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.
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.
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.
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.
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