Bob here with my first thoughts on the gaming system Bolt Action from Warlord Games. The company includes a slew of ex-GW folks from what I consider the "good old days" and their miniatures are of pretty good quality. They also have rule sets for other historical periods including Biblical, Classical Greece, Roman Empire, Dark and Middle Ages, as well as Pike and Shot and the Victorian Era. Go check their website out through the above link!
Just to give a brief run down, Bolt Action is primarily centered around 28mm platoon sized actions during the Second World War. Infantry and infantry support (machine guns, mortars, artillery, etc) are the primary focus of the action with armour relegated to a supporting role of one Tank or SPG (Self Propelled Gun) per side. Transports and scout vehicles are a more common site on the battlefield, however. Many of the major and minor combatants of the war are represented with models and rules with multiple formations available through faction suppliments. For example, the US has access to regular army units, airborne, and Marines with unique rules and stats for each. Game play follows a random activation order for unit (a marker is chosen at random for a bag or cup) rather than a "you go, I go" system like 40k. While inflicting casualties is of course an important part of the game, the real focus is accruing pin markers on units. Pin markers represent the volume of incoming fire a unit is taking. Each pin marker on a unit lowers the base leadership of the unit resulting in the unit being required to take moral and leadership checks on a reduced value. This reduces the chances for a unit to successfully perform their assigned action.
I recently got to play my first game with Da Masta Cheef ( check out the battle report ) at the FLGS. It just happened to be the first game ever for both of us. We agreed to a 500 point game (one of the standard point limits) and rolled for a random scenario. I used my early war Blitzkrieg German force and he used a British Home Guard army list (in this case represented by humanoid aardvarks). My first impressions of the game were extremely positive. The random activation order provided a tactical challenge as did the ever changing pin markers on units. We also learned that forward artillery and air observers can be incredibly deadly for both damage and weighing units down with pin markers. Da Cheef has a full battle report on his blog so hit the link above to check it out. My only comment on the whole game is a resounding "fuck you" to my bastard dice.
So what are my goals for this game? I plan on doing an Early War German army force of mechanized infantry with a tank (Panzer III or IV) for support as well as a Mid to Late War American Airborne force based around the famous 101st Airborne Division (I like Band of Brothers, so sue me for lack of originality). Eventually, depending on what the interest level proves to be at the local shop I may also add a Early War French Army force. Right now I around 500 to 600 points of Germans and Americans respectively. Nothing is painted so far so no pictures of my models for you.