Combat PatrolTM

 

G.A.M.E.R.TM

Combat Patrol (TM) features the G.A.M.E.R.(TM) engine.  G.A.M.E.R.(TM) is a unique skirmish system in which cards are used not just for activation but for all aspects of combat resolution and melee.  No dice are used to resolve combat.  Over three years were spent in development.  The result is a system that flows smoothly and supports many-player gamers. 

Guts -- Accuracy -- Melee -- Endurance -- Reaction

The ebb and flow in his system give the feel of fast paced firefights; as combatants fire, duck, rise up, and fire again.  

“Cpl. Smith ran up to the wall and crouched down to fire his rifle. A near miss hit the wall by his head and showered his face with small bits of rock.  He ducked down behind the wall and exhaled sharply. "That was too close," he thought.   He braced himself, took a deep breath, and rose slowly back up over the lip of the wall to fire....”  
Chris Palmer

The ebb and flow in his system give the feel of fast paced firefights; as combatants fire, duck, rise up, and fire again.  


“Cpl. Smith ran up to the wall and crouched down to fire his rifle. A near miss hit the wall by his head and showered his face with small bits of rock.  He ducked down behind the wall and exhaled sharply. "That was too close," he thought.   He braced himself, took a deep breath, and rose slowly back up over the lip of the wall to fire....” 

Chris Palmer

Special cards are used to resolve combat, movement, and morale.  This eliminates the need for many charts and tables.  All the charts and tables were decomposed and distributed across poker-sized cards.  So drawing a card gives you a result that in other games would require a die roll, application of a bunch of modifiers, cross indexing on a chart, etc.  Everything you need to resolve a combat situation is right there.  Draw a card; resolve an action.  In this way high fidelity results are achieved without resorting to complex mechanics.  This system is simple, but not simplistic.

You can begin playing almost immediately.  The quick start guide is only eight pages long.  The rest of the illustrated rule book provides rules for vehicles, indirect fire, flame throwers, and other options.  There is even a scenario that can be played with just the basic rules.  You are likely to find more detailed games, but you are unlikely to find a system that is smoother and faster without becoming overly simplistic.   

After nearly three years of development, Combat Patrol(TM) is available from DriveThru Cards.  The game features some really innovating mechanics that streamline play and reduce table cutter.  I have also play tested it in numerous convention games.  My gaming group has even begun adapting it to other historical periods.  

In developing Combat Patrol(TM) I developed the G.A.M.E.R.(TM) “engine.”  Key features of the engine are:


  1. The Double Random Activation(TM) mechanism provides the unpredictability and drama of card-based activation without the drawbacks. This activation mechanism was originally developed for Battles by GASLIGHT and was refined during the development of Look, Sarge, No Charts titles.  The mechanism uses cards for activation but ensures that multiple players are acting at the same time.

  2. No big yellow or pink chart cards cluttering up your beautiful gaming tables.  Each player needs one or two 3″x5″ cards with the information about his units, including their weapons and equipment.   Other than those, there are no chart cards.  The back of these unit records includes the modifiers for hand-to-hand combat and terrain effects on movement.  After a game or two, players rarely need to refer to these, so two unit records can be taped back to back for even less clutter.

  3. Combat resolution is resolved by flipping cards.  Players read different sections of the cards in the Action Deck depending on what they are trying to do:  shooting, resolving hits, “rolling” to penetrate enemy vehicles, hand-to-hand combat, movement, and morale.  In development, I took a series of charts and then broke them apart to fit on an Action Deck of 50 cards.  Flipping a card is essentially the same as rolling a die and looking up the result on a table.  The difference is that you don’t have to do all that table look up.  Flip a card and determine whether you got a hit.  If so, flip the next card to see which target figure was hit, how severely, and whether he is protected by cover.

  4. Cover is represented explicitly.  Instead of cover providing a negative modifier to hit, if you get a hit, when you flip the next card in the Action Deck, you look for cover icons.  If the target figure is in the type of cover indicated on the card, instead of being wounded or incapacitate he ducks back behind cover and is stunned.  While the use of cover as a to-hit modifier and the process in Combat Patrol(TM) can be mathematically equivalent, there is something intuitively appealing to knowing that the window sill deflected that round that would have otherwise hit your figure.  In play tests, this explicit representation of cover has made players make better use of cover while maneuvering their squads.

  5. Messy “opportunity fire” rules are replaced by a simple reaction mechanism.

  6. Somewhat randomized movement speeds based on the Guts level of the unit or its leader.

  7. The G.A.M.E.R.(TM) engine name is an acronym for the attributes which describe figures in Combat Patrol(TM): Guts (morale), Accuracy (shooting), Melee (hand-to-hand combat), Endurance (how many wounds a figure can take), and Reaction.  The game master can “sculpt” a unit to fit a historical scenario.

  8. Playable on multiple levels of resolution.  At the lowest level, all the figures in a unit have the same attributes.  At the highest level, each figure can have different attributes.  The levels of resolution can be mixed so that the Commando unit has more detail than the installation security personnel.  This allows games that have a historical feel as well as those with a more cinematic feel.

  9. Rules for replacements of personnel and equipment between scenarios enable players to represent mini-campaigns.

  10. Ground scale is 1 inch = 5 yards.  This is a good compromise ground scale between extreme range being 12 inches and the games resembling Agincourt and ranges that are in scale with the figures where short range covers the entire table.

  11. The basic rules are just eight pages -- and that includes several pictorial examples of firing and grenade resolution that fill almost a full page themselves!

Combat Patrol(TM) is available through DriveThruCards on durable, premium stock cards.  It is helpful for each player or pair of players to have an Action Deck to speed play.  On DriveThru customers may purchase either Set A or Set B of the cards.  Each set includes four 50-card Action Decks (supporting four to eight players), with different colored backs to keep them separated, and an Activation Deck.  Purchasing both Set A and Set B will give you eight different backs, supporting eight to sixteen players for those really large games.  The basic rules and an introductory scenario are a free .pdf download from DriveThru as well.  The advanced rules and vehicle rules are a second download.  In this way, the rules are available worldwide.  Printed books can also be purchased from On Military Matters in the US or Sally 4th in the UK.

Combat Patrol(TM) results in a streamlined, enjoyable World War II skirmish game with all the nuances of any other set of rules but with most of the complexity removed.

Click the links or the icons to download useful files for playing Combat Patrol(TM):  World War II

Free!

Combat Resolution demonstration video:

Scan this QR code or click here to go to the DriveThru Cards product page for Set A of the cards.

Scan this QR code or click here to go to the DriveThru Cards product page for Set B of the cards.

Double Random(TM) Activation  demonstration video:

See links below to videos that demonstrate important aspects of the rules.

Resolving shots against vehicles:

Coming Soon:  Resolving High Explosive Weapons, like grenades.

Combat PatrolTM is now available through Sally 4th.

http://wargamesbuildings.co.uk/Combat-Patrol

Sally 4th carries both the cards and the rules as a printed book.  This is in addition to the excellent print-on-demand service already available from DriveThru Cards.  This should make the game more accessible to gamers in the UK and Europe. 

Announcing

Free supplements for Combat Patrol: WWII.  These include order of battle information and optional rules that give a game set in this theater or campaign the appropriate flavor.  Click the icon to download supplements. 

De
 

Videos that demonstrate different aspects of the rules:

A short promotional video for the rules:

Announcing

Combat PatrolTM is now available through On Military Matters

http://onmilitarymatters.com/pages/dfindex.php

On Military Matters carries a starter set with the full rules, two Action Decks, and an Activation Deck.  This is in addition to the excellent print-on-demand service already available from DriveThru Cards. 

British Organization

German Organization

Russian Organization

French Organization

Polish Organization

Italian Organization

Belgian Organization

Dutch Organization

Japanese Organization

US Organization

Unit Organizations

I have assembled these organizations for WWII companies and platoons.  There is often disagreement between different sources regarding unit organizations.  Often this is due to the various reorganizations that occurred during the war.  Also, some sources site contemporary technical manuals, which were based on the best intelligence available at the time, but might not have been the most accurate when viewed after the fact.  I have tried to find authoritative sources or build a consensus organization when it was unclear which sources were authoritative.  in the charts found by clicking on the helmets you will see some units marked with a six-sided die.  This is meant to indicate which units get command dice in Combat Patrol(TM).  I hope you find them helpful.

“These rules are very good, and the writer has presented what I think are one of the best skirmish systems I’ve seen for a long time...  These might be one of the truly outstanding sets of skirmish rules you will play!”

— Eoghan Kelly, Wargames Soldiers & Strategy, Issue 85, June 2016

A while back I wrote a four-part article on the design process I used to create the GAMER(TM) engine and Combat Patrol(TM): World War II.  Some gamers have found this article interesting.  The serialized article is available at the links below:

Part 1                                            Part 3

Part 2                                            Part 4

Design of Combat Patrol(TM): World War II

In response to questions that I have received on various on-line fora, the Combat Patrol Yahoo Group, and via Email, I have created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document.  As I receive additional questions, I will periodically update the document. 

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