Where should I start?

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    Hello everyone!

    I’ve always been interested in getting into a table top game, but the only ones I was really ever aware of was Warhammer and Warharmmer 40K. However, I wasn’t super interested in the subject matter. Since then I’ve stumbled upon Bolt Action and I think this is the game for me! I love WW2 history, movies, video games, etc. and I love the idea of getting into a game/hobby in that topic.

    Now I have never owned any types of games like this before and my questions is… where is a good place to start? I don’t want to spend a ton of money on something to start that I’m not sure I’ll love and I know games like this can get pretty pricey. I would like to start with the ability to play a basic game with US vs. German forces. Something that will get my feet wet and help me learn how to play the game.

    Follow up questions… Where are the best places to get good deals on miniatures, paint supplies, environment pieces, rule books, etc…

    Thanks in advance!


    Hi Joseph, welcome to the world of tabletop wargamming – the hobby of hobbies… where some poeple are gamers, others painters or background lore specilists.

    To answer your questions…if you look at the stockists section of the website and find an ‘LGS’ (Local Game Store) near you as a place to start. You can also look for local gaming clubs. For example I go to the ‘Chelmsford Bunker’ on a week night where a number of us are picking up this game as well.

    Most of these shops will have gaming space, plus hobbiests of vairing levels who will be only too please to help you in how to prep models, paint them.. what different terms like undercoat highlight etc actually mean.

    You should also find people who already play the game and will ‘demo’ it for you. That is give you a intro game so you can see how the rules work.

    If that doesnt work for you due to distances, time or other commitments then there are painting guides both on warlords site and other places. If you are just wanting to have a look at the game then I’d suggest buying the pdf /ebook version of the rulebook. This has basic army lists for all the 5 major nations, so you can read the rules as well as write up a small (500 point would be my start point) list.

    Warlord also do small 500 point starter lists in their store.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Nat.
    invisible officer

    The last question is easy to answer. Warlord.

    Any other answer would be against the Forum rules. But they offer good deals.

    The other question. You should choose the starter set if you are OK with late war. If you go for early war there is no set (I think)


    What Nat said.

    You’ve stated a preference for US vs German. I’d go with the Bolt Action 2 Starter Set – “Band of Brothers”. Among other things, and very importantly, it will let you decide how much you like painting minis.

    But, before that, what Nat said.

    Rex Withers

    Hi, I wrote this on my blog for a friend, May help:

    Getting started in Bolt Action Part 1: Army selection

    Welcome 🙂

    Charge The Guns

    That blog entry is a great introduction, Rex!


    Thanks everyone!!! I really appreciate the help. It can be pretty daunting to head into a hobby like this blindly.

    I think the “Band of Brothers” set is perfect for getting me started.

    I recently just picked up some cheap paint to test out on some zombie miniatures I have from another board game to try my hand at painting, so hopefully that goes well enough for me to want to continue on to bolt action!

    Thank you for the link to the blog post, that was very helpful!

    Follow up question. Do you have to invest time and money in to making a “game board” right away? I’m not sure what to call it exactly, but I mean the actual play area with roads, fields, buildings, fences, walls, trees, etc.? Or can you play on just your kitchen table with makeshift items until I get to the point where I know I want to invest in a play area?

    Jim Ripley

    You don’t need 3D terrain and stuff to start on your game table . You can represent houses and hills with piles of books and you can draw roads on pieces of paper , just like when you played with your plastic soldiers back when you were a kid . The idea is 3D terrain gives you line of site blocks , objectives and helps with the narrative of your game or mission . You don’t have to paint your figures either and you can just subtitute Hot Wheel cars for tanks ( the blue Mustang represents a Tiger ) , but again to really immerse yourself in the game , it helps to have painted figures and all the cool toys that go with them . For some guys , building and painting the various game pieces ( buildings , scenery , vehicles , figures ) is 90% of their hobby as they only play couple times a month . Really we could play Bolt Action with paper hex tokens like the 1970s version of Squad Leader , but would it be a fun as squads of plastic US Paras and Waffen SS figures on the table with a scattering of Panzer IVs and Shermans , I don’t think so.. Mind you I have a buddy who still plays those old paper token type games , so to each their own I guess


    Joseph, I dont own my own board or even any terrain, outside of some 15mm scale buildings which have come as parts of unit sets, and I’ve been playing table top wargames for over 15 years.

    One of the benefits of going to clubs / LGS is they will have terrain you can use. You may have to pay subs but its worth it.

    How ever some people enjoy making their own terrain and other use pretty much anything (as said by Jim above)… lego buildings!


    Thanks for the answers on the terrain stuff guys! I was actually thinking… my brother owns a large format printer for his business that I have access to and I can design and print large “maps” of real life locations (or design my own). I could use something like that until I build up some trees, walls, buildings, etc…

    I’m really the type that commits to a hobby, so I definitely want to provide the best play experience possible.

    Last couple questions…

    What should I buy as far as paints/supplies go that will give me everything I need to paint quality minis? I’ve been watching The War Gamer tutorials on youtube and there seems to be a million colors and then there’s washes, inks, strong tones, light tones, etc… I’m clueless on what brands of paints, inks, washes, brushes, primers, etc. that I would need to really do the minis up right. I hate nothing more than putting in the effort to paint a bunch of figures and do it improperly. I’ve got the following on my amazon wish list but I’m not sure if they’re the right stuff to buy.




    Second question… is Bolt Action just a 2 player game? Or are there single player scenarios or more than 2 player games?

    Thanks again for all your help!

    Jim Ripley

    Might be best to start out with a Army / uniform type paint set for US and late war Germans , most paint brands have specific sets for the major combatants of WW2 as well as specific vehicle sets .I started out with just a light brown wash , giving vehicles a couple of coats to get the effect I wanted .It takes a little practice with washes to figure out how they work . Note- wash , let dry , rewash if not dark enough, don’t think it looks wrong when its still wet cause you end up with black faced figures , lol . I now have half a dozen washes from 3 different brands , including a red for some space marines . Your also going to need some of the basic colors , a black , a wood brown or two , steel , rust , etc , colors your going to use if paint any army at all . You can start of cheap on brushes and modelling tools , the dollar/ poundland type store can help you out there . While a $30 sprue cutter works great , I’ve found great cutters for under $4 at the local dollar store , so don’t be taken by brand names ( GW anyone ? ) If you look around you’ll find some paper building type kits which can be downloaded for cheap , scale to 28mm and printed out by your brother . Now you’ve got some quick , pre colored scenery to use until you decide what 3d type kits you want to buy . And BA can be played by numerous people , just depends on the size of the table / board and the points level of the game .

    Rex Withers

    Thanks for the comments on the blog post, as it happens. Dan (My brother) and I have just published a podcast episode that addresses “The Basis of terrain” you can find this here:


    Listen in the web payer from about time 1:20

    Feel free to subscribe to the podcast in your podcast app as well if you like, hope you enjoy.

    Spoiler you don’t have to be like my brother Dan ;-):
    Nice but not needed:

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by Rex Withers.
    Rex Withers

    Thanks for all the help guys! I’ve decided to go with the band of brothers starter set and the army/uniform paint sets that were suggested. I’ also going to print a map with my brothers printer and look around for some paper buildings and such that I can print to start as well. Thanks again everyone! I’m looking forward to being a part of the community!

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