A random series of articles on war gaming in 40K, FOW and other systems. The headings are, WiP; Conversions and models in various states of assembly. PiP; Paint works on various models. Mission Critical; scenarios or missions to bring a bit of a twist to a normal game. MiA; rules for units and characters that could/should/might appear in a game. Dig In; How to guides on making various types of terrain for different game systems. Sit Rep; Battle reports and after action reports on games played

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lets play chain of command

Setting up for Some Chain of Command
Continuing the trend of trying out new games I got to have my frist game of  chain of Command (CoC) on a recent trip back home. CoC is a ww2 squad size game published by Two Far Lardies. WW2 wise I seem to be regressing through the ranks. In FOW the player is a captain/major controlling multiple platoons. In Bolt Action the player is Lieutenant/Captain with a platoon strength battlegroup. In CoC the player is 2nd lieutenant with a platoon with very limited support

The game
The last time we played it was Bolt Action with the Chindits attempting to recover a down pilot before the Japanese could lay their hands on him. This time we used the same protagonists  but played a probe mission from the CoC rule book. Narratively, the British have won the last game and pushing forward probing the Japanese positions looking for a weak point.
A Double six means the player gets to go again but will have less activations available for the turn so what to with an unexpected bonus

Setting up the forces  the British lost all their support options compared to the Bolt Action game and would use just regular platoon. The Japanese proved to be a bit problematic. There is no official list from them and surprisingly I am not where near ready to field the number of models for a Scrivs proxy list.  In the end I opted for a lieutenant with two full strength squads backed up by three weapons teams. Even at half strength the Japanese had a comparable number of models to the British.

The British sends ahead a two man scout team
The next step was to determine the force morale. Basically how motivated each side to fight and how much damage they can sustain before quitting the field. The Japanese rolled higher and should have been the attacker but that did not suit the narrative so the British stayed the attacker if a little less willing to get stuck in. Next came the patrol phase which is used to determine the forces deployment area using movement counters. The japanese opted to push forward as fast as possible hoping to push the British as far away from their objective as possible. While the British opted for a refused flank and pushed hard down one flank.

Japanese take fire and lose a man
The game itself was great fun. Initially the British deployed two sections backed up by the Captain and the light mortar team.and push hard down their flank of choice. Two men from one section were sent a head to scout out the path and draw enemy fire. In response nearly all the Japanese force were deployed to seem the tide. The two man scout team did not make it and the rest of the british were stalled in a firefight.

Japanese mortar team sets up shop in cover

With the Japanese distracted the Sergeant, the remaining section opted for a dash down the other flank only to run into a truly lethal MMG team. I made a rules mistake with the CoC special rules. The game allows you to build up cooamd points and use them for special event like moving one of your deployment markers mid way through the game so and allow units of deploy to deploy at a different of table c. Or deploy a small team in ambush. Since the British objective was to get a team off the japanese table edge the team naturally went down poised to complete its mission.  Instead of being with 12” of a deployment marker as per rules. To make it worse the British got a second bonus and was able to have the next phase. But that was where their luck deserted them. The team was not able to activated despite much cursing and expletives. The Japanese were able put enough fire on them to make them rout back to the british table edge.

Another British section is spotted advancing.

The game end with the Japanese holding their line  with the loss of five infantry while the BRitish lost eighteen men and had to quite the field.  Overall a very enjoyable game with lots of highs and lows. I really recommend giving the game a go.
British try to force their way through the jungle

Twe pros
-Two Fat Lardies do not have a miniatures range and are less likely to feel to pressure to make any specific unit great in order to encourage more model sales and so can focus more on making the game experience better without bias.
-The rules have just right level of chaos for that level of game and players are more engaged (even more so than Bolt Action surprisingly).
- I really like the force morale and the special event rules and wish they were more common in other systems like 40K and FoW.
A Bren team provides covering fire for the British advance
A PIAT team tries to sneak of the table but is detected an blocked. ( the white marker is a japanese deployment point)

The cons

- The list buidling section is weaker compared to other games and players may end up not having a chance to use some of their collection. The fact the bulk of the players list is pre-set might limit the repeat-ability of the game. But I think this might be a challenge for mission design rather than deal breaker for the game.
- like most WW2 games CoC has national rules to reflect how the different forces should play. And generally these heavily influenced by the designer background. eg In Fow with the company based in New Zealand the New Zealanders are pretty good. In CoC and Bolt Action with the authors both based in UK the British seem slightly better than maybe they should.


Frank O'Donnell said...

I enjoyed the game even if my master plan was undone by the dice, but there's nothing new in that I guess lol

Dakeryus said...


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