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Friday, September 23, 2016

Bolt Action - Review: A look inside Warlord Games' Band of Brothers Starter Set

Today I received my Warlord Games Band of Brothers WWII Starter Set and after spending some time going through it, I wanted to share my thoughts with the community.

For $112 MSRP you get:
  • 24 New Plastic US Airborne
  • 12 Plastic German Grenadiers
  • Plastic SdKfz 251/10 AusfD. 3.7cm PaK half track
  • Plastic Ruined Farm or Plastic Wrecked House
  • A5 Softback Bolt Action 2 Rules Book
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Quick Reference Sheet
  • 12 Plastic Pin Markers
  • Plastic Templates and Tokens
  • Construction Diagrams
  • 10 Six Sided Dice
  • 10 Order Dice
Is all this worth $112? That is hard to say as a player who does not need 2/3 of the contents of the box. Now for a newer player or collector is it worth the $112? Absolutely. Let's go over in detail some of the contents...

First the one just about everyone is excited about is the new Plastic US Airborne. These guys look fantastic. Easily some of Warlord's best plastics yet. The box comes with four sprues of Airborne or enough to make 24 troops. The sprues even have the infamous "mohawk" heads to add character to your airborne squads. I appreciated that they also made sure to include instructions with them as well.
Weapon options are varied with LMGS, BARs, rifles, and pistols. Wish they would have included a bazooka but I am not sure if they actually jumped with bazookas? There is also a pigeon included on the sprue as well for all your pigeon needs.

These guys look great, and also hand held LMGs!!!

For the opposing forces Warlord has included two sprues of their German Grenadiers. These sprues allow you to build up 12 Grenadiers with a variety of weapons including Assault rifles, MG42s, and all the other iconic kit that the Germans went into battle with. These are the same sprues long time players are familiar with.
The German's are reinforced with a plastic Sdkfz 251/10 half track equipped with a 3.7cm PaK AT gun. Decals for the half track are included as well. I find this an odd choice to reinforce the Germans with. A normal Hanomag with an MMG equipped would have made more sense but with the PaK half track players will get a chance to use the HE template. So when I think Warlord made a mistake, I realize they know what they are doing.

Next up is either plastic ruined farm house or plastic ruined house. I do not know what dictates you getting either one. These are easy to assemble and paint up.

An A5 sized rule book is included as well. This "mini" rule book has everything the full size rule book has in it. I appreciate that Warlord included all the army lists and units from the main rule book into the mini one. From what I understand the version 1 mini book did not have these in it.
The dreaded template, tokens, and pin markers

The infamous HE template is included in the BoB starter kit. (Am I the only one who sees BB-8 when looking at the template?) Along with the template are tokens denoting turret jam, damage, ranged in, and others. The second template has a sprue of plastic pin markers. These were easy to put together but slightly hard to read considering they are completely red. As a side note I highly recommend Historique's line of pin markers for gamers new and old. 
  As mentioned earlier instruction sheets are included for the half track, airborne, and grenadiers.

 The A5 Rulebook and Quick Reference Sheet

The Quick Reference or Playsheet is similar to the one Warlord has for Version 1. On the new one it allows easy access to some of the newer rules like the template diameter for HE and some of the to hit modifiers. My only complaint about this sheet is why not put the new airstrike and artillery rules on it? It would be a welcome addition and there are certain parts of the sheet that could have been omitted to make room for them.

One of my favorite parts of this set is the Quick Start Guide. This guide breaks down the Airborne and Grenadier forces in your starter set. It is very easy to understand and illustrated well. 

I remember this episode!

The Quick Start Guide is very well illustrated and helps the player out with their first game

I do not know if there was in the Version One starter set but I like the overview of each turn

                                   A quick explanation of the HE template is welcomed

The guide goes on to hold your hand through a series of turns involving the units at your command in the starter set. These turns really help explain the rules to new players and even tighten up some questions from version 1.

Do you need this if you already have half a dozen Bolt Action armies and games under your belt? Most likely not, but if you are a new player wanting to get into the game then this is a perfect entry set to begin your Bolt Action career. This set will also cater to those that just want to have one of everything or do demo games for their local groups. Did I mention the Airborne have Mohawks?

Until next time, keep those drinks cold and dice hot!

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