Sunday, November 15, 2015

Combat Patrol: WWII, First Impressions

Lately I have gotten the bug for WWII skirmish.  I saw that Buck Surdu was publishing a new set of WWII skirmish rules called Combat Patrol:  WWII.  Now, I happen to think that Buck's G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. rules are one of the best small unit sets out there, and I have played them many times.  I decided to buy a copy. 
The rules are available from drivethrucards .  The game uses cards for almost all randomization, so cards are needed to play.  A set of cards includes the activation deck and 4 player decks.  There is a set A and a set B.  Only one set is needed to play most games.  For large games you might need more decks for more players.  A set of 4 player decks and an activation deck is $27.  A pdf copy of the full rules is $5.
The cards are very high quality.  These are professionally produced cards with rounded edges.  They are going to last very well.  The font used on the pdf is not my favorite.  It does the job, but a more modern font would help.  Its a quibble, and possibly my own. 
The rules are well laid out.  First is a very comprehensive table of contents.  I had little trouble finding rules I needed.  The first 8 pages give the basic rules, and the next 3 pages have a sample scenario.  
I decided to set up a small scenario to try out the rules before I spring them on my local club.  Now, a disclaimer.  I don't like solo gaming.  I have never been able to get into it.  This was simply to get a better understanding of the rules.  
I thought I had a picture of the whole setup, but I guess I forgot.  The basic scenario was two French squads defending a crossroads. They were in various types of cover.  One half squad was behind a fence.  One was in a building, and the other two were in woods.
The Germans were just outside of minimum range.  They had 3 squads, and had to assault and take the crossroads.  They were only going to have 5 turns to do this, so they had to move out.  
This is one squad of Germans looking across at the French.  
The way movement is handled is that each maneuver element rolls a die and that die is placed by the leader of that element.  This is done for both sides.  Then the activation deck is used.  You take a card and turn it over.  I was not using the special cards, only the number cards.  If for example you pull the card that says "2", all units that rolled a 2 for their activation are going to go.   If both sides have units with that number, you roll off to see who goes first.  (or you can pull cards, there is a randomization number on each card)  During the activation, each figure in that element can perform one action.  The actions available are move, shoot, throw grenade, recover from stun, reload, or rally.  The figures in an element do not have to all perform the same action.  
Most actions are controlled by the cards.  When you move, you pull a card from your deck and look at it.  It will  have a move distance that correlates to your Guts attribute.  A unit will not necessarily move the same distance each activation.  When you fire, all the information you need is on the cards.  You fire individually by figure.  You pull a card, and based on your accuracy, distance to the target and some other factors you might hit.  There is NO looking at tables.  You can see from the card if you hit.  If you do, you then pull another card to see what the result will be.  The card tells you the severity of the wound.  It also has different levels of cover indicated on the card.  If the target figure is in cover and that level of cover is present on the card, the wound or incapacitate is changed to a stun.  After the first couple of figures I fired, where I had to look in the rules to figure out the cover, I didn't have to check any more.  This process is VERY smooth and easy to do.  Each wound or incapacitate an element takes, a morale marker is put by the leader.  When that unit activates, the first thing you do is pull a card for each morale marker and resolve them.  Some are no effect, some are run to cover, some are remove all morale markers.  It works very fast.  
So, I did not finish the scenario.  As I said, I really dislike playing solo.  Once I established that the rules worked well, I stopped.  
Verdict, I like it.  There are rules for support weapons and tanks.  There are rules for shooting bazookas and blowing holes in buildings.  There are more complex levels of resolution of wounds if you want to do that.  (I won't be doing that)  It is a very complete set of rules, but the cards make the it easy to play.  I am going to take this to my local club to play.  

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