6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
WWII Skirmish Fun,
This review is from: Bolt Action: World War II Wargames Rules (Hardcover)
First impressions is that this work is physically good value, at a 216 page hardback. Strangely the writers names are omitted from the front cover. It is credited to 'Osprey & Warlord', which means nothing, or less than nothing as far as Osprey are concerned, given their track record with rules.
However, inside, in microprint, it admits that Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley designed the game. Hello, Osprey, the lights are on but there's no one home - is there? Cavatore and Priestley are two of the best known and most celebrated wargame designers in the world. If you want to sell the book you put their name on the front cover. I believe this is known in the business world as marketing.
The pedigree of the work is clear on a read through. The rules are well laid out, readable and complete. They make sense and after one read through that took about an hour or two. Then one can play a game using the helpful rules summary sheets and tables at the back. In short, this is a professional job.
The book has nice pics from the more recent Osprey books and photos of Bolt Action Miniatures. Army lists for 1944 British, German, American and Russian armies are given and I understand that there will be a raft of army list supplements.
The game is clearly designed for Warlord's 28 mm range. An army consists of one or two platoons reinforced by vehicles (suggested one light and one heavy) and heavy weapons. The army lists make it clear that the generic scenarios included assume 1000 point armies. A Kursk 1000 pt Russian force might look like this: a platoon of regulars with a command squad led by a captain, two rifle squads of eleven men supported by an LMG, and a section of tank riders with SMGs, an LMG and anti-tank grenades. The platoon is supported by an anti-tank rifle, an HMG, and a 76mm general purpose field piece. Vehicles include a light tank and a lend lease Churchill, both with green crews. It is quite clear that this is a skirmish rules set with limited forces. A full one thousand point army could easily be assembled for under £100.
The command control system is one of the fashionable 'alternate by section' systems, which is why you can't use too many units. Each player puts chits into a mug equal in number to the number of tactical units in the army. Chits are drawnone at a time allowing the lucky player to move a unit. Units may be given one of six orders: stay still and fire; move and fire with a negative modifier; run - double move; ambush - go on overwatch; rally - remove pin markers; down - stay still and go to ground. This all takes time compared to a straighforward IGO-YUGO, hence the small armies.
Firing, line of sight, and movement are all pretty standard. Hits lay on pin markers even if there are no casualties, a bit like Hammers Slammers: these affect morale checks and firing. There are no 'spotting' rules.
My first thoughts on a single play through of two 650 pt armies? It plays smoothly albeit I found the command system a bit fiddley. In a smallish army the tanks were overmighty, probably less of a problem with a full 1000 point army. Even so, each player will probably only have one MBT, two at max.
Recommended, but don't expect to field big forces.