Designer’s Notes

A Combat Patrol(TM) game set in a small French village at Historicon 2017. We ran two fights in this village in 1940 and one in 1944.

Combat Patrol(TM): WWII took over three years of effort to design.  Unlike many of my previous designs, this was never meant to be a published set of rules.  I designed it for me.  The response at conventions and within the club was so positive, I was eventually persuaded to publish the rules.  These four files are a serialized article describing the design process of Combat Patrol.  If you are interested in the game design process, you may find these articles of value.

Many of these ideas were subsequently discussed on the Meeples and Miniatures podcast.

A Normandy hedgerow game run at Historicon 2017.


“My club likes some other set of rules, so I must dislike Combat Patrol(TM), right?”  Rules reviewers, gaming companies, trolls skulking around various internet fora, and even many game designers will assert that if you like set of rules A, that means you must dislike set of rules B.  One successful game designer I know asserted that rules writers don’t play other people’s rules.  I think that both assertions are false.  I think this outlook comes from gamers wanting to settle in on a small set of rules so that they can sit down and play at club night and not have to learn a new set of rules every week.  In many clubs, they only play a single set of rules.  I once was in a club that played only Johnny Reb.  For years.  And years.  But they really knew the rules and could focus on the game.  This actually made it difficult for newcomers who didn’t know the rules so well, so we hosted a Johnny Reb training day for the newbies.  Different rules are better for different types of games.  Some rules are suitable for two-player, head-to-head pickup games.  Others are more suitable for multi-player games.  Combat Patrol(TM): WWII scales nicely at both extremes.  We have successfully run games with as few as two and as many as 20 players.  With 20 people new to the rules, it can slow down, but with six to eight players who know the rules, it moves quite quickly.  So, just because you like a particular set of WWII skirmish rules, that does not mean you can’t also like and play Combat Patrol.  Give them a try.  And with all the free supplemental material, you can use them for a variety of historical (and some non-historical) periods.