Bolt Action


Modern Amendments for Bolt Action

Bolt Action is a great World War 2 game, so why not extend the fun into the modern period? Below are my initial amendments for Cold War to present time.

Assault Rifles: Treat these as normal rifles (ROF 1) as it is assumed all rifles are now semi or fully automatic. Just ignore the Assault Rifle entry in the weapons table.

Enhanced Sights: Rifles (such as the SA80) with magnified sights have Range 30”, costing +1pt per man.

LMG’s: All squad belt fed LMG’s get ROF 3 and there is no need for a helper. Magazine fed squad support weapons are treated as Automatic Rifles.

Under-slung Grenade Launchers: Fire indirect but need line of sight, HE (D2) Range 24”. Not team weapon.

Automatic Grenade Launchers: Fire indirect but need line of sight, HE (D2) Range 24” ROF = 2. Fixed Team or Vehicle weapon.

RPG’s: Treat RPGs as Bazooka, LAW as Panzerfaust, Carl Gustav as Panzerchreck.

Guided Missiles: act as Fixed Team weapons but with the stats of medium, heavy or super-heavy Antitank guns depending on the weapon. They are Shaped Charge weapons. Guided Missiles can’t fire at Close Range but don’t get the -1 to hit at Long Range. Guided missiles need a Rally order to reload a launcher. Vehicles with multiple launchers can reload them all with one Rally order.

Shaped Charge: the -1 to hit still applies to unguided rockets (such as RPG’s) but not to Guided Missiles. The long range Pen modifier is always ignored as normal for Shaped Charge weapons.

Reactive and Chobam Armour: Reduces the Pen value of Shaped Charge weapons by 1D6. Reactive armour only works once per vehicle facing arc.

Moral Checks: Shooting Moral checks must be taken each time the unit takes casualties when it’s at half or under the original squad size. This makes the modern game deadlier without the need to add lots of extra firing dice.

Body Armour: Increase the Damage value by +1 at Long Range if wearing body armour. Costs +4pts per man.

Vehicle stats: Use the usual ratings to describe your vehicles – i.e. an M1A1 will have a super heavy anti-tank gun and a Damage Value of 11+ (super-heavy tank).

Medics: Medevac rules? WIP

Bolt Action Activation Changes

Instead of drawing dice from the bag try the changes below. All order types and rules remain the same except for these amendments.

Initiative At the start of the turn determine who has the first activation by both players rolling an Initiative Test. This is done like an Order Test on the senior Commander for each side. The highest successful score wins the Initiative and must Order the first unit. If both sides fail or draw, then the Commander with the highest Moral + Officers Bonus wins, if this is still equal then test again.

Orders An order dice is given to one unit in the normal way, making an order test if required. All order types and rules (like retaining an order between turns) remain the same except for the amendments below.


Modern Tactics Examples

Keeping The Initiative Initiative stays with the player (or side) until lost. This means that he can keep giving orders and resolving the actions one unit at a time until something goes wrong, at which point the Initiative swaps to the other side.

Initiative swaps over when:

  1. An order test is failed
  2. No hits are scored when firing
  3. The enemy scores more hits by Return fire
  4. The enemy scores any hits by Ambush fire
  5. Once all your units have received an order

Note that you can’t ‘pass the initiative’ and not give an order to a unit. If you want to sit back and wait for the enemy then issue Ambush orders.

Enemy Reactions Enemy who have not already received an order can react to fire in the normal way by going Down, or they can Return Fire.

Return Fire When conducting fire and Return Fire, both sides fire simultaneously. However the Returning Fire unit gets an extra -1 modifier to hit to represent their lack of preparation.

Only Small Arms can Return fire, not heavy weapons. Small Arms mounted on a vehicle can return fire if within arc (without having to rotate a turret). Return Fire can only be made against the enemy unit that triggered the reaction. Mark the Returning Fire unit with a fire order when finished.

If the enemy Return Fire causes more casualties (or hits if neither side causes casualties) than the firing unit then the Initiative is lost.


6 thoughts on “Bolt Action

    • I didn’t know Black Scorpion did moderns, but I’ve got a few of their excellent Tombstone range. I currently use 20mm mainly from Liberation Miniatures and diecast vehicles from Dragon, etc. Some of us also have 12mm / 144 scale for Cold War Commander games. Trying hard not to get tempted by 28mm…

      • There are not too many modern vehicles for the 28mm scale, so maybe Liberation Miniatures and Dragon are the way to go?

  1. I really like what you’ve done here. My game group has been talking about doing 15mm bolt action modern for a little while now.

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