Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Herzöge von Hazzard - Combat Patrol AAR

This past weekend was HMGS' Cold Wars, held once again in the Valley Forge Casino's byzantine halls and rooms. 

I signed up for four games over two days, and volunteered to run one (which was Chaeronea using Strength & Honour, which I've posted about a few times now) as events list was a little thin on the eve of publication. 

Overall I enjoyed the convention, and I think that the players in my game enjoyed themselves. 

I'll be posting AARs of of the four games I played over the next few weeks, so here's the first!

Early Friday morning, after a couple hours drive from Cape May, I settled down for a game of Combat Patrol, run by Gregory with the ever-present HAWKS group. 

Combat Patrol, written by Buck Surdu, is a set of skirmish WWII rules that runs entirely on a deck of cards. The cards are used for movement, shooting, dicing off; anything that might crop up during the game is squeezed into a single card. Shooting, for example, is handled by multiple card flips. You flip to see if you hit, then who you hit, and then where they're hit and if it's deadly. Unit activations are also simultaneous, unless they might be interacting with enemy units, which can help speed up the early turns of a game.

It's a fun system that takes a little getting used to, but plays quickly once you become familiar. I had played a Napoleonic version way back at Barrage, and was looking forward to trying the original WW2 rules.

Greg's game was a fight between a British platoon and German platoon in 1940. The British had three infantry squads, an HMG, an anti-tank rifle, and two Matilda II tanks. The Germans didn't have any attached infantry support, but they had a bunch of tanks! Two Panzer IIs, a Panzer I, and a StuG. 

I was commanding an infantry squad and a Matilda II to start out, opposite a German squad. 

Thanks to a random activation system (that might restart without a chance for units to activate!) this was the position my troops were stuck in for a couple turns. 

Luckily the Matilda's armor was thick enough that the StuG was unable to outright destroy my tank, but the crew was stunned over and over. I did manage to get a fireteam into the ruins, but that left them at the mercy of the rapidly increasing number of German infantry. 

My Matilda, regrettably, was the first tank to brew up, leaving the British infantry uncomfortably exposed to the German armor.

Not that the situation was much better on the other side of the table, with two Panzer IIs blitzing through the town square!

With the indomitable 40k-esque spirit, one Panzer commander ordered his tank forward into the British infantry, scattering the Tommies like a flock of geese. 

My infantry were hunkered down in the ruins, hammered by German machine-gun fire. 

I did get the chance to bring on the HMG (I just forgot to take a picture), which did discourage the Germans from assaulting the Brits in the green ruins. 

The Germans were pressing the British back, having forced my fireteam out of the center ruins. 

In a daring maneuver, the Panzer II continued its rampage through the British infantry, further scattering and stunning the soldiers as it drove past. Two Brits desperately clung to the tank, trying to get their rifles or grenades into a open port. 

After a couple more turns, we decided to end the game with a decisive German victory. The British had lost their armor, taken multiple casualties, and had a German tank doing donuts through their flanks. The only thing to do was find the quickest route to Dunkirk!

 I had fun playing the game and, had it been available to purchase by any vendor at the convention, would have picked up a copy. Alas, no one had a copy, so I'll have to grab one online. I could see this being a fun game for the club, and it's another candidate for my idea of playing the Horus Heresy without GW's rules. 

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