Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bolt Action: Squad Level Combat

I like Bolt Action but I don't always want to play a big skirmish game. Sometimes I would rather play something smaller but just reducing the points in BA doesn't really work for me either. I got into WW2 skirmish gaming before I started playing BA. I was really interested in playing two different games in particular. The first game was Disposable Heroes and the second was Operation Squad. I have difficulty ordering things from online vendors, and so prefer to go through a local game store. So this is how I ended up with Bolt Action. That plus I went to the BA Game Day and had a great time and played an excellent 6000 point game.

However, I tend to like games where each model is its own unit, squad level combat. So I have recently been throwing around some ideas of how to alter the rules to work at this smaller skirmish scale. I think I have made a few minor modifications that will make it work i hope. Of course there are probably things I have overlooked so if there is anything you see let me know. 

I hope to be able to try them out this weekend and see how it goes. If I can get my SD card reader to work again I will do a quick AAR and post my thoughts on how it works.

So after I wrote this I decided I wasn't really liking the single d6 roll for shooting, so I changed those too. I haven't included them here as I have tried to make this as close to the original BA rules as possible. Sometime in the next month or so I post up my own set of rules separately. Currently they are still a work in progress and I have been staring at way to many statistics on probabilities trying to make it work the way want. As a result I remember why I took symbolic logic as an advanced math course in college.


Bolt Action: Squad Level Combat

These rules follow the standard Bolt Action rules except those below.

Each model is considered to be its own unit, except for team weapons or squad integral weapons which always activate on the same order die.

Small Units
Since all models are treated as individual units, with the above exceptions. All units all infantry and infantry support units are treated as small units. When a team weapon is hit by exceptional damage, even if caused by sniper fire, only a single model is removed and the weapon can be re-crewed if a morale check is passed first. Optionally, these additional men may abandon the weapon (temporarily or permanently) in which case they are then treated as individual infantry men.

Squad Cohesion
Normally squads are forced to maintain cohesion for ease of play and to keep a squad together. Under these rules a squad is in cohesion if a model is in within 6” of another model and it is in cohesion with (through other models) to the squads NCO. A model that has lost cohesion with the rest of the squad has a -1 morale penalty.

These men are the core of your squad, the driving force that gets things done. With them your squad maintains cohesion and discipline. Though, this may not always be the case, Sarge may send a few guys around the flank of the enemy or have them hang back to provide covering fire. While alive, the NCO provides a +1 moral bonus to all models that maintain cohesion with him and the rest of the squad. When an NCO dies all models in the squad lose a point of morale. Models already out of cohesion do not suffer an additional penalty. Regardless of whether the NCO is an inexperienced, with no combat experience or a grizzled veteran, the morale bonus they give to other troops is the same. The more experienced they become the harder they are to kill.

Mixed Experience
Bolt Action doesn’t allow for members of the same squad to vary in level of experience, but at this level it is okay as each member of the squad is considered its own unit. I would even encourage it. Imagine any war movie you have seen, the grizzled NCO, a couple of regular guys who have been around a while, and then the new guys. Of course, it’s your squad so build it to suit your tastes.

Building a Squad
Since this game is on a smaller scale, force selection is slightly different than normal. First, you need to decide what type of squad you are going to run; US Rangers, Volksgrenadiers, SAS, Paratroopers, Pioneers etc. Your squad then follows the basic set up for that type of squad. Your core force is as usual, an NCO + four men. These men are Inexperienced, Regulars, or Veterans as usual. Any additional men can be added to the squad and they may be chosen at any experience level. Though in order to maintain your squads stated level, there must always at least one more man at the regular experience level for that squad, than the rest of the squad who are not at that experience level.

Force Selection
For a typical squad on squad game the number of points is 100. For a game with a reinforced squad the point total should include another 70 points that go toward buying only support units, additional squad members or squad upgrades. The original 100 points should be allocated first before purchasing support units, and if not used for that purpose may not be spent on support options. Support options can include any type of infantry support, light artillery, or transports. With only 70 points your options are limited somewhat, and hopefully not overpowering in anyway.

Special Rules
Normally purchasing a special rule is an option applied to all members of the squad. Using these rules, it is again, on a per model basis. So every member of the unit may have that special rule, none, or any number between.

To add a bit of fun and variety the following additional rules may be purchased or deducted from the squads point cost, but at double the normal rate if the squad would not normally be allowed this special rule.

Tough Fighter: +4 points per man
Fanatics: +4 points per man
Green: +1 points (Inexperienced only)
Shirker: -4 points per man
AT Tank Grenades: +2 points per man

Weapons Ranges
All weapons ranges are doubled, but anything beyond the normal range incurs an additional -1 penalty to hit. Ideally terrain should limit ranges more than anything else.

HE Damage
HE shells explode in a radius equal to their HE rating. So a HE d2 gets a chance to hit everything within a 2” radius around the point of impact.  A d3, a 3” radius and a d6 will have a 6” radius. Anything larger than this is unlikely to ever see play but would be 12” (2d6) and 18” (3d6) respectively.

Indirect Fire Deviation
Because it might matter, a miss with indirect fire will deviate in a random direction (roll your order dice and move target in the up direction of the showing order die, or however you like). The distance of deviation is based on the minimum range for indirect fire. 12” = d6”, 18” = d6+3”, 24” = d6+6” (though ranges are double for this as well). The greater the range the greater the chance of deviation, at least that’s the working assumption.

Vehicles Damage
Normally vehicles hit by small arms fire are destroyed. When playing at this level, larger vehicles will be rare if not totally non-existent. So in order to add a little detail use the Damage Results for Armored Targets table and apply them to the soft skinned vehicles.

Units Aboard Transports
Models on a transport that is destroyed receive the usual d6 hits per squad, but these hits are distributed between the available models starting with 1 hit per model, then starting over if necessary.

National Rules
The American lose their free Air Strike.
The British lose their free Artillery Observer.
The Soviets do not get a free squad.
The Germans lose nothing.

All other national rules remain in effect as normal.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rock Outcroppings

 I decided that if I am going to play a Greek Andartes army then I could probably use some rocky terrain. I haven't made any rocky terrain in a good number of years and thought I would give it a try again using rigid foam insulation. I know a lot of people use tree bark to make rocks, but I don't like the look of it all that much. Thus the reason I tried the foam insulation. I don't think it turned out to bad. I tried to vary the size quite a bit and so the outcroppings vary in size from slightly larger than man sized up to around 12 inches or more.

The center piece is made from a single slab of foam and is supposed to be two rock outcroppings with a small saddle between them.

This is actually one of my favorites, though I think that it could use a little rock debris on the ledges to break up the straight lines, and perhaps a little work on the overhanging bits in the first picture.

Again, another one with multiple rocks outcropping. 

The two smaller rocks.

The biggest one of the bunch with a few boulders laying on top of the large exposed rock shelf. Below are a few overview shots of all of the pieces together. A pretty good spread across the table though I would like to do a few more to get a really rock strewn table.

I just bought the Citadel gaming mat as well. I scored it at a local hobby store that doesn't specialize in miniatures, and so I found it on the clearance shelf for half price. A pretty good deal at $15.00 considering these things are out of production now. Though, I am now kinda partial to my $8.00 green blanket from Target.