Excellent Skirmish Rules.
from Anonymous on 07/11/2020
Feudal Patrol *TM. Skirmish Miniatures in the Ancient Medieval & Fantasy Periods.
From Roman Legionaries, Medieval Knights to English Civil war or early black powder. These rules encompass it all.
Content: Soft cover book with 125 pages; Quick Start- 30 pages. Full rules 30-77, Scenarios 78-84, Fantasy 85-100. Scenario creation and Campaigns 101-112, Solitaire rules 113-123. Pages are included with player aids which can be copied.
Price: I purchased the rules, which came with required card decks, from On Military Matters web site. I paid $62.00 included postage, on the pre-publish offer. Sally4th in the UK, and Noble Knight Games in US, also offer the rules and required card decks.
The game requires the separate purchase of two Action card decks, 50 cards per deck, and activation deck.
*Activation Deck and Action Deck cards are not included and are a separate purchase.
-Clarity of rules. I found the rules were clear and examples given were excellent. The layout of some charts causes you to thumb back pages to reference them to understand the rule being explained. The table of contents was extensive and well thought out.
-Quality of the rule book. Good, the example photos are not as in focus as my old eyes would like, but it is functional and above all goes with the period the rules represent.
-Quick start: Rules basics are covered and provide enough information to start an immediate battle.
• Buck Surdu has created a paper computer by encapsulating all the combat results tables, armor, casualty, and weapons tables along with randomized numbers into a deck of cards.
• This design mechanic relieves the gamer of having to reference numerous tables during a game. The product of such a system is time saving.
• The simplification of information needed by the gamer is represented by the cards in the game.
• The Double Random Activation * TM mechanism is used to initiate movement. Throw a six-Sided dice to determine the card number that will active the unit. Numbered cards inside the activation deck, when drawn, will activate the unit with the corresponding number on the units’ dice.
• Movement, hit chance, combat effects and morale as well as a randomized ten-sided dice and a randomized direction indicator are represented in each card. A game Master or player draws a card a number representing a unit’s activation dice will allow the unit or leader to activate the unit and perform actions., a reshuffle card, elite move, and green move cards. There are random event cards which can be added as well as a blue numbered 1-6 set of cards which can be added for extra moves for certain units if the players choose.
The activation deck is shuffled, a card is drawn. If the card number has multiple units from both sides with the same activation dice. Players will determine who moves first, by drawing action cards from their decks and looking at a ten-sided dice on the card. Units can fire ranged weapons, move and if the non-activated player is close enough to the moving player, they may attempt to react the opposing players movement. This reacting player looks at the reaction number of his unit, flips a card in his action deck and cross references his reaction number with the to hit shield icon on the card. If successful, the reacting unit could fire ranged weapons or move. A stun is placed on the reacting unit if he successfully reacts, to indicate having moved. If not successful no stun is applied.
Ranged fire is conducted by looking at the accuracy of the unit, compare range, movement, wound status, leader status to see what modifiers as represented on the cards, apply, and then draw a card. If the modified accuracy number is enough to score a hit on the drawn card, then another card is drawn to determine who and what kind of wound to their body occurs. This is modified by the armor and cover the target has and if the cover is present on the card. Damage is assessed, if hits are scored morale markers are given to leaders which must be removed during their actions. Units can be stunned by near miss ranged combat and other factors; stun markers must be removed before any other actions can be taken. The type of armor and location it is on the individual body is important in this game and represented well on the action card decks.
Melee occurs when bases touch, weapon reach will determine who hits first if equal it is simultaneous or can be determined by reaction. Draw a card, compare the unit hit number to the hit icons on the card and if successful draw another card to determine points of damage and hit location. All the information is on the cards. The armor class and cover the defending figure is in will modify the hit of the attacker. Cavalry has impetus and counter charge ability. The horse figure is represented on the cards and will show damage as well as indicate if the rider has been thrown.
Once Melee is over units withdraw from each other, depending on the success of the fight. Leaders can remove stuns on individual figures, the number depending on the class of leader. Morale markers accumulated by figures and units must be removed by the leader and cards are drawn per morale marker until none are left, Depending on the card drawn units can, return to normal, retreat away from the action, charge madly into it or become pinned. Leaders can swap their activation dice with other units, increase success rates for ranged combat, Melee combat, reduce stun and increase ability of a unit to withstand damage. Leadership is a big deal in this game.
Formations with Closed Order, 4 or more figures with bases touching and Open Order 3 or less figures without bases touching. Give advantages and disadvantages to ranged combat and melee in both attack and defense morale and movement. Command radius for leaders allows them to influence that unit as indicated by different modifiers on the action cards.
There is a Campaign system in the optional section of the rules, there are numerous player aids which can be copied for reference sheets and character unit cards. There are solitaire rules provided in the rules which are very well thought out and fun to play.
• The acronym GAMER is used to describe the attributes of each unit/ man which is represented as figures on the tabletop.
• Guts = morale.
• Accuracy = hit chance.
• Movement = divided into Light, Medium, Heavy. By weight of unit.
• Endurance = Hit points.
• Reaction = Number from 1-6, for the unit to be able to react, Opportunity fire/Opportunity move to interrupt the opponent as he moves.
• The system is simple and allows for all the basic elements of a skirmish tabletop war game to be played. There are optional rules which allow players to bring more complexity to the game.
• This is a man-to-man skirmish system which incorporates; Leaders, Units, ranging from 4-6 men. War bands comprised of four units with a leader. The system can handle up to 4 war bands grouped together to create a Group. It is possible to play up to 4 players, each containing a war band. This can mean up to 100 figures on the table. I had an Early Imperial Roman Century, 80 figures, on the table facing over 100 barbarians. I found this manageable, yet book keeping can be time consuming. The rules are geared for smaller encounters of around 50 figures.
• Cavalry, mounted figure rules are well thought out and represented on the cards. Riders being thrown and wounded stead’s damage is represented in the rules and on the cards. There is a counter charge mechanic for cavalry.
• Command and control are a central theme throughout the rules. Small unit leadership matters. The command radius of leaders and how they are employed for attack, defense and morale are central to the game.
• This is not a role playing game, as warned in the rules, yet with the addition of magical items and mythical beasts in the provided fantasy scenarios, I am certain that the system could easily be turned into a combat system alloyed to a role playing game.
• How does it play? It is above all a fast system to play. Everything needed is represented upon the cards. I found the game narrative, which these rules create, to be an enjoyable fun experience. You can play multiple encounters in a night or string them together as a campaign or adventure.
• Is it an accurate portrait of skirmish warfare?
• The outcomes of individual combat between two combatants considering; weapons, armor, wounds, leadership, morale, formation, and facings appear to me to be an accurate portrait of such a conflict.
• Weaknesses, fatigue for me, is not well simulated. Figures are stunned at the end of a sprint. They can be stunned after taking a wound or near miss. Fatigue appears to be embedded within the Stun/Wound mechanic. This is problematic in a game where physical exertion of men in armor hacking away at each other would be exhausting and a key element of this style of fighting.
• Lack of the nuance of differing formations and various costs of movement getting into these formations.
• These game rules are not meant as a detailed simulation. The weaknesses I note are not fatal to the rule system and are addressed by the ability of game masters to create rules to address these levels of complexity. The game rules manage to produce a surprisingly accurate portrayal of skirmish warfare.
Overall an Excellent effort by Buck and his band of Tabletop warriors. The cards and rules were purchased by me under a pre order program through On Military Matters. The rules were produced by Sally4th, a wonderful company out of the UK. Noble Knight games are also a US conduit. The amount of support available for this product is excellent, this can be found on both Buck Surdus web site as well as Sally4th. And Google Groups IO page. Buck has produced an excellent You Tube video introduction to Feudal Patrol. https://youtu.be/SlpLbMdgVv8