Bolt Action for WW1? That would be sweet…



I want Bolt Action for World War 1! Read on if you agree and let me know your thoughts, maybe we can put some pressure on the gaming companies to make a BIG move!

Last week my buddy Christian gave me a tank to paint for his new project: Flames of War, WW1, a 15mm supplement that allows FOW to take their game back from WW2 to the Great War. There are a modest amount of models available and I got to paint one of them, the British Whippet medium tank, a kind of armoured tractor that was used from 1917 on as an anti-infantry weapon.

The model looks great for such a small kit and it was a lot of fun painting. I finished it in about an hour and started looking up stuff about this vehicle, to learn a bit more about it’s history.  While browsing, I encountered so many interesting images, vehicles and uniforms, I immediately was fantasizing about a Bolt Action 28mm version that plays in 14-18. I think the Great War lends itself uniquely to wargaming, since during that war the strategies were really a mix between old and new styles of warfare. It would allow for some really great modeling options:

Of course there are already plenty of companies that create WW1 kits and recently I worked with Trenchworx, a small US company that creates excellent tanks for wargaming in 28mm. They ran a kickstarter a while back with WW1 vehicles and have done a nice job with them, like this Rolls Royce:

or this St. Chamond:

I recently watched this video of the Perry twins creating 54 mm WW1 models for director Peter Jackson for a massive battle display in New Zealand, check out this great little news item here. You can see that the 54mm models are ready to go, they just have to be shrunk a bit…

So there is a lot of attention  now on this period and it would be nice if larger players like Warlord, Perry Miniatures  (or even Games Workshop!) would really commit themselves to creating a complete WW1 game for 28 mm. Any thoughts? And as always, visit my at Santa Cruz Warhammer Historical.

SC Mike 


Editor’s Addendum  If you want to learn all about WW1, or are a military history fanatic, you MUST listen to one of Apple’s Podcast of the Year winners:

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History ongoing series on World War 1 : Blueprint for Armageddon – it’s AMAZING!

Here’s Episode 1 to get you totally hooked:


  • OldHat

    This would ruin my bank account. I would not be able to resist. By far one of the most interesting wars and to have a company with Warlord’s rep behind it, I would most certainly go all in for it.

    • scwarhammer


  • Damistar

    For the 100th anniversary Tamiya released a motorized 1/35th scale Mk IV heavy. 1st non wargame model I’ve built in about 20 years and it was a total blast. Also letting it run over obstacles at realistic scale speeds is fun too.

    • scwarhammer

      i saw that model in my finescale modeler – they did a great review on it.

      • Damistar

        I can personally say that the kit is well designed. All the parts fit well and the motorization is exceptionally well done. Almost makes me want to try and adapt it to a Leman Russ…

  • Pppppppp

    “So there is a lot of attention now on this period and it would be nice
    if larger players like Warlord, Perry Miniatures (or even Games
    Workshop!) would really commit themselves to creating a complete WW1
    game for 28 mm.”

    GW did produce a WWI game. The first book covered 1914 and 1918, with multiple army lists for Britain, France and Germany. They produced a second book covering the 1915-17 period, again focusing on those powers. Then they killed it. There are some well-regarded rulesets out there. The Too Fat Lardies have produced Through the Mud and the Blood, which covers small tactics, one model representing one man, and at the other end of the scale there’s a modification for Arty Conliffe’s Spearhead rules, which cover actions involving multiple divisions. I’d have more to say on how they played if I could find anyone near me who fancied a game!

    • OldHat

      I would like to see a total game though – not just a rulebook from one company and models from whoever. I like structure. If Warlord did it, modifying their very successful Bolt Action rules, I think it would be a big hit!

    • Haemonculus

      I own the GW WWI books – excellent rules.

  • 6Cobra

    Now would be the time to do it. We’re already within the centennial(s)..

  • Urban Bungledorph

    Thank you for plugging Harcore History. It’s the greatest.

  • jasonsation

    I remember Games Workshop working on a WWI Historical game many years back, but then their whole Historical section got canceled. 🙁

  • Damistar

    I’m not sure how well the Great War for Humanity and Freedom would adapt to a squad level game. I mean Overwatch would be sheer Hell.

    • Haighus

      It was the introduction of squad level tactics that was one of the major factors in reducing casualties in WW1 though- the British section based tactics used overwatch and covering fire tactics to move through no-mans land against enemy fire. Very tactical squad level manoeuvres and a strong suppression mechanic would be vital to make it seem like WW1 from about 1916 onward.

  • Michael Austin

    You do realize this From Warlord and Osprey’s 2015 release schedule.

    “The title of this next project speaks for itself, and more information will be revealed in due course.

    Bolt Action: World War I (September 2015)”

  • Michael Austin

    This is pretty much the start of their commitment.

    • scwarhammer

      I can only hope so. But we know from the snails pace of GW when it comes to NEW armies and it would take an enormous investment to come up with 5-8 armies, rulebooks etc. It might take years for fullfill it and yes, maybe 2018 will be the year

      • Snord

        You mean Warlord, not GW. I know GW are responsible for everything that’s wrong with the hobby and the world generally, but this is a stretch.

  • Kai Klomann

    talked with my Boltaction Buddy about that and well we got figured out who would play wich army in second and where planing a new gaming table moments later 🙂 so count me in Warlord Games

  • benn grimm

    I’m honestly not just having a pop for the sake of it, but I really can’t think of a worse era for a war-game; ‘oh look you machine gunned down 20, 000 of my guys and I did nothing to you…’ or ‘ oh look my magnificent collection of cool looking tanks…have all broken down in my deployment zone…’

    • scwarhammer

      well part of the joy of Bolt Action is the fact that the rule set is fairly simple and thus players then to focus less on effectiveness of units and more on the cinematic feel of the game, which includes building and painting all these interesting units and learning about them. I really feel the satisfaction of seeing it on the table, move some stuff around and generally have a stresless time, is the goal, at least that is MY humble opinion

      • benn grimm

        Bolt Action I get, its a great game, great mechanics, it’s Bolt Action does WW1 that I can’t see the fun in. I just can’t see how the Great War lends itself to a fun game in any way; I could be wrong, I just don’t see it atm.

        • Snord

          I’m kind of in the same camp. It’s an odd position to take for someone like me who likes wargaming the WW2 era, because war doesn’t get much more horrific than (say) the Eastern Front. And the ever-popular Normandy campaign has frequently been likened to a WW1-style slogging match. But I can’t really get excited about re-enacting the massive artillery bombardments, frontal assaults and mass slaughter that characterised WWI. Even the prospect of fielding those archaic tanks doesn’t really do it for me.

        • Haighus

          I feel like this is the modern perspective on WW1 though, that it was all just machine guns and death. Everyone remembers the first day of the Somme, where the British used platoons more than sections as tactical units, and the field command was still highly subservient to high command, a hold over from earlier battles with lined up troops, but not suited to the newer, faster changing battle developing in WW1. Planes as artillery spotters had to fly over the artillery park and drop a brick with the message wrapped round it to communicate. Everything was very slow in the earlier war.

          But most people forget that the battle was still ongoing several months later, and by that point the British army was using creeping barrages, anti-barrage fire and fire against strong points coordinated by spotter aircraft with morse-code radios, a significantly greater lee-way given to field commanders to make tactical decisions as the battle conditions shifted and section based platoon tactics, with an additional section added to each platoon to counter German tactics developed to hit British troops in the rear after they had captured a trench and carried on advancing.

          People often say that WW1 was all just the same, but actually both sides were rapidly changing their tactics to adapt to the trench warfare, and developed sophisticated ways of suppressing the enemy firepower.

          • benn grimm

            I think based on the accounts of the men who fought in WW1 I think its fair to say overall the war wasn’t a dynamic war, it was one of grinding attrition and massive loss of life for very little gain, regardless of evolving tactics or technology.

          • Haighus

            I would agree it was certainly a massive stalemate for most fronts for the majority of the war, but I would disagree on the war not being dynamic. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t truly horrific, and the soldiers accounts show that, but the battles moved pretty quickly from massacres to more mobile, shifting battles with thrusts and counter-attacks and intelligence playing a significant role.

  • daggermaw

    if you gave me a weird world war 1 I’d definitely be down.

  • C0RAX

    try playing flames of war WW1 “Great War” and 15mm fits the scale of world wars better

  • RexScarlet

    would be sweet, until the USMC shows up with their Springfield and start picking the Germans off from the years old stagnant French positions…
    other than that, WWI was a snooze-fest… and did not the Germans only build like only seven tanks the entire war……………………….