This week I was introduced to Bolt Action at the Berkeley Vale club. Andy warned us off, using some colourful language in his review of the rules, but we were undeterred. The setting was not the WW2 actions envisaged by the authors but a near future SF setting. Valuable intelligence information was secreted in an artifact in the middle of the table and the objective was to secure the artifact, download the data and leg it. Steve and I faced off against Shaun and Rodger. In game #1 we took out the enemy command team which prevented them downloading anything, and in game #2 we secured the objective, downloaded the data and covered the very rapid retreat of our command team to safety and victory.
My observations of the game were mixed, but in the end generally positive.
I can see why people hate it. As a representation of WW2 small unit tactics it seems pretty poor (excessive squad cohesion for starters) and the morale rules are dreadful. But the simplicity of the rules is such that house ruling is easy and in any case the SF setting we were using made the various rule deficiencies less apparent. the lack of rule density in favour of glossy pictures was also evident, but that seems to be a common trend these days. the game itself was pretty fast and, most importantly, was fun. And it has generated a lot of thoughts for follow-on games. From my own perspective I thought I could cover near-future settings using my 15mm Peter Pig Vietnam stuff with a few SF augments - then I thought about using a developed version to do Vietnam in its own right. Rodger has some house rules for helicopters and I've found some house rules for modern weapons and other changes to improve small unit tactical representation and so we have that lined up for a future game. And Rodg is working on a lovely collection of "District 9" figures and vehicles. I think "Modern / Near Future BA(mod.)" is likely to become a regular item at Berkeley Vale.
All of which is over and above my 2014 plan, which is looking pretty mixed up just now. But c'est la vie and having had this Vietnam collection for getting on for 20 years and not having had them out for a game for at least 10 i reckon a diversion or two is OK :)