Over the last few months we have had the opportunity to participate in playtesting of Feudal Patrol. This is a ruleset, currently in development with a planned release date of March/April 2020. The rules are written by Buck Surdu retired US Army Colonel and prolific rules author whose works include Gaslight, Combat Patrol and the Look Sarge No Charts range. Feudal Patrol covers historical periods dominated by melee, so from iron age up to around 1500, plus swords and sorcery fantasy genres. The system is great for small unit actions such as raids, ambushes, escalades etc. Figures are based on single bases. Units are typically made up of between 4 and 6 figures, although it is also possible, as in this game to treat each miniature as a unit in its own right.
Last week, my son Lewis came over from university for a couple of days and we got some terrain and miniatures out to play another game of Feudal Patrol using the excellent set of scenarios that were published for the medieval skirmish board game, Cry Havoc. The scenario that we choose was 'Foraging Party'.
Foraging Party represents an army living off the land, foraging for supplies for men and horses. The horses particularly, require a significant volume of stores to keep them in fighting condition. Sir Richards forces are feeding their horses while he attempts to protect them from Sir Williams force who are intent on stealing the horses and making away with them.
Sir Richards force consists off Sir Richard (a superior knight), a standard knight, 6 peasant horse holders with horses and six spearmen led by a Sergeant. The raiders led by Sir William consists of two superior knights and four standard knights (all mounted). In Feudal Patrol figures are rated for Guts (morale), Accuracy (ranged combat), Melee (hand to hand combat ability), Endurance and Reaction. There are three categories for Guts; Elite, Regular & Green. Accuracy and Melee values range from 1-9 with lower numbers being better. We defined the units for this game as follows:
Superior Knights: Elite, Melee 2, 1 point or armour all over, armed with lance, sword and shield.
Knights: Elite, Melee 3, 1 point or armour all over, armed with lance, sword and shield.
Sergeant: Regular, Melee 4, 1 point of armour head, chest & abdomen, armed with sword and shield.
Spearmen: Regular, Melee 5, 1 point of armour head, chest & abdomen, armed with spear and shield.
Peasants / Horse Holders: Green, Melee 6, Unarmoured, armed with club
Victory Points were awarded:
Each horse captured: 10 points
Each horse killed: 5 points
Each enemy knight killed: 15 points
Each peasant killed: 1 point
Other enemy killed: 4 points
Each attackers horse killed or captured: 10 points
Each enemy knight killed: 15 points
Lewis played the Foragers and set up the horses and horse holders in and around the Inns courtyard and gardens.
The attackers deployed onto the table, from a chosen table edge as they were activated. In Feudal Patrol, at the start of each turn, an activation dice is rolled for each unit. An activation deck is uses that has two sets of numbered cards 1-6 in black and red and an end of turn card. When an activation card is turned, all the units who share that activation number get to move, so depending where the end of turn is, units will activate 0, 1 or 2 times. If a unit gets pinned, through a morale result or being out of command, it only gets to activate on the black numbers, reducing its effectiveness by 50%.
My attackers went for a two-pronged assault. Half made their way around the side of the building and through the kitchen garden to get to the courtyard, with the intent of stealing some horses before they could be moved off table, while the rest of my force charged down the main road to engage the covering force.
Seeing events unfold, Sir Richard rearranged his defenders to form a solid wall across the road.
Lewis decided from the start, that the best way to ensure victory was to save the horses. As a scenario rule, a unit on foot can use its activation to add a horse or mule to a train. This is what he is doing now to free up some horse holders to assist with the defence.
Sir Jacques, the other knight in the foragers force organises the defence of the courtyard to buy time for the horses to be withdrawn.
Here we see the first of the foragers horses making it to the safety of the tables edge.
…while the main raiding force still has a way to go to make contact with the defenders.
First blood goes to the raiders, with Sir John incapacitating Sir Jaques for 15 victory points.
Sir William takes a diversion to attempt to engage the defenders in the flank.
Here’s an overview of the whole gaming table. Terrain construction is covered in my Blackstone Heath series of articles and videos.Click here to take a look. The scenery is built on 1' and 2' square terra-former modular terrain tiles. The buildings are 3D printed. Full details of what has been used and where to get it from in the Blackstone Heath article, linked above.
Sir William and Sir Richard fight with chivalry. Eventually Sir Richard prevails, and Sir William is incapacitated.
The foragers manage to get the rest off there horses off table...
While the defenders fight a brave rear guard action.
At the end of the game, the foragers had well and truly won having incapacitated 3 enemy knights for 45 victory points, while the raiders had not managed to steal any horses and had only collected 20 victory points for incapacitating one knight, one spearmen and a peasant. So well done Lewis. In hindsight, I would have done a lot better if I had deployed from the opposite table edge, as I had to far to move and it was too easy for the foragers to exit their horses.
However, the game was a lot of fun, the scenario was a lot more fun than a line up and advance to contact game and I would certainly play the scenario again and hope to do better by learning from the experience.
The miniatures are mainly from 1st Corp and have been mounted onto Sally 4th clear Perspex bases.
Click here for Blackstone Heath articles and videos about building this gaming table.