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Monday, June 19, 2017

Bolt Action Road to Victory: A Beginner View

Hey everyone! Seamus here with another community article for your reading enjoyment. Today's article is from a newcomer to Bolt Action who took the bold step of using the Road To Victory campaign rules for his first foray into the game. One of the best parts of this system is that it really shakes up the normal run of rulebook missions and cookie-cutter army lists by using dice rolls on tables to drive which units you can add to your force. Another great strength of the system is that you or your opponent may end up with a really strong unit, which then means you'll both have to be on top of your game to deal with less balanced forces. So, without further ado, I present to you a newcomer's experience on The Road to Victory....

Bolt Action Alliance's Road to Victory campaign – Thoughts from a Noob

I was tempted to get into Bolt Action having decided to come away from all things GW, and after some research (which may or may not have largely consisted of drooling over models) I decided to go with the British 8th Army, also called the Desert Rats. This proved fortuitous as one of my regular opponents already had a Deutsche Afrika Korps army, so we were able to play historically matched games. We had found the Road to Victory campaign, and both being suckers for campaigns, we adopted it as the basis of a series of games between the two of us. This would also be my introduction to Bolt Action gaming.

Being the Brits, my army got a free Bren carrier, and my initial rolls for the extra units were a multi launcher and a heavy tank. The latter was easily filled by a Churchill (which, ironically, my opponent for the campaign had given me for my birthday), but since there is no multi launcher in the relevant army selector, I ended up with an inexperienced infantry squad. These went alongside the 2nd Lieutenant and two standard infantry squads to start my force. I failed to roll any transports for my units, and this would be the case for the first three games too. My opponent started the game with an anti-tank gun and an artillery observer in addition to his standard units and free MMG team.

As the campaign progressed, each of us added new units to our armies. Most of these came from models we already owned, with a few purchases here and there for the more unexpected rolls (a Bofors gun? Really?) It's fair to say that both of us have enjoyed the randomness of the post-game rolls to see how our units have fared. There have been good rolls – my force commander is now a Captain – and some not so good rolls – I now have 5 infantry squads having had to make substitutions on a number of occasions because some units simply don't exist within a given force selector.

Clearly, it isn't realistic to make random tables for every single force selector, and that is why the substitution mechanism exists. I felt that being able to start the campaign with a heavy tank that my opponent struggled to deal with made things a little unfair; one could shrug and say that that's how it goes, but given the escalation-like nature of the campaign, it could be worth restricting certain units until a number of turns have passed. Another slight issue is that failing to roll for transports for otherwise immobile units, such as artillery pieces, can result in them having to start the game in poor or useless positions if they cannot move onto the table in certain missions. Of course this adds to the challenge and we took it all in good humour.

We both found the campaign to be excellent in its writing and simplicity. For a new BA gamer like me, it offers a progressive framework of getting familiar with the game and building up an army along the way; for a more experienced gamer it would provide the challenge of using unexpected units, and perhaps having those units made unavailable later on if destroyed. In addition to using the Road to Victory system to select our forces, we rolled for random missions from the rulebook to keep ourselves on our toes. We have had fun in each game, and while that has been down to a good opponent to some extent, we certainly feel that the campaign has added enjoyment to our games. So far, things have favoured the Brits overall, but chance is a fickle mistress and who knows how things will go in the missions ahead...

- Rob C.

There you have it. The Road to Victory campaign set from a Bolt Action beginner's eyes. I hope you've enjoyed this community article, and especially hope you're at least intrigued by the idea of the campaign system, and a new set of challenges. If you're trying the campaign yourselves, please let us know. We're excited to hear your experiences too. 

That's all for now. Keep an eye out for more about the campaign system from a Bolt Action veteran's point of view!

Game on! 

- Seamus

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