Hidden Units in Bolt Action – Maybe there is a better way….

Hidden Units in Bolt Action – Maybe there is a better way….

A modest proposal and some free .stls


The rules for Warlord Games “Bolt Action” are purposely designed to ensure a rapid pace of play, and some aspects of realism is forfeited to that end. For the most part this balancing act works in the interest of playability, but there is one particular rule that could stand a tweak, IMHO. That is the “Hidden Unit Rule”. The Rule Book states that units that can be considered for the “Hidden Set Up” rule cannot be targeted until spotted (as per the rules) but the actual “hidden” units are placed on the table for all to see. This reduced the “fog of war” factor significantly.

There are several “house rule” suggestions for alter Hidden rules, where the other player would not immediately know what unit is hidden on the board. Here is a link to a well written article of such house rules :


I thought an alternate method, using 3D printed tokens, may allow such a rule to be implemented without slowing the game down at all.

The premise if this interests you, here is how I see it working out

Current Rules

There are three units, on the table at the start of the game, considered to be “hidden” – a sniper team, a forward artillery observer team and a ‘zook anti-tank team.

While they are technically “out of sight”, who and where they are is obvious, and the other player can’t help but alter his movement options with that knowledge.

Proposed Alternate Hidden Rule

In this example, there are the same three hidden units, + one extra “Fog of War” marker, ( so four markers in this case, A to D)

A marker,, identified “A” to “D” is placed on the table in the position of the unit.


The markers are placed on the table in the location of the potential hidden unit (“potential” because it could be the “Fog of War” marker)

Off the table, that same player uses a small slip of paper (I used thin post-it notes) and write the Alphanumeric letter under the pivoting cover of the two-part printed unit marker.


When that particular hidden unit acts, or is spotted according to the standard rules, that player reveals his unit which is at that location. The unit is then placed on the board and the action is played out.

The sniper team is activated and the player reveals that and places it on the table where the “? C” Marker is located.

The Markers

The .stl file has six location markers, with letter “A” through “F”, to cover six hidden markers. It also has a “blank” marker should you need more than six; you can just write the letter on the face or add it in Tinkercad.

The unit marker is a simple two piece .stl; the post of the one-piece fits in the round recess of the second; and it covers the letter location securely; when you need to reveal just pivot the top cover off.

I just used a white paint pen to mark the white on the raised letters of the printed piece.

This is an original file, but is available for a free download, when for personal use.

Bolt Action Alternate Hidden Unit System

Any comments/suggestions or feedback is welcome at [email protected]



  • I feel that I am an 12 year old boy trapped in the body of a much older man, and I am an enthusiast for tabletop miniature gaming as well as 3D design of AFVs and wargaming terrain pieces. I assure my spouse that it is all still cheaper than buying a Harley and wearing leather chaps. My original 3D .stl files are available at https://www.wargaming3d.com/shop/ the range includes unique WW2 AFVs, transports, gun and tabletop wargaming terrain.

One thought on “Hidden Units in Bolt Action – Maybe there is a better way….

  1. ChuckNLedd says:

    I played some test games using a rule like this and it works great for certain scenarios. Having the custom tokens will be a nice addition. I had just been using some spare wooden bases to ID the hidden units.

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