On Monday (7th October) I was joined by Doug, Nick & John for a playtest of Feudal Patrol, a fantasy - medieval skirmish ruleset due for publication first quarter of 2020.
We were playing the first scenario that appears in the introductory section of the rules, 'Gallic Revolt'.
The scenario is described in terms of Romans and Gauls, but as we did not have any of those miniatures mounted on single bases we set our game in Tolkien’s Middle Earth with the men of Gondor standing in for the Romans and Uruk Hai Orcs standing in for the Gauls.. Below is the scenario setting from the rule book.
Romans under Greggarious Pribus are marching through a rural part of Gaul. Having established a marching fort, Pribus has sent Prefect Ignavus with a small group or Roman Legionaires to scout the nearby countryside. Tired of Roman domination and taxation, the local Gallic chieftain, Chikflix, has rallied the local men in pursuit. Ignavus sees that he is in a precarious position and orders his patrol to retreat to the comparative safety of a small farm enclosure. Chikflix launches an attack on the Ignavus and his men with the intent to wipe them out before reinforcements can arrive. All units begin the game on the table as indicated on the map.
The encounter was set in a valley, with wooded hillside sloping away at each corner, a stream meanders through the valley floor, bisected by a road with a bridge. On the far side of the bridge a small farmstead has been built. The men of Gondor are deployed to defend the farmstead, with reinforcements hurrying down the road. The Uruk-Hai attackers are closing in from all directions.
Control of the bridge over the stream features highly in the plans of both sides. Looks like Gondor has got there first. Feudal Patrol is based on a card-based action resolution first seen in the WW2 Combat Patrol and the Sci-Fi ACP 164 rulesets but rewritten to give more detail to hand to hand combat which plays a central part to fantasy and medieval combat. Feudal Patrol also uses a double-blind activation system. At the start of each turn, each leader rolls a D6. This is the leader’s activation number for this turn. The activation deck contains black cards numbered 1-6 and red cards numbered 1-6 plus an end of turn card and some optional special action cards. For each phase a card is turned from the activation deck, all leaders whose dice value matches the card drawn can activate in this phase. Higher leaders can swap their dice with subordinate leaders to get the important units moving first.
When a unit is activated, the members of the unit can move and or shoot. If movement brings a figure into base contact with an enemy figure, a melee is fought. Distance moved ranges from 2"-10" and is determined by turning an action card. The action card gives three movement values for light, medium or heavily armoured troops. Here we see the Uruk-Hai sweeping down the hillside to engage the Gondorians in a melee.
At the bridge, the Gondorians had arrived first which was advantageous as there were far more Uruk-Hai on the table, so this move limited the amount that could attack them at any one time. It also put both units into close order, which gave them an advantage in melee. To be in close order you needed to have at least 4 bases touching and to be in two ranks.
The first round of combat on the bridge was inconclusive, however the Uruk-Hai were pushed back and had to take some morale test markers. The Uruk-Hai sent additional troops wading across the stream with the intention of attacking from both sides.
The Uruk-Hai had left their archers behind when they charged. Their bow fire had managed to cause a few wounds, stuns and morale markers before their comrades charged home.
As the battle lines engaged, the melee was broken up into a number of smaller 1:n combats which are each resolved separately.
Here we see the Orcs massing for another charge across the bridge.
The card driven mechanics of Feudal Patrol are very different to other fantasy / ancient / medieval games we had played. Basically, a card is turned to see if you hit, and if you hit a second card is turned to see who is hit and how much damage and does cover or armour stop or reduce the damage. This is all fairly quick and intuitive. Your chance to hit is based on how well you are trained with the missile or melee weapon. These qualities range from 1 (god like) to 9 (abysmal). This base chance is modified by tactical factors such as range, movement, being stunned, wounded or out of command.
We will be playing lots more play test games for Buck over the next few months. If the concept of the game sounds interesting you can download the free introductory Combat Patrol WW2 rules from here, or the ACP164 Sci-Fi rules from here.
Miniatures shown are from Games Workshops Lord of the Rings range.
Buildings are from 1st Corp / Curteys Miniatures
Modular terrain boards are built using Terra-Former Modular Terrain System. Click here for details.