Tank War supplement for Bolt Action gives players the option to expand their games to a whole new level – armoured warfare.
Recreate such great engagements as the battle of Kursk with the scenarios, army options and special rules found in this book. Whether you want to add more armour to your existing armies or build an entirely armoured force, Tank War has you covered.
The concept here is that normal Bolt Action games are about infantry platoons fighting with a few vehicles in support, while the new Armoured Platoon selector allows you to build a force made of vehicles, possibly, but not necessarily, supported by infantry and artillery. And importantly, these accompanying units of infantry and artillery need to have a transport vehicle or tow in order to keep up with the rest of the formation. This represents a mechanized unit (from platoon level upwards) and makes for a very different force indeed. Smaller, ad-hoc armoured platoons can be made by simply sticking together the different vehicles in your collection. And if you want something more historical and tidy (not to mention formidable!), there are rules for larger forces, with a higher points value, which tend to lead you towards forming platoons of the same type of AFV – like three Sherman tanks, or three Panzer IVs. These ‘homogenous’ platoons have advantages in command and control (through radios, mostly), but of course, are more expensive in the game as a result.
Armoured Platoons follow all the normal rules of Bolt Action. This means that you can indeed field an armoured platoon against a normal reinforced platoon – and the points values will take care of balance. Of course, in friendly games you might want to forewarn your opponent that you might be taking an armoured platoon against his reinforced platoon, that way he will probably reinforce his force’s anti-tank capability.
Tank Battle Scenario
This section simply presents some examples of armoured platoons and then gives you an entire scenario that is written for battles between armoured platoons. The main difference between this and the scenarios in the Bolt Action rulebook is that objectives can be captured by any unit, as opposed to the rulebook’s scenarios where only infantry and artillery units count – i.e. literally “boots on the ground”.
By allowing any unit to capture objectives, you can have a battle featuring exclusively tanks if you so wish, or a more realistic mixed formation with tanks to spearhead the attack and lorried infantry and anti-tank guns to hold the objectives as the tanks move on…
Vehicle Crew Experience
Basically the premise is that all vehicles start as Inexperienced and with no special skills. Then, by surviving battle after battle, and by destroying enemy units, your crew gain experience points. These points are then spent to buy skills – little once-a-game advantages – that are divided into Commander skills, Driver skills and Gunner skills.
This section lists tank aces from many of the belligerents, but as you might expect the percentage tends to be skewed in favour of Germany’s ‘big cats’ commanders – enter, among others, Kurt Knispel, Otto Carius, Creighton Abrams, George ‘Killer’ Dring, Dmitry Lavinenko.
Great Tank Battles of WWII
By far the most ‘historical’, this section describes eight engagements where armoured vehicles played an important part, from the most famous ones like the battle of Kursk to the less well-known like the battle of Khalkin Gol in Manchuria, featuring the tankettes of the Imperial Japanese Army against early Soviet light tanks and heavy armoured cars!
Each battle includes both a historical introduction and a Bolt Action scenario that will allow you to recreate a small, but representative part of the battle in question. Not all of these scenarios are balanced, even affairs, and in some cases, the selectors that are used to form up each of the forces in the battle and/or the special rules or victory conditions of the scenario, certainly advantage one side.
Appendix 1: Additional Command Vehicles
They are perfect to lead some of the higher-level armoured units that can be included in your forces as Armoured Platoons.
Appendix 2: Armoured Recovery Vehicles
Retrieving the smouldering wreck of a tank whilst being fired upon may seem a little bonkers, but if the tank in question is a super-secret prototype that needs to be either saved from enemy capture or indeed brought back at all costs for further study, then the future of the war may depend on it!
Appendix 3: Tanker’s Guide
OK, this appendix might not be entirely sane, nor very PC, but it is undoubtedly hilarious! First, you have the ‘Talk like a Tanker’ section, that teaches you WWII slang used by soldiers in general and tank crews in particular.
‘Ack Dum, there’s a Full Bird of the Batta Stoppelhopser coming this way in his Grob!’
The second part ‘Tank Recognition’ shows the black silhouettes of many different tanks, from all combatants, and then at the bottom of the page, identifies the tank. How many can you recognise? Put yourself in the place of a young tank commander spying through his binoculars or vision slit at a tank emerging unexpectedly from a nearby wood in the uncertain light of the setting sun. Friend or foe? Do you greet them or order to open fire?
Appendix 4: Tank Ace!
Tank Ace is a perfect ‘Beer & Pretzel’ game for an evening bash or the night in the middle of a two-day event. Imagine taking control of a single vehicle – normally the biggest, baddest tank you can lay hands on… – and then form a Blue team and a Red team. Once the teams are chosen, roll your tank forward and try to stay alive!
Number of pages: 96
Author: Warlord Games
Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Note: You will need the Bolt Action rulebook to use the Tank War supplement.