Here’s 750pts of DAK German Veterans finally varnished. They’re a bit of a mixed bag, having been painted in a variety of techniques over the nine years I’ve owned most them. This is sort of obvious if you look at the bases. They’ve been ink washed and over-painted, some have been speed painted with dip, and the last lot finished were over-painted ink washes again, with a different set of inks. Not the greatest of paint jobs, and I hope to be a little more consistent with the Late War Germans I’ll be painting next.
Bolt Action has surprised me to be honest. It’s been a while since I’ve had this much fun playing a war game and it seems to have spurred a great deal of painting and terrain building. Bolt Action feels like what 40K should have been for decades now, and indeed playing it reminds me of how I used to feel playing Rogue Trader 30 years ago. It comes as no surprise that Alessio Calvatore and Rick Priestley, both GW alumni, were the game designers. Bolt Action mercifully discards the cumbersome ‘I go, you go’ system which has always made 40K and WHFB tedious and often powerless feeling games when it’s not your turn. Unit activation by dice draw is hardly an original idea, but the way the dice also represent both the command a unit has been given and the state of that unit is both clever and convenient.
Bolt Action also presents a similar level of complexity as the 40K rulesets I remember (4th Ed being the last version I played), and even the rulebooks feel similar to GW’s when you’re reading them. Indeed, like GW’s rulebooks they also seem to leave a few areas open to vigorous discussion at the gaming table. Bolt Action is a skirmish game, but the activation dice system seems like it would scale well to fairly high points values. In fact adding more units simply means your game goes longer, while you’re still left fretting what to do on each dice draw.
As the game is set in World War II you can put together a 28mm or 15mm army easily and cost effectively from a wide range of manufacturers, particularly Warlord Games who are the publishers of Bolt Action. There’s no original IP to vigorously protect, and the open market of 28mm WW II figures keeps everything competitively priced for the gamer. This is in stark contrast to the closed, overpriced, monopoly that 40K represents. This becomes immediately obvious when you compare the cost of a box of 30 plastic multi-part German figures from Warlord Games, ($41usd) with the cost of 30 plastic multi-part Space Marines from Games Workshop. You’d actually have to buy three boxes of Space Marines to get 30 figures (at $43usd a box or $129usd)!