Combat Patrol

I might actually play Warhammer 40,000! This is a pretty big deal for me since I have a lot of difficulty actually finishing enough models, at a level I’m happy with, to field a wargaming army. However, the new Combat Patrol format introduced by the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40K makes it all the more possible that I’ll actually drag my miniatures case down to the local gaming shop and bounce some dice.

I feel miniature gaming has a high barrier of entry. I’m not just talking about money (although that’s certainly part of it), but also the time and energy it takes to put an army together. You don’t have to paint your models but most people want to, and you realistically have to at least assemble them. Multiply that over an entire army’s worth of models and you’re looking at a significant investment of time. That’s before looking through the rules, setting up a table, finding a time and place to play, and so forth.

Combat Patrol, which pits two introductory boxes’ worth of models against one another, seems a way to lower that barrier a little. Without this being an established format with the ‘sanction’ of Games Workshop, I probably wouldn’t be up for playing Warhammer 40K. I’d still paint models, but for smaller model count games or purely for display. With Combat Patrol in play, I have a couple of armies ready for a game. Specifically I have the Death Guard box finished (that’s a lot of zombies) and I was even motivated to paint up enough Leagues of Votann to have a patrol box worth of stunty space warriors mustered for the fight.

I’ve played Marvel Crisis Protocol more than any other minis game recently, I think precisely because it’s so easy to get a serviceable roster assembled and painted with the small model count and flexible force construction. Lowering that barrier seems like a really good way to widen the appeal of tabletop games and miniatures in general. At the very least, if it gets me to finish painting an army (even a tiny one), it’s achieved something impressive.