Bolt Action – House Rules
When we play Bolt Action at our club we use a selection of house rules that we find add to the game. In case anyone else wants to see what we do and so that I can record them somewhere we can all view them easily I have decided to post them on here.
Note that this is in no-way a criticism of Bolt Action as it is played if you follow the rules to the letter, its just how we like to play it. We are not ‘competition’ gamers and we seldom if ever use the points values as a way of deriving the forces for our games. We also like to alter rules to fit how we like to play. Games with more uncertainty appeal to us more than those without and generally provide more opportunity to laugh at each others misfortune, which is how we like it. Read on at your peril 😛
We use a random modifier of -D6″ to any movement over rough ground/obstacles.
We tend to use more orders dice then there are units as a means of giving one side an advantage in command control i.e. Germans versus early war Soviet. Also we use a ‘dice of doom’ (more later…), so we don’t actually remove dice from the bag when a unit is eliminated. Instead when a player has moved/activated/attempted to activate, all his units then any extra orders dice pulled from the bag are set to one side. Every dice extra to the first spare that is pulled from the bag is then discarded.
Dice of Doom
We place one (or two) orders dice of a unique colour in the orders bag. When these have both been drawn the turn ends. Units that have not activated do not get to activate…we find this makes gaming the orders sequence a risky business. We did originally just use a single dice for the end of the turn but after trying with two we have found the added tension of knowing one of them has been drawn adds to the game.
Single figure units
When a unit is reduced to a single figure it is removed, this only applies to squads. For support weapons etc. we allow the single figure to remain and operate the weapon.
Unoccupied transports can move freely once per turn without the need of an orders dice, providing they do so before the ‘end of turn’ dice is revealed. This is because we don’t consider unoccupied transports to be a unit (unlike the rulebook).
Dug-in in prepared positions
Troops dug-in in prepared positions count as in hard cover and as if ‘down’ for the purposes of taking casualties from indirect fire (i.e. half the number of hits), going ‘down’ does not give any extra benefits.
Impassable to wheeled vehicles.
Tracked vehicles cross at advance rate -D6″ and destroy a section of barbed wire on passing.
Infantry must take an orders check to cross and treat as rough ground.
Engineers cross as rough ground without the need to take an orders test and remove a section of barbed wire.
No assaults can be made over barbed wire (that was its actual purpose).
Exposed when troops come into contact. Roll 1D6 (as per preparatory bombardment pg118 of the rule book).
Strikes the bottom armour of armoured vehicles (+1 penetration). Engineers roll at -1 modifier. If the unit has RUN orders apply +1 modifier to the roll.
Fully armoured vehicles count any penetrating hit as light damage only.
All movement stops at the edge of the minefield. Minefield is impassable to all except engineers which clear the minefield on passing an orders test, they cannot fire while clearing mines.
Close combat results
Instead of the looser being eliminated: The looser retreats one full RUN move and takes a pin marker for every casualty suffered in the close combat.
Indirect artillery/mortar fire
Roll a scatter dice ( 4 arrows, 2 hits) + a dice marked 2,4,6,8,10. misfire.
The result Is either a hit, a direction and a distance deviated, or a misfire.
If the shot deviates use a 2″ radius circle to determine if it still hits any viable targets. If it does continue as normal as if it were a ‘hit’ on that unit.
If the misfire is rolled then either the shot deviates widely, or is a dud or something else happens that means it has no effect.
Other notes and ideas we are playing with:
The ranges for the weapons in BA are a bit strange to us. For example: Medium mortars have a longer range than 75mm field guns when historically it was substantially the other way around. One of the ideas we are considering at the moment is making all indirect fire from artillery have an unlimited range. We would still keep the range limitations as they are for direct fire. The argument being that the actual battlefield is somewhat more difficult to see over than our table top. Mortars would be unaffected by this so the light, medium and heavy mortar would still retain their normal range limitations.