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Friday, January 17, 2014

Bolt Action - Bolt Action Errata Update!

Sorry for the delay, BARbarians, but word on the street had it that there would be an errata update today from Warlord Games and we simply had to let everyone know about it when it released.

"See? I told you Kaukopartio squads would be addressed!"

The errata can be found here. There is green text (changes) galore once you get to the army books.

Some of the changes were easy to predict. The first change made sure everyone understands that IJA forward observers can't actually take assault rifles. While most didn't need to see this in print, it's good to have in writing, just in case.

Bishop and Sexton tanks get a rule that allows them to upgrade their guns much like the normal version of the 25pdr. That's just the excuse I needed to finally commit to buying one of these bad boys. Sure, light tank rating isn't much to write home about, but in the 1000-point setting, you don't see many heavy or super heavy tanks.

Some of the points are rewordings and clarifications, like the adjustment to the Non Testati special rule for the Black Shirts.

A big clarification was made to the Kaukopartio squads in the Finnish list. I'm only partly surprised they went the direction they did with the Deep Strike rule. It now reads:

"Deep Strike Mission: When a Kaukopartio unit that is Outflanking as described on page 119 of the BA rulebook becomes available, it may enter the battle from anywhere along either the right/left table edge (depending on the chosen side) or any point along the enemy's own table edge. For example, if a Kaukopartio decided to outflank left, it could enter from any point along the left table edge (regardless of the turn it became available), or any point along the enemy's table edge."
The rule needed some tightening up, for sure, but I did not anticipate one of the subtle changes this clarification indicates. It's quite obvious that you now indicate which table edge your unit will enter play from, where previously you did not. Additionally, it clarifies that you can enter play from anywhere at the first Outflank opportunity. This ability remains a powerful one, regardless of the fact that you now need to declare where the soldiers will come on from before the game.

Another interesting change is to the way forward observers and Recce units interact:

"Can a recce vehicle react with an escape move from an air strike or artillery barrage? No it cannot, as the artillery barrage does not target the vehicle directly, and the air strike does not require line of sight from the attacking plan and does not roll to hit, instead hitting automatically."
I, for one, am glad they made this distinction crystal clear. As one of the two original authors predicted, Recce has caused more than its share of confusion and controversy over the life of Bolt Action.

A very interesting clarification was also made for those of you that field infantry units capable of packing multiple light mortars within their numbers:

"In an infantry squad that includes one or more mortars, can the mortars fire at a different unit than the rifles? How does the ranging in work? Is it worked for all of them together or each weapon individually? And how does that work if they (or some of them) fire smoke - do they all have to target the same spot on the table?
OK, let's go through these points one at a time.
The mortars in the unit must target the same unit as the rifles, much like a squad LMG would do.
By strict application of the rules, the ranging in of each mortar in the squad is done separately.
Once again, by strict application of the rules, any mortar in the squad that fires smoke instead of HE can pick a target point individually, regardless of what the rifles and other mortars in the squad are doing."
While I'm happy they've added a concise clarification, I'm a bit puzzled that they didn't make everything streamlined and functioning in a similar fashion. One of Bolt Action's great strengths is the fact that if you understand the application of the rules in one regard, you can almost always apply it in another. However, depending on the ammunition type, these mortars now function differently. Those firing explosives follow the same rules as LMGs - this is a great example of the similar application of a rule over many different circumstances. The smoke rounds, though, fire differently. I'm fine with this distinction, but it is unfortunate when a clarification has to be made that reduces the elegance of a game's original design.

There is also a clarification that horse or motorbike mounted troops can maneuver when using their Recce escape move to wrap up all the changes.

As always, I'm very pleased at the rate in which the authors address these common questions. How do you feel about it? Tell us on the forums!

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