Bolt Action: Stalingrad Campaign Book Review, by Warlord Games

Bolt Action: Stalingrad Campaign Book Review by Warlord Games. One of newest campaign books that have recently hit our bookshelves and what a ride it is! From front to back, we’re gifted with loads of new content all based around the street fighting, hardened warfare of the epic world war two battles in and around Stalingrad.

First impressions and we get the same great quality full colour soft-back book that we always get from Warlord Games / Osprey Publishing. Looks great, feels good quality and reading the back cover makes me super pumped to dive back into the world of Bolt Action. Couple this with a lovely brand new sculpt of Vasily Zaitsev himself and this addition to any Soviet Union player or collector is a welcomed one.

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Taking a little closer look at the miniature and we have a really nice sculpted pewter metal miniature. This model comes through with the book when purchasing through Warlord Games. For me, having only every collected Soviet Union and running a Stalingrad themed list, I just had to own this model. I really like the pose, although it isn’t the most dynamic of poses, it shows of the overall detail really well and brings a nice sniper model alternative to any Soviet Union army.

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With the model out the way, we can now delve straight into the new Stalingrad Campaign book. Inside we find a two page list of contents giving you the first seen run-down of exactly what is packed into this supplement. Spanning over the course of the battles leading up to and after the main battle for Stalingrad, we’re given plenty of content to support your ideas and playing styles. Of course, inside is very much what you would expect. History, new options, new units, new theatre selections and special rules to suit the narrative playing style inside the book. As well as this, we’re also given a Stalingrad campaign system where you can play out from start to finished the scenarios inside.

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This campaign book takes you step by step, replicating the battles of Stalingrad in the order it was fought. Due to the wealth of content in this book, breaking it up initially seems a little confusing when you first read, but on reflection and having time to re-read etc, this is actually a rather welcomed layout by the creators. By being able to jump straight to page / area of the book I need, is super helpful when trying to find that specific piece of information. Scenarios at the front, then the theatre sections, then special rules and campaign rules after that.

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The further we go through the book, the more detailed everything becomes.
Representing each stage of the path and all the battles around Stalingrad, we get each battle as they were fought in order. With each full colour illustrated scenario, we also get some battle appropriate history / fluff and miniature accurate images, helping your imagination to come through.

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With every turn of the page, you’ll have an informative and very engaging read to support whichever area of the book you’re reading. One thing I do really like is the use of appropriate images throughout. They help to bring the words on the page to life whilst bringing a bit of a welcomed break allowing you, the reader, to process what you’ve just read giving you sometime to imagine a growing army, for either your Soviet Union defenders of the German invaders of the motherland.

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As I mentioned at the top, I really like how this book is structured. Before each scenario, we’re provided with a little bit of the history surrounding the scenario in question helping to provide the reader with both context and inspiration for your later games to come. Whilst spending sometime reading through this book, I certainly had an idea or two pop into my head about both certain units I wanted to include in my army, but also how I wanted to base my army with something that was suitable and unison across everything. The images went someway to helping with that.

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After we read through and come to the end of scenarios and the new units section, we’re presented with the next section of the book, New Theatre Selections. Before I received this book, this was the part I was most excited for. As Soviet Union army was my go to army previously, when I heard about a new campaign book based around my already current army, I was super excited as this (As I had hoped for) would present other army building options, lists and possibilities to help me replicate and rebuild an army list in the way I want to.

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Gifted with 9 Soviet Union theatre lists and 8 German lists, there is plenty of theme appropriate options, coupled with their special rules which help to guide and build out the army for you. Personally, whenever I think of building a Stalingrad list I immediately think of the scene from ‘Enemy At The Gates‘ in which countless number of foot troops under the watchful eye of their commissar commanders holding the Red Flag charging against the machine gun line of the German attackers.

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In this, there are many options of building lists from heavily numbered and focused troop based armies, all the way to rocking up with a tank platoon where taking T34’s is simply just the right thing to do! To round up, the edition of the new theatre lists presents some fantastic options for both Soviet and German players.

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Moving forward, after the theatre selection area we now move into the special rules and extra rule section that are printed in the book. It feels very much that the rules writers and designers have given this book an extra level thought by including certain specific rules which are designed to help encourage game play and theme army designs.

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In this section we’re able to read up different playing styles both intentional and not. For example, rules for fighting in snow are included, so if you and your opponent are fighting on a snow board and both agree, you have the rules here to suit. As well as that, rules for ‘Digging In‘ are also included. Given the nature of fighting in the blown out streets and factories of Stalingrad, these rules fit perfectly and are a much welcomed site.

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Moving a little further on and we get to ‘City Fighting‘. These rules are designed to reflect the unique urban fighting of close quarter fighting within Stalingrad. To go some ways of trying to replicate this in game turns, we have a unique Fubar chart. This is to represent how hard it was and how disorientating it must have been if caught in a gun fight. We also have a ‘Rubble‘ chart, which is added in to give rules for tracked vehicles when moving of rubble. What I like about these two rules in-particular is the options is presents for when building your own or playing on a really detail play board. I’ve always wanted a dedicated, bombed out and destroyed city gaming area and these rules are perfect for that.

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Here we come to the Stalingrad Campaign. Here we’re presented with new rules around playing scenarios in different ways. Simply decide the amount of scenarios you and your gaming friends want to play and pick a suitable campaign. From playing ‘The Final Onslaught’ which has 2 scenarios of game length, through to the ‘Grand Stalingrad Campaign’ which gives you 15 game scenarios to complete.

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Finally, the designers have also included a new Victory Point Tracker, which allows you keep and add to your growing total of points as you play through your campaign. Accumulating enough VP’s allows players to unlock several bonuses and is also how the Soviet side archives victory as you battle your way through each game.

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In Conclusion:
Bolt Action: Stalingrad Campaign Book Review by Warlord Games, is a brilliant addition to any Soviet Union army player and the Bolt Action game. I was pleasantly surprised when receiving this book as I didn’t think it would be as thick and contain as many pages as it does, but after reading through the contents, I can see why it is as it is absolutely crammed from cover to cover. For me, being a Soviet player, this campaign book presents me with many options for list building whilst providing all the rules I need for more in-depth and playing game styles. If you’re looking to refresh your Bolt Action game play and collection, then look no further!!




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