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Patrol - A Vietnam War Roleplaying Game
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Patrol - A Vietnam War Roleplaying Game

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From 1961 to 1973, the United States was involved in a war unlike any it had ever fought in its history. Millions of young Americans streamed over the Pacific Ocean to fight a war in a country they had never heard of, and thousands didn’t come back.

PATROL is a roleplaying game for 3+ players, set during the height of the Vietnam War. Players take the role of American GIs, ARVN soldiers, or their allies from Australia, South Korea and Thailand, tasked with executing an indeterminable and endless campaign of Search and Destroy across the countryside, faced with the perils of the deep jungle, the devious cleverness of the Viet Cong, and the blunders of a disconnected command structure. They’ll need every bit of their skill and determination to survive their tour with their body, mind and soul intact.

PATROL’s systems have been designed from the ground-up to be an immersive and informed game about guerrilla war, long-term missions and infantry combat. A unique d6 pool system allows for the introduction of complications and twists to any roll with simple skills and only a handful of stats. Thanks to the always-ticking clock, every action is fail-forward as time pressure is constant. A simple but powerful system of status effects and opposed alignments drive players into conflict with one another as, in their desperation, they become incentivized to act irrationally.

The game includes 12 player classes, over 150 pieces of equipment including firearms, grenades, supplies and period electronics, 28 vehicle profiles, rules for playing US Army, Marines, Navy and Special Forces, 9 different South Vietnamese anti-communist forces, Australians, South Koreans, Royal Thais, Montegnards, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army, plus NPC profiles and guidelines for a wide variety of interesting factions and actors in the region.

  • Fast-paced, high-lethality gameplay using real world maps.
  • Highly accessible; just 3 stats, straightforward skills, and d6 pools.
  • Innovative morale mechanic challenges players to make tough choices.
  • Unique turn structure for realistic multi-day missions.
  • Simple but meaningful logistics, without headaches.
  • 200 pages of rules, guides and history.

Check out this RPG.net Q&A for more details about the game!


This game is part of the Newstand Press collection RECRUITED!, games about military service and war.

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 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (19)
Customer avatar
Craig T August 12, 2017 10:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
If you are on the fence about this one, maybe I can push you over the edge. The alignment system is just incredible. When people are well rested, feel safe, and fed, pretty much everyone can hold it together and get along. However, this is Vietnam and so that isn't always the case. When people get stressed, they react in different ways which creates "doubt" in game terms. The more "doubt" you have, the more fatigue (add to that the usual ways you get fatigue) you have which will gradually make your PC less and less effective especially if you don't play true to your alignment. This can create conflict inside the group much like what you see in the movie Platoon and Casualties of War. Unlike a D&D game where combat that doesn't kill you, really does make you stronger, this system is much more true to our world where stress, doubt, and fatigue eventually make you ineffective and more of a liability than an asset unless you feel like you are making a difference which depends on your...See more
Customer avatar
Craig T August 07, 2017 12:43 am UTC
PURCHASER
If anyone is listening... if we could get the actions is a card format, we could cut them out and put them in a sleeve or have them printed as cards... that would be cool... :-)

love the action concept in this game, they are almost in a card format but not quite...
Customer avatar
Derek C August 08, 2017 2:53 am UTC
PUBLISHER
i'll look into that!
Customer avatar
Craig T August 09, 2017 12:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
minor nit
page 192, should say Ia Drang instead of La Drang, under the second bullet of Important Events, well maybe, it looks like to an L to me..
Customer avatar
Nathaniel C July 24, 2017 8:25 am UTC
PURCHASER
Question, is "Saigon Gothic" a term of your own creation? Because it is brilliant.

Also what projects are in the pipeline from you guys this system and otherwise?
Customer avatar
Derek C July 25, 2017 9:03 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Right now, working on a game set in African conflicts of the 70s and 80s, fit to run either as a depressingly educational one-shot about apartheid and Rhodesia, or a fun mercenaries game set in fictional conflicts, and a modern expansion covering Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s.

(and a star wars one. that ones just for tho obvs)
Customer avatar
Nathaniel C July 26, 2017 4:28 am UTC
PURCHASER
They sound amazing, can't wait.

Are you still doing the Kickstarter you mentioned a few months ago?
Customer avatar
Derek C July 26, 2017 4:33 am UTC
PUBLISHER
not for Patrol. circumstances change and such! I'm instead working on a flying ace adventure game for kickstarter!
Customer avatar
Matt M September 16, 2017 9:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
I really love both of these ideas! Fun mercenaries probably more fun for an all round audience as but as someone interesting in these the idea of almost teaching people more about it trough an awful one shot is really intriguing.

If you haven't I highly, highly recommend 'Shake hands with he Devil', the autobiography of the UN commander in the run up and throughout the Rwandan genocide and the highest ranking member of any military to openly suffer with PTSD. It's a facilitating, educational and haunting read. Also lots of details on equipment, tactics and organisation of the time.
Customer avatar
Evan K June 08, 2017 9:32 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have a brief question about how one of this game's rules functions now that my players have finished character creation:
How do Strength and Fortitude influence carrying capacity? The rulebook mentions the need for Pigmen, for example, to have a great deal of fortitude to haul their extra weight in ammo and machine gun around, but also that everyone's carrying capacity is 10 plus whatever load bearing gear they pick up.
Customer avatar
Derek C June 27, 2017 12:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
It doesn't affect overall capacity, but it quickly starts to matter with your Load. Remember, you won't always be in tip-top condition; making sure the Pigman can still keep up with the team humping his giant gun and belts of ammo when your out of water and lightly wounded is huge.
Customer avatar
Craig T August 06, 2017 7:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Strength is 2X their fortitude plus any modifiers like the pigmen. Various gear can adjust your strength also. See page 13 for the Standard Issue Webbing and Military Pack. They add to what you can carry which is limited to 10 (which I think is 10 items?). See Page 27 top left for the rules related to strength. Page 30 has the impact of being loaded down. Load=Weight minus strength Some of the gear allows you to carry ammo and grenades with no cost. Good to have!
Customer avatar
Patrick S February 02, 2017 2:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
As it seems that i can not comment on your answer, i will do this here.
I think not a lot of RPG authors would be able to handle criticism like you can, thank you for this!
Actually i know Recon and The Legion. Recon was one of my first RPGs, some 25 years ago :)
I didn't want to compare PbtA to Patrol (and i am not a hardcore fan either, i like straightforward mid-crunch games with a few "indy" mechanics the best). It's just that your Actions and the Roundel reminded me of Moves and Clocks very much. In a good way.
But there are just way too many Actions here to handel 'em comfortably.

Yeah, maybe i just dcouldn't find the rules for the Roundel, i gave up writing my CheatSheet half way through. Absolutely my fault.
And maybe i have a different understanding of a rules light game.

I think some screen inserts would be the next logic step in improving the game.

All in all i appreciate the energy and passion which went into these pages....See more
Customer avatar
Patrick S January 23, 2017 10:39 am UTC
PURCHASER
The PDF seems to be corrupt.
I can't open it.
Since I tried Acrobat Pro (and other Adobe products and other PDFs) i think this is a PDF problem, not a software problem.
Please fix this.

Edit: A second Download fixed the problem. So if any of you experience the same problem. Try downloading ist again.
Looking forward to reading and maybe reviewing this.
Customer avatar
January 21, 2017 6:15 am UTC
PURCHASER
I received an email offering a discount code for those who previously purchased the PDF... but there was no link to a discount in the email and I haven't received anything else regarding it subsequently from DriveThruRPG.
Customer avatar
Derek C January 21, 2017 7:26 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I'm not entirely sure how the system works, I'll do some digging.
Customer avatar
January 22, 2017 6:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just wanted to let you know I did receive the code in your most recent email. Print version ordered, thanks!
Customer avatar
Ewan S January 19, 2017 1:10 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just before I buy the POD I was wondering if I will still be able to get expansions if they are available via the kickstarter. Thanks
Customer avatar
Derek C January 19, 2017 4:49 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
If that goes forward as planned, yes, you will be able to get expansions separately.
Customer avatar
Timothy S January 07, 2017 6:48 am UTC
PURCHASER
I keep looking around for the modern thing I keep hearing about and I can't find it.

Which is a shame.

Urrrgg, it won't let me review the damn RPG. I have been reading this thing for like a month now, that's why I paid for it finally...because I wanted to review it.

This is one of the best looking PDFs I have ever looked at, it's full of information, and it turned me around even though I am so gosh darn tired of hearing about the Vietnam War.

Grrr
Customer avatar
Derek C January 07, 2017 7:09 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The modern game was supposed to be out a while ago, but I've been swamped with projects.

I'm going to be launching a Kickstarter shortly to cover the costs of a print run and help get the resources together for the finishing touches on multiple expansions, including the Modern Day game.
Customer avatar
Patrick S November 02, 2016 6:42 am UTC
PURCHASER
So, regarding the PoD ... something has gone terribly wrong?
Customer avatar
Derek C November 13, 2016 5:11 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Basically. I should have gotten new print proofs this weekend, but the file was in limbo for weeks, and now I need to upload a new cover.

It's coming, it's just being frustratingly slow.
Customer avatar
Matt M November 22, 2016 10:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
I hate to be that guy but do you happen to know if it'll be in the next 2 weeks? Just I'm planning an RPG weekend soon and would love to run this.
Customer avatar
Derek C November 24, 2016 3:25 am UTC
PUBLISHER
For some reason I can't get the cover approved. I'm doing my best.
Customer avatar
Matt M November 26, 2016 4:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Huh, what's wrong with the cover? It looks great so i hope you get to keep it. Either way when this does hit the printer I picking me up a copy!
Customer avatar
Derek C November 30, 2016 5:20 am UTC
PUBLISHER
It's finally approved. I just ordered my proof. Barring meteor-based apocalypses, it should be up for sale within two weeks.
Customer avatar
Patrick S November 30, 2016 11:07 am UTC
PURCHASER
Great, looking forward to this
Customer avatar
Sam H January 14, 2017 12:20 pm UTC
Looks like... no? Any update to share?
Customer avatar
Patrick S January 19, 2017 10:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
Aaaannd bought ...
Customer avatar
Timothy S January 19, 2017 6:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is there a forum for this game somewhere? The number of people with it a bit sparse, but I want to play it sometime.
Customer avatar
Ewan S April 21, 2016 6:29 am UTC
PURCHASER
I was wondering when the print version will be made available. Thanks
Customer avatar
Derek C April 21, 2016 9:16 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I have a bad problem with tinkering and revising, and another, probably worse problem with typos. Thus, I'm making sure to go over everything in great detail and get a lot of eyes on it before the print version goes up again.

That said, if a print version isn't out in the first two weeks of May, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
Customer avatar
Ewan S April 22, 2016 5:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the quick reply, glad to wait for you to be 100% happy with it before releasing. Thanks
Customer avatar
Ewan S June 13, 2016 8:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Any update on the print version. Thanks
Customer avatar
April 13, 2016 9:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Well, the good news is that I can now open the v1.08 PDF. Yay! Rules changes look good so far.

The less good news is that when I tried to order a print copy using the discount link you emailed out, I received the following error message:

"INVALID DISCOUNT MAX USES: THE SPECIAL DISCOUNT YOU ARE TRYING TO USE HAS ALREADY BEEN REDEEMED THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF TIMES ALLOWED"
Customer avatar
Derek C April 14, 2016 5:08 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Oops, I may have misread the way that system works!

I'll send out a fix!
Customer avatar
April 14, 2016 6:57 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks!

BTW, I've found a couple of fairly major new mistakes in the v1.08 PDF - is there a good way to send you a list of errata?
Customer avatar
Derek C April 14, 2016 8:07 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Email me at open_sketchbook@hotmail.com; if it's big enough I might have to stop print production, so get on that!
Customer avatar
Derek C April 14, 2016 8:26 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Okay, yeah that's a problem. I'm working on corrections now.

If you ordered a print version in the last few days, sorry about that. I can't refund you directly because of this system, but shoot me an email and I'll do what I can.
Customer avatar
Gareth L February 25, 2016 11:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Derek,

I'm liking v1.06,

Has there been any movement on a print-friendly versiob?

Thanks.
Customer avatar
Derek C February 25, 2016 11:55 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I will upload one in a few minutes. Hopefully this version will also fix Kurt's crashing issue.
Customer avatar
Gareth L February 26, 2016 12:05 am UTC
PURCHASER
Cool,

Also, as a sidenote, do you know any good sources for Vietnam era small-scale military maps?
Customer avatar
Gareth L February 26, 2016 7:00 am UTC
PURCHASER
I don't think the ammo tracks at the back of the book reflect the changes you made earlier.
Customer avatar
February 20, 2016 4:25 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The 1.06 update seems to crash Acrobat Reader DC and won't open at all in GoodReader.
Customer avatar
Derek C February 21, 2016 2:07 am UTC
PUBLISHER
That's not good. It works fine in Foxit, which is what I use, but I'll double-check the settings on my exporter and put out a new version if I can figure out the error and fix it.
Customer avatar
April 01, 2016 6:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Whatever changes you made to the 1.06 update did not fix the problem, and the 1.07 update apparently has much the same issues. It crashes Acrobat Reader DC the moment the file is opened and displays as completely empty in Goodreader and Preview for Mac.

Unfortunate, since I'm probably going to be running the second session of my campaign on Sunday and was hoping to test out the new rules.
Customer avatar
April 01, 2016 8:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Just tried Foxit Reader on both Windows and iOS and encountered similar problems - no program crash, but all of the pages are completely blank.

Customer avatar
Gareth L January 07, 2016 6:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Derek,

Is there a print-friendly version for the 1.05 patch?

Couple of other questions for you:

Shouldn't you need some sort of equipment to transfusion from a donor? (I assume that the plasma packs come with the needed needles but you must need some (ideally sterile) equipment for a donor transfusion). Also, how long do the plasma packs last? Donors will run out of steam fairly quickly as they become exhausted, but the plasma packs are a little more unclear?

Am I correct in thinking that suppression resets to zero at the end of the characters turn (or enemy turn for the enemy?)? Presumably with the exception of suppression accrued by the evade action?

Precision fire seems very weak when compared with suppression fire?
It consumes more ammo by default than suppression (albeit that suppression has the potential to consume more ammo) - indeed, suppression can consume zero ammo even if very effective? Suppression fire also inflicts automatic suppression,...See more
Customer avatar
Derek C January 07, 2016 7:53 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
1. A print-friendly version of 1.6 will be coming with 1.6 in the next few days.

2. You are supposed to require a Medical Bag to begin a transfusion, but this is unfortunately not reflected in the current Action profile. I will correct this for 1.6. Plasma Packs currently last one Turn as they are just supposed to tide people over until medivac arrives, but some research has made that look rather silly, so I'm going to be taking a look at that as well.

3. Suppression reverts to 0 at the end of the turns, yes. I'll see what I can do about clarifying this language.

4. Precision Fire is situational. It works best with high Proficiency and corresponding weapons to save on your ammunition, but yes, suppressive fire is generally better save for ammunition consumption and special firing abilities, and this is intended. It's a reflection of the "spray and pray" mindset of lot of inexperienced troops of the era.

After some recent games I'm actually considering...See more
Customer avatar
Gareth L January 07, 2016 8:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No worries Derek, thanks foryour reply,

As to point 4, I would note that the game mechanics result in the reverse of your ideal (inexperienced troops spraying and praying will roll few dice and therefore roll few ones resulting in low ammo consumption),

I guess adding a scope does make precision fire markedly better. Have you considered ammo consumption of 0/1 for precision fire? (A couple of aimed shots consume very little ammo compared with using autofire given the magazine counts), if you nudged ammo counts down that would make precision fire weaker but good fir ammo conservation.
Customer avatar
Gareth L January 08, 2016 6:41 am UTC
PURCHASER
As a sidenote, given that you're on the verge of releasing version 1.6,

It'd be really helpful if the action cards (pg. 58 onwards) listed the appropriate skill(s) for any checks as well as the attribute - just so all of the information is in one place,,
Customer avatar
Gareth L January 08, 2016 8:27 am UTC
PURCHASER
Another couple of thoughts:

Does piercing affect personal armour or cover?

Do I make armour saves per hit or per point of injury?

When i buy ammo, do i need to specify the type (e. g. 2 spare assault rifle ammo, 2 spare LMG ammo)?

Which weapons use which ammo track (some are obvious, but say the auto gl? Does that use a belt or feed? Likewise with the mini gun? Is it worth specifying this on the weapon profiles for clarity?)

E. G. I have a point of cover. A hostile with an AT rifle (+2 injury, 1 AP) tries to hit me with precision fire. His difficulty is 3 for range.
He rolls 4 successes. 4 (successes) - 3 (difficulty) = 1 net success. The hit inflicts 1 (base damage for precision fire) + 1 (net successes) + 2 (weapons damage modifier) - 1 (cover modifier) = 3 injury.
I'm wearing a flak jacket (6+ save), so I pick up 3d6 and roll them. One six comes up, so I suffer 2 injury.

Is this all correct?
Customer avatar
Derek C January 08, 2016 10:44 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
That's all correct!

As for the questions.

1. No. That might seem a bit weird, but its an abstraction that might include stuff like shrapnel from near misses and such.

2. Per point of injury, as you gathered.

3. No, ammo is generic.

4. I'll go through and try to ensure this is listed properly for all weapons.
Customer avatar
Sean L December 16, 2015 1:12 am UTC
PURCHASER
Derek,

Great game. The rules are well written and the skill/combat system is great (based on a test I ran). It's lots of fun.

I have a few detail-oriented questions before I try to run a full session this coming weekend.

1. How many VPs should I award for completion of an objective?

2. I'm a little fuzzy on how to run units vs. individual characters. Am I missing a detailed description in the rules?
Customer avatar
Derek C December 16, 2015 5:11 am UTC
PUBLISHER
1. It is entirely up to you. More VPs leads to a more heroic, against-all-odds band of brothers type game where people go through great hardship to accomplish their goals. Lower VP counts means everything sucks a lot more, makes the war more pointless, and leads to characters doing shitty things. A good guideline is imagine how much Fatigue the characters would take if everything in the mission went absolutely perfectly; that's how much VPs the objectives will offer total.

2. You're fuzzy on it because it is deliberately fuzzy; it's a guideline for handling groups, not a set of hard and face coherency rules. A unit is a geographically distinct group of people, typically with less than 10 meters between each member, who are treated as effectively occupying one space. Don't get too caught up in measuring it out; if a person says "I separate from the unit to do X", then treat them as separate!

I'm going to upload another version sometime in the next day or so to correct an ambiguity...See more
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