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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Konflikt '47 - Why You Should Be Trying Out Konflikt '47 (From A Rules Perspective)

I am sure that by this point, you have seen the myriad of articles and images from and heard about Warlord and Clockwork Goblin's newest addition to the Bolt Action family of games, Konflikt '47. Konflikt '47 is set in a world where history has taken a hard turn during the height of WW2 (1944) and now 3 years after that, the war looks very similar and yet very different from what we would expect from that era. You might call the setting "Weird War," and that alone turns some people, off but let me tell you why I think you should consider taking a closer look at this new game.

To start with the "skin" of the game does combine wild science fiction gone mad with what actually happened back in the forties, but this should not put off the strict historically minded of us. The  accuracy of the historical aspects of the game have been carefully considered by the authors, who are clearly aware of the intricate details of the conflict. Although the alternate timeline of the game is fantastic; it is also logical, plausible (if this level of technology was dropped into the middle of WW2) and comfortable. This alternate history "feels" right. But this is all window dressing for what excites me most about the game. The rules.
Now, Konflikt '47 is firmly based on the strong foundation of the Bolt Action ruleset. If you play Bolt Action, you will be able to pick up the game almost instantly. Where it diverges from its progenitor is what interests me though, the reaction and assault rules. If we look back to the early days of Bolt Action, rules that made units monsters in hand-to-hand combat existed but did not actually exist in the army lists themselves until the Armies of Britain book, when we got Ghurkas, Commandos and other units with the Tough Fighter rules. Sure Cavalry existed back then but no one ran them. Games largely revolved around shooting as even assault units (those armed with submachine guns and assault rifles) were effective at range. The brutality of HTH combat was known but to beef up a unit you had to pay the points to do so. The game felt right. Since then we have seen an escalation of TF units across the books and while some people love this, I do not. It took the game away from what I perceive "modern" combat to be like, firefights between groups of desperate men. Desperate to win. Desperate to survive.

Konflikt '47 introduces a few key mechanics to Bolt Action rules that take the game back to that place for me. First of all, units that have not already activated may react if they are charged or shot at (by units more than '20 away). To do so they must pass a reaction test (an order test). If charged and if successful in passing their test, they may run away or they may fire at their opponent as they come in.   If the unit runs and gets away, this counts as a failed charge and the chargers must move their full distance towards the running unit. This makes long distance charges a much riskier endeavour as it can potentially pull the charging unit out of line with the rest of their force and makes them susceptible to getting singled out and eliminated by the rest of the defending force. If the chargers succeed, combat proceeds as usual. If the charged unit passes its test and shoots on the other hand, it can chip away at the attackers and can possibly force morale tests that can stop the combat cold. This also very clearly reduces the effectiveness of assaulting units. That said, in order to perform these actions the defending unit needs to have an activation dice available. This requires a new level of dice management in the game that I really like. It adds another layer of tactical/ resource planning/ gambling that I think really adds something special to the game. It should also be said that if you fail your reaction test, you take a pin... It is not all roses for the defenders.

The assault rules themselves have also changed in a really cool way. If a unit successfully charges, the attacker gets the option of point-blank shooting or fighting in hand-to-hand. Then the defender chooses. If one side chooses to shoot, this is resolved before the hand-to-hand happens, and that side fires its weapons at point blank range. If both sides decide to do this, the shooting happens simultaneously. Tough fighter, isn't looking so hot if the defender can get a round of shots in before assaulting unit get to swing.

After any point blank shooting occurs, hand-to-hand fighting happens. Now, even this is different. Whichever side has not point-blank fired can now attack. Like with point-blank shooting, if both sides attack in this way, the attacks happen simultaneously. The attackers do not go first anymore. You then roll attacks and resolve the combat to determine the winner. Any unit that suffered any wounds at this point takes an additional pin which is important because ASSAULTING DOES NOT REMOVE PINS IN K47. Once a winner is determined, the losing side takes a morale check (taking pins into account) to see if they survive. I like this A LOT. Though it will probably end up with the loser dying, it might not. It makes HTH combat slightly less deadly in the game.

Now I have only given a short basic explanation of how these rules work in the game but you get the idea. Assaulting is not a sure thing anymore. The game has an extra layer of tactical choice that really stretches the mind in interesting new ways. All of a sudden, how you spend your order dice and how you move and activate your units has radically changed. The game rewards cautious planning and flexible thinking on the tabletop beyond what Bolt Action offered in the past, while at the same time, maintaining Bolt Action's graceful simplicity. In short, these are the rules that I didn't know I needed until I played them. I highly recommend that you give them a solid look.

On a side note: I have not even gotten into the new weapons, special rules and unit types that hugely expand the game. If you are not into these though and you want to play strictly WW2 games, you can! Every unit and army list from Bolt Action works for Konflikt '47. All of them. You can easily play this game using your regular BA armies/forces. In fact, given the improved rules of the game... I would suggest doing so, it will give you a more realistic and tactically interesting game.

By: Old Man Morin


Francesco Bambina said...

the best part is, these are just a sampling of the improvements second edition is going to make in the game!

shimond said...

Man, it seems you really have to play Beyond the Gates of Antares ;) or at least read the rules ...

Skabradisdead said...

Hey Shimond,

I have actually read the Gates rules. For simplicity's sake I introduced the new rules as core to K'47 as Konflikt only uses a few of the Gates rules and I did not want to get confusing. I like the look of the Gates rules heaps but I like the BA/K'47 universe and D6 system more.

Cheers though. :)


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