Wednesday, 10 February 2010

More Thinking About Combat Patrol

Thanks to everyone who replied to my last thread on combat patrol, it has certainly helped to further develop my thoughts on how it could be brought into 5th edition.

Thinking aloud, and attempting to bridge the various ideas that have been floated, howabout:

*Points. The first question is whether we stick at 400pts, move up to 500pts or maybe even go up to 750. I like the idea of 400pts because it keeps it fast, something that you can get an army together for in pretty quick time, and because it forces limits on what can be fielded. Then again, while it works well for my Guard army, my CSM, Nurgle and Salmanders would struggle to field much of any use at that level. Maybe the solution here would be to keep 400 as an ideal, but keep it open so that it could go up in increments to 750? (just like a standard game is 1.5k, but can go up to X). By keeping a cap at 750pts, CS retains a distinct flavour that is different from the 'standard' game and missions.

*HQ. The 400pt (or 500 or 750) limit combined with the wound rule would mean that uber-powerful HQs could not be fielded. Practically and fluff-wise, it would make perfect sense to field, for example, a 10-man CSM with the Aspiring Champion as the HQ. I also like the idea that PAGE suggested that your HQ should be the mini with the highest leadership score.

*3 Wounds to 2. Is there a way of including a 3 wound character, but amending their stats (and points) so that they have 2 points?

* HS & FA. The more the points creep up to 750pts (or even lower for my Guard) the possibility of bringing in some HS comes up. Is it possible that the 'less than 33 AV' rule would automatically rule out most HS anyway? I can't think of a single HS vehicle that would be allowed through on that, but of course there are also such units as Obliterators or Devastator Squads. Maybe the solution here would be to say no HS? In terms of FA, I can see that if we are ditching the organisation charts, upping the points and emphasising the fluff then FA would be even more central a part of each army. Could a case be made for fielding a completely FA army?

*200pts limit: I still think that this is overly restrictive, especially. if we are including troops and designated transport together.

So pulling all this together, I'm wondering whether the following is doable:
*Stick to 400pts where possible, but have the option of going up to 500 or 750pts
*Leave the HQ choice open, albeit with the various restrictions in place. You can either use a separate HQ choice or have part of your troop choice (i.e. the Aspiring Champion) as the HQ. I think the 'no unique characters' rule should stay, but is maybe also covered by the wound rule.
*Remove the suggested 200pts limit, esp. if we are potentially moving up to 750pts.
*No HS, tanks are already covered in the '33' rule, but a general 'no HS' rule would cover the rest.
*All FA? Is it possible to work out an 'all FA' list?
*Wounds. Is it also possible to work out a rule of thumb to work out how to make a 3-wound character into a 2-wound one?


  1. “*Points.” I would argue that you don’t want to go past 500 points. At 750, you are basically playing normal 40K on a reduced scale, so all the additional limitations start to make army builds very feel restrictive (unless the point is to focus purely on troops).

    “*HQ.” You are still presented with the problem that most armies don’t have HQ units that are meant for such a small scale. A SM Captain or CSM Aspiring Champion are really the only two examples of HQ choices that “work” in this size game. You could explore a complex rule set, but this would make Combat Patrols more like WFB Warband rules with army specific rules. While such an approach would make for a better system, it also makes it less friendly for quick pick-up games. I do like the idea that the patrol commander is simply the model with the highest LD value.

    “*3 Wounds to 2” Without adding additional rules that change the game, I don’t see a good way play with wounds on HQ models to make them playable in a CP format. The issue isn’t the extra wound, but the abilities and options that are only open to HQ choices. It is also a matter of keeping the focus on that core troop unit.

    “HS & FA” I am still a firm believer that HS choices should have no place in a CP game. The two units you mention are a great example of why they should not be allowed. I feel it is far easier to not allow any HS choices than to create a complex check-n-balance system to determine which HS choices could be used.

    With regards to FA, one potential solution would be to allow a player 0-2 Elite or Fast Attack, which does open up more combinations and build types, but it also opens up the system for more abuse. (0-2 meaning two fast attack or two elites, or one elite and one fast attack) I would also argue that the game is now designed to focus on troops, so making changes to allow for all Fast Attack, or all Elite for that matter, would require additional rules clarifications.

    Another alternative would be to allow specific units that can be taken as a troop choice under certain condition (special character, etc) without meeting that special condition.

    With regards to unique characters, I am for opening up the playing field and allowing them if they meet the other requirements. Is Gunnery Serg Harker really that scary? The unit that breaks this though is the Doom of M. In a CP game, the Doom of M is unstoppable and controls the game. So if someone wanted to point to a reason for not allowing unique units, look no further than DOOOOOOOOM!

    “200 Point Restriction” I am sticking to my guns about this one until someone can give me a better solution that doesn’t require 4 lines of rules in comparison to what this one line accomplishes? The maximum squad of marines’ argument doesn’t hold water with me since you can still take a 5 man squad with a rhino/razorback. You are being denied a maximum sized squad, but so is every army with this rule. (Sorry that sounds hostile and that is not my intention) The point I am trying to make is that if the rule breaks something, I agree it needs to be amended, but I still haven’t read a response that really points to the rule being “broken”.

    It really comes down to what is the intention of the rule set you are trying to develop. A lot of what I am reading sounds more like an attempt to create a true skirmish level game, similar to the one Dean reference on my site, instead of a format that allows for two players to play a quick game using a small force without radically altering what is in the core rules or any specific codex. In the end, it is all about fun, so keep posting such great stuff.

  2. There's some good stuff here, I like this discussion! I started a response but it quickly got out of hand and too long for the comment box, so I extended it a bit and put it in a post on my blog:

  3. Marines need a 10 man squad to take special or heavy weapons at all. Without a full squad Tac Squads have no way of busting any form of armour above AV10 at range.

    Sure Sergeants can take a combi weapon, but that's only a one shot and not everyone takes them so won't have them modelled.

    "You are being denied a maximum sized squad, but so is every army with this rule."

    10 IG vets in a Chimera with upgrades to both comes out at around 170pts.
    You can get Dire Avengers in a Wave Serpant for less than 200 (though this is disallowed by armour restrictions). A full DA squad with the most expensive Exarch loadout is 177pts. A 20 guardian squad with Warlock can be made for under 200 also.
    12 Ard Boyz in a Trukk (with PK Nob) is 195pts.
    12 Fire Warriors in a Devilfish (with disruptor pod) is 195pts.
    10 Necrons is less than 200.

    The only armies really restricted are the Space Marines (both vanilla and spikey). Addmitedly I play Marines, but a 200pt cap on a unit does only seem to affect a limited range of armies when the AV restrictions are factored in.

  4. @Gotthammer - What about scouts or a razorback for busting vehicles? How hard is it to model a combi-weapon?

    I am assuming your list of units is meant as a counter point to my statement. Making that assumption, a necrons are minimum 10, not a maximum (which is 20). More to the point, the units you listed are neither overpowered or inappropriate for a CP type mission.

    I want someone to break the rule and prove me wrong, honest. So far though, the only argument against the limit is that I cannot take the same unit/configuration I always take in CP.

    If I recall correct, the winning CP army at a major con last year was a space marine army that relied on scouts and speeders. So even using the "current" format, the "winning" solution to the format with marines is not with tactical squads.

    @ Joe Kopena - I agree, this has been a great discussion. Shame I cannot view your site as my company's web filters keep labeling your site and something naughty.

  5. True on the Necrons, but all the others are full squads, which you said was a restriction across the board. It's only 3+ save armies getting hit here. And you can also get 10 SoBs in a rhino with 2 meltas for under 200.

    I don't see how 10 Marines in a Rhino with a heavy bolter and flamer is not appropriate for a patrol. I'm thinking something like a modern army where they have guys patroling in AFVs and APCs, rather than on foot.

    As for combi-weapons I meant that if you don't normally equip your sergeants with them it's a bit much to model new guys with them for a 'quick game' game. Also they're only one shot, so not a great replacement (and all short ranged)

    Also if a full tac squad is out, and there is a restriction on FA slots it is again hitting marines hard. Scouts can take the LS Storm as a transport - if you buy it in the FA slot. Also there are Scout Bikers - the ideal CP unit - also FA. The same for any marine bike or speeder.

    And doesn't saying that tac squads not being the most effective way to go prove my point that the restriction is unnecessary? ;)

    But, I am hugely biased in this case as my favourite unit in the game is the Tac squad :)

  6. @Gotthammer - Actually it doesn't prove your point as your original argument was that a marine force cannot be effective without a squad that exceeds the 200 maximum. 8-P

    I conceed that depending how you read my original statement, one can infer that I meant all units. I meant it as that I can pull a choice from each army that I cannot field at its maximum.

    If you want to discuss the restriction on the number of fast attack slots allowed, that is a separate debate and I can see the merits in allowing more than one unit. I can also list a number of reasons why it is a bad idea.

  7. Then my original point was badly worded, haha ;P And yes, I did read it as meaning all units.
    Regardless I'd still play a game against you under these rules if you asked - but next time we'd play it the other way (the advantage of quick games :) )

    FA slots are rather problematic as making a themed list for most armies requires them, but they're also an easy one to abuse for many armies.
    I guess that's one of the occasions to bring up Rule X - Don't be a derp to the other guy.

    The new missions book apparently has a revamped kill team in it. It will bee interesting to see if that is anything relatable to CP or not.

  8. I've played a little 40K in 40m with my friends and generally the rules are there for a reason. But the easiest house rule to impose for multi wound units and vehicles with AV over 33 is that you can take them but you must reduce wounds/armour to match the rules but get no cost reduction. This allows Eldar to take a Wave serpent which is 12/11/10 or a SM player to field a 12/11/10 dreadnought or 2 wound Space Marine Captain, but does not cause questions over point balance. Obviously the unit will be overpriced, but if you really want it ...

    I would keep the ban on uniques though, those guys are just to unbalancing in such a small game.