Help needed with army selections

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    Hi guys,

    I’m just preparing to get back to Bolt Action after a year away and I need a bit of help. I play late war German up against late war Soviet.

    I hope this isn’t too long and that you bear with me.

    To have a sporting chance of winning (or at least be able to put some plan into affect and to retain some sort of satifaction at doing something) there’s two approaches to army selection:

    1). Fill your force out with masses of poor quality troops and max out the order dice. This means you’re more likely to get your order dice coming out of the bag means far more often the one controlling the battle. This means your opponent will struggle to react to you and will find it very difficult to actually to carry out any meaningful plan. This can be countered with the competition rule around giving a maximum number of order dice.

    2). Create a very generic force: a 2nd lieutenant, a medic, 3 x squads, a cheap tank, a mortar, a machine gun team, a sniper, maybe an armoured car. You get to the 10 – 12 order dice and assuming your opponent hasn’t gone for option one you should be ok. But…. this produces games that all come out pretty similar….

    The trouble is that I do have a wide variety of miniatures. If I want to take my King Tiger for instance, for regular quality that’s 555pts. Compare this to my Stug IIIg which is 230pts. That’s another 325 pts I’ve got to find – that’s a lot! I’m now going to end up with either fewer order dice, which means I’m on the back foot from the start or substantially weaker support units, which is equally as bad. The King Tiger just cannot make up for this.

    Towards the back end of my last period playing I was incredibly reluctant to take any of the more unusual German vehicles. Also the same thing happened with the more unusual infantry like the Charlemagne SS or some of the interesting theatre selectors, like Forlorn Hope. To be honest this was a major factor in me stopping playing.

    The trouble is that I’ve found that you get completely hammered with anything other than the most generic of troop selections. This is to the point where you cannot actually acheive anything meaningful, let alone have a chance of winning!

    Has anyone got a solution or any  suggestions to this? I’ll be frank I don’t want to go through that again.


    OK, now to compare Bolt Action to a sci-fi wargame made by another wargame company from Nottingham (that’s been around since 1975) they have the complete opposite issue. Unless you have bought the latest shiny new toy from them at great expense you haven’t got a hope when gaming.

    In my book is worse which is why I’m not busily painting up a host of sci fi armoured warriors in bright primary colours and going on about an immortal god-emperor!



    Option 5 … why dose it have to be 1 or 2 ?


    Have you looked through all your options , really ? green mortar … light howitzer w/ anti-armor option … mmg … mixing quality and capability might be min maxing … but it can also help level the playing field vs vet players , and I for one rather like a good loss vs an easy win … and I know that not just me.

    their are lots of cheap options to get more dice in the bag , but your never going to beat the soviets that way , just come close … can that tiger pay for its price ? not just in kill but attention drawn ? or can the stug do the same job at half the points … dont think of your army as a bunch of stuff but as a bunch of cells together making something greater than the parts , a living thing on the battle field , it will need mobility , firepower , superessive fire , melee push and more to reach your goals … and redundancy is your friend .


    Keep this in mine as you look through other army lists and keep exploring options even after you start winning (20 games or so) … if you dont get bogged down in one style your oponent will never get tired of playing you and will look forward to your next army selection .


    memoirs for an ork player that was told orks were the worst army their was (2ed 40k WH) … 20 losses later i went on a 200 game winning streak that lasted 2 years all across the state … never limit yourself and all ways explore your options.


    Another couple of options are….ps some shocking idesa here….

    play some of the campaign scenarios/ randimise which mission you do play

    Play lopsided battles – ie you have 1K + a king tiger, they have a normal 1K army.

    Play tank war /armoured platoons

    play larger point games where multiple units are activated under a single order die

    play with parallel theater selectors – ie both pick an army book Seelow heights list (did this with the Stalingrad lists a couple of months ago, me with the russians, when you are limited with what you can take you’ll try new stuff)

    Allow the russian player to swap his free infantry unit out with a inexp Zis 3 or T-70 as allowed at the start of the theater lists section of the soviet book

    Take some of your own terrain, use buildings and smoke more…etc etc

    Limit the amount of order die a player can put in the bag (a number of tournaments have a limit of 12, so you can have more units but will only be able to activate 12 units in a turn)


    EDIT – That out of the way….have you looked at Brandenburgers? (I think they are in the bulge book) they outflank and give minus’ to your opponents reserve rolls just for being in your army list.    There are currently of 30 late war german infantry units with more coming in the Stalingrad book…… might take some time building a list you like the look of and trialing out new units… but write a core list of about 50% of the points with the Lt, 2 compulassary units and a support gun – then mix up the other 50% in half a dozen lists and give them a try


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Nat.

    Hi guys thanks for the responses, there’s lots of good ideas.

    The historical forces sound good.

    I’ll have a think about the inclusion of some of the poorer quality stuff to increase the points available.

    I think the idea of a core group with a few different changes might work.


    Tim Haslam

    Playing historical opponents is way better than open tournament style play.

    BA is a fun game, but it improves when you start to put historical context in there.

    Just use forces that are historical and also figures and models you like the look of!


    Greg S

    I have played historical battles and proxied miniatures, in fact proxied whole armies.  My Brits have stood in as Germans a lot.

    Changing the terrain can also change the battle and play a lot.


    Thanks everybody for the help. I think that the issue came about because we imported into Bolt Action that over-competitive attitude from our games of WH40K. From what everyoe has been saying is that approach just doesn’t really work for Bolt Action.


    Also, how about using 2 or even 3 platoons? Even with a 100o points you can make some interesting armies, with 2 smaller tanks or 3 snipers  or whatever you like.


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