June 13, 2024

Compass Games’ Combat! – First Look!

Billy Riley, 9 December 2019

As some of you may be aware, I have been looking for a single unit counter solo board game for some time. I was aware of an older game called Ambush and some of you helped me by throwing some suggestions to me. Unfortunately, most of them were either old – and therefore lack lustre in the graphics department – or card driven games which aren’t wholly my cup of tea.

No. I was looking for Conflict of Heroes or LnL Heroes titles but with the focus on single man counters as opposed to squad/platoon based counters. I wanted that personal attachment to the men under my command.

When I stumbled across a game called Combat! and read about it, I couldn’t believe my luck. I read more. I enjoyed what I was reading. I looked at the pictures and my oh my – this looked exactly like the kind of game I was looking for. Then I saw the price and my heart fell. £135! That was an awful lot of money. How was I going to be able to come by that amount. I didn’t want to take it out the family coffers.

I decided to sell some games. Games that I liked, but hadn’t played for a while and likely wouldn’t play again. Goodbye Hornet Leader (I already had Phantom Leader – my favourite). Au revoir LnL Heroes of Normandy (I have Heroes of The Falklands). Adios B-17 Queen of the Skies (I have Target for Today). Arrivederci Price of Honour (I have Storms of Steel). Now I had the cash.

Initial Beefs
Let me get these few beefs out the way right at the start. They’re not huge – just small things I already know before opening the box that ground me the wrong way and things I knew before I bought it.

  1. In the game the ten sided dice read 0-9 – not 1-10. There may have been a reason for that…perhaps Ambush played that way (the designer has mentioned Ambush as one of his favourite games) or perhaps other games read 10 sided dice like that. The reason it’s a small irritation to me is because every game I’ve ever played with 10 sided dice read them as 1-10. So it’s just annoying that such a common feature is “re-designed” with no real benefit.
  2. You can only play as the Allies. I knew this so again, it’s not of great importance – but for £135 it would’ve been nice to be able to play both sides – although it seems this would require more counters
  3. Cost and components. Don’t get me wrong – they’re not bad – pretty good in fact…but £135 good? For £135 I would’ve liked a nice semi glossy manual, more than 14 scenarios (4 introductory and 10 other), thicker counters, as mentioned, playing as the Axis as well and perhaps mounted maps. I’ve had games almost half the price of this and had better components and more content.
  4. The maps are slightlytoo big for the gaming foldable cover I bought so I could leave my games out and cover them to protect them from cats and less caring females in my house…so I can’t use it. I think they’re 2” too big. It’s almost worth cutting off the extra 2”!!

No matter. Those are my very light initial gripes. They really aren’t a big deal and I knew about them before buying – so it’s not like I’m surprised and regretting the purchase. I wanted this game due to its mechanics and size – individual men and 20m hexes. So I’ll live with the shortfalls as I see them.

Click enlarge most images in this article

What’s in the Box??
So – onto what’s in the box.

Well – first off – there’s the box. Very nice and sturdy. A 2” box (5cm) and full to the brim.

And inside there’s 3 dice. A white six sided dice, a black 10 sided dice and a white 10 sided dice.


There’s a 32 page Rules of Play manual. It’s plain, flat paper but sturdy enough – I’d say probably 100gsm. Interestingly, it has Volume 1 on the cover.


It has

  • a Table of Contents
  • a Definitions section
  • a Sequence of Play which is peppered with references to other rules and information sections within the manual
  • a handy Index at the back


Scenarios Book
The Scenarios book is of the same material and also, interestingly, says Volume 1.

It’s 64 pages long and contains

  • Table of Contents
  • 4 Random Events Tables – 2 each for Allies and Axis – one for attacking and defending
  • 4 Introductory Scenarios
  • 10 Normal Scenarios
  • Extended Example of Play


Player Aids
The Player Aids are made of semi-gloss card include

two double sided cards (is it odd there are two?) showing


When the game was released, the printer had apparently messed up the rear of the counters so some of the Allied counters had Axis markings on the back. Rumour has it Compass Games held back shipping until the problem was fixed and sent out replacements to people who bought from them directly. There are no such issues in my box thankfully.

There are two sheets of soldier counters, 1 and a bit pages of Axis order counters, ½ a sheet for Allied orders and 2 sheets of administrative counters.

There’s a set of 50 cards for the Axis and a set for the Allies. These are for initiative, orders and morale and wound checks.

They’re decent quality and clear.


There are 4 maps which are 25” x 38” in size and made of glossy paper. They look cracking. Nice detail and the hex numbers are very clear (unlike some games I could mention)


So apart from my minor gripes earlier, there’s plenty of game here, the components are decent enough and the rule book looks pretty thorough and seems well laid out – though admittedly I haven’t read it yet – yeah – I know – I’m going through it now.

If I was being brutally honest, somepeople might scoff at the quality of the components and the cost of the game – and if I’m honest I couldn’t argue with them. But this was a game I was really looking forward to and so I’m not going to let the cost phase me.

I’m looking to (if I could use a common Glaswegian phrase) “gettin tore right intae it”.

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Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

One thought on “Compass Games’ Combat! – First Look!

  1. Apparently, the game is printed in the USA to support local businesses, which accounts for the price tag.

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