The first preview blog from Warlord Games is here for Bolt Action: Third Edition! To kick us off, hear from the team behind the game all about the new army composition system, ahead of release this September...

We recently polled our online communities to see what they wanted to know first about Bolt Action: Third Edition – and this was the winner! Welcome to the first briefing on the major changes you can expect to see in the upcoming Bolt Action: Third Edition. Strap in – this one is big, and effects every single player, old and new. Let’s talk about the process of building an army!

Bolt Action is at its core a game of infantry combat. A platoon of infantrymen is your basic tactical formation, with supporting assets such as tanks and heavy weaponry attached to help your troops fulfil their objectives. To this end, Second Edition players will be intimately familiar with the venerable Generic Reinforced Platoon force selection system, that has soldiered on for many years. No longer, however – Bolt Action: Third Edition brings a brand new way of turning your collection of miniatures into a tabletop army. Let’s look at how it works!

One of our key priorities when developing Bolt Action: Third Edition was that we wanted to make sure that, while the vast majority of collections could still be fielded with minimal modification, players would have more choice and freedom when creating their armies. The old Generic Reinforced Platoon, while solid, did place a number of restrictions on building armies that we wanted to address – so we did!

A sample spread showing a Rifle Platoon and Heavy Weapons Platoon from Bolt Action: Third Edition

Now, this new freedom doesn’t mean there are no rules at all – that would be madness! Remember, Bolt Action is primarily a game of infantry combat. As such, you must have one Rifle Platoon in your army, first and foremost! Once you’ve met the minimum requirements (one officer and two infantry squads – seem familiar?), you can then either fill out the rest of the Rifle Platoon, or add other Platoons – or both!

A sample page spread from Bolt Action: Third Edition showing an Engineer Platoon and an Artillery Platoon

The variety doesn’t end there – in total, you’ll find six different Platoon options in your Bolt Action: Third Edition rulebook, and who knows – perhaps we’ll see more in the fulness of time…

A sample page spread from Bolt Action: Third Edition showing an Armoured Platoon and Recce Infantry Platoon

The Rifle Platoon functionally ‘unlocks’ the rest of the Platoon options, and there’s one other restriction – you can only have as many multiples of any Platoon type as you have Rifle Platoons. For example, if you want to field two Armoured Platoons, you’ll need two Rifle Platoons, and so on. Other than that – the choice is yours! Theme your force exactly the way you want it, whether that be recreating a specific real-life formation, or building a hard-as-nails, take-all-comers tournament list, or simply putting all your favourite models on the table!

So, what does this mean for those of us with Second Edition collections who want to start playing right away? What about the tournament scene? And what about our new friends just joining us for the first time?

Well, firstly, if you take a look at your Second Edition army, you’ll see that most of them fit quite nicely into the new Platoon Selectors system – all you need is a few extra officers to command them! This means you can jump straight into the action and begin to really get a feel for how Third Edition works. After that, you’ll definitely want to expand your collection – after all, if something works for you, why not take more of it? This new system is all about options and force balance to achieve specific goals – for one game or another, you might want to swap an Engineer Platoon out for a Recce one, for example, so having both in your collection is a vital asset!

An image of the Bolt Action: Third Edition book alongside a fully painted miniature figure of a WW2 soldier

Competitive players – fear not! There’ll be an upcoming article discussing what Bolt Action: Third Edition means for the thriving tournament scene, including talk about selectors and suggested tournament pack rules. We’re looking forward to seeing some seriously unique lists hitting competitive tabletops all across the world!

New players – first off, welcome to Bolt Action – we’re delighted you’re joining us! For your first steps, the new Battle of the Bulge starter set is a brilliant way to introduce yourself to the game’s rules and mechanics! Once you’ve decided which army you’d like to field, our plastic infantry platoon boxed sets give you a brilliant foundation for your collection. With thirty multi-part plastic infantrymen on each, absolutely jam-packed with all sorts of weapons options, they make assembling your mandatory Rifle Platoon an absolute delight. From there… the world (and the army list) is your oyster!

Bolt Action: Third Edition is out this September. Pre-order now.

Check out the official miniatures from Warlord Games on their website – complete with special bundles and pre-order exclusive deals.

And watch this space for more preview blogs coming soon.