Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Battle Report - 18-Mar-2013 - Chain of Command

Nearing the end of the pre-game - British and German
patrols on table 2 feeling each other out.
Last night the club had another visit from the Mighty Dux, Rich Clarke of Too Fat Lardies, this time to run us through a playtest/demo of their new WW2 "platoon plus" ruleset, Chain of Command.

If you want to know more about the core concepts in the rules, there are a couple of YouTube videos up here and here, with another one coming.

There's a couple of really innovative rules mechanics in the game that have the potential to really make the whole thing. First off, the patrol/jump-off point pre-game, which essentially eliminates the first bunch of moves in something like Bolt Action while the forces actually find each other.

The Germans on table one deploy to their jump-off
In essence, both sides alternate moving patrol markers (usually four), within certain restrictions - they must be able to trace an unbroken chain within 12" through all their markers, and as soon as a marker gets within 12" of an enemy marker it becomes locked in place.

Once all of one side's markers are locked, the second phase of the pre-game is that the players have three jump-off point markers, which they take turns to place: they must be at least 6" further from the enemy than a patrol marker and they must be in cover.

The end result of this is both sides now have three points in cover to which they can deploy units (be they fire-teams or sections), and have both undergone some preliminary scouting out of the opposition. There's no end of potential for tactics and thought in the pre-game - I spotted several subtleties just in the one game I was helping referee.

The Germans on table 2 advance through
(one of my new) woods.
In the game proper, this is a TFL game that doesn't use cards. Instead it uses command dice - basically the player whose phase it is rolls 5d6: on any 1 he can activate a fire team, a 2 a section, a 3 a junior NCO, a 4 a senior NCO or officer. 5s add a pip to a 'Chain of Command dice' (when it reaches 6, there are potentials for special moves, including moving a jump-off point). 6s - if you roll zero or 1, the next phase is the other player's; two, it's yours again, three it's yours again and the turn ends (various effects like smoke, overwatch wear off), four its yours again, the turn ends and something random happens (air strike, mortar stonk...), and five (and I quote) you win a car :D

Activation works like you'd expect in any Lardies game: NCOs and officers get multiple command initiatives to activate sections or fire teams, rally off shock, etc.

Combat is very like Dux Britanniarum, believe it or not - you roll N dice to hit dependent on range, the target rolls to save hits, taking shock or kills depending on cover.

And that's pretty much it. The rules are still being fine-tuned, but all in all it's a great game, and I think it has potential to be a winner. I loved it (even if all I was doing was refereeing one of the two games): it really does require you to use period tactics and really think about your initial patrol and subsequent deployment, as if you don't then things can all too easily just bog down into a firefight.


  1. Thanks for this Mike. I watched Richard's YouTube videos on CoC and am quite excited about it. Good to hear positive reports such as this.

  2. Nice looking game, the rules sound very interesting.

  3. Thanks Mike, very interesting. I like the use of dice as an alternative to cards whilst keeping the element of the unexpected that I've come to expect from a Lardies game


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