Category Archives: Bolt Action

Bolt Action – Escalation Campaign Rules

You may have seen a few Bolt Action articles floating around on the site recently. Well Dave and I are now diving in with an escalation campaign for ourselves.

These rules are still in draft format and may well change over the next few days/weeks. This article will be kept live with a log of any changes at the top.

They are based almost entirely on Games Workshop’s Crusade system for Warhammer 40k. I’ve also heavily leaned on the Chicago Dice campaign rules. In fact, if you’re in to Bolt Action, I highly recommend you take a look at their site!

Also, check out the Command Post, which provides a fantastic Mission Generator for your games, this was the source of the Missions in this campaign.

The Woehammer Bolt Action Escalation Rules

Pick a nation

When you start an army, all of the units in your Order of Battle must be drawn from a single nation (i.e. Germany, Soviet Union, Hungary etc).

Order of Battle

A player’s Order of Battle is a list of all the units that they have as part of their army. A player’s Order of Battle can consist of any number of units, but each unit must have their weapons, abilities and experience level listed. A starting force cannot exceed 500 points and this is your force’s Supply Limit. The Supply Limit can be increased by playing battles. Make a note of each unit’s weapons, abilities and experience on your Order of Battle.

You can add new units to your Order of Battle at any time, provided that doing so does not exceed your army’s Supply Limit. Once you have added models to your army, you cannot change their equipment without spending Requisition Points to do so. Further models may be added to units at a later date if that unit is not at full strength. All weapons must be decided at the point of purchasing those models.

You can remove units from your Order of Battle at any time, but once you have removed a unit you cannot add it back into your Order of Battle (so any experience, awards etc they have gained, are lost). Removing a unit from your Order of Battle does not affect your Supply Limit (so removing a unit can potentially leave you with the ability to add a new unit to your Order of Battle).

Battle Tally, Requisition Points and Other Information

Each player taking part in the campaign must also have a tally of the number of battles they have played, as well as their current number of Requisition Points (RPs). When you first embark on a campaign and you create an Order of Battle, you will start with 5 RPs. You can also include any other information you want on your Order of Battle, including notable victories or defeats, any vendettas or grudges you feel your army would have, or any additional background that you wish to add to your force or units within it.

Fighting a Battle

Battles are fought between two members of the campaign, at a points level agreed by both parties. The army used in the game must be constructed from units present in your Order of Battle.


Once you have a Battleplan, you must also roll 2D6 for a mission from the below list. This will act as your secondary objective for the game.

At the end of the game, if you completed your Mission successfully you treat a Defeat result in the scenario being played as a Draw, and a Draw as a Victory. In the cases where both players have succeeded in their Mission, the missions are disregarded when working out which side has won, drawn or lost.

Die Roll (2D6)MissionObjective
2Control the FlanksAt a turn end phase, have one or more friendly units fully within 12″ of each table side edge on the opponent’s half of the table.
3DecapitationKill an enemy officer during the game.
4EnvelopmentAt the end of the game you must have a friendly unit fully within 12″ of the opponent’s table edge.
5Fuel ShortageA vehicle model must not be given an Advance or Run order for 3 consecutive turns.
6Hold ThisDuring setup, before deployment, you place an objective marker (roughly 2″ in diameter) within 12″ of your table edge. At the end of every turn, a friendly model must be within 3″ of the objective marker.
7Keep Up The PressureAt the end of any turn at least 4 enemy units have at least one pin marker.
8Probe DefencesThe first friendly unit to be pinned must fall back to your own lines to report enemy positions, using consecutive Run orders until it reaches your own table edge.
9Reckless BraveryDo not use a Down order during a turn (at turn end phase, none of your units have a Down order next to them).
10Shock and AweAt the end of turn 3 you must have 3 or more friendly units fully within the opponent’s table half.
11Take PrisonersDefeat an enemy Infantry or Artillery unit in close combat to capture a prisoner. Add the enemy model to your assaulting unit. The prisoner is unarmed. Keep the prisoner alive and under control – at least one model of your unit and the prisoner must survive – to the end of the game.
12The MoleJust before beginning the first turn of the game, after all deployment is finished (including snipers, spotters and observers), you place an objective marker representing the hiding resistance operative on the table, following the same setup instructions for the objective in the Hold Until Relieved scenario on page 114 of the Bolt Action Rulebook.

You must be within 6″ of the resistance operative with an Infantry unit, at which point the resistance operative will reveal themselves (place another model on the objective, at which point they join the friendly unit as a regular, pistol armed soldier), if there is no enemy unit within 6″. The operative needs to leave the table by moving into contact with your own table edge.


When you add a unit to your Order of Battle, it will start with the lowest experience available to it (i.e. if a unit can be bought as Regular or Veterans, then players must choose the Regular unit), the unit will then start the campaign with the minimum number of experience points available to its rank as shown in the table below.

Units can spend their experience points to go up in quality or by improving the unit.

Infantry and Artillery Experience

  • Battle Experience. At the end of a battle, each unit that survives gains 1 experience point.
  • Death Dealers. A unit gains 1 experience point for every enemy unit it has destroyed from shooting.
  • Courageous. A unit gains 3 experience for destroying an enemy unit in assault.

Infantry and Artillery Experience Purchases

Experience PointsBenefit
5Move up in troop quality (inexp. to reg, reg to vet)
5Purchase an infantry bonus skill
10Purchase a second infantry bonus skill
15Purchase a third infantry bonus skill

Infantry Bonus Skills

Infantry SkillEffect
StubbornIf forced to make a morale check, they ignore negative morale modifiers from pin markers. Remember that order tests are no morale checks.
FieldcraftUnits with Fieldcraft using Hidden Set-up may start the game in Ambush. In addition, in the first turn of the game, all Fieldcraft units treat all Rough Ground and Obstacles as Open Ground for the purpose of movement.
Tough FighterWhen a Tough Fighter scores a casualty in assault against Infantry or Artillery, it can immediately make a second damage roll.
Behind Enemy LinesWhen Outflanking, ignore the -1 modifier to the Order test for coming onto the table (American players re-roll this as this skill is already incorporated into your National RulesModern Communications)
ResolveIf the unit possess any pins at the end of each turn, roll a single die. On the roll of a 5+, a single pin marker is removed.
First AidEvery time the unit receives casualties from small arms, rolls a single die. On a roll of 6, one casualty may be ignored. This skill can be used in addition to a medic.

Artillery Bonus Skills

Artillery SkillEffect
StubbornIf forced to make a morale check, they ignore negative morale modifiers from pin markers. Remember that order tests are no morale checks.
Mountain GunTreats Rough Ground as Open Ground. (Players should discuss before game if they think some terrain does not apply, such as water features, etc)
Prepared PositionsThe crew has dug out cover effectively, and counts as having a Gun Shield. If the gun already has a Gun Shield, it counts as providing protection from the front and sides of the gun.
Enhanced SightsThis unit takes no penalty for firing at long range.
SteadyThis unit does not suffer a penalty for only having one crew member remaining.
ResolveIf the unit possess any pins at the end of each turn, roll a single die. On the roll of a 5+, a single pin marker is removed.

Officers and HQ Experience

  1. Battle Experience. Officer gains 1 experience for surviving the battle.
  2. Snap to Action. An officer gains up to 1 experience for initiating “You men, snap to action!” which results in an enemy unit taking casualties. (Can be earned once per game).
  3. Lead from the Front. An officer uses a morale bonus to assist friendly unit in a successful order test, morale test or rally. (Can be earned once per game).
  4. Medic! Medic succesfully saves a casualty (Must be a medic and not from First Aid bonus skill). Can be earned up to three times per game.

Officer and HQ Experience Purchases

Experience PointsBenefit
5Move up in Rank quality (2nd Lieutenant to 1st Leitenant, Captain to Major)
5Purchase an Officer bonus skill
10Purchase a second Officer bonus skill
15Purchase a third Officer bonus skill

Officer and HQ Bonus Skills

Artillery SkillEffect
Strong LeaderAdd 3″ to the morale bonus range of this officer.
In ControlThe Officer can remove one pin marker from a unit within its morale bonus range per turn at the cost of an Order.
Cut ThroatThe officer is known for their tenacity in combat, as such any units in close quarters can add +1 to their combat rolls.
Skilled ObserverIf this Officer is an Artillery Observer or Forward Air Observer, add +1 to their Artillery Barrage Chart, Smoke Barrage Chart or Air Strike Chart roll. Note that a 1, will still count as a Miscalulation or Rookie Pilot.
Skilled ShotThis Officer has a reputation as a crack shot, and such confers a +1 to hit for a single unit within its morale bonus range as that unit tries to emulate the officers skill.

Vehicle Experience

  • Battle Experience Vehicle gains 1 eperience for surviving the battle.
  • Death Dealers. Vehicle gains 1 experience for destroying an enemy infantry, artillery or soft-skinned vehicle.
  • Tank Hunter. The vehicle gains 3 experience for knocking out an enemy armoured vehicle.

Vehicle Experience Purchases

Experience PointsBenefit
5Move up quality (Inexperienced to Regular, Regular to Veteran)
5Purchase a Vehicle bonus skill
10Purchase a second Vehicle bonus skill
15Purchase a third Vehicle bonus skill

Soft-Skinned Vehicle Bonus Skills

Soft-Skinned Vehicle SkillEffect
WheelmanMay make an extra pivot as part of an Advance or Run order.
ResolveIf the unit possess any pins at the end of each turn, roll a single die. On the roll of a 5+, a single pin marker is removed.
Forward ScoutThis vehicle may make an Advance move (without shooting) after deployment but before the start of Turn 1.
Behind Enemy LinesWhen Outflanking, ignore the -1 modifier to the Order test for coming onto the table (American players re-roll this as this skill is already incorporated into your National RulesModern Communications)
Shoot n’ ScootCan fire then move as part of an Advance order.
RecceWhen reversing, either voluntarily or because of a failed order test, a Recce vehicle can reverse at it’s full Advance rate rather than at half rate, and can manoeuvre as if driving forward, i.e. a wheeled vehicle or half-track can make two 90 degree pivots and a tracked vehicle can make a single 90 degree pivot.

Some Recce vehicles can even reverse at their Run rate if they are especially small and manoeuvrable or if they have dual direction steering. These exceptions are indicated in the Army Lists. If they fail an order test, these vehicles will always reverse at a Run rate.

Recce vehicles will also spot hidden enemy at longer ranges than other vehicles – as noted in the rules ofr hidden units.

Armoured Combat Vehicle Bonus Skills

Armoured Combat Vehicle SkillEffect
Armoured CupolaThis unit does not count as Open-topped when firing its pintle mounted weaponry. If this unit does not have the option to take a pintle mount, re-roll this skill.
ResolveIf the unit possess any pins at the end of each turn, roll a single die. On the roll of a 5+, a single pin marker is removed.
Maximum ImpactOnce per game the vehicle may increase the main gun damage modifier by D3. This is selected before the roll To Hit. (Re-roll this skill if vehicle does not have weaponry with a penetration modifier)
BulldozerThis vehicle always counts as passing the Order Check to Tank Assault another vehicle regardless of the number of Pins. No check is needed, and 1 Pin is removed. (Re-roll this skill if your vehicle is armor 7, as it cannot Tank Assault vehicles).
LuckyThe first time this vehicle takes a penetrating hit, reduce the number rolled by 1 on the Damage Chart. (First time each game)
Recovery VehicleAdd +1 to the roll to see if this vehicle survives during the Casualties Phase.

Transport Vehicle Bonus Skills

Transport Vehicle SkillEffect
WheelmanMay make an extra pivot as part of an Advance or Run order.
ResolveIf the unit possess any pins at the end of each turn, roll a single die. On the roll of a 5+, a single pin marker is removed.
Forward ScoutThis vehicle may make an Advance move (without shooting) after deployment but before the start of Turn 1.
Getaway DriverThis vehicle can make an Advance move during its activation even if troops have embarked on it this turn.
Dedicated GunnerThis vehicle may fire two weapons instead of one, even when empty. If this vehicle cannot take more than one weapon, re-roll this skill.
First AidEvery time a friendly Infantry Squad receives casualties from small arms within 6”, roll a single dice. On the role of a 6, one casualty may be ignored. This skill can be used in addition to a medic.

Requisition Points

Requisition Points can be used to purchase Requisitions. These can upgrade your army, or the units within it. Each time you spend a Requisition Point, reduce your total by 1. Any Requisition Points you do not spend are saved and can be used later. As you play more battles, you can accrue additional Requisition Points, but an army can never have more than 5 RP, and any additional Requisition Points after this are lost.

Each time you play a battle you will gain 1 RP after that battle has been completed, regardless of the result.


Increase Supply Limit (1 RP)
Purchase this Requisition at any time. Increase your army’s Supply Limit by 50 points.

Fresh Recruits (1 RP)
Purchase this Requisition at any time. Select one unit from your Order of Battle. Roll a die for each casualty a unit has received in the campaign so far, on a 2+ a fresh recruit is drafted into the unit to replace it’s unfortunate predecessor. Due to limited manpower, sometimes the replacements you receive will not b the same quality as the troops that were lost. To represent this, if more troops are being replaced than are left in the squad roll a die. On a 4+, the replacements are the same level as the current squad; on a 1-3 the unit loses a single level of experience.

When men are lost from an Infantry Team or Artillery Crew, these troops are replaced immediately (with the replacement being drafted in from another unit in your roster).

Rearm and Resupply (1RP)
Purchase this Requisition at any time. Select one unit from your Order of Battle. You can change any weapon options that models in that unit are equipped with, within the weapon limitations as described for that unit in that Nation’s army list.

Repair and Recuperate (1RP)
Purchase this Requisition either before, or after a battle. Select one unit from your Order of Battle that has one or more Battle Scars. Select one of that unit’s Battle Scars and remove it from it’s listing on your Order of Battle. By removing a Battle Scar, your Order of Battle Strength will increase by 1.


After battle, roll a d6 for every model that was removed during the game. Make your rolls one unit at a time. Do the same for vehicles that were Knocked Out.

  • For Inexperience models, they survived on a die roll of a 6+
  • For Regular models, they survived on a die roll of a 5+
  • For Veteran models, they survived on a die roll of a 4+
  • Vehicles that were Knocked Out during the game will survive on a 4+ regardless of quality.

If all models from an infantry team or unit die, that unit is wiped out, and it should be removed from your Order of Battle.

Vehicle models that do not survive, are not available for selection in the next game, as a replacement crew is found. Roll a die, on a 4+ the vehicle retains its experience level, on 1-3 it reduces a level in experience.


After each game, the winning player rolls a D6 and gains that many territories. The losing player gains half that figure (rounding up).

Territories are used to rank the players throughout the campaign.

Bolt Action – Part Two (First Blood)

It is August 1941, and only a few weeks after Finland declares war on the Soviet Union. with the assistance of its ally Germany, Finnish and German troops have invaded the Soviet Union in what would become known as the Continuation War.

At the edge of a farm in northern Russia, two enemy patrols meet while scouting enemy defences.

The Finns (Dave)
– NCO* with SMG** – Mika Hakkinen
– LMG*** team (2 men)
– 1 SMG armed infantryman
– 5 rifle armed infantrymen

The Soviets (Peter)
– NCO with SMG – Marias Sharipova
– LMG team (2 men)
– 3 SMG armed infantrymen
– 4 rifle armed infantrymen

*NCO – Non-commissioned Officer
**SMG – Submachine Gun
***LMG – Light Machine Gun

Game 1

We had a simple setup, starting the units 24″ apart with some scenery for cover.

Sergeant Sharipova ordered their men to advance and fire upon the Finns, hoping to Finn their numbers out before they returned fire. As it was, the LMG hefted by private Rasputin had its line of sight blocked by an inconvenient hedgerow, while only three of the Soviets with rifles could see the Finns clearly enough to fire upon them. “Fire!” Yelled Sharipova. The gunfire rattled out across the wheat field, but with the distance and the Soviets having to fire on the move, all the gunfire did was scare a flock of birds from the hedgerow. The score was tied at love-all.

Sergeant Hakkinen cursed as his men briefly ducked in reaction to the Soviet gunfire. “Return fire!” he shouted, the rifles and the LMG of Mika Salo unleashed in response. A cheer went up from the Finns as they saw one of the distant Soviets fall to the ground.

Sharipova and their squad rushed to the hedgerow and opened up once more on the Finnish troops. Two of the Finns fell to the ground, and Hakkinen urged his troops into the trees on their right flank, trying to find cover where they could. The Soviets sensed an advantage pushed forward over the hedgerow hoping to flush the Finns from the trees with gunfire. However, no sooner had Sharipova and their unit crossed the hedgerow than the Finns rushed from the trees and met them in combat. Hakkinen and his Finns were Finn-ished however, and despite having the charge failed to inflict any casualties on the Soviet unit, and it wasn’t long before Sharipova, Rasputin and others were lying injured on the ground with the others in full retreat

Victory to the Soviets.

The Finns charge into the Russian Airborne.

Game 2

Changing the table setup slightly, we decided the objective would be to hold a farmhouse in the centre of the table.

Dave managed to get first and ran his riflemen up to the walls of the farmhouse. Dave really wanted to try out the Molotov cocktails, and so I decided to mirror his manoeuvre.

Dave got to go next in turn 2 and so flanked around my men so that more than 50% of his unit could see the airborne squad. As a result, his 9 molotov cocktails from his men only suffered a -1 to hit. With each man placing a 1″ template over the Russians, Dave’s Finns were able to automatically hit 25 times! His damage roll resulted in a lot of fried troops!

Victory to the Finns!

What Next?

Dave and I decided that we’d play Bolt Action via escalation. So we’ll both start with two infantry units and a command. Then, after each time we meet, we’ll roll on a table to see what we collect next.

To get that 2nd unit of troops and command, I decided to buy a £28 box of Siberian veterans. This comes with 34 miniatures, enough to make 3 squads and some HQ units.

Till next time.

Soviet Airborne Squad – Warlord Games

Credit: Warlord Games

You may have seen our post last week where I mentioned that Dave and I had bought a box of toy soldiers each for use in Warlord Games’ Bolt Action.

For those who haven’t heard of Bolt Action, it’s a tabletop wargame aimed at skirmish level games set during World War 2. It has a unique turn sequence where a blind draw is used to determine who acts with their unit.

Our aim was to build and paint the squad over the course of a week and then have a couple of very small games to see if we liked the ruleset.

Background to Soviet Airborne Squads

The Soviets were visionaries in the development of airborne troops and tactics, first forming a brigade-sized airborne unit after successful trials in December 1932. More units followed and by June 1941 five Airborne Corps existed in the Soviet order of battle, undoubtedly the strongest airborne force in the world. However in the desperate fighting of the early campaign these formations were pressed into service as regular infantry and virtually consumed.

Airborne troops were finally dropped in battalion strength during the defence of Moscow during December 1941 and January 1942. An entire corps (the 4th) was dropped operationally in February 1942 but while it survived for six months in the German rear, it failed to achieve its objectives. The crisis at Stalingrad then pulled in all available airborne troops to fight as regular infantry again.

Soviet airborne troops always fought with tremendous courage and elan, but lacked heavy anti-tank weapons and were badly supported in every operation they attempted.

Warlord Games

How Much?

If you’re buying this set through Warlord Games, then it’ll set you back £25. Which works out as £2.50 per metal model.

However, you can get them cheaper through our affiliate link with Element Games, where they’ll cost you £22.50.

What’s in the Box?

Inside you’ll get 10 metal miniatures consisting of:

  • NCO with SMG
  • 4 Paratroopers with SMG
  • 3 Paratroopers with rifles
  • 2-man LMG team
  • Plastic bases

Model Quality and Ease of Build

These couldn’t be easier to build. All the models are single piece metal models. There are no additional parts to glue on, such as heads, arms, or legs

They are metal, so you’ll find quite a bit of flashing that you’ll need to remove, and there were some heavy mould lines that I had to file down.

Other than that, it was just glueing them to their bases and priming.


I tried to follow the box art as closely as I could with Citadel paints and used the below recipes.

To save a little time I used Geek Gaming Scenics Base Ready Patchy Plains.

Overall, the unit took roughly 5 hours to build and paint.

Bolt Action – Part One (Dipping of Toes)

Dave and I love GW games, and we often meet down the club now that the lurgy lessened its grip to play a bit of Warhammer Fantasy, Cursed City, AoS or 40k.

I’ve always been tempted by historicals, and recently, Dave has been chatting with some other gaming pals about doing Hollywood style Bolt Action games.

He mentioned this last night, and I said I’d been considering dipping my toes as well. So we set ourselves a little challenge. We decided instead of diving head first into a new gaming system like we always do, why not buy and paint a squad of men each and then battle it out the next week over a couple of short games to see if we like the rules.

Which Campaign?

Neither Dave nor myself were comfortable playing as the Germans (just our personal choice and no shade thrown at those who do), so instead, we opted for the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union.

Dave wanted the Finnish and so opted for a small box of Riflemen. While I found an equivalently sized box of Soviet Airborne infantry.

Hopefully, we’ll have all these painted up and on the table next week. We’ll take some pictures of the minis and the games as well.

News – Final Weekend of 4 for 3 at Warlord Games

Warlord Games have entered the final weekend of their 4 boxes for the price of 3.

This covers many of their game systems, such as Bolt Action, Konflict 47′, Black Powder, Epic Battles, Hail Caesar and a lot more.

If you’re looking to get into and of these gaming system then this is definitely one way to do it that would save you a lot of money!

Warlord Games Releases Combined Arms

Combined arms is Warlord Games’ first board game but more importantly for the Bolt Action, Blood Red Skies and Cruel Seas players amongst you, it’s their first campaign supplement as well.

What does that mean? Well you’re able to play Combined Arms as a stand alone game using the pieces in the box to conquer Europe etc. Or you can link games of Blood Red Skies, Bolt action or Cruel Seas together for one large campaign.

Credit Warlord Games

The boxed set is priced at a very reasonable £50 and includes maps, cards and all the tokens you need to wage a complete campaign.

Bolt Action – Combined Arms is a strategic board game that commands the players to face off, seize the initiative and outwit their foe amidst the fog of war. Each game will see you fighting for control of air, land, and sea in order to claim objectives and hold them against the enemy.

Choose your theatre of war, from the western and eastern fronts to North Africa and the Pacific. Each theatre has its own challenges and opportunities, some rewarding control over the sea, some rewarding control over the skies. How many of your precious resources will you sink into each, and how much will be left to control the land? Will you rely on stealth as you move units secretly, springing up where you are least suspected, or will you attempt to overwhelm your enemy with brutal overkill?

Combined Arms can be played as a stand-alone game or players can incorporate Bolt Action, Blood Red Skies, Cruel Seas, or Victory at Sea for an epic continent-spanning campaign. Unique cards link your campaign with your chosen wargames, meaning your choices in the campaign could mean victory or defeat on the tabletop.

Combined Arms is available for Pre-order and will be shipped to customers in May.

What is Bolt Action?


It has been given a rating of 7.8 on BoardGameGeek from 550+ ratings.

Written by veteran game designers Alessio Cavatore and Rick Priestley, Bolt Action provides all the rules needed to bring the great battles of World War II to your tabletop. Using miniature soldiers, tanks and terrain, you can fight battles in the shattered towns of occupied France, the barren deserts of North Africa, and even the sweltering jungles of the Pacific.

Players get to decide which of the major or minor World War II powers they would like to represent, and then construct their armies from the lists provided. Army options are almost limitless, allowing you to build the kind of army that most appeals to your style of play. The choice is yours.

The original… now changed slightly in Warmaster Revolution

On Point HQ has produced a series of excellent videos explaining Bolt Action. I recommend checking our his other videos as well!

1. Building a Bolt Action Army

2. Unit Quality and Issuing Orders

3. Combat

4. Pinning and Morale Tests

5. HQ Units and Snap to Action

6. Transports and Tanks

7. Ambush

8. Troop and Vehicle Movement

9. Medics and Snipers

10. How HE Shots Work

11. Artillery Movement and Orders

12. The Turn Sequence

If you’re interested in getting into Bolt Action, I can’t suggest you start anywhere else but these excellent collection of videos.


Rick Priestley – A Life in Wargames

Rick Priestley alongside Jervis Johnson, Alessio Cavatore and Andy Chambers is perhaps one of the most well known game designers of our era.

Rick Priestley grew up in Lincoln and dtart d writing wargames as a teenager with his friend Richard Halliwell. In 1979 the pair wrote their first game Reaper while still in school. Tabletop Games (a small games publishing company with no sales output) printed their rules and they contacted Brian Ansell who worked for Asgard Miniatures at the time before his move to Citadel Miniatures. Brian Ansell put them in contact with Nottingham Toy Soldier Shop who agreed to sell the Reaper rules.

Halliwell & Preistley’s first game

With one rulebook for sale, Halliwell and Priestley collaborated on a second effort, a science fiction miniatures wargame titled Combat 3000, also published by Tabletop, that used 15mm/25mm “space marine” miniatures from Asgard. Around this time Brian Ansell left Asgard Miniatures, and with backing from Games Workshop set up Citadel Miniatures.

Priestley joined Games Workshop in 1982 as part of their subsidiary company Citadel Miniatures. At that time Citadel produced the miniatures for use in Dungeons and Dragons. Brian Ansell the manager of Citadel asked Richard Halliwell to develop Games Workshops’ first in-house game, Warhammer Fantasy Battles and Rick Priestley and Tony Ackland developed the product. Warhammer Fantasy contained many of the core mechanics or Priestley and Halliwell’s earlier game Reaper. Warhammer Fantasy was released in 1983 and was a huge success.

It allowed them a vehicle through which they could sell their own Citadel Miniatures. Earlier miniature wargames were designed to be played using generic models that could be bought from any manufacturer, but Warhammer Fantasy’s setting featured original characters with distinctive visual designs, and their models were produced exclusively by Games Workshop. This paved the way for Games Workshop to become the company it is today – all thanks to the three men who developed that first game.

Since before his time at Games Workshop Priestley had been working on a set of rules of Spaceship Combat called Rogue Trader which mixed Science fiction and fantasy elements. Priestley incorporated many aspects of this setting such as the lore and space travel into Warhammer 40,000 and dropped the ship combat element due to not having enough room in the book.

Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

Games Workshop planned to sell conversion kits for their fantasy line to make them useable in Rogue Trader but eventually decided to instead dedicate an entire production line to the game and in 1987 Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader was born.

During his years with Games Workshop he was involved in the design of virtually all of their top games such as Necromunda, Mordheim, Warmaster, Lord of the Rings, Gorkamorka, Mighty Empires and Warhammer Ancient Battles (affectionately known as WAB by those in Historical gaming circles).

Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB)

Rick Priestley left Games Workshop in 2009 stating that the corporate culture had grown too focused on sales and no longer cared about innovation in Games Design. He expanded on his view of Games Workshop in an article with Bell of Lost Souls in March 2015. In that, his thoughts on where Games Workshop was heading, was as a manufacturer of collectible miniatures and not games design.

After Games Workshop, Priestley co-founded Warlord Games which after Games Workshop is arguably the next biggest games and miniature manufacturer in Europe.

With Warlord Games, Rick Priestley has continued to develop fantastic wargame rulesets and being no longer held back by Games Workshop, these have included historical as well as Fantasy and Sci-Fi. The biggest games at Warlord such as Bolt Action, Black Powder, Gates of Antares, Hail Caesar, Pike and Shotte and Warlords or Erehwon have all been designed with Priestley’s input.

Bolt Action

In 2011 Rick Priestley was elected to the committee of the Society of Ancients. The Society of Ancients is a non-profit organisation that intends to promote interest in Ancient and Medieval history and wargaming.

This man is a true legend of Wargaming, is the father of Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 and has done a lot that Games Workshop fans and historical wargaming fans have to thank him for.

I have tried to give a flavour of the 115+ rules and add-on’s he’s developed below. But as with Jervis’ article, this really does not even scrape the surface as to the lore and depth of his many games. Rick, thank you! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.


Board Game Geek

Wikipedia – Warhammer 40,000

Warlord Games

Bell of Lost Souls

Wikipedia – Wargame

Wikipedia – Rick Priestley

Wikipedia – Richard Halliwell

Solo Wargaming for your Favourite Games

I’m in the process of creating a series of Wargaming Aids which allow players to play their favourite games in a single player format against an AI controlled enemy army. To find out more on this click here.

For as little as £1 a month (the price of a chocolate bar) you can help support me in this endeavour and receive cool perks as a thank you, such as access to our Discord Server as well as downloadable copies of the gaming aids which you can print out and use at home.

Why not pop over to Patreon and sign up and help me in this project? Money raised will go towards making these as physical products.

The Woeful Brush Painting Competition Sponsored by SCN Hobby World

Closing date for entries 30th November. £1 entry, win your choice of a Start Collecting or Combat Patrol box set!