Saturday, March 5, 2016

Combat Patrol - France, 1940

Combat Patrol is a recent set of WWII skirmish rules by Buck Surdu.  I think they are the most innovative and easy to use set of rules for this period I have seen.  Using cards to resolve all the actions in the game keeps the focus on the game and not on rules and charts.  In my experience, after two or three activations new players are having no trouble with understanding how to play.

I had done one Combat Patrol game with my local gaming group.  They liked it, and asked for another one.  Some of the main people were out of town this week, and we only had 3 of use.  I used a scenario my brother did with another set of rules.  Always an iffy idea.  It goes to prove once again, that no scenario survives contact with gamers.

The scenario was set in France, 1940.  The French are trying to wire a bridge to blow.  There is a security force of one squad and an MMG.  Another squad plus a Panhard armored car is entering across the board because they have heard that there is a German force coming to keep the bridge from being blown.
The Germans have two squads, an MMG in a captured French truck (need to buy some German trucks) and a Pz i and a Pz II they have managed to get across the river upstream.

This is the German starting position after some activations.  The orange dice are the activation dice.  Each leader rolls a die at the start of the turn, and the dice is placed beside the unit.  Buck usually uses a more subdued die color for this.  As I wanted to take pictures, I used a brighter color.  There is an activation deck with numbered cards.  That deck is shuffled and you turn a card.  The units with that number by their leader are activated.  There is a process for deciding which unit goes first when two or more units have the same number.  This is all explained in Buck's Youtube video about the activation process.

Now, as I said, no scenario survives contact with the players.  Light tanks can move quite a ways in this game.  Don, playing the Germans, proved this on his first activation when the Pz I went all the way up the road and attacked my French engineers.

He missed, but unlucky for me the same number came up the next card turn.  His Pz I was now firing 2 machine guns at close range with no moving mod.  He started picking apart my engineers before my security force could react.  I was playing the basic game, since it was fairly new players.  there are rules for reaction fire that might have affected his ability to do this.  Another lesson learned.

There were victory conditions for each side.  The French had to blow the bridge and get the engineers off the board for a major victory.  The Germans had to prevent the bridge being blown and destroy the engineers for a major victory.  The Germans did this handily.

The rules work very well.  You use the cards for moving, firing, determining if cover affects the shot, where the shot hits, etc.  You can use either the basic rules for wounds, where a wounded figure only activates on certain cards, or you can use the more detailed rules that show where the figure was hit.  The cards also do the vehicle combat.  The players quickly know what they need to hit with their units and the modifiers, which are on the cards.  It all goes very smoothly.

Buck has also done a Youtube video of how resolving hits works with armored vehicles in the game.

I am enjoying these rules.  After I play a few more times I plan to take them to a con in the future to demo them.

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.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Arc of Fire Early French platoon and supports

My brother recently got me into Arc of Fire.  I have owned the rules for a couple of years, but I am really bad at just reading a set of rules and being able to figure them out.  I learn by doing things rather than by reading them.
So, my brother got me into 2 games.  By the second game, I was picking it up.  In my opinion, it blows any other WWII skirmish game out of the water.  Its much better than either Bolt Action or Victory Decision.
So at the second game, my brother started talking about some early war French he had bought.  He dislikes painting, and I have much more time now that I am retired.  I offered to paint them, at which point our friend Dave started laughing.  My brother bought them for me for a Christmas present, and now was getting me to paint them for him.
So, I finished them recently.

I definitely need to get a real camera instead of my phone.  We have, in 20mm, 3 squads, a command group, a sniper team, a medium machine gun, a mortar, a 25mm AT gun, and a P16 halftrack.  They will be given the baptism of fire on Saturday.

In addition I have been painting more 40mm figures for my Charge rules.  I have a squadron of cavalry (9 figures) almost finished.  Those will give me another blog post.  I have another squadron started.

Being retired, I have much more time for painting and building stuff.  I have some 20mm buildings in the works that will the subject of another post.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Wargaming Again

So, its been since April that I put anything on the blog.  In the meantime, we moved from Kansas City, Missouri to Fort Collins, Colorado.  I am retired now, and we had decided a long time ago to move back to Colorado.

 I miss the guys I gamed with in Kansas City.  They are a great bunch, and I had many good times.

Since coming to Fort Collins, I have gamed with my brother, playing Arc of Fire.  I enjoyed it very much, and will paint figures for it.  I played a game of Desperado at the local game store (Gryphon Games) and that was fun also.

This weekend, my friend Brad Thorton came up and we played the first game ever with my 40mm figures painted for the ImagiNations of the Grand Duchy of Waldo and the Ruskin Palatinate.  We were using the rules All the King's Men, from the website of the same name.

The rules were written for their 54mm figures, I hope they will excuse us for playing with the diminutive 40mm figures.

The rules are easy to play.  The units are 12 for infantry, 6 for skirmishers or cavalry.  I have no cavalry at this time, so we had equal forces:

1 grenadier unit
3 line units
1 skirmisher unit
1 gun

We ended up playing 2 games, it moves quickly.  Its a card based game, where you take two of the suits out of the deck.  Each side is then moving on either red or black cards.  Each unit starts the turn with a green marker.  When a unit is moved, it degrades to a yellow marker, and if it moves again in the turn, it goes to red.  Green units firing have successes on 4/5 and 6, yellow on 5 and 6, and red on 6.  Units can and do get activated multiple times in a turn.  At the beginning of the next turn, all the units go back to green markers.

Firing is an opposed roll, with the firing unit needing more successes than the defending unit to cause casualties.  Taking fire casualties also causes a drop in color for the unit.

Melee is an opposed roll, but both sides take all the casualties caused by the other.  The attacker, no matter what his color going in, rolls as green in melee.  At the end of the melee, both units are automatically red, no matter what color they started.

The first game was a straight up battle.

Brad was on the far side with the Grand Duchy of Waldo, I am the closer army with the Ruskin Palatinate.  This battle ended up with a definite win for the Grand Duchy of Waldo.  I used my grenadiers to charge a unit, but then a fresh unit on the other side charged them and destroyed them.  I had previously lost my skirmishers and one other unit.  If you lose half your units the game is lost.

The second battle was a little more challenging.  a river crossed the table, with a bridge in the middle.  There were two fords by the woods along the river, causing you to lose speed for the ford and the woods.  Each side's skirmishers started on the table a foot from the bridge.  I managed to put my skirmishers on the bridge, and push two units across a ford.  I caught Brad in a crossfire and defeated his units in detail.

It was a fun day, and I liked the rules.  They are a free download at the All the King's Men website.  They have more tactical decisions than you might imagine for a free set of rules, and worth a look.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Again I have been awful about posting.  I have been very busy.  I retired at the end of January.  We have been getting our house ready to sell, and now have a contract pending the inspection and appraisal.  

Its an unusual house, and we love it, but its time to move back to Colorado.

So, I have most of my wargaming stuff packed.  I am working on finishing up some units.

I have been working on ImagiNations in two different periods, but with the same countries.  They are the Grand Duchy of Waldo, and the Palatinate Ruskin.  Both are named after neighborhoods in Kansas City.

So the figures on the left that unpainted are 40mm grenadiers for the Palatinate Ruskin.  They are being done in NQSYW units, to use with the Charge! rules.  The cavalry in the foreground are the Grand Duchy of Waldo Light Dragoons from the late 1800s/early 1900s.  The rules are not totally decided yet, but will be old school.

I am sorry to be leaving Kansas City and the Thursday night group that games at Jaye's house.  I am looking forward to gaming with my brother and other gamers I have known for over 30 years in the Denver area.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Packing up

I haven't updated this in some time.  I retired at the end of January.  My wife and I are in the process of packing everything up.  We are planning on moving to Colorado at the end of May, assuming our house sells.
I am keeping some stuff out to finish painting.  I have been working on the 40mm Shiny Toy Soldier figures I bought.  I have plans for another purchase of these to make up the armies for both sides.
I am finding that retirement has advantages and disadvantages.  I certainly appreciate not having to go to a job every day that I was pretty much over.  It was a good job, and I had good people around me, but I was ready to retire.  On the other hand, I am a pretty social person.  I miss the interaction.  I think when we get to Colorado I need to find someplace to volunteer.
So I am in a state of change, soon to move to a different state!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Grand Duchy of Waldo first unit

I have become a fan of 40mm figures.  I bought Prince August Molds, and am making armies for Charge! I also was interested in the period around the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s.  I bought a bunch of figures from Spencer Smith's Shiny Toy Soldier line.
They require some assembly.  You have to attach their right arm and the head.  The variety of uniforms gives you a lot of choices.
I bought figures for two sides.

This is the first unit.  Its painted in Toy Soldier style, with a shiny finish.