Bolt Action Community FAQs

Our answers to common questions from new players.


Should I get the Rulebook first? –  Miserable-Squash5088
Not first, but you should get it.

What about the Armies of Germany book?Miserable-Squash5088
This is a must have for creating your Lists. But until you pick up a copy, check out You can play around with List ideas.


Do I have to use Warlord Games Order Dice? Or can I use something else?
You can use any type of token or marker you’d like. All you need is two sets that are a different color (one set for you and one for your opponent). The markers can be anything as long as they are all the same size and shape (so you can’t tell them apart in the bag).

Ambush, please explain.
The Ambushing Unit can interrupt the Target Units movement at any point. With that in mind, make sure you wait until the enemy is in the open!

Can a Tank/Armored Car fire while during Advance while moving backwards and turn once?zorrodoggo
Yep! An Advance is an Advance. When driving backwards, you just half the distance. Only exceptions are vehicles with the Dual Steering.


M1 Carbines, Garand, Springfield, Gewehr, Kar98k, are these different?GaiusCassius
Nope!  In Bolt Action terms, those are all classified a Rifles and follow the same rules. It’s purely as aesthetic choice on how you want to equip your troops when it comes to these options.

Difference between a Mortar and Howitzer.
This one comes up pretty often. A Mortar is an Infantry unit. A Howitzer, like an Anti-Tank Gun, is an Artillery unit. These two units types, Infantry and Artillery have different rules to be kept in mind. Movement and Exceptional Damage being the biggest differences.

How to differentiate NCOs / Spotters / Loaders / FOAs?
People use different methods. You can paint the base rims different colors, put a symbol on the back of the base, use a base ring, all kinds of methods. For my Partisan force I painted a squad marking (I, II, III) along with a symbol to mark the ones with SMGs, Panzerfausts and NCOs.

I have tons of 1/35, 1/48 and 1/72 scale tanks, can I use them with Bolt Action?
Short answer, yep! Long answer, still yep but you need to keep everything in line with the rest of your force / the people you play against. I 1/48 Tiger I is going to be big, but that’s ok! It’s a huge tank. A 1/72 Puma though, that’s probably going to be too small next to your 1/56 Infantry. Honestly it’s going to vary on a model by model basis.

Can I play Bolt Action with 15mm (1/100) or with 20mm (1/72) figures?
Yep! I’ve never tried it myself but I’ve heard great things about playing in 20mm. For 15mm I hear it get a bit fiddly with the individual infantry. But the point is, the rules are scale agnostic. Use what you want!

I have X Artillery, dose it need a Tow?
Depends! Artillery classed as Light or Medium can be manhandled and moved by the crew. Anything that’s Heavy or Super Heavy cannot be moved by the crew and requires a Tow (they can be rotated on an Advance as normal for Fixed weapons).

Can “Fixed Teams” (MMG, Light Howitzer, etc.) shoot 360°?
They cannot. Any weapon with the Fixed rule can only fire in a 90° forward arc. But, these weapons can rotate on an Advance Order and then fire at a -1 To Hit.

Lets say we have started Turn 2. I get the first Order Die and I give my Forward Air Observer a Fire order. During Turn 2, the Observer is killed. Will the airstrike still occur even if the Observer is dead?zorrodoggo
Yep! If the Observer is removed from play, the strike still comes in (you roll at the beginning of the next Turn to see if it arrives).

Flamethrowers – From the way the book reads, it looks like the flamethrower has d6 shots, and every hit is worth d6 hits? The weapon chart says shots d6, and then under description of the flamethrower it says that every hit is d6 hits, is… is that actually accurate? – waylorn

Nope! Flamethrowers function as follows:

  1. Pick your target.
  2. Measure to see if you are in range.
  3. If not in range, roll to see if the Flamethrower is out of fuel (see Step 9).
  4. If in range, fire a single shot taking into effect the modifiers for Long Range, Moved and/or Point Blank (if applicable). Flamethrowers ignore Cover and Down. Keep in mind, the range of an Infantry Flamethrower is 6″. Thus, you will always be within Point Blank range. But, you may also be at Long Range if firing outside of 3″.
  5. If the shot hits the target, roll a d6 to see the number of hits caused (1-6).
  6. Roll that many dice for damage with a +3 Pen.
  7. If the target survives, apply d3+1 Pins.
  8. The target must take a Morale test – if failed, they break are are removed from the game.
  9. Roll to see if the Flamethrower is out of fuel. On a ‘1’, remove the Flamethrower from the game.

Snipers. What happens when the assistant is killed? Does the Sniper retain it’s abilities? martin
If a Sniper Team takes a casualty, the remaining model needs to take a Morale Test to stay on the table (for taking 50% casualties). If the test is passed, the Sniper can still operate as a Sniper (3+ to Hit, ignores cover, long range, etc. 36″) but will have a -1 To Hit modifier because for firing a Team weapon solo.


HE against an Infantry Unit. What’s the process?
Begin be rolling one die to see if the shot hits. If it does, place the appropriate HE template over the target unit. You must place the template to hit the most models. Then, count the number of models that the HE template is touching. Finally, roll that many dice (one per model) and apply the appropriate Pen modifier to the roll to see how many models are removed.

Can I hit more than one unit with a single HE template?
Yes, it is possible to hit more than one unit with one template. But remember, you must place the template in such a way that as many models as possible are hit in the target unit.


How should I base my models?
However you’d like. Seriously, there are no hard and fast rules for basing. I use Games Workshop style ‘lipped’ bases for my Bolt Action models. Individual infantry on 25mm, two-man teams on 40mm, three-man teams on 60mm and anything bigger on a ‘Flyer’ oval. I even put my vehicles on bases too.

In a squad, should I put the LMG and Loader on the same base?
I wouldn’t, but you can. Just to make gameplay and positioning easier I’d recommend you keep your weapon teams on separate bases.


Veteran Tanks, why?
There are a few reasons to upgrade your armored vehicles to Vet:

1 – Higher Moral is always great. Especially when you need to activate a 200+pt model.
2 – Veteran Tanks (and all Veteran fully enclosed armored vehicles) only take Pins from weapons that can actually cause damage. For example, a Light AT Gun firing at Long Range (Pen +3) cannot deal damage to a Heavy Tank (Armor 10). For that reason, if a Heavy Tank takes a hit from that weapon, it will not take a Pin.
3 – Theme. If you are rocking an all Vet force, well, c’mon.
4 – For US players, the Gyro-stabilized rule is a) fantastic and b) only applies to Vets.

Why can I only take one Tank?
Great question. In a typical game of Bolt Action, both players use the the Standard Reinforced Platoon to construct their forces. This Force Org is meant to represent an Infantry Platoon with limited armor support. If you are looking for more Tanks (and why wouldn’t you?), grab a copy of Tank War. This book was the first supplement published for Bolt Action and provides the rules for Armored/Tank Platoons with up to five Tanks in a single Platoon!

Are empty transports removed at the end of the Turn? toontotalwar
There has been some confusion on this one. The process is:
– At the end of every Turn, check to see what unit is closet to the empty Transport.
– If a friendly unit is closet (and it’s not another empty Transport), you are good. The Transport stays on the table.
– If an enemy unit is closed (and it’s not an empty Transport), your Transport is removed from the table.

In short, if at the end of any Turn, your empty Transport is closer to an enemy than a friendly, it’s removed from the table.


Can I fire AT weapons like Panzerfauts and Bazookas at Infantry?
Yes you can! Although you will only hit one model, there is no HE damage.


How chill are people about using models from different companies for tanks and such?Miserable-Squash5088
Super chill. One of the best parts about Bolt Action is that you can pick and choose models from across the Wide World of World War II Miniatures. Here at Chicago Dice, we have multiple armies that do not contain a single mini from Warlord Games and in our Partisan force, there are minis from almost a dozen different companies.

Can I play X v Y force even if it’s not historically accurate?
Of course! Brits v Americans, Blitzkrieg v Late War, IJA v Germans, Soviets v Soviets – go for it! There is nothing in the rules stopping you from creating any match up you want. The only issue you may find is that an Early War army could struggle against Late War, especially Late War Tanks. But hey, who is not down for a challenge?

Everybody plays Germans / US / UK – what else is there?
It’s true. The most popular forces are those that fought in Northwest Europe during 1944. But don’t let that stop you from getting super obscure and niche. There are too many fascinating parts of the conflict to pass by. Bolt Action has done a fantastic job of providing rules for lesser known forces. The Chindits, Colonial Italian Calvary, The Warsaw Uprising, they all have rules! And that’s just to name a few. There are full national rules for pretty much every nation that took part in WWII. Find something that you find interesting, and make it a Bolt Action force!

I am looking for a specific Unit / Vehicle and Warlord does not have it. What can I do?
Oh my sweet summer child. Warlord Games is just one of many, many companies that produce World War II minis. Take a look at our overview to get started on your journey.

What is the Points Size for a normal game?
Bolt Action was designed with 1,000pts as the benchmark for a ‘normal game’. Most events / tournaments are played at 1,000pts. I find that 1,000pts is enough to provide a fulfilling game and allows players to bring some toys but you also need to make some hard choices – you can’t bring everything you want.

1,250pts is a always a good time and I recommend that for more experienced players that want a longer game. For Tank War I wouldn’t play less than 1,250pts and 1,500 is normally the starting point. For Late War Tank War Games, 2,000pts is well within reason.

On the other end, 450pts is great for ‘combat patrol’ sized games that you can play on a 4’x4′ table. If you make just a couple tweaks to the Force Org (no Tanks over 8+, no HE over 2″, things like that), games at 450pts become incredibly tactical and stratifying.

For players that are first starting out, target 750pts for your first game with 1,000pts as your next step. 750pts lets you bring a ‘full army’ but the game will move at a quicker pace than a full 1,000pts.

Did we miss anything? Have a question we didn’t cover? Let us know in the comments or send an email to Andrew at

4 thoughts on “Bolt Action Community FAQs

  1. bolt action snipers..what happens when the assistant is killed
    does the sniper lose all his benifits,ie 3 to hit, range 36″ as the word team , would suggest , once he passes a morale test. he is ok to carry on..


    1. Hi Marin! Thank you for the question – if a Sniper Team takes a casualty, the remaining man would need to take a Morale Test to stay on the table (for taking 50% casualties). If the test is passed, the Sniper can still operate as a Sniper (3+ to Hit, ignores cover, long range, etc. 36″) but will have a -1 To Hit modifier because the Sniper is firing a Team weapon solo.

      Hope that helps!


  2. “M1 Carbines, Garand, Springfield, Gewehr, Kar98k, are these different?”

    There’s actually one small wrinkle here: Fire and Maneuver explicitly requires a unit have an M1 Garand, M1 Carbine or BAR to benefit. To my knowledge, there is only ONE American unit given a non-applicable Rifle (Sniper Team), but it isn’t explicitly mentioned in their stat block like most other units that don’t benefit from a national special rule.


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