Warhammer 40k is a game which quite often takes players over 3 hours to complete a single match. Even time restricted tournament play is limited to 2.5 hours. But what if you have that itch to play a game of Warhammer and you’re pressed for time. Can Warhammer 40k be scaled down to just an hour?
The answer is yes, and the variant is called Combat Patrol. Combat Patrol is a 400 point match of Warhammer played on a 48” x 48” play surface, and uses the same ruleset as standard Warhammer 40k, with a few differences. Rather than pitting whole armies against each other, Combat Patrol represents smaller, more focused groups of soldiers in small skirmishes.
The result has been a fast paced game where players run small patrols that makes for a quicker and more casual game than core Warhammer 40k. It allows players to complete a game within an hour, and play many games in the time it would take for a single game of a 2,000 point game of Warhammer 40k.
When creating the Combat Patrol rules, the Renegade staff had to have a vision for what we wanted the game to be. Combat Patrol has existed for many years, in particular at Adepticon. In past versions of Combat Patrol, players were limited to 1 HQ, 3 troops, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Heavy and 1 Elites, with 1 flex unit that could be a troop, FA, Heavy or Elite. Monstrous creatures were not allowed. Models with more than 2 wounds that were not troops were not allowed. Vehicles could not have a combined armor rating of more than 33. These rules worked well for 7th edition and earlier, however, with 8th edition, changes had to be made.
The goal of the Renegade Open was to make an 8th edition Combat Patrol that was balanced and fit the theme of a small skirmish. The first decision was to allow HQs or not. With the power level and roles that HQ units provide in 8th edition, and the vision we had for Combat Patrol, it was decided that HQs should not be allowed. The idea of an army commander, and the aura bonuses provided by most HQs did not fit the vision, or balance of Combat Patrol. Lords of war were an obvious exclusion for the same reasons. It was also decided that flyers did not fit these criteria.
The next challenge was to determine how strong single models could be. The old system simply restricted wounds, then restricted armor facings. However, 8th got rid of armor facings and replaced hull points with wounds and higher toughness. Keeping the same restrictions on wounds would eliminate all vehicles, and we didn’t want that. Light dedicated transports were always allowed, and we wanted that to continue. But we didn’t want to allow some of the tougher midrange units like Dreadnaughts, Kastelan Robots and Carnifexes.
So, we came up with a toughness + wounds restriction and limited models to having a combined total of those two values of 12 or less. This allows for light walkers such as sentinels, which have always been allowed, but kept out the tougher ones. We then decided that dedicated transports specifically could go up to 17.
Finally, we decided that Combat Patrol should use one specific detachment. Though 8th edition already has the patrol detachment, it didn’t fit the restrictions that Combat Patrol was supposed to have. So we made a specific combat Patrol detachment and gave it no bonus command points. Players will have the base 3 for having a battleforged army.
After much playtesting of this ruleset, we decided we were pretty happy with the system. It’s a lot of fun and we greatly recommend 40k players give it a try. It’s a great system for teaching new players how to play. We’re very excited for the Combat Patrol tournament on Friday November 17th. There’s still plenty of room, so sign up now.