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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Konflikt '47 - Rulebook review and first impressions!

If you play any of Warlord Games' systems like Bolt Action and don't live under a rock, you will have heard about their newest game, Konflikt '47 made in conjunction with Clockwork Goblin Miniatures and Osprey Publishing. There has been a bit of hub-bub about this game recently, as it takes the great Bolt Action system and throws in a dash of the weird, bringing in 'mechs and power-armoured infantry alongside zombies and werewolves. Well we are going to crack open the Konflikt (forever known as K47 from this point onwards) rulebook and delve into how the rules differ from Bolt Action, while looking at some of the new units you can expect.

To start with, lets talk about the setting. I am not going to get into all the specifics, because lets face it, your going to have to buy the beautifully put together book for yourself to read all the juicy details, but as the title of the game suggests, it is set in 1947. The timeline diverges from our in 1944, when testing of atomic weapons opens a Rift in the fabric of space. The Americans then nuked Dresden, causing another Rift. Both the Germans and Americans begun to develop advance Rift-tech from researching these Rifts, although they developed different technologies. The Soviets demanded access from the US and when denied, they left the Allies, essentially creating a third power block.

D-Day still goes ahead and after initial success, the advance is bogged down by the German use of Rift-tech. The Americans bring in British scientists to help with their own research and one of them is a Soviet spy who feeds the Soviets information. For the next few years, the frontline waivers back and forth as the Axis and Allies unleash waves of new tech, with the battleline eventually settling near the River Rhine. Meanwhile on the Eastern Front, Romania joins the Soviets at the start of 1945, Finland leaves the Axis, but fails to stop the German forces in Finland pull out, this eventually leads the Soviets to attack Finland and take it over. The Soviets continue their advance on the Eastern front although at a lot slower pace due to the German Rift-tech. Budapest falls in mid-1946 and Hungary surrenders, although a lot of their military escapes into Germany.

In the Middle-East, Soviet and Allied forces begin to fight for control of Iran and the oil reserves there, which causes Turkey to join the Axis with promises of German technology. Turkey and the Soviets fight a series of border skirmishes, but in general the fighting in the Middle-East comes to a defensive stand-still as the fight in Europe drains resources and supplies. In the Pacific, the Allies continue to make advances, until new Japanese submarines with Rift-tech begin to inflict massive casualties to the Allies. Japan begins to deploy reanimated corpses to fight in the deep jungles of New Guinea, dragging out the battle there against Australian forces. The US fail to take Iwo Jima and China seeks aid from the Soviets after relations with the US fail apart.

The winter of 1947 is the harshest and brings the fighting in Europe to a stand-still, while the Middle-East and the Pacific are both locked in their own stalemates. The end of winter is where Konflikt 47 takes place...

K47 uses a modified Bolt Action ruleset. One of the big changes are those of reactions. In a 'normal' game of  BA you can react by going down, using an ambush, defensive fire when assaulted or potentially using recce to escape. In K47 there are new reactions, but to do any reaction other then Go Down, you must pass a reaction test, which is essentially an order test. You also can't have had an order used on the unit so far in the turn. Failing a reaction test gives you an extra pin, so there is a risk attached to reacting!

One of the new reactions is Escape!, allowing a unit that is being assaulted to make a run move to put as much distance between the two as possible. Another is Firefight, which allows you to shoot back at an enemy unit simultaneously if they are shooting at over 20" away with a Fire order. The reacting unit also uses a Fire order. Units can also Run to Cover if fired at by an enemy 20"+ away, which gives them a Run move that must place at least 1 model into cover from the attacking enemy. The Ambush order has been changed too. You can change your Ambush order to any of the reactions with a successful reaction test, failure leaves them still on Ambush.

K47 introduces a host of new weaponry. First of is the Rifle Grenade, which is essentially a shorter range light mortar that does D2 HE. The Allies get access to Tesla weaponry, which gets a single shot that either is super effective against armour or does essentially 1D6 HE against infantry. The downside to the Tesla Cannon is it has a fairly modest range. The Soviets get access to Zvukovoy Proyektor that fires a shockwave out in a line. Any unit under the line are hit on a 4+ and take a 1D3 HE hit and D3 pins. Vehicles hit suffer the 'Crew Stunned' damage result. Meanwhile the Germans get access to the Schwerefeld Projektor, which gets 2 shots with +4 pen, but gets a pen bonus when shooting at heavy armour armour. Any unit hit by the Schwerefeld Projektor can't run on it's next order dice either. There is also the Dual-weapon Pack, which is a combination of an SMG and a sawn-off Anti-tank Rifle. You pick how you wish to fire it each turn, but both systems have shorter ranges then their normal counterparts.

Another area where there are changes to the standard rules is in the Assault section. Once combat is joined, after reactions, the combatants must decide to either fight in hand-to-hand combat or fire point blank. The attacking player decides first. If either side chooses to fire point blank, they act first. If both choose this option it is simultaneous. Only small arms can be used and is conducted exactly like if you did an Advance order, including adding a pin and taking a morale check if you lose half your models. Note you do not remove your pins in K47 when you assault. After firing point blank, if either play chose to fight hand-to-hand they do so simultaneously, unless they are down or assaulting a unit behind an obstacle (then they attack last). If they inflict any casualties, they also cause a pin. The losing side of the combat is not instantly destroyed, but instead makes a morale check, counting all pins on them. If they fail, they are destroyed, but if they pass, the winner of the combat has the option to continue fighting. If they choose this, future rounds are only fought with hand-to-hand. Combat continues until one side is defeated, or the winner (or in the case of a drawn combat, one player) decides to consolidate out of the combat. Consolidation is an advance move, starting with the losing side first, that must take them out of 1" of other units.

As you can see, assaults have changed quite considerably. Without having play-tested it yet, my first impression is that I don't know if the changes are really worth the extra level of complexity. I could be wrong, but one thing I enjoy about assaults is that they are often quick and bloody affairs where the luck of the dice can turn against you in an instant, and thus they carry with them a weight of high risk for high reward. I am looking forward to play a few games of K47 to see how it plays out.

K47 also introduces Walkers as a new vehicle type. They essentially move like tracked vehicles as far as cross terrain types, but move at 12" with 2 turns at an Advance and 18" with 1 turn with a Run order. They also have an armour value of one less then a comparative vehicle. So a heavy walker will be armour 9+ instead of 10+ like a heavy tank. To counter this, when you shoot at a walker you never get a bonus to penetrate if your in it's side or rear arc. No matter which direct you shoot a walker from it uses it's full armour value.

Vehicle assaults have also changed, with a unit assaulted by a tank now taking 1d3+1 pins if they fail their morale check instead of being destroyed and then you roll 1D6 per pin received, on a 4+ a model is removed as well. Artillery is only destroyed on a 4+. Walkers assaulting infantry on the other hand fight an assault as normal, with 2 attacks, plus 1 for each fist, while the infantry need 6s to strike back as it is a moving vehicle. There are also rules for walkers fighting vehicles, but you'll have to grab your own copy of the rules for that, because now I am going to go into some of the new K47 units available.

Firstly, in the K47 rulebook there are army lists for Germany, the Soviets, the British and the US. The Germans get '2' new national rules in addition to their existing 2. The first, Fatherland Resurgent, lets them ignore 1 pin marker for order checks to Advance if they have 5 or more men in an infantry squad. The other 'new' national rule is just the rules for Schurzen, so I would not really consider this much of a national rule.

One of the first new German units you will see in the list is the Specialist Medic, who can be accompanied by Assault Rifle wielding bodyguards. This Specialist Medic lets you remove one model from a friendly unit to get +1 to the roll to save members of that unit from small arms casualties, so effectively kill 1 man to try and save the rest! The normal infantry squads are fairly standard although with 0-2 LMGs and the options for Rifle Grenades. Then we come to the Heavy Infantry.

These are the guys in heavy armour and each of the 4 major powers have their own version. The German ones have Assault Rifles, are Slow (4" advance/8" run), Resilient (need 6s to kill them from shooting attacks) and are Large Infantry (takes up 2 slots per man in transports). You can get these guys in squads, as well as a Panzerschrek team. The next cool new squad is the Fallschirmjager Falcon Squad, which are jetpack equipped heavy armour infantry. They have Assault Rifles, are Resilient and have the Flight special rule, which allows them to move 12" with Advance and 18" with Run, over intervening terrain. Next are SS Shocktroopers who are Fanatics, Tough (which lets you ignore damage from weapons with less then a +2 pen, on a roll of 5+, roll for each casualty) and have IR Vision for night fighting.

Then we come to the Totenkorp zombies. These are Tough and have a rule called Horror, which effectively gives -1 morale to all units within 6" of them. They are Slow and ignore pins and morale checks, but they have no weapons. Next are the Schreckwulfen. These are a cross between human and canine DNA, to effectively make Werewolf type creatures of myth. These have the same Horror affect as the zombies, are Tough, have the Tooth and Claw special rule (3 attacks in hand-to-hand), are Large Infantry, and are Fast (8" Advance, 16" Run). Last one the list of cool new infantry units are the dreaded Nachtjager. A mix of bat, reptile and human DNA, they look very close to some kind of vampire monstrosity. These guys are like Schreckwulfen with Flight and the Strong special rule (+1 pen in hand-to-hand, and each additional hit against a vehicle adds +2 pen instead of the normal +1, also grants Tank Hunter).

The choice of vehicles is from most of the normal late-war tanks, with the only change being a Panzer IV with one of the new Schwerefeld Projektors on it. That is until you get to the walkers. There is the Super-heavy Thor, with a heavy howitzer, light autocannon and MMG. The Thor, which is a Heavy walker with a super-heavy AT gun, light autocannon, MMG and the Tough special rule (ignores damage on a 5+) when shot from the front arc. And last but not least, the Spinne Light Panzermech, which has a light AT gun with co-ax light autocannon, Dual Directional Recce and is Agile (gets 1 extra turn during it's movement).

After the Germans, are the Americans. They too get a new national rule called Plentiful Supply. This allows all infantry team weapons to reroll 1s to hit. The normal US infantry squads get access to Rifle Grenades, while their Heavy Infantry squads come with Assault Rifles. The Heavy Infantry are Large, Resilient and have IR Vision. They can also have a Heavy Bazooka Team in the same armour. The US answer to the Fallschirmjager Falcon Squads, are the Firefly Jump Infantry. These are veterans with the Flight rule and equipped with SMGs. They are not as armoured, but one man can be given a flamethrower!

Again the US tank choices are fairly common, although with a new M4A9 Sherman, which mounts a Tesla Cannon in it's turret. For walkers, they have the Coyote which is a Light walker with a MMG, HMG and 2 fists, that is an Agile, Assault mech, but as it only has Single Crew, it can only fire 1 weapon per turn. The Jackal is very similar to the Coyote, except it lacks the HMG but has the option to add an infantry flamethrower. It also has the Jump rule, which allows it to pass over any intervening terrain on a Run move, but it must be in a straight line. Next is the Grizzly Medium Assault walker, with a medium AT Gun, 2 fists and a HMG and the Bruin Support walker which has a Medium AT gun, HMG and heavy howitzer. Rounding out the trio of medium walkers named after bears, is the Kodiak, which has an impressive 2 light autocannons and 4 HMGs! And the last US walker is the Mudskipper, another medium walker with 2 light autocannons, a MMG, 2 HMGs and 2 fists, and has the Jump special rule.

The British get the Keep Calm and Carry On national rule, which allows them to remove 1 pin when they give the Down order to units not as a reaction. Their infantry squads get access to Rifle Grenades, and their veteran squads are all lumped under one unit choice, so interestingly Commandos no longer have Tough Fighter. The British armoured infantry are some of the chunkiest, as they are all equipped with LMGs, are Slow, Tough, Resilient and Large Infantry. The next unit are the Automated Infantry Squads! These bots are all equipped with MMGs, with up to 2 being able to upgrade to HMGs and are Large Infantry, Slow, Resilient and have the Automated special rule (they can't assault or Ambush, can't use reactions, must always make order tests, are immune to Horror, may move and shoot Fixed weapons, and can't use Medics, Officers or national rules). These guys sound like they could be a very nasty unit with the amount of firepower they could put out!

For tanks they get the normal fare, plus the Centurion Mk II which is essentially a Tiger I (heavy tank, super-heavy AT gun, 2 MMGs) and the Cromwell-T, which is a Cromwell with a Tesla Cannon. They also get the Guardian Light Walker, with has 2 fists, MMG, HMG and infantry flamethrower and is Agile with a Single-crew. They also have access to the same Grizzly and Coyote walkers as the US. The last new unit is the Automated Carrier, which has twin light autocannons and is 7+ armour, with the Automated vehicle special rule which is similar to the Automated Infantry Squads.

Lastly comes the Soviet list. Surprisingly, the Soviets don't get a new national rule, instead just keeping the 4 they have and their infantry squads do not get the Rifle Grenade option. Their Heavy Infantry Squads, looking like Ned Kelly on steroids, come with the Dual weapon packs described earlier (combined SMG and ATR with shorter ranges) and are Large Infantry, Slow, Resilient, Tank Hunters. Next are the Siberian Terror Squads. Made to withstand extreme temperatures, these enhanced soldiers come armed only with knives but have the options of SMGs. They are Fast, Fanatics and completely immune to flamethrowers! One of the coolest looking unit choices are the Ursus Infantry, man/bear hybrids of genetic tampering. They have no weapons but are Large Infantry, Resilient, Tough, Strong, with the Horror and Tooth and Claw rules. This means, 3 attacks each with +1 pen and you need 6s to kill them with shooting and even then they ignore damage on a 5+ from anything short of a 20mm AT round. The last new Soviet infanty unit is another cool one, the Daughters of the Motherland. These Fanatical infantry are Fast and all equipped with Assault Rifles and can be equipped with Body Armour.

For new vehicles they have the T-34/ZP, which is a T-34 with a Zvukovoy Proyektor on it, as well as the KV-1/ZP which also have the Proyektor. There is also the T-44/85, which is a medium tank with a heavy AT gun, co-ax MMG and hull MMG, that has armour 10+ in the front arc, similar to a Panther tank. You can upgrade it to a T-44/100 which has a super-heavy AT gun, effectively making it a Soviet Panther. The Soviets only have 2 walkers, the Cossack Light Walker, which has a light autocannon and a co-axial MMG which is Agile and has the Recce rule. It can be upgraded to have a light AT gun instead of the autocannon but it loses Agile. The other walker is the Mammoth Heavy Walker, which is a super-heavy walker, with a light howitzer, a heavy howitzer, 2 light autocannons and a HMG. It is Slow and can have a dozerblade added to give it Tough from the front arc. The Mammoth is a hulking brute with a multitude of turrets on it, similar to a T-28 or T-35.

Overall, K47 looks to be an impressive new take on the Bolt Action game we all love and enjoy. The new units and special rules seem cool and a great opportunity to add a lot of flavour into the normal Bolt Action world. I am not a 100% sold on the changes to the assault rules but once I get the chance to play-test them with a bunch of werewolves, vampires and zombies, maybe my opinion will totally change. I hope Warlord Games continues to support the game beyond the rulebook, as full army lists for not only the 4 major powers, but also the Imperial Japanese and then the minor powers. There is a lot of opportunity out there to explore for further cool weird war concepts (can anyone say, Hungarian Vampires?)! I also think they need to include the awesome paper panzers that never made it, like the Coelian Flakpanzer and the Maus. I also feel like they need more units using the new wonder weapons, as they mostly appear on a 1 or 2 vehicles and that is it.

So I am looking forward to adding in some cool new addition to my existing Bolt Action armies and see what this new konflikt will bring!

"Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of  rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists
in his never-ending quest to collect them all.


Ric Walters said...

Great over-view of the new book. Sounds like a refreshing change in some areas of the standard rules. Don't be overly daunted by the assault rule changes. I think that a few playthroughs will alleviate the fear of "over-complexity". I've always had a problem with the concept of removing all pins before the assault resolution. With pins representing things like casualties, cowering troops, and other abstractions, I couldn't see how all those conditions would go away in assault combat. Cowering troops are usually a liability in an assault and don't add anything to the fight. Yet, removing the pins seems to indicate that they would jump up and fight like a veteran. So, again, thank you for the look at the new book. Ric

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