I should begin by saying that Bolt Action has taken my free time by storm. Whether it’s during afternoon nap or after everyone has gone to bed for the night, I am finding myself scouring the Bolt Action books, online forums and other resources, all in the name of getting ready for this game.
But the first big question on my mind right now is…15mm or 28mm? And really this is the decision I have to make before buying anything more for the game, other than the Order Dice.
My initial draw was towards 28mm, as that is the scale I am most accustomed to. There are plenty of options in terms of manufacturers, including the game’s own producers Warlord (I will cover other options once I have decided on a scale). It is definitely a pretty scale, with models having enough detail that stands out. 28mm is also the intended scale for this game, as it is an infantry-focused skirmish game, and not a tanks-en-masse, tonnes-of-infantry division-plus-focused game. For a standard game, which is currently 1000 points, you could have 3-4 infantry squads, a handful of support and heavy weapons units, and a couple of vehicles. That’s a good amount of models on the table, compared to other similar-scaled tabletop games that play on a 6×4 table (I’m looking at you, 40k!), meaning the board won’t look cluttered and crazy, and you can focus on tactics instead of the awesome might of your weapons. And lastly, terrain used here would be compatible with other similar-scaled tabletop games that I play, like Warmachine and Malifaux, if not exactly in theme at least in size and usefulness.
However, 15mm has its own rewards. For the price of one unit of 28mm models, you can get up to 4 times as many of the same unit in 15mm (example, a boxed unit or two of 28mm infantry can get you an entire platoon in 15mm). However, the rub in getting so much more is that you don’t need so much more! Beyond infantry squads, most support and all vehicle units are very limited, so getting 4 mortars in a kit is great, except when you realise you only need one! There are plenty of options for models here as well, like Battlefront and Plastic Soldier Company, etc. (again, will talk about this after I have made my decision). Apparently the game plays well in 15mm, as I have heard from multiple sources. In fact, just minutes away from me is a local game store that is home to the Toronto Historical Miniature Gamers group, who play Bolt Action in 15mm. They are actually playing a game, in 15mm, this Tuesday, and I am going to drop by and check it out if I can. Although I think getting to know these guys might spell my doom, as they seem to play quite a few eras’ worth of historical games that I could see myself wanting to play! Anyway, if going with 15mm I can’t use the same models and terrain for 28mm, but if I were to start playing Flames of War, then life would be great. I don’t want to get into Flames of War, though. Not that I don’t want to play is, as I am getting more and more interested in it, but I don’t want ANOTHER system and collection of models to pick up.
The THMG reminds me of another point in all this decision-making: where to play. If I am going to play at Dueling Grounds (nearby) it looks like I’ll be playing in 15mm. That’s because the guys that play there are using 15mm, and the store has plenty of Flames of War terrain available. If I am going to play at Meeplemart (the usual hangout, although across the city) I will probably be playing in 28mm, as Steve does have a pretty neat terrain board that is WWII-friendly. When I am playing at home 28mm is likely the way to go as the terrain I have/will have to buy is most useful and reusable at that scale.
Another point to throw in is models I already own. In 15mm I have a US infantry company and 3 Shermans, and a German Sturmkompanie and 2 StuGs. The tanks I got in the old FoW beginners box, back when I was thinking about getting into the game. The infantry companies I picked up when I was getting ready to make a 3D version of Combat Commander. Interestingly enough, I bet I could split the company boxes into enough models for both BA and 3D CC. If I were so inclined. For 28mm, I actually have a squad each of US and German infantry which I had bought a few years ago when I was into pulp rules, and one of Rattrap’s .45 Adventures supplements was all about WWII gaming. Side note, how crazy is it that I have so many different sets of un-used models from un-started projects? I hope this sounds familiar.
So I’ve got some decisions to make, and plenty of options to follow up on when making them. But while writing this I believe I may have made a decision already.
Bolt Action: 15mm or 28mm? How about both!?
Hold on, don’t go rolling your eyes and expecting the worst from me! What I mean is, since I already have some 15mm figures and opponents nearby, why not use paint up some of those figures, pick up a few more necessary models, and use them with those guys at Dueling Grounds? At the very least, I can learn the game with them, get to know some new gamers which I am need of, and finally get some use out of these models! As well, I can start looking at 28mm models to supplement (or replace) the ones I have, and have a 28mm version of the game for playing at home and away.
How’s that for compromise?
Still, my preference goes to 28mm. However, if it turns out that I enjoy 15mm, who knows? I won’t buy any 28mm until I’m sure I’m ready for it, anyway. Let’s see what Tuesday brings, and we can start making decisions from there.
Besides…I still have 90% of an Ogre Kingdoms army to work on!
Thanks for reading.