Turning over a new leaf: Toxic Masculinity Tuesday
Through the eyes of a child

Playing a new game: Bolt Action by Warlord Games

I recently purchase a copy of the Bolt Action World War II miniatures rules.  This is published by Warlord Games, which is affiliated with Osprey, one of my favorite publishing houses.

The story behind Bolt Action is kind of interesting.  The game designers started their careers working for Games Workshop, and were involved in the design of Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battles and other stuff.  For many years they were quite happy with their gig, in part because they had a good amount of creative freedom and the company was growing by leaps and bounds.  From the 80s to through the 90s, there was continuous improvement in both the quality of design and physical appearance of their products.  I am not alone in considering it the Golden Age at GW.

However, by the late 1990s, the management had become more profit-oriented, and this resulted in friction between the designers, who wanted the best possible game design, and the management, that was more concerned with sales than the quality of the rules.

Since the bulk of GW's money came from miniatures sales, it was no longer enough to simply build a good wargaming system and  marketing it, the system itself became a vehicle to boost miniatures sales.  In practical terms, this meant that the rules of their games were altered to make players need to buy more figures either by increasing the scope of the game (requiring more models to play) or changing the rules for various units, requiring new models to remain "current."

As one might expect among creative types, they eventually got tired of this and left, staring various alternative companies.

Warlord Games is one of those successor companies, and the design of Bolt Action is essentially the final form of the earlier 40k system.  It therefore is familiar to me, intuitive, but much simplified and streamlined since it got more playtesting and the designers were freed from the constraints of managers pushing new editions every 3-5 years.

This places me in the unique position of having never played a game, but having a good idea how the game will play because it is so similar. 

The timing for this seems to be just right, as I am taking some time off over Christmas. 

There's something fun and exciting about starting a new game system, and that's definitely in play, even though I've seen much of it before.  I actually have a fair amount of figures already painted up due to my decision many years ago to use historical models for my 40k armies whenever possible.

At the same time, there is also scope for additional collecting (I'm looking at building a Soviet force to fight my existing Germans), which is always enjoyable.


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