A bunch of us participated in “JJ Con” in January. My laptop died the next day, so it has taken me a while to get the pictures off my camera and post a few. JJ Con is an annual gaming event, hosted by my high school buddy JJ. It has become a three day gaming weekend / reunion of buddies. In addition to some X-Wing, chariot racing, a fantasy variant of Blood and Swash, and the old Flying Buffalo card game, Nuclear War, we played several games using Combat Patrol™. Not only is Combat Patrol™ the best set of rules ever written, but running five games using the same set of rules was easier for the guys who only game once a year. This way, they didn’t have to learn a new set of rules with each game.
JJ ran a Combat Patrol™ scenario from the Skirmish Campaigns book based in Poland in 1939. I was on the Polish side, and we were attacking. Our objective was to capture two of the three buildings or knock out all the German vehicles. The Germans began the game mostly hidden, and then a bunch of tanks arrived as reinforcements.
I advanced with three tankettes and an armored car (represented by the light tank in this picture) to outflank one of the German-held buildings, but I ran smack into a German AT gun and some infantry. The Germans kept trying to toss grenades into the tankettes while I kept trying to maneuver and machine-gun the infantry. In the end, Duncan’s infantry and AT crew knocked out all but one of my tankettes.
The armored car was able to get off a couple of shots, knocking out an advancing German tank. In the picture above, the yarn was denoted woods. When the German tanks came out of the woods, I took a reaction shot. In Combat Patrol™, there is not opportunity fire rule, per se. Instead, figures have a reaction number. A figure may attempt to interrupt enemy movement by drawing an Action card, looking for a result lower than his reaction number. In this case, I succeeded and hit the Pz II with a 37mm shell and knocked it out.
In the end, the game was a German victory. We Poles were advancing steadily, but we had no hope of capturing two of the three buildings — we just didn’t have enough infantry — or knocking out the last German vehicle.
The next game was a Boer War game. Dave Wood has been working on a Boer War supplement for Combat Patrol™: WWII for a couple of years. This scenario, which he’ll re-run at Cold Wars in March, is based on the raid that is discussed in the movie Breaker Morant, in which Morant’s commander is killed.
Dave had to take heavy license with the historical battle. We British were advancing through the open at dawn to capture the Boer commander. All of us failed out player morale after about two turns as were were getting slaughtered by long-range rifle fire, and there appeared to be no hope of success. Unbeknownst to us, Dave had a surprise. British irregulars, some of whom were Boer deserters, entered the table behind the Boer position. This provided the support we needed to give us hope of success.
In the end, we British still lost, but there we made a fight of it.
Dave really only made a few changes to the rules. Most had to do with how he handles command and control, since the units of this day were quite large, not organized into small squads like in WWII.
War of 1812
The next game involved American sailors landing to seize supplies from a British port in the Caribbean during the War of 1812. Duncan has run this game before, and it is always fun. Many of the British begin the game asleep, which gives the Americans an early advantage, but they quickly awake and put up a stiff defense.
The battle hinged on fight in the compound where the supplies were being stored. The British were asleep in the compound when the Americans arrived. The Americans attacked. Then the British reinforced, and so on. The battle seesawed back and forth throughout the game, with melees and short range fire.
Melee in Combat Patrol uses essentially an “opposed die roll.” The British and American forces had essentially the same abilities. The outcome was in doubt until the end. When the smoke cleared, it was declared a British victory. We still held the supplies.
Moros in the Philippines
We used the same terrain from the Napoleonic game to run a similar Moro game. In this case, a band of Moros was advancing from the jungle to seize the supplies in the compound. The Americans and Filipinos began with a few units near the supplies, but many were out in the town and had to race back toward the compound and safety.
I made a mistake in the scenario by not making the male train protected by Americans move a little slower than the infantry. This made it difficult for the Moros to catch them in the open. As usual, the Moro players feel disadvantaged by their small number of firearms. The Moros had 50% troops than the Americans, and they could afford to lose a few in charges, but players don’t seem to like to have to play that way.
For the Moros, I use the Japanese Action Deck from the South Pacific supplement. The only difference between these decks and the original Combat Patrol ™ Action decks are the morale results. To represent Japanese morale in the South Pacific, these cards have more unit morale results and fewer individual results. There are a number of cases where on the original Action Deck one or two figures would sprint toward the enemy, but on the South Pacific decks, the entire unit conducts a Banzai charge. This seems to work very well for the Moros in the Philippines.
I also added a rule for juramantado. These were Moro assassins who conducted suicidal charges. Taking the idea from the movie The Real Glory, I gave each of the four Moro players one juramantado figure. This figure had an increased Endurance attribute and enjoyed the benefits of the Banzai charge rules from the South Pacific supplement . They had to charge toward the American overall leader to try to kill him.
This was the second time I ran this scenario. The first time it was a swirling melee and a running retreat across the table. This time the Americans raced to the compound and then went into Fort Apache mode. In the end, it was a narrow Moro victory, which was ironic, since the Moro players felt like they were losing the entire game.
I think that using one set of rules for most of the games worked well. It made it very easy for the folks who game once a year at JJ Con. By the end of the second game, they infrequent gamers had mastered the basics of the rules and could focus on the game. All of them were able to easily grasp even the nuances of Combat Patrol™, and they really enjoyed the rules.