Modifying Sniper and Patrol Martin Thomas provides some improvements to SPI's games Sniper! & Patrol! I personally would rate these games among the top ones SPI have produced but I do think the combat could be improved considerably. As you know if you have ever tried 'The Old West' rules for western gunfights, there is no such thing as an automatic kill, while on the other hand that snap shot by a novice might just get lucky. In many of the combat situations in these SPI games however there will be no uncertainty, unless he panics, a man firing at 16:1 will always put the enerny out of the game while there are times in Patrol when a man with a rifle just cannot hit a man running in the open if the range is much over 100 yards. I would suggest using the table given below. To make things more complicated you could of course work out your own table derived from the Old West rules which give more detail e.g. light leg wound, inactive for two phases or serious left arm wound, inactive five phases and can no longer re oad or fire rifle. Certainly their hand to hand table could be easily grafted on provided you ammended the categories so that 'warclub' now reads 'entrenching tool'.
These games, especially Sniper, take on a new dimension when played with three boards using an umpire to resolve sighting, panic moves and cornbat. The other players just have their own men plus any enemy in sight. The umpire must use his discretion, for example when he sees two men whose moving will take them running past each other he may decide they would not run blindly past but on a sighting run to contact and fight, stop or even panic. Grenades may now be thrown blindly where an enemy is suspected e.g. on the other side of a building. The possibility also exists to outflank an opponent and get on his blind side. For the umpire at least it has provided great entertainment watching two patrols stumble about through the streets. In a recent game a squad of Panzergrenadier infantry met a Russian squad from a Tank Army in the streets of Orel in 1943. The Russian point man was lucky(?) enough to see the whole German squad as he rounded a corner. Whilst the rest of the squad made use of this information and took to the buildings he, not surprisingly panicked and was shot down. Several Germans tried to occupy the same rooms as the Russians and hand to hand battles ensued while other Germans moved to an adjacent building and lobbed grenades at Russians left carelessly out in the open. Higher Russian preservation prevailed and the Germans were soon forced to evacuate. Some of the hand to hand fighting still carried on however and resulted in the Russians also reaching their preservation and so the Germans got a points victory. The players were not informed in detail of the revised CRT beforehand and men they thought they had killed would suddenly appear again at a window with another grenade. In one case however a German machine-gunner killed two Russians several times over with spray fire at about five yards. Umpires are definitely required to have a malicious sense of humour.