Monday, July 29, 2013

Bolt Action Assault on Normandy - Starter Set revew

Hi everyone,

Yesterday, just before we went out for a fantastic day in the sun by the lakes, the postman dropped by with a box of goodies for me. Thanks to the sarge program I'm the proud owner of Assualt on Normandy, the Bolt Action starter set from Warlord Games. Here is a little review/unboxing to give you some idea of what it's like :-)

Here is the starter box still closed up. It's suprisingly small, especially compared to other starter boxes. Here it is next to my spare box of Kabalite warriors. A surprisingly small difference between them.

It's packed with goodies though. You can see from L-R, a hardback rulebook, 20 German soldiers with weapons and bases, a ruined farmhouse, order dice and 20 US soldiers with weapons and bases.

The rulebook is top quality with lots of great photos to draw you in. The core rules seem to be fairly simple but with a good depth to them. I'll give more thoughts on these once I've read through a few more times and had a chance to try out the game. One big bonus point is the army lists in the back (example seen here) where many of the core units and tanks have their stats and points listed. It's fun that the writers have given justification for certain special rules based on historical precedent. For example, they give the Panther tank medium armour of 9 but with 10 from the front to represent the thicker and carefully sloped armour the Germans put there.

Here are the German sprues laid out. You get four body/arm sprues and then three weapon sprues. This is enough to give you lots of weapon choices to mix up your forces.

The Americans are very similar except that their bases are included on the frames. They come with two weapon sprues instead of three but there are still a lot of choices to come from it.

Here is the ruined farmhouse plastic building and the order dice set. The former seems to be a fairly flexible terrain piece to add to your game and can be built in the many ways, the latter are a fun way to determine the order of unit activation and what each unit will do.

You can see from this close up of a German body sprue and my spare box of Dark Eldar warriors that Warlord Games has nice sculpting quality and the plastics are well detailed.

The weapons in particular are extremely fine and make you realise how bulky the Games Workshop heroic scale guns are. Here you can see the MG-42, MG-34 and Stg 44 weapons with a couple of MP-40s at the top. The different weapons may have subtle differences (as in real life) but it's great to see all the different options available. 

Here is a German soldier with an MG-42 machine gun and an American GI with a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) support weapon. The figures seem quite slight at first and the bases are plain but the green stuff and flock will come out soon enough.

Here are two soldiers with submachine guns. At first the weapons seem really small on the figures until you remember that they are pretty realistically scaled.

The bodies from the US set (I've done more of those than the German) are quite hunched over in motion but that makes sense when you remember these represent people engaged in a violent and deadly conflict. Walking upright towards the enemy is a recipe for dying quickly and painfully. 

Here is a soldier scaled against my Archon and a terminator. The camera has blurred slightly at the edge but you can still see how busy GW figures are compared to historical soldiers in standard uniforms. 

Here are two riflemen matched with a Kabalite Warrior. Once you take out the base thickness there isn't much between the figure on the left and the warrior. She is definitely taller but that makes sense for a lithe Kabalite warrior.

So far, I'm really impressed with the Bolt Action Assault on Normandy starter set. The models are good quality, fairly easy to put together (the arms and guns can be a bit fiddly) and having some terrain is a nice tough. I'm VERY impressed with the quality of the rulebook and the contents. More thoughts on the game system and details of the book to come. As a game system, Bolt Actions looks like it has a lot to offer and I'm getting very excited about where to go from here. 

I hope this review helps anyone who's thinking about taking the plunge into World War 2 gaming. 

All the best



  1. We've played a few games (with non-Warlord minis), but found the Americans special rule made them a bit overpowered - other than that the rules are pretty damned good.

    The boxed set looks good value for money - looking forward to see how they paint up!

    Good review sir!

  2. Hi Andy, good to hear from you.

    I'm interested to see how the special rules pan out for each nation. I think that you have to build a force that focuses a bit on what each one offers in order to get the best from it.

    A small game with lots of rifles and BARs gives the US a solid base, but the Germans could bring more machine guns to even it out, the Russians get a full extra squad (great at low points) and the British bring some artillery support. I've not tried any of them in game but I'll let you know how the boxed set forces pan out against each other.

    My thoughts on the book and rules are coming soon :-)

    All the best