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Bolt Action VS Battlegroup

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  commanderkaiser 2 years, 2 months ago.

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    With the new year incoming I’ve decided on starting and finishing a few WW2 projects. I mainly played Bolt Action in the past but have picked up the rules for Battlegroup.

    What in your opinions are the biggest differences between the two? Battlegroup to me seems more tactical but that might just be my initial impression. Also what scale do you guys play in. I’d be looking at playing Battlegroup in 28mm, reckon I’d run into any issues?



    Lots of people use 28mm For Battlegroup… the ranges are longer than BA so won’t be any issue. But ive never played BA so cant.comment on it much other than to say they are kinda different as they aim at different spectrums of war in both size and style of game.

    As for differences it’s aimed at a different scale of engagement to BA and as such features more combined arms warfare, historical structured forces and scenarios. It also doesn’t let you know how well or badly off the enemy is. Some have described BA as ‘Inglorious Bastards’ while Battlegroup is the Band of Brothers TV series…


    Cult of Games Member

    I play both and love them both equally. Bolt action is a more beer and pretzels game (IMO) and is very quick to pick up and the rules are quick and simple.

    Battlegroup is more of a simulation of actual combat and i always feel is very cinematic. You have to spot units to shoot at them and force morale (Battle rating) plays a big part in the battle.

    A good example of how each play is perhaps the use of a bazooka team. In BA you would be lucky to get anywhere near a tank to use the weapon as you’d be gunned down before getting in range (on foot anyway. In BG, because you have to spot units to shoot them, and small teams are hard to see, your bazooka team could creep up on a tank fairly easily (so you would need to make sure you had infantry with the tank flushing out these AT teams).

    This leads to a more combined arms in BG whereas BA tends to be very infantry focused.

    I usually play in 28mm as i already have the models for BA but most people play 20mm or even 15mm. Saying that though I think you lose something playing BG at 28mm as you cant get beyong a platoon sized game due to the scale and manouvering with vehicles is really limited. We sometimes play in 15mm and it adds so much more to the game.

    In short both games are great and like @piers said its ingloriuos vs Band of brothers. Bear in mind though you wont get the full BG experience at 28mm (unless you play on a huge table).

    Hope that lot of rambling helps.



    I have played Battlegroup in 28mm at the squad and platoon level on a 6 x 4 table and it works ok. Yes if you want to play bigger engagements on the same table then you will need to play it in 20mm or smaller, or play on a bigger table.

    I still play Rapid Fire as I like the feel of that game, but I really like Battlegroup for enhancing that experience, as for Bolt Action. Well, it’s an ok 40k ish style of game, but at that level I much prefer Chain of Command but I will play anything.

    The only thing I don’t like about Battlegroup is the way it handles smoke, it does through the spotting mechanic and not through you firing smoke with your mortars as was one of the major tactics used from WW2 onwards. But that’s just my opinion as I would like to be given the choice. Other than that Battlegroup is very good and the campaign books are excellent.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by  chaingun.


    My preference is Battlegroup but there is nothing saying you can’t play both.


    Cult of Games Member

    My preference is Battlegroup, as I’m sure most people on the site know by now. However, I feel Bolt Action works very well as an infantry game, I would just ditch the rules about keeping infantry figures within 1″ of each other (flies in the face of all infantry dispersion and formation tactics)

    Myself and @piers collaborated on a Battlegroup series a while back, I did the writing and Piers let me use his great photos.

    Battlegroup – Introduction and Overview

    Battlegroup – Fire & Movement

    Battlegroup – Battlefield Options

    Battlegroup – Scenarios and Campaigns







    Cult of Games Member

    And then just to branch put you have Chain of Command as well … let not muddy the waters


    Cheers for all the replies guys. Going to end up playing both I think. Well trying to get back into BA for a start. Definitely going to be picking up some theatre books for BG as well though and try and get a few games in soon.


    I’ll definitely be taking a look through your series @oriskany, probably sit down tomorrow with it.


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