Tactical Assault: Combat Cards is a recently released game system from Dan Hobot. More releases are planned, but this version focuses on WW2 and contains data for German, Russian, British, and American forces.

The system is simple but elegant and challenging. Each player maintains a hand of six cards that have multiple uses, and a "golden rule" is that NO action can take place on the table unless a card is played that allows it. Combat results likewise are resolved by drawing a card and applying the result, adjusted upward or downward in severity depending upon conditions like the relative strength of the gun vs. the armor of the target, range, cover, etc.

There is no bullet-counting in this system. It is squarely aimed at providing a credible result of an action without delving into the details of combat.

What I really like about the Combat Cards system is the uncertainty that the limited hand of cards causes. For example, you MIGHT be able to target that T-34 crossing the bridge, IF you have an Opportunity Fire card in your hand. If not, it rumbles across unopposed. How is this realistic? Why wouldn't my infantry automatically be able to take an opportunity fire shot? Well, perhaps they weren't paying attention. Perhaps they forgot to pull the safety pin out of the trigger on the Panzerfaust. Perhaps they are just too plain scared to shoot at the tank. It doesn't really matter precisely why, but the "fog of war" prevented your troops from doing what you would expect and want them to do. That happens in the real world, and a system like Combat Cards is a good way to model that.

This game in in the queue on Boardgamegeek.com, so you won't see it there yet. You can check out the forums at http://www.villagegamestowncrier.com/ for discussions about Combat Cards.

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Dan Hobot is now on the social ConsimWorld forums, and he tells me that there is a website for Combat Cards now. Currently it is just forums, but he plans to expand it.

Thanks David, cards can be interesting. I use them to set curves for variable initiative and they work well for that. Though when playing games out of the box that have cards for events and combat there is often the "Nuclear" card issue. A few cards that are real game breakers. The problem is figuring out what they are and pulling them out of the deck. Even then you still wind up combinations that are game breakers. Of course everybody has their own level of toleration for this stuff. We have a game called "Nexus Ops" very highly card driven, totally over board on crappy deck balance, but for some reason I love the thing. My regular gaming buddies Paul and Chris, not so much, playing this game with them is sometimes sort of like watching somebody get root canal. Maybe that's why I like it, but I'm a pretty highly disturbed individual;^)
I was less bothered with Nexus Ops when I realized it was a game of chance masquerading as a wargame.
So this is a miniatures game that uses card generation? Kind of like playing Combat Commander with minatures? If so, then the inability to act could be interesting. Of course, there is also a random factor in Piquet and the system takes away from your ability to react as well. The Two Hour Wargames systems are pretty random, with your troops going their own way. The Battlefront WWII rules use cards, but strictly as reference cards for the units and vehicles in the game.
>Kind of like playing Combat Commander with minatures? If so, then the inability to act could be interesting. Of course, there is also a random factor in Piquet and the system takes away from your ability to react as well.

Yes, basically a miniatures game that requires the right card at the right time to do what you want.

I tried and tried and TRIED to like playing Piquet, and I own most of the modules, but it just doesn't work well for me. The problem (well, one of the problems) with Piquet is that you draw one card at a time, and therefore 80% of the card draws are useless. In Combat Cards, you hold six cards in your hand, so there is a very good chance that you'll get to do SOMETHING (and very often A LOT) in your turn. Keeping track of the initiative points in Piquet is a pain, too. Still, I think Piquet was very influential and many good games have adopted some of the concepts.
To help Dave out a little on this one, each card has four parts to it - an Order, a Situation, the Combat Results and Weapon Drift. The last two are drawn randomly off the pile to determine results, so they don't factor into playing your hand. When you are deciding how to use the cards in your hand, you have to consider what part of the card is most valuable to you - the Order which will get your troops moving, shooting, etc., or the Situation which brings other variables into play (confusion, concealment, artillery barrages, air support, etc.). That is what really makes the game click, you have to make some hard choices about what you are going to do at any given time, and what doing that may cost you in terms of other options.

Ans as for the "nuclear" option, there isn't anything like that in the deck. The cards just represent basic combat actions (the "Orders") and events ("Situations") that occur. The challenge lies in maximizing the effectiveness of what you currently have available to you. You know you will get exactly what you want at some point (the deck has a set number of cards and card types), but you can't lie down and wait until then - although discarding your hand to cycle through the deck faster is always an option!
There is absolutely no info on the site. I get a link to a store selling them, with a forum about the cards. With two posts, neither concerning the actual cards and play. I am mildly interested but for a $60+ shipping buy in, you are kinda flyin blind here.
I see where something like this could work, but I am kinda scared its Magic WWII Expansion.
"I cast Ice Storm on your T-43's"

BTW, if you like card games- Check out the Munchkin series if you haven't. I have the Sci Fi, Medieval, and Spy versions and they are all fun for a light gaming night.
The game was just released, and they are still working on content for the website. I am hoping they will publish some scenarios and optional rules, soon.
There will be a lot more hapening over the coming weeks and months. We just sold out of the Beta Release of the game and are printing the full version right now. We are then starting playtests of the campaign rules, compiling stats for modern and sci-fi units, and in the writing stages for modern and fantasy skirmish decks as well. Down the road there are plans for a horse & musket version, aerial combat, naval combat, starship battles, ancient and fantasy army battles, and the list goes on...
Yeah, right now it is a bit of a leap of faith (though we think it is a good one). We are going to be posting short "How To" videos on the site to illustrate play for those who haven't tried it yet, and to provide clarification for those who have. Our goal is to have folks excited about buying the game rather than apprehensive. It is just going to take a little time to get the word out, make the rounds to various conventions, etc.
First a disclaimer:
I'm listed as a playtester in TA:CC and I am helping Dan setup the website.

Dan created TA:CC pretty much for himself. He never intended to publish the game. He finally bowed to pressure and published a small print-run. The game is proving to be somewhat popular and so Dan is now taking the next step and setting up a "real" company for the game series. This is the reason for the lack of information on the website.

TA:CC is a best described as Card Driven miniatures game with a narrative combat system.

Card Driven:
As mentioned through-out this thread, the basic mechanic of the game is that a player needs to play a card to do something. If you don't have an "Open Fire" card, you can not command a unit to shoot at another unit. If you don't have an "Assault" card, you can not command a unit to move into close assault combat. And so on and so forth. Each card has an Order and Situation. Orders can only be played on your own turn. Situations can be played anytime. Also, several Situations (such as Confusion) can be played on opposing units.

As it is a CDG, hand management is important. The number of cards in hand is usually far less than the number of units on the field. This limits the usefulness of card combos and increase the important of Command Posts (a type of unit).

Cards played on a Command Post can have their effects passed on to other units that the Command Post can see. For example, a "Cautious Advance" card (allows a unit to move) can be played on a Command Post, which the Command Post can then pass to every unit that it can see thus allowing multiple units to move on one card. Orders can always be passed; Situations require another card to be played ("Situational Awareness") in order for Command Posts to pass Situations onto other units. Hopefully, it is obvious the Command Posts play a key role in commanding a force.

There are card combos. These mainly occur with Situations as Situations can be played at anytime. Units can only have one Order played on them a turn, so card combos are much rarer with Orders. "Situational Awareness" is the most obvious card that starts a combo; however, there are others. For example, a "Command Post Panic" will force an enemy Command Post to move. While the Command Post is moving, an "Opportunity Fire" can be played to shoot at it.

Card combos usually require unit to be correctly placed on the board to take advantage of them. A "Command Post Panic/Op Fire" combo will not be possible if you do not have a unit in position to take a shot at a Command Post as it leave cover. This is where hand management plays a big role. As you build up for a combo, you'll have less cards to use to get Units into position to execute the combo.

Narrative Combat System:

There are pretty much no numbers in TA:CC. Almost everything is descriptive. For example, Firepower and armor are rated as Very Light, Light, Medium, Heavy, or Very Heavy.

The combat results are also descriptive. They are: No Effect, Fall Back, Pinned, Shaken, Out of Action Destroyed. Units can have multiple combat effects at the same time. For example, it is possible to be Pinned and Shaken. With the exception of Destroyed, various cards remove the effects. For example, the Rally Card can remove a Pinned or Shaken effect.

When a combat is resolved, a card is drawn from the deck and the result is modified based on several criteria: Range, Firepower vs Armor, Cover, Flank, etc... When comparing Firepower vs Armor, all that matters is if the Firepower is less than, equal to, or greater than the armor. The amount of difference is not important.

Examples: An infantry unit is shooting at a Tiger in the open from the front at short range. The damage would be stepped down one step as the Infantry has Light Fire Power and the Tiger has Heavy Armor. The best that they could do is render it Out-of-Action (for example, blow off a tread).

If the Tiger was in the woods (ie Cover), the best that the Infantry could do is cause the Tiger to become Shaken.

If the Tiger was still in the open and the Infantry was able to get a Flank shot, the draw would be not be modified. It would step up one for Flank Shot and then step down down one for inferior firepower.

The most extreme example is an Infantry shooting a Tiger in the wood from long range. The combat result would be stepped down 4 times (-2 for Long Range, -1 for FP vs Armor, and -1 for cover). The absolute best that the infantry could do is force the Tiger to retreat from its position.

Obviously, with a narrative system, the players need to come up with the rational for the combat result. Why did the Tiger fall back? Maybe the commander panicked and thought that an infantry squad was about to close assault his tank.

The Nuclear Card:
There really isn't a "I win" card or card-combo in the game. The usefulness of a card really depends on setting the situation up on the battlefield to take advantage of it. The absolute worse combo that I can think of is Minefield (a Situation usable only by the defender in a scenario) and "Situational Awareness". Minefield allows a Command Post to place a minefield anywhere in Line of Sight. With Situational Awareness, the Command Post can pass Minefield to every other Command Post that it can see. With a wide open field and all of the Command Posts properly positioned, a defender can lay down a massive minefield and catch the attacker unaware. In roughly a hundred games during a recent campaign, this occurred exactly once. It is difficult to pull off as it requires the proper cards, terrain layout, and unit placement. Even then, it is not an automatic win as the attacker can survive the minefields or go around them.

Mike Z


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