Combat Patrol was released las week (see previous post and information here: http://www.bucksurdu.com/Buck_Surdu/Combat_Patrol.html). I ran two games featuring the rules at Fall In this weekend, and Eric Schlegel ran another. There was to be a fourth game using Combat Patrol for the Napoleonic Wars, but the game was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances by the GM.
Both games went extremely well. The first game was over full, but I managed to cram everyone into the game. I had a couple of players from the first game come back to play again in the second game — including a small child who was able to control his own forces and work the rules without assistance.
The two scenarios were linked. The ending positions from the first scenario were the starting positions for the second scenario. The first scenario involved a German platoon and an American platoon bumping into each other in a small village at an important crossroads. Both sides had the objective of gaining and maintaining an advantageous position before reinforcements arrived (the second scenario).
Between the scenarios I reconstituted some of the squads the had been badly shot up, but mostly I left the forces where they were at the end of the first scenario. I think this worked really well. The starting positions for this second scenario were in better and more interesting positions than I probably would have put them if I was running the second scenario without the benefit of the first scenario.
This picture (above) shows the general layout of the table before the fighting began. This is from the perspective of the Americans.
Both scenarios were closely run affairs, with neither side having a significant advantage until toward the end of the second scenario.
In the picture (above) you can see the command dice next to the three elements that make up the US squad. This was their starting position for the first scenario. This squad was patrolling up the road when the fun began.
In the picture (above) you can see that part of a US squad was in the woods on the left, and the other half of that squad, including a bazooka team had the up position in the building. The player thought he had a great position for his bazooka. When the German halftrack rushed past the opening, the bazooka team passed its Reaction roll to fire, but THEN the player realized there was no window on that side of the building! We had a lot of fun at his expense after that.
Since his bazooka as ineffective, the team in the woods hit the halftrack with a captured Panzerfaust, knocking out the driver and the forward machine-gun. Then the Americans assaulted it. The Germans had dismounted, so for a while the two groups tossed grenades over the vehicle at each other.
Everyone seemed to grasp the rules quick, and they all seemed to have a good time. There were no glaring issues — which would have been disappointing after three and a half years of development. All in all, I was very satisfied with the results.
There were some die-hard fans of other rules in the the two games, but I didn’t hear any of the “in rules ___, they do this…” types of comments, which I thought was a good sign. A number of folks asked how they could get the rules, and I had some prepared flyers with QR codes that they could scan to go straight to the rules. I did not see a bump in sales over the weekend, but most of the flyers I posted around the conventions kept disappearing. Presumable they were taken by folks interested in the rules and not by competitors.
There was a lot of dancing around between the German Pz. IV, the US Sherman, and the US Stuart. The Pz. IV got stuck trying to climb over this brick wall. Then the Sherman pulled up behind it, put a round through the engine, and knocked it out. The smoke shown is scary painted cotton batting glued to battery-operated tea lights with black bases.
I probably lost a few sales by not having decks of cards in the dealer area. I also got some complaints over the weekend from someone who thought the game was too expensive in England with shipping costs. Still, I want to let this electronic-only distribution run its course for a little while.
We pay as much for rules shipped to the US, and it’s unlikely Brits will buy a set of rules written by a Yank anyway. (That’s meant to be a joke!) I have attempted to reduce the risk by providing the YouTube how-to video and by making the basic rules free so that prospective customers can read them before purchasing the cards. The rules are available worldwide without having to find a local stockist or distributor. That’s the best I can do.
In addition to my two Combat Patrol games, Eric Schlegel ran a game with the rules as well. Several of the HAWKs ran a series of games on the same town table all weekend, including Battleground, Dr. Who, and others.