Sunday 21 April 2013

Chain of Command: A Diary # 1

As I had the opportunity to comment a couple of weeks ago, we've been invited by Richard Clarke of TooFatLardies to participate in the test phase of its new II WW skirmish-level rules Chain of Command (referred as “CoC” from now on), expected to be published in the final form by the summer.
After playing a few games in our club with the draft rules versions, I'd like today to start now a series of occasional posts commenting our impressions and assessment, as well as illustrating some of the mechanics and the philosophy behind  the game.
Topic of today: when "skirmish" is truly skirmish  
I cannot emphasizes more that CoC is a truly skirmish-skirmish game, where 1 mini on the table represents 1 man, and 1 model a vehicle of some sort (soft skin or AFV).
At this level of play, you are expected to command a force the size of an infantry platoon with the appropriate support to that scale: an MMG/HMG, a specialist team of engineers with a flamethrower or a tank killer team, (very) light mortars and some limited armour support (one tank, half-track or Bren carrier).  

Somewhere in Normandy - June 1944
A typical game can be played with around 40-50 models per side, including the section (junior) leaders and the platoon commander (senior leader).

Therefore do not expect a P-51 Mustang or a salvo form the big guns of a navy destroyer to save the day if you are an American officer in trouble in Normandy on June 1944!!
 CoC’s focus is on the small tactical fighting with the fire team being the smallest unit that players will be using. The fire teams of this period will be typically a group of men (between five and eight) armed with rifles or organised around a light machine gun (LMG), conforming a squad.
The team actions in this game are driven by the tactical opportunities available in each moment. These can be either to advance using the best possible cover of the terrain, firing to fix the enemy in their positions or attempting a final rush /assault to take an objective.
Achtung Panzer!

Tactical considerations at this level of play are significantly different to for example, a company-sized game like I Ain’t Being Shot Mum (that some people will still consider a scale close to skirmish, at least by comparison with battalion or regiment level games currently in the market).  Here the priorities are the coordination of the different infantry platoons, between them or with larger armour assets; in addition, the availability of a wider range of available support elements (from aircraft to heavy artillery) means a totally different game and focus of command.  

Through an original and intelligent system of deployment designed for CoC (more on this in a next post), the senior commander can commit to the battle, the resources available to him not in a blind way, but in consideration of the tactical situation.

Move out!
However, the units cannot be activated at all times and when the commander wishes. Restrictions applies and trade-offs must be taken. Conversely, the system also creates opportunities to exploit a successful attack, but the commander must be smart enough to seize it.
In conclusion, this is a game about small tactics, small units and decisions to be taken by the leaders on the field. The brunt of the battle falls on the poor bloody infantry man and the ability of the leader to both coordinate scarce resources and  commit those resources at the appropriate moment.       


  1. Me recuerda a "Rules of Engagement", que es también un reglamento de escaramuzas intenso e "íntimo".
    Estaré atento a tus entradas, que me resulta interesante este reglamento para el tema de Indochina que cada vez me ronda más cerca...

  2. Despues de ver los videos y ojear en directo una partida en el Salute, me atrae bastante el reglamento, podria ser un serio competidor para el que estamos usando ahora. Seguire atento el blog.

  3. I am looking quite forward to this game coming out, so I will follow your blog with interest.


  4. That's a great description, Benito! It really is a skirmish game. And perhaps, more than that - a skirmish-and-scouting game. When Rich first started pulling the rules together, it seemed to be more like an evolution of "Through the Mud and the Blood", but in its now evolved form its very much a distinct game.

    What I enjoy about it is how it really does punish and reward historical reconnaissance tactics; a good read through of the relevant Osprey tactical books (for a WWII novice like me), and I was ready to go. As you say - no convenient P-51 Mustang strike when you get into trouble....and definitely no Me-262s around!

  5. Cada dia mas enganchado y deseando la siguiente partida, Si TWT me gustaron
    C o C me encantan. Buen trabajo

  6. Excellent summery. Very, very much looking forward for this to be released. Their demo @Salute was top notch as well.

  7. Thanks for a good first post about CoC

    Best regards Michael