Combat Patrol (TM) Rubbled City Play Test for Historicon

Buck

On Saturday some members of my gaming club met at my house to prepare for our series of rubbled city games at Historicon 2016.

City fight game at Fall In 2015

City fight game at Fall In 2015

At Fall In 2015 several of the HAWKs ran a series of skirmish games on the same terrain board.  The idea was to set up an elaborate table and then use it for several scenarios.  Each GM used whatever rules they preferred, and there was no attempt to link the scenarios.  They ranged from WWII to Dr. Who.

Eric and Don (and perhaps others) determined to do the same at Historicon 2016, this time with a rubbled city.  We got together on Saturday to set up the table and map the layout.  This was to make sure that we weren’t missing anything while we still had time to make corrections.  It also gave us a chance to play test two of the six scenarios.  For Historicon, the scenarios range from WWII to modern.  Unfortunately, I had the settings on my camera wrong, so all the pictures from  yesterday have a sepia tone to them.  I had the camera set to accentuate the sky in sunny outdoor scenes, since the last time I had the camera out was in Costa Rica.

Kurt points out a key tactical dilemma.

Kurt points out a key tactical dilemma.

The Warsaw Uprising:

My game for Historicon will use Combat Patrol™: WWII.  The scenario is based on the Warsaw Uprising.  As the Germans were beginning to weaken and the Russians were advancing, the Poles rose up to eject the Germans from Warsaw.   The Russians then halted their advance while the Poles and Germans killed each other, and then the Russians seized Warsaw after the Germans had killed most of the fighters capable of resisting the Russian takeover of Poland.

The terrain consists of Crescent Root, MBA, and other buildings on a Cigar Box Battles mat.  Don has also created some nice piles of rubble and shell holes to improve the look of the city.  For Historicon we will also liberally sprinkle the table with Scenic Express model railroad blast from Eric’s five-gallon stash.

Two poles open fire from a rubbled building

Two poles open fire from a rubbled building

The “feel” I am seeking for the scenario is that the Germans would be moving about trying to clear the area, and the lighter-armed Polish partisans would pop up all over the place and plink away at the Germans.  I wanted something without a clear front line.

I think I achieved the desired effect.  The Poles began with five teams deployed wherever they wished on the table.  Each team was four figures, one with a submachine gun and three with rifles.  One of the riflemen also carried a captured Panzerfaust.  Two of the teams also included a light machine-gun.  Each time either the “Game Master” or “Reshuffle” card was drawn from the Activation Deck the Poles were allowed to place another team on the table wherever they wished, as long as it was not within line of sight of any Germans.  This allowed the Poles to pop up behind the Germans in areas previously cleared.

Germans advancing with support from a Hetzer

Germans advancing with support from a Hetzer

The Germans advanced steadily, knocking out the lightly-armed Poles, but the Poles delayed their advance.  Also the Poles used their ability to add new teams to create a few surprises for the Germans.

A German halftrack pulls into the rubble for protection while its infantry engages Partisans in two directions.

A German halftrack pulls into the rubble for protection while its infantry engages Partisans in two directions.

A long shot of the table

A long shot of the table

Two Poles firing at the Germans

Two Poles firing at the Germans

I learned a couple of things during the play test.  Of course, that’s why you run a play test.  I will let the Poles have one more team at the start of the game.  Also I will change the objectives a bit.  For this scenario, I told both sides their objective was to just kill each other.  It worked okay, but I think the scenario will be more fun if the Germans have something to do other than kill Poles.  I plan to use the same objective as my other Historicon Combat Patrol™ game — the Germans will have to capture and eliminate an improvised roadblock emplaced by the Poles.  This will improve the game.

A Polish team with a wounded member and a morale marker

A Polish team with a wounded member and a morale marker

Combat Patrol™ uses a randomized activation scheme, the Double Random™ activation mechanism.  In this method, each team leader rolls a d6 at the beginning of each turn.  Then cards are drawn from an Activation Deck.  All units whose command die matches the number drawn from the Activation Deck get to activate.  In this way, the game rarely involves on person doing stuff while everyone else watches; frequently several players are acting at the same time.

Two Poles firing at the Germans

Two Poles firing at the Germans from a rubbled building

Germans take up a protected position within a shell crater

Germans take up a protected position within a shell crater

You can see green rubber bands scattered about.  These are morale markers.  When a figure is wounded or incapacitated, the figure’s leader accrues a morale marker.  When the unit next activates, the unit first makes a morale check for each marker accrued.  This is done by drawing cards from the unit’s Action Deck and reading the results on the morale area of the card.

This halftrack as accrued several morale markers

This halftrack as accrued several morale markers

The action heats up as a third German squad enters the table from an unexpected direction.

The action heats up as a third German squad enters the table from an unexpected direction

A long shot of the table

A long shot of the table

The Poles knock out a German halftrack

The Poles knock out a German halftrack

Germans in hasty positions within shell holes

Germans in hasty positions within shell holes

Stalingrad:

After my play test, we reset the game to play test Eric’s scenario.   While different game masters will use different sets of rules for their games, Eric is also planning to use Combat Patrol™.  A nice thing about both of us testing our scenarios together was that it gave us a chance to reach agreement on how we are planning to treat different pieces of terrain so that we are consistent.

The Russians were able to declare one building as having been "fortified," meaning that we treated it as having better cover than the other rubbled buildings.  The building in this picture is the one the Russians chose.

The Russians were able to declare one building as having been “fortified,” meaning that we treated it as having better cover than the other rubbled buildings. The building in this picture is the one the Russians chose.

Eric’s Stalingrad scenario focuses on a German unit trying to seize Russian-held buildings.  The Germans had a choice of objectives.  They could choose to seize a key building and three others or to seize five buildings that did not include the key one.

Starting Eric's Stalingrad scenario

Starting Eric’s Stalingrad scenario

The Russians were not very good troops in this scenario.  We had a hard time hitting the Germans, but the Germans had to attack, so that seemed to balance out.

Planning the brilliant maneuvers by the Russians

Planning the brilliant maneuvers by the Russians

The Germans did a good job of bypassing strongpoints and working their way around the Russians.  In the end, it was a convincing German victory.

Germans seizing a Russian-held building

Germans seizing a Russian-held building

 So come and play our games at Historicon — as well as the other rubbled city games.

 

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2 thoughts on “Combat Patrol (TM) Rubbled City Play Test for Historicon

  1. Perhaps for play balance you could include the T-34 factory – I seem to remember reading that some T-34’s left the factory in Stalingrad crewed by the factory workers and went immediately into action. That could be a nice surprise. Also there were a number of snipers too.

  2. bucksurdu says:

    Hmmm. Interesting idea!

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