Below is an overview of the Bolt Action league rules I’ve used with success. You’ll need to gauge your local group’s ability to field the point values called out in the rules and adjust accordingly. Also, remove the ‘red vs. blue’ rule, if you feel your group would be better off having more open opponent restrictions.
The League will run for 10 weeks
Weeks 1 through 5 will be 1,000 point games and weeks 6 through 10 will be 1,250 point games
Forces must be representative for a specific time period and/or theater, for example July 1944 through May 1945, Western Europe.
Army lists can be based on generic or theater lists. Since my group has some very experienced WWII gamers, we allow for some bending of the list rules, but point values are maintained. So, legal lists can also be modified for historical accuracy; however, if you “break the BA rules” for a historic reason, the players must provide evidence of the historic rational.
Tank and infantry lists are allowed. (I have also run Tank only or Infantry only leagues as well. All work, as long as people know the rules ahead of time.)
Bolt Action Version 2 rules are to be used.
I allow for a modified transport rule when running tank list only events.
Players have two options regarding transports for your troops. They can follow the BA rules and pay for a transport for each unit and use them in the game, or they can pay 50 points for a group of “virtual transports” that bring all foot units to the edge of the battlefield.
In between games, players can alter their list by changing one order die. However, if you have suffered two losses in a row, you can completely change your list before the next game.
Games must be red vs. blue and played in historically representative terrain for the forces. Era-appropriate theater scenarios are encouraged, if players are willing to try some (yes, some of these are asymmetric but worth playing). Otherwise, the basic scenarios along with the store binder scenarios are allowed. (In my store, we maintain a binder with play testing scenarios from a variety of sources to add to the standard book scenarios.)
This league will have a painting competition component as well. On the league evening of the even numbered weeks, there is a painting competition. All painting entries must be from the player’s current force.
Week 2 – Single figure
Week 4 – Multi-man team weapon
Week 6 – Vehicle
Week 8 – Full squad (Min of 5 figures)
Week 10 - Diorama (No larger than 8” x 8”)
Points are as follows:
Games – Win: 10 pts, Tie: 4 pts, loss: 1 pt
Painting – Win: 10 pts, Simply entering: 4 pts. (Note, if you win, you get 10 points, not 14)
Players can play as many league games as they want. League games must be played at the store but don’t need to be done only on league nights. This allows for missed games or to try to overcome a loss with a win.
Only a player’s best 8 scores (painting and gaming combined) will count toward their points. Tie break will be the tied players’ top 9 scores, and if needed, top 10 scores, etc.
League points example: if a player plays 9 games with a W-L-T record of 4-3-2 and participated in 3 of the painting competitions, that player’s league points would be a total of 56 points based on their top 8 scores. In this case, that would be 4 wins at 10 points each, 2 ties at 4 points each, and 2 painting entries at 4 points each. (40+8+8=56). So, the player participated enough to overcome all three losses.
By counting fewer scores than the total number of opportunities, players can make up for missed league weeks (life and business travel happens, at least in my group), and players can get in an extra game or two to “erase” a loss suffered during the league. This keeps people engaged and doesn’t allow for runaway leaders as easily. I use 8 out of a total of 15 scoring opportunities (10 league nights and 5 painting comps), and found that it works well with the absences. Feel free to vary this number to suit your group.