Which Bolt Action Army Matches Your Play Style?

Army, army, army. When you step into Bolt Action, the first big decision is choosing your side. The core rule book gives you five options: Germans, Americans, British, Japanese, and Soviets.

Which faction should you pick for your World War II battles? This piece highlights the key characteristics of each army to help you make an informed decision.

American Army

Think of these guys as the jack-of-all-trades. If you like to keep your options open, moving and shooting without missing a beat, the Bolt Action US army is your go-to. They're not the best or worst at anything, but they've got a solid mix of everything. They're like that friend who's good at every sport without being a superstar in any.

British Army

The British are great for the players who enjoy variety and a bit of strategy with their lists. The Brits can pretty much do it all, but their special sauce is choosing traits that tweak their play style. Love tanks? The Brits have got plenty. Prefer a horde of infantry? They've got that too. They're like the Swiss Army knife of Bolt Action armies.

German Army

If you're into having the best gear and don't mind being seen as the bad guy, the Germans might be up your alley. They've got tanks for days and some of the best firepower in the game. Want to customize your force to be tough like the Death Guard or hit hard like T'au? The Bolt Action armies of Germany are your pick.

Japanese Army

Are you the type who likes to get in close and make it personal? If so, the Bolt Action Japanese starter army is the ideal faction for your style. They're built for charging straight at the enemy. This army suits anyone who digs the rush of close combat over hanging back with guns. Choose Japanese if you're all about pushing forward, keeping the pressure on, and engaging the enemy face-to-face.

Soviet Army

Big on numbers and not afraid to throw wave after wave of soldiers at the enemy? The Soviets offer that in spades. They can field masses of infantry backed up by some hefty tanks. But there's a twist; they're also about specialist squads. So, if you like the idea of overwhelming your opponent with sheer numbers and still having a few tricks up your sleeve, the Bolt Action’s Soviet starter army could be a great place for you to start.

What’s The Next Step After Army Selection?

After choosing your army, the lists in the core rule book help you get started. These lists give you a basic setup for your games. Over time, you'll want to pick up the ‚ÄúArmies of‚ÄĚ book that matches your chosen nation. This book will offer you more in-depth information about your army and strategies for leveraging its various components. Including five nations' lists in the core rule book from the start allows Warlord Games to offer an accessible way into the game.

Building Your Forces

The journey from a single unit box to a full-fledged army is a common one. Players often begin with one nation and find themselves adding more to their collection for variety or to explore different tactics. Starter sets like Band of Brothers and Armored Fury are great for quickly building up German and American armies. Meanwhile, assembling a British army might involve a more selective approach, choosing units that specifically appeal to the player or fit a desired tactical role.

A 1000 point starter box stands out as an efficient choice for quickly gathering a comprehensive force. However, there's a unique joy in slowly picking units over time and customizing the army to fit personal play styles and preferences.

Experimenting with Different Unit Pairs

Try pairing different types of units, like infantry with tanks and support crews, to discover tactics that click with your playing style. Playing around with these mixes can sharpen your approach, whether you like taking the fight to the enemy, holding your ground, or a bit of both.

Customizing Your Army

The deeper you get into Bolt Action, the more you might find yourself customizing your army to fit exactly how you like to play. If you're using the Americans and love quick, decisive moves, beefing up your lineup with paratroopers and fast vehicles can give you an edge. If you're fielding Germans and your strategy revolves around sheer firepower, loading up on heavy tanks and skilled infantry could give your force the punch it needs. This way, the game feels more personal.

Adjusting for Different Battles

Facing different battle scenarios means sometimes changing up your army to keep winning. Figuring out which units and strategies work best for the challenges ahead can make you a stronger player. It ensures your army evolves with you, keeping each battle interesting and competitive.


There is not one winning battle strategy that works for every situation. The one that works best for you will depend on your personal style and preferences. Tailoring your army to your playing style makes every battle more engaging and fun. Now go build your force and enjoy the Bolt Action game your way.

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