AdeptiCon 2022 – Bolt Action Combat Patrol the TO’s Recap

I was in charge of two events at AdeptiCon 2022. This first event, Bolt Action Combat Patrol, is a personal favorite of mine. It was the first event I ever TO’ed back at AdeptiCon 2018 and I am proud to say that it has evolved from humble beginnings into its own unique format. The high-level specifics are:

  • Three, 90 minute games played on a 4×4′
  • 450pts, 8 Order Dice max
  • Armor 8 max
  • HE 2″ max
  • No free units or equipment of any kind
  • No Forward Air or Artillery Observers

You can review the full Combat Patrol rules, the army lists and matchups on TTO and the 2022 mission packet:

With the event format in mind, let’s take a look at the three missions, how they went and what I’d like to change for next year.

The Armies

We had a diverse field of armies. Of the 38 players that took the field:

  • Allies – 20 – 53%
  • US – 8 – 21%
  • UK – 6 – 16%
  • Soviet Union – 5 – 13%
  • Poland – 1 – 3%
  • Axis – 18 – 47%
  • Germany – 10 – 26%
  • Japan – 3 – 8%
  • Finland – 3 – 8%
  • Hungary – 1 – 3%
  • Italy – 1 – 3%

The forces covered a huge range of themes and backgrounds. Winter Soviets, Slovakian Fast Division (using German rules), British Home Guard, Chindits, Gebirgsjäger, Rangers, the list goes on! One of my favorite aspects of Combat Patrol is seeing what styles of armies players bring to the table. The unique Combat Patrol format allows for all kinds of rarely seen units to shine.

Game One – Dawn Patrol

The goal of Game 1 was simple – get your units into the enemy deployment zone. Players scored 1 VP for each friendly unit outside of their own deployment zone and 3 VP for each friendly unit wholly within the enemy deployment zone. This mission was also 100% First Wave, no Reserves, no Outflank. I added on a special rule for “At the Break of Dawn” which limits visibility for the first two turns.

The only update I’d like to make to this mission is to extend the deployment zone from 6″ to 10″. I enjoy having a breakthrough-style mission that forces players to get up and go. I am not a fan of mission design that allows players to turtle after scoring a few kills. There is nothing exciting about deploying in a corner and holding.

Game One Result Breakdown:

  • 16 Wins
  • 16 Losses
  • 6 Draws

Game Two – Scattered Deployment

Game Two is the funky mission. I always try and bring at least a bit of spice to Combat Patrol and this mission is plenty spicy. Although the objective was straight kill points, every unit is randomly scattered 2d6″ after deployment. This created almost total chaos on the battlefield. With deployment all over the place, players were forced to adapt to an unpredictable situation and that did result in a few very swingy games. But, the concept, the idea behind the mission is solid. It may just need to be toned down.

Adjustments for next time include tweaks to speed up deployment. Changes like combining the four separate deployment zones into one zone for each player and having players deploy in “I go, you go” fashion (instead of pulling dice from the bag). I want the random shifting of units to still take place, but it does take significant time. Maybe limiting the scattering to half the units? And the other half of the army arrives via Reserve? That could work.

Game Two Results Breakdown:

  • 14 Wins
  • 14 Losses
  • 10 Draws

Game Three – The Crossroads

One single objective in the middle of the table for an “all-or-nothing” style brawl. To add a bit of Combat Patrol flair, both players deployed two Infantry units via Scout deployment allowing a unit not normally with the Foward Deployment ability to deploy like a Sniper/Spotter. This resulted in some very interesting opening deployments with full 10-man rifle squads at the halfway mark of the battlefield before Turn 1 even started.

As much as I love the idea behind the single all-or-nothing objective, it does reward high Order Dice lists just a bit too much. I think adding in VP values for both the main objective (5VP) and 1 VP per enemy unit killed could add an additional wrinkle.

Game Three Results Breakdown:

  • 17 Wins
  • 17 Losses
  • 4 Draws

Final Thoughts

Combat Patrol 2022 was an unmitigated success. We had 38 players battling for supremacy and the results were incredibly close! Best Overall went to Ryan and his US Airborne with a huge 122/125 total points. Neely finished second, securing Best Axis, with his Croatian Legion (Germans). Jeremy took Best Allies with his iconic Bedknobs and Broomsticks inspired Home Guard (also the only player to score 30/30 for Paint). Ben’s North African Campaign US won the Player’s Choice vote and Michael’s fantastic Slovaks secured Best Painted. With only 9 points separating third from tenth, it really was anyone’s game.

With AdeptiCon 2022 now officially in the rearview, let’s look to next year. Adjustments for next year are:

  • Bring back an event Theme. We’ve done it in the past and it’ll be back in 2023 – Early War! Both Combat Patrol and Doubles will be 1939-40 themed.
  • More time between rounds. With only 30 minutes between Game 1 and Game 2 and just 15 minutes between Game 2 and Game 3, we (both players and TOs) needed more time to get food, grab a drink and just reset before the next game.
  • Minor formatting and layout changes for the event packet like separating out the Player’s Choice and Best Battlefield voting slips from the score pages. Also, print out all the players’ names on stickers for the score sheets. Just a few adjustments to make our lives as TOs and the players’ lives just a bit easier.
  • The new Sportsmanship scoring was a big success and will be used in future events.

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