Bolt Action: Korea — Warlord’s most ambitious supplement yet?

It’s no secret that Bolt Action is one of my favorite wargaming rulesets. Though it may not be as historically accurate as many other WWII wargames, its mechanics are highly enjoyable and it is easily accessible to new gamers. In the past, I have bought supplement books for Bolt Action, including several army and theater books. I also have bought supplements for other Warlord games (such as Black Powder). When the Bolt Action: Korea supplement was announced, I knew that I would buy it eventually. Unfortunately, at the time I did not have any armies suitable for the Korean War. However, recently I found some Bolt Action miniatures on sale and decided to start a US army. As I was submitting my order, I couldn’t resist adding the Korea supplement to my shopping cart. It ended up being a good decision.

When I first held the Bolt Action: Korea book in my hands, I was shocked at how thick and heavy it was. At almost 240 pages, it is without a doubt the largest supplement book in my collection. It’s larger than many wargames rulebooks that I own. Judging by the size of the book, it’s hard to argue that you aren’t getting your moneys worth. Of course, the heft of the book doesn’t mean anything if the content isn’t worth it. Luckily, the content seems pretty damn good as well.

The first part of the book is dedicated to the historical background of the Korean War. My grandfather actually served in the US army in Korea, though he rarely talked about it with us. To be honest, I really don’t know much about the war, and so I’m happy to read more about it. For those who are not as interested in learning the history (or know it all already), you’ll be glad to hear that this section is relatively short (only about ten pages).

The middle of the book contains 17 different historical scenarios that players can re-enact on the table top. Though I usually do not care much for these kind of scenarios (we usually play pick-up games with generic objectives), I think the ones included here are fantastic. Though some of them have strict army composition and placement rules, most of them are much more flexible. I was surprised that some of them do not even mention suggested army lists, they just tell the players to use a certain number of army points. Even the more strict missions usually do not require a large amount of models to play. My only concern about these scenarios is that some of them require specific terrain which might not be available at our gaming club. Still, overall I’m very impressed!

The largest section of the book is dedicated to Korean War army lists. There are lists for Korean forces (north and south), UN forces (US, England, and others), and China. To be honest, I’m not sure why the full US and British forces needed to be printed in this book, since they are almost identical to the ones in their own army supplements. Still, they do have additional unit options (such as taking Korean soldiers in US squads) included here. The Korean and Chinese forces seem like variations on the Soviets, mainly relying heavily on cheap conscript troops.

Also, the Chinese can field Mongolian cavalry, How cool is that! I have no idea if these actually fought in any major battles, but I really want some.

The book includes several theater selectors for those who are interested in some extra historical authenticity. We never use these for regular Bolt Action and probably won’t use them for this either.

The last section of the book introduces some optional special rules to the game. Most notably, there is now an air support table for jets! There are also rules for weather, night fighting, amphibious assaults, and city fighting. Though I’m not sure how often we will use these rules, I’m still happy that they were included.

If it’s not clear already, I’m very impressed with this supplement. It has pretty much everything I could have wanted, including plenty of new armies, new rules, and new scenarios. If you consider that this supplement is priced the same as the other Bolt Action supplements but contains twice as much content as them, its a great value. However, the official Warlord models for the new armies are not available in plastic and are a tad bit expensive. However, if you are interested in the Korean war and are willing to start a new army (or if you already have a US or British army and can find a friend who has money to burn), then you should definitely pick up a copy of this book. Highly recommended.

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