Friday, June 17, 2016

Bolt Action Modern Rules & Army Lists - Version 2.1

I've finally finished all the army lists I set out to do.  I also did a bunch of clean up of typos (lots of typos ... sorry, much better now) and I've added units to almost every army list.  This also required updating and adding some special rules on the main rules QRS - so both files have been updated to version 2.1.

You can download the version 2.1 Bolt Action Modern play sheet here (updated to v3.1).

You can download the version 2.1 Bolt Action Modern army lists here (updated to v3.1).

The army lists now cover:

  • USMC
  • US Army
  • Russian Army
  • British Army
  • Australian Army
  • Iraqi Army & Insurgents
  • Canadian Army
  • Chinese PLA
  • French Army (including FFL)
  • German Army

Hopefully that covers that majority of the bases and gets even more people playing :-)


  1. Awesome! Made my weekend.
    Thanks jay.

  2. Thank you! Will hopefully give it a try as soon as BF come out with the Bundeswehr next month.

    1. Have you seen these ones from Eureka?

  3. Jay, what system would you recommend using for points for army lists?

    1. Hello there ... points are a bit of a nightmare for Bolt Action (even WW2). From playing enough I can balance forces in my head ... I'm going to write up a short set of "guidelines" for balancing forces. I wanted to get the army lists out and complete, along with the v2.0 rules updates before I did that though ... that that is done I can get to the guidelines.

    2. I agree with you Jay.
      A guide would be good as people are also asking me for some sort of points guide when I show them your rules. They need to get out of the points mentality.
      Never thought the points balance out right in BA anyway.

  4. Where did you get the information about the modern russian squad?

    1. It wasn't easy to come by and there is a lot of confusing information out there. I'm on several defense boards trolling for information. I'm also ex-military and still have my contacts there.

    2. As a Russian, i've got a "little bit" strange feeling reading Russian army list:
      1st (and main) - WTF you wrote this "DASVIDANIYA"? I'm not speaking about the rule itself, but about naming. It is misspelled "farewell", which i haven't heard for years already (it was kinda of "forced mem" some time ago) and have no connection to combat spirit or even Army itself.
      2nd - infantry squad composition. What you wrote is really "one of possibilities", but doesn't comply with our Field Manual (Boyevoy Ustav in Russian). For example, in Chechnya the use of RPG-7s really varied (some had lots, some had almost no at all) despite Field Manuals of both Soviet and Russian army states that every infantry squad should include both LMG and RPG-7 operators in normal conditions.
      3rd - the vehicles.
      3/1 T-90 has "soft top"? Really? Because RPGs (designated AT weapons) can penetrate it just like side armor of Abrams (which is designated as being better than face of T-90 (11+ vs 10+), yeah sure)? So that's why T-90 ate TOW II without much damage and Saudi M1A2 got exploding ammo from side hit of obsolete ATGMs (videos on YouTube are good proof)?
      3/2 BMP-1 having autocannon? no its not, it has weapon closer to RPG-7 in terms of combat effectivenes and effective range.
      There are some more arguable things however.
      The information about any army is confusing, however "who seeks - will find".

    3. Easy there tiger. It's only a game. Things differ in real life.
      Jays doing a fantastic job at putting a balanced system together.

    4. Hey guys. First, thanks Spyros --- you are too kind! In terms of the other person, apologies as I don't know Russian so I don't know your name, other than Станислав Бударин. As with anything, I'd say all the army lists are a work in progress, and as Bolt Action is far from a simulation, much abstraction is necessary. That being said, specifically to your points:

      For "DASVIDANIYA" --- I'm more than happy to correct the spelling if you have a suggestion. To take that one step further, my military experience is all with NATO, and I tried to find a proper "moto/slogan" for the Russian army but alas the internet didn't provide much in the way of information on that front (at least, anything that looked good to me). Again, given your background I'd be more than happy to change the rule to something more appropriate if you have a suggestion?

      For infantry composition. Two key points here. You actually touch on one of them, which is that there is little consistency with the "actual" TO&E's for the Russians. Again, open to suggestions here. The second part is that I wanted to Russians to be differently organized than the NATO forces. The organization I've used I have on good authority is one of the many possibilities - and I like it because it still gives the Russian infantry section lots of firepower and makes it different from the NATO infantry squads/sections.

      The soft top rule really goes to the fundamental choices of tank design. Russian tanks are designed to hit hard and be easily produced - and to have a low profile. It is not secret that crew survivability is not a main design aspect of Russian armoured vehicles. E.g. - storing the ammo in the turret ring.

      In our games the M1 Abrams have many times been incapacitated by RPGs (need to play more European games, but at least for the Iraqi games we've played). It is certainly not unstoppable by any stretch. For force design I actually would pit 2 Russian tanks against 1 NATO tank (that actually gives the Russians the edge, since they are more than capable of penetrating the NATO tanks at long ranges) ... but it also lets me use lots of Russian armour.

      Well, there you have it for what it is worth. The games I've been playing have been really fun. I'm also nowhere near perfect, and as a result always open to suggestions. My only ask is that if you do want to point out issues, you have a solution or suggestion to go along with them.

    5. Got your point. BTW my name is Stanislav (yeah, its Polish :D )

      About ammo in turret ring - it is one of major flaws of T-80, however T-90 has entirely different loading mechanism (ammo is stored in lower part of the hull, which is way better) - like here

      I have no issue with Abrams having better frontal armor (i'm more that sure it IS really better), but not so sure about side armor.

      About infantry unit composition - IMO you should move the guys with GLs to maneuver team then, this would help keep both teams better balanced AND it is also more realistic (as many Senior riflemen/Section leaders actually carry AKs with GLs).

      About motto - our Airborne have their "Nobody except us!" widely known and used motto (like Semper Fidelis for US Marines), however Ground troops has no at all, so i can't really help with them right now.
      Also (advertisement second, hehe) you can watch my own try to make modern rules on Warlord Games's forum -
      Maybe you will find some useful ideas there.

    6. Hello Stanislav - nice to virtually meet you. Thanks for the feedback by the way. I added in Russian Airborne, so I'm going to update their army rule with "Nobody except us!"

      I'll remove the soft top from the T90. Front armour is great for the M1 ... the current issue they are trying to solve, and a big reason for the losses in Iraq, are related to the RPGs rupturing fuel lines from rear strikes near the engine compartment. I'll check out your post and see if I can "borrow" any ideas ;-) lol Thanks!

    7. You mean the rear part of side armor near engine compartment or the hits in read armor (engine grille to be correct)?
      I never heard about such hits so i'm kinda surprised. Didn't the whole TUSK thing was meant to resolve such things (i mean, they even added side ERA which was almost exlusively Soviet thing until recent times :D )

    8. Yeah, I don'the have all the details ... and I think in all the cases the tank was hit my multiple RPGs at point blank range. The slat armour makes a big difference.

  5. Hi Jay,

    Quick one.

    There many changes in BA version 2. Will you be updating your rules to align with the new version?

    There are a number of changes I can see that would impact on your modern rules though they all look fairly straightforward eg increased LMG firepower, the role of leaders, HE templates, etc.

    Changes in V2 as follows;

    Rulebook Errata and FAQ added in...but there is minor errant already...annoying!!

    • Broken down scenarios into six balanced/neutral ones and six attacker/defender ones. – double the amount of scenarios!
    • Rulebook GYB army lists cut down, also added Japanese list.
    • Rationalized charging across terrain/obstacles
    • Limited LOS through Dense Terrain (woods, areas of rubble, including smoke fired by mortars/howitzers)
    • Vehicles and pinning as per current errata
    • Air strikes toned down.
    • Flak improved.
    • Air strikes and artillery barrages and bombardments use HE templates.
    • Full-strength infantry units can re-roll Order tests.
    • Retaining a Down order at end of turn loses D3 pins.
    • Also snake eyes is both auto success and lose an extra D6 pins.
    • Rally ignoring pin markers.
    • Toned down gun shields and extra protection from buildings (+1 to dmg value of troops)
    • Heavy and super heavy AT guns get better HE
    • Down gives –2 to be hit
    • Long range armour piercing modifier does not apply to HE, shaped charges, flamethrowers, air strikes…
    • Added Geneva convention rule to medics
    • HE works on area (templates!)
    • MMG and LMG have one extra shot
    • Units do not lose pin markers when engaged in assault (and pin markers have no effect on combat anyway, as you don’t roll to hit!).
    • Cavalry are simply tough fighters while mounted.
    • Shaped charges have lost the negative modifier to hit
    • Tough fighters / assault bonus toned down to “roll one extra die per casualty”
    • Flamethrowers roll to hit
    • Assault rifles down to 18” range
    • Transport vehicles can fire one weapon.
    • Recce toned down and rationalized in line with normal rules.
    • Added potential damage result for vehicles with turret – turret may jam
    • Artillery units measure range from/to breech for everything
    • Vehicles measure range from/to hull for everything (including guns).
    • Made HE more effective vs Buildings
    • Snipers tweaked (fewer to hit modifiers apply, but have minimum range)
    • Firing pintle-mount weapons makes vehicle open-topped for the rest of the turn.
    • Fixed weapons and artillery work the same: Fire only in front arc, Advance allows to rotate and fire (of course with –1 to hit)! Run is still slower for artillery only.
    • Officers can activate units around them when they activate (very dynamic fun).
    • Made Ambush better by removing some limits on it – basically all kind of movement can be targeted and targets cannot react to ambush fire.
    • Snipers/observers etc cannot infiltrate with their vehicles any longer.


    Happy Wanderer

    1. Hey -- yes, I need to put some work into the updates based on BA2.0 ... thank you for the summarized list ... that will make it much easier! With the holidays coming up I'm hoping to know out an update.

  6. G'day Jay.

    I was going to ask you the same.

    1. Yes sir ... with the holidays coming up I'll be working through the updates.

    2. It's just time ... right? ;-)

  7. Replies
    1. Hope. Points are very difficult to do properly. They are broken even in BA WW2 ... but I also know it is hard to figure out what to put together ... I may try to do this yet ... either that or I'll put together a force/scenario guide with rough guidelines on force construction.

    2. I agree with you Jay.
      People get to bogged down on the points.
      Pick a scenario you want to play and workout a balance of what you feel you need.

    3. Yes, although some guidance would be good ... just too much on my plate ... and I don't get paid for this stuff .. lol!

  8. Just ordered BA 2nd ED. I haven't tried FORCE ON FORCE rules yet.

    1. Force on Force is an ok set of rules. You'll get buried in special rules quickly.

  9. Thanks, Jay! Much appreciated.

  10. Jay, Just printed a copy can't wait to give it a try thanks for the hard work. John

  11. Hey Jay!
    Thanks for the supplement!
    Any point values for us?