Combat Patrol TM

Combat Patrol TM

What are Combat Patrol WW2 Skirmish Rules?

Combat Patrol (TM) WW2 skirmish rules features the G.A.M.E.R.(TM) engine.  G.A.M.E.R.(TM) is a unique skirmish system in which cards are used not just for activation but for all aspects of combat resolution and melee.  No dice are used to resolve combat.  Over three years were spent in development.  The result is a system that flows smoothly and supports many-player gamers.

Combat Patrol is designed for playing platoon level WW2 actions, this is the same level of engagment as a Bolt Action game.

Units in the game are around five figures and represent a fire team or half squad of infantry, a heavy weapons team, a vehicle or an artillery piece.

Individual casualties are removed so it is best to use figures on single bases. Any scale of miniature can be used, 28mm, 20mm or 15mm so you can use the same wargames figures that you use for Bolt Action, Rapid Fire or even Flames of War!

Combat Patrol TM has been written by John 'Buck' Surdu, retired US Army Colonel and prolific and innovative games designer whose previous works include Gaslight, Look Sarge no charts, Fire Team Vietnam, Beer & Pretzels Skirmish and many, many more. When you start to play Combat Patrol, you can tell that the designer has actually led a rifle platoon.

Combat Patrol Wargames Illustrated Video 

Click here to take a look at the 4 minute Combat Patrol Playthrough Video put together by Wargames Illustrated Magazine.

Click here for video demo of Star Wars using Combat Patrol

Click here to take a look at Star Wars gaming using Combat Patrol!


The ebb and flow in his system give the feel of fast paced firefights; as combatants fire, duck, rise up, and fire again.  

“Cpl. Smith ran up to the wall and crouched down to fire his rifle. 
A near miss hit the wall by his head and showered his face with 
small bits of rock.  He ducked down behind the wall and exhaled 
sharply. "That was too close," he thought.   He braced himself, 
took a deep breath, and rose slowly back up over the lip of the 
wall to fire....”

Chris Palmer

Combat Patrol

Key features of the game are:

  • The Double Random Activation(TM) mechanism provides the unpredictability and drama of card-based activation without the drawbacks. This activation mechanism was originally developed for Battles by GASLIGHT and was refined during the development of Look, Sarge, No Charts titles.  The mechanism uses cards for activation but ensures that multiple players are acting at the same time.
  • No big yellow or pink chart cards cluttering up your beautiful gaming tables.  Each player needs one or two 3″x5″ cards with the information about his units, including their weapons and equipment.   Other than those, there are no chart cards.  The back of these unit records includes the modifiers for hand-to-hand combat and terrain effects on movement.  After a game or two, players rarely need to refer to these, so two unit records can be taped back to back for even less clutter.
  • Combat resolution is resolved by flipping cards.  Players read different sections of the cards in the Action Deck depending on what they are trying to do:  shooting, resolving hits, “rolling” to penetrate enemy vehicles, hand-to-hand combat, movement, and morale.  In development, I took a series of charts and then broke them apart to fit on an Action Deck of 50 cards.  Flipping a card is essentially the same as rolling a die and looking up the result on a table.  The difference is that you don’t have to do all that table look up.  Flip a card and determine whether you got a hit.  If so, flip the next card to see which target figure was hit, how severely, and whether he is protected by cover.
  • Cover is represented explicitly.  Instead of cover providing a negative modifier to hit, if you get a hit, when you flip the next card in the Action Deck, you look for cover icons.  If the target figure is in the type of cover indicated on the card, instead of being wounded or incapacitate he ducks back behind cover and is stunned.  While the use of cover as a to-hit modifier and the process in Combat Patrol(TM) can be mathematically equivalent, there is something intuitively appealing to knowing that the window sill deflected that round that would have otherwise hit your figure.  In play tests, this explicit representation of cover has made players make better use of cover while maneuvering their squads.
  • Messy “opportunity fire” rules are replaced by a simple reaction mechanism.
  • Somewhat randomized movement speeds based on the Guts level of the unit or its leader.
  • The G.A.M.E.R.(TM) engine name is an acronym for the attributes which describe figures in Combat Patrol(TM): Guts (morale), Accuracy (shooting), Melee (hand-to-hand combat), Endurance (how many wounds a figure can take), and Reaction.  The game master can “sculpt” a unit to fit a historical scenario.
  • Playable on multiple levels of resolution.  At the lowest level, all the figures in a unit have the same attributes.  At the highest level, each figure can have different attributes.  The levels of resolution can be mixed so that the Commando unit has more detail than the installation security personnel.  This allows games that have a historical feel as well as those with a more cinematic feel.
  • Rules for replacements of personnel and equipment between scenarios enable players to represent mini-campaigns.
  • Ground scale is 1 inch = 5 yards, pretty close to the scale of the 28mm figures I used in play testing.
  • The basic rules are just eight pages -- and that includes several pictorial examples of firing and grenade resolution that fill almost a full page themselves!

Combat Patrol TM is Published in the UK under licence by Sally 4th.


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