Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been playing games again but this time something different. Otty loves Middle Earth, as is evident from the many games we've played in the Tolkien universe. He also is a massive WWII history buff and so is really into Bolt Action, which he loves as a games system. So, what if you could combine the two? Use the core Bolt Action rules and map various Middle Earth units and troop types to World War 2 equivalents... Well that's exactly what he's done. Once again I've left it far too long between having this amazing game and decided to record it so I have no recollection of what happened. Perhaps it'll come back to me as I go through the pictures.

What I can say, is I absolutely loved it. I've played Bolt Action 4  or 5 times I think, but this was so much fun. I mean the true WWII setting is always cinematic but this just played well and Otty's collection of figures are so cool too.

I love the mechanic of drawing order dice from a bag, randomly determining who gets to activate one [or more] units at a time. It means you have to think about the importance of who activates first and if the unit you're targeting has already moved or can you neutralise it before it gets a chance to.

Ah, some recollection! A flock of Crebain [big crows] took cover in the woods.

If I remember correctly I was really lucky early on. I think I was using the terrain effectively and this forced Otty to push forward quicker than he might have liked. I also pulled my crossbow skirmishers from my right flank to the centre. They weren't going to do anything on that side and it left his forces on my right out of position.

This meant my Troll became a massive thorn in his side. It behave similar to a tank, and causes fear in opponents, which meant every time a unit wanted to do something they had to take a fear test, which he kept failing meaning a lot of his army was impotent with fear.

My pike-orcs advanced toward the Rohirrim. Otty had made it very clear his cavalry would not survive that match up so I pressed on with confidence.

While my troll made mincemeat of the other unit of horse lords.

The Crebain had been quite good with their missile attacks [representing them diving in and pecking] - too good in fact I think Otty got the rules wrong for them [its a work in progress] and they were hitting better than they should. But, however good they were they didn't survive being charged.

In the centre of the board my forces scouting through the trees were ambushed from behind by a massed cavalry charge of reinforcements. That tipped the balance in Otty's favour and suddenly my good start was beginning to crumble.

My units in the centre were wiped out.

Rohirrim fell back to protect their artillery pieces but I got my pikes into their flanks, wiping them out.

I was bringing up my skirmishers and my Orc command unit.

This was my last body of troops left to help recover this win, luckily the Troll was still terrorising troops around it.

But Otty was hoping to attack me from behind again.

What was left in the middle continued to fight the Rohirrim

But the cavalry switched focus and charged my Ballista.

Wiping them out, which I think tipped the game in his favour. We played quite late but it was a really fun game. Considering how limited my experience of Bolt Action is and this is a 'skinned' ruleset I was absolutely stunned how quick I grasped how to play. With just a few additional rules, the ability for a commander to issue orders that allow you to draw 2 or 3 order dice [depending on their seniority] and activate a unit for each dice within 6"-12". It means if you get that chance you can suddenly take control of the game and if one commander activates another commander who draws additional dice that daisy chain has huge impact. But lets just dissect this for a moment - this game sees activating a unit ahead of your opponent as a significant advantage. Yet 40k, you activate all your units in your turn and then it's your opponents go. Maybe this is why I enjoyed it so much. Each game turn is interactive for both players, no spectating, just action and reaction. 

Regardless of the why's and wherefores I absolutely loved it. Once again it makes me worry that 40k 10th edition will not be able to compete with these games. Also, turning up to someone's house where the figures a re already there, no unboxing or packing away at the end. It cannot be dismissed just how convenient and easy that makes gaming. Whereas when 10th hits I'll be going with bags of figures and having to unpack and pack them which is a right faff!

Just some shots of the pre-game array of the armies about to face each other.