took the Canadians and Rick played the Germans.
Christian made up some new rules for the scenario for the Bocage – essentially treating it as “impassible” terrain, and if in contact with the bocage elements could see beyond it (and could be seen). I don’t’ really have any Bocage terrain so we made due with corduroy strips (which I usually use for roads) and assorted vegetation that I do have.
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
Here is the platoon at it’s kick-off line. The little squares of MDF in the opposing hedgerow were “hidden” and “dummy” markers. All the Germans started in “Ambush”
We set up one section and an MG to watch one of the two fields – to keep the other two section from being flanked.
The other two sections (along with the platoon command, medical orderly, 2” mortar team and MMG team) prepare to assault across the other field.
One section moves out after the mortar dropped a few smoke bombs on the other end of the field (rules Christian made up on the spot..). The SS MMG team opens up! Their first round of fire caused a pin, the second (on the following turn) caused a casualty
The second squad moves out.
Only the MG and a sniper had been watching this field originally. Our Vickers team took out the sniper, so rick decided to redeploy one of his Panzer-Grenadier teams that had been watching the other field to this one, lest he be outflanked!
Because the bocage was impossible to cross we didn’t end up with any close assaults at the end, just blazed away at each other from opposite sides of the bocage.
By the tiem we called it the Germans had lost their sniper and four of five of one of their Panzer-Grenadier teams, the Canadians had lost, I think four, maybe five out of one of their platoons.
I like the game well enough. I like the pinning mechanic. The squads seemed rather large and clunky and weapon distances short – compared to the area a squad took up. Perhaps if they were fielded as fire teams of gun groups…
I will definitely try it again – I’d certainly like to try out the armour rules.
I wouldn’t mind setting up a scenario and playing it once with Bolt Action and the again with Force on Force to see how the two compare…
Thanks to Chrisitian for reading the rules and setting up a game for us.
Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:
Some painting I’ve done over the last few days; WW2 Germans, Mmodern Africans, etc..