Here at the Bolt Action Alliance, the troopers are busy with something exciting for new and existing Bolt Action players. We are currently play testing through a new campaign system for Bolt Action. The campaign system is being designed for you to play with a friend or in a large group or club. Players assume the role of a new 2nd Lieutenant. Each player then chooses two infantry squads to form the core of their force. Each nation also gets an additional free unit based on their nationality. Before each game players add two additional units to their force using a random unit generator.
Why random? Random units pose new and interesting challenges for players. It means players wont be able to min-max a list and will have to play with combinations of units you might not normally field together, presenting interesting and new tactical challenges. Think of yourself as a platoon leader who is being assigned available support options from your higher ups. It also gives you a reason to run some of those units that may otherwise never see the light of day.
Between games your unit's skill and moral may become better because of their experiences in battle or worse through attrition and replacements. Your platoon leaders will also be promoted over the course of several games. This new way of playing encourages narrative play and it is exciting to watch your force change and grow. So far play testing has gone well and we are thrilled to present our first campaign after action report.
I decided to take a Russian force made up of my 2nd Lieutenant and two squads of Guards infantry. The Russians get a free squad of inexperienced infantry to add to their force. My two random units end up being another inexperienced squad and a half-track. There is a chance that each infantry or artillery unit get a unarmored transport and three of my squads passed their transport test so I added three trucks.
My buddy Colby decided he would play Germans. He took two Veteran Grenadier squads. The Germans get a free Medium Machine Gun so his force included one. His two additional units ended up being another Veteran Grenadier Squad and a PaK 40. Only one of his units got a truck.
Our game centered around a small farm somewhere in Russia in 1944. Lt. Pavel's Guards infantry platoon is sent on a probing mission to assess the strength of the German defenders in the area. The German forces in the area are organizing a withdrawal and have ordered Lt. Schmidt's Grenadiers to burn a local farm.
Russian units arrive by truck to probe the farm.
A German PaK 40 lays in wait covering the Grenadiers.
On the other side of the board a German machine gun keeps watch.
The German infantry advances through the woods toward the farm.
As the Russians disembark from their trucks, they are surprised by German troops who have taken up firing positions inside the house.
Meanwhile another squad of Russians move around the back of the stable to secure the road.
German reinforcements are rushed into battle.
The PaK 40 opens fire.
The fresh Russian troops are eager for a fight and charge the farm house.
A squad and a half of them are killed before they overwhelm the German defenders.
Lt. Pavel takes up position near the pigs.
Down one squad, the Germans aggressively press the counter attack.
Russian reinforcements arrive to flank the Germans.
The PaK 40 is unable to knock out the half-track.
German troops exchange fire with the Russians in the area.
Pavel and his men fire back.
Russian reinforcements disembark and advance under fire.
A strong line of Soviets move up the flank.
The PaK 40 puts a round into the Russian's attacking up the road.
As an intense fire fight erupts.
It ends in a German assault which eliminates the Soviets.
But there is a second squad moving up.
The lone German survivor pours his schnapps and prepares for the inevitable.
There are only a handful of Germans left.
In a last ditch effort to seize the farm they launch an assault on the house and win.
Pavel surveys his surroundings to find most his men are dead, but with quick thinking decides to save his trucks. Men can be replaced.
Schmidt also surveys the carnage, he has lost too many men, men Germany can't replace.
Both of us secured one of the two victory points on the board. The German burnt the farm and the the Russian successfully scouted the Germans. Casualties where high on both sides. The Russians had three infantry figures left, including the Lieutenant and all their transports. The Germans had three infantry figures, their Lieutenant, their MMG, a truck and the Pak 40.
At the end of each game we checked to see what happened to the units. Pavel became a 1st Lieutenant and a Veteran, the half track became veteran, and one of his inexperienced squads became regular. All other units stayed the same. The German MMG had its men transferred to an infantry squad and the crew was replaced by inexperienced men. There was no other change.
Before we left we rolled to add new units for our next game. The Russians added another regular squad and an SU-100, while the Germans added an inexperienced squad and a regular 20mm Quad AA gun. The Germans where also reinforced with 2 more trucks.
Stay tuned for more games and updates on the campaign system, we are hoping to have it play tested and done in the next few months!