Sunday, 2 March 2014

Project Afrika CoC Update # 2

This is the second update of our Afrika Coc campaign report. We are somewhat delayed vs. our initial calendar, as we expected to start in early February, but finally today we have exchanged the first shots (hurrah!) in the North African Desert table.

Today it has been more a test than a full real game and out of a campaign context. The gathering was useful to put together what each of us has already painted over the last two months and also to play with our new desert Warmat from BarrageMiniatures.

The Battlefield
A suggestion was made to try playing with 3 platoons per side and the game was useful to test how Chain of Command can be overstretched, considering that the design is mainly for 1 or 2 platoons maximum. Personally I think it worked just OK but not great, although in general I’m quite reluctant to play games that fundamentally breaks what the designer has tried to achieve.
Australian operated M 13

On my way home I  realized that 3 platoons is in fact a company, and that command challenges as well as support issues exceed those designed for Chain of Command (…and in fact you can play at that organizational level with I Ain’t being ShotMum, a company level game!).

In any case the game was good to reassess some of the ideas I wrote in a previous post of my Chain of Command Diary dealing with larger games. In particular the use of 5s (generating Chain of Command pips) and 6s (governing next activation phase and turn ending) from the dice rolls. While in my previous post I argued in favour of one player’s results being only valid, after today I think it works better if you allow the 6s to affect each platoon independently:

Italians in the mist
Before, obtaining two 6s (it means that the next activation phase is also yours) extended the result to all platoons present on the table;  now only the force under command of the player who rolled the dice will be able to have two consecutive activations. This is what the book suggests and makes total sense.
And when achieving three or four 6s? That means turn ending and having some important implications in the game (including random events). Following the suggestion included in the rules book too, the player will roll one additional die and only with 5 or 6 the turn will be actually concluded.
Australian infantry line advancing

The next challenge to solve is the use or not of fully independent tank platoons (3-4 vehicles). My initial point of debate is that Chain of Command is an infantry platoon game mainly, with variable assets in support depending on the type of scenario. Introducing tank formations in my view again breaks the game design structure. However it is true that desert battles were mainly mechanized and mobile, with tanks (and anti-tanks!) played a very significant role in the campaign. I’m not totally clear on this yet; and your ideas and comments are more than welcome.
Rommel's finest!
Finally, the campaign seems to starting to take shape. We will create two different teams with 4-5 players per side and will use as a campaign framework the recently released supplement At the Sharp End.
Watch out, Panzers!
A very initial idea is that each player will control one platoon-based force with supports. Two platoons will fight in each game in two different areas of a map but they will converge (if victorious) in the final objective location. A common pool of reinforcements will be set at the beginning of the campaign and we will create a governance framework of how that pool will be used among the different players.

Brave Indians attacking
As we have some models either still on the painting table or in the mail, it is reasonable to expect starting the formal campaign on the weekend of March 22nd

Rommel's Chariots


  1. Your plan for the campaign seems very sound - I like the idea of starting each platoon separately and then combining successful elements on the objective. I also think you are wise to stay within the design intent of the game - company sized engagements work just fine with IABSM but that is, of course, a different game.
    Your desert kit looks fabulous in the table, and I really like that new mat.

  2. The terrain mat and other bits of terrain look superb, as does the figures and vehicles. There is obviously a lot of painting talent amongst your group. Also like the smoke markers.
    What figure company are the Australian figures from?
    Great idea with a common pool of reinforcements which kind of makes sense coming from the one company to cover the three platoons.
    Looking forward to following the campaign.

    1. The Australians are from Brigade Games, not terribly good quality however

  3. Muy bueno el terreno. Estoy de acuerdo en lo de no sobré pasar los límites en cuanto al diseño del reglamento. Ya lo hicimos con TWT y se nota en el resultado final. Es cierto que se puede adaptar pero no recoge fielmente el espíritu del reglamento. Coincido en que el diseño es para aciones de infantería y no para vehículos, para esto tenemos otras opciones.

    1. CdosC pruebalo y ya veras. Estas reglas, con suficientes jugadores, dan para una compañia y siguen funcionando como un reloj porque todos los jugadores (en cada fase, al menos, los de un bando) estan haciendo cosas a la vez . Ahora eso si, con una compañia en mesa, hay que olvidarse de las agradables partidas relajadas que se terminan en dos horitas ; hay que echarles la mañana.

    2. Discrepo amablemente. NO funciona corectamente
      3 platoons es una compañía y los retos de mando y la disponibilidad de soportes no está contemplado en CoC. Si vamos a ese tamaño, mejor nos pasamos a IABSM

    3. Yo tampoco creo que dé de sí para una compañía. Por cierto, el terreno espectacular, lástima haber faltado a ese ensayo.

  4. For those interested in the mat. They are produced by a member of our Club who runs a company deicated to wargaming support called Barrage Miniatures... I would check his web page if interested...

    I am not a big fun of this rules set, however scenario look superb!!

    1. There's a direct link in the post for those interested

  5. Excellent Benito. Look forward seeing the campaign develop. Interesting points as we are also struggling how to play CoC with multiple players involved. And I can recommend the mat as well. Great mat and great company to deal with!

  6. Very nice looking battle fiels, and the vehicles looks greate !!!

  7. Really nice looking game table, and wonderful the warmat!
    About the rules, I think they have been written thinking in the Infantry combat, at the platoon level. Perhaps it could be better to play different parts of the same scenario with all the results affecting the main scenario.

    1. That's an alternative I'm laready considering. Someone suggested in the TFL Yahoo Group using as background for the campaign the summer '41 attack on Tobruk by the 15th Panzer Division. Using the At the Sharp End campaign mechanisms, we can create two differente routes converging into the main objective part of the ladder.