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|
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.
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.
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.