Monday, November 9, 2015

Chain of Command - First Game

Having laid out the scenario on the game table beforehand, Scott arrived with rules, figures, and markers in hand and we could begin once Kevin arrived.  He arrived shortly thereafter with goodies to sustain us until lunch.

Since this was our first game of Chain of Command (CoC), Scott would adjudicate while Kevin and I took on the active player roles.  Kevin would command the U.S troops.  I would command the Germans.

During the Patrol Phase, the German commander aggressively lit out for the farm in an effort to channel and hinder the U.S. approach.  Without interference from the American commander, the German player established one Jump Off Point (JOP) at the house with the second JOP back at the start line in the orchard.  The American was content to deploy his JOPs astride the road near the board edge.
JOPs established
One German squad deployed in the house with the LMG behind the protection of the stone wall.  The other two German squads were deployed on either side of the road near the orchard.
One German squad in the house
Two German squads in the orchard
The Americans drew first action to open up the engagement and quickly ripped through both the LMG hunkered behind the wall and the squad deployed within the house.  The stone wall was no match for .30 cal bullets.  What withering fire!  Lucky bastard!  Within minutes the LMG was knocked out.  Only two of the original squad survived that first fusillade.  Ouch!

While the Junior Leader sought cover behind the house, the sole surviving squad member broke back towards the orchard.  While LMG teams covered the field, one German team crossed the hedge and advanced to reinforce the house.
German team moves to support broken squad
With the Germans at the house broken and running and the Americans seemingly content to remain behind their covering hedge, the German Platoon Leader ordered the house to be reoccupied.  The German JOP at the house is back under German control while the Platoon Leader leads the LMG team onto the tree-lined road and sets up.  Not a minute too soon!  Americans breach the hedgerow and begin to advance across the open. 
House secured
At this point in the firefight, the Germans pulled off three initiatives in a row.  That bit of good fortune allowed the Germans to bring the firepower of their LMG in the treeline and squad in the house onto the advancing Americans.  Caught under heavy fire in the open, the Americans took heavy casualties and broke in the center.  The American left was also driven back with light casualties but heavy shock.

Bringing the BAR on the American right back into play, the German LMG on the road was driven off while bullets riddled the walls of the house.  At this point, we called the game a tactical American victory.  Could the Germans have salvaged the situation, possibly, but it was time for lunch.    

What did I think of the first game?  Well, I thought it played brilliantly!  I could easily translate action on the table to the situation.  Tactics seemed to work and make sense.  This is the first WWII skirmish level game to which I can honestly make this claim.  Mechanisms are easy to pick up and quite intuitive.  Straightforward game play without a lot of clutter and overhead.  The Patrol Phase was an interesting twist and provided a game within a game.  Machine gun fire is brutal.  Soldiers were dropping on both sides by the handful.  To reduce the body count, we will have to employ less lethal tactics.  

With each combatant limited to a basic force of one infantry platoon, only about 30 figures per side are required.  Easy to accomplish.  My small force of singly mounted WWII figures is almost enough to field both sides for action now.  One more German LMG and a few British infantry are all that are needed to muster one platoon each.  You can bet I placed those few figures into the painting queue soon after the game.

I enjoyed this game immensely and look forward to more.  

Great fun!

30 comments:

  1. Interesting. I've always liked Battleground WWII for the same reason. The rules promoted fire and movement, with an emphasis on pinning fire and use of terrain. These rules look to accomplish the same.

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    1. Jake, CoC is a set of rules that seems to reward Real World tactics. You might enjoy it and it plays quickly without a huge investment in figures.

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  2. Looks like a really good game Jonathan. I've yet to try CoC, but I've heard good things about it. I guess we are still having a lot of fun with Bolt Action so haven't felt the need to look for other systems, however with all the good press we should probably try it out some day.

    Christopher

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    1. Christopher, if you enjoy BA no reason to switch to CoC. With singly based figures already in hand, perhaps give it a try and then you will see if BA remains your rules of choice. CoC is available in PDF so cash outlay is small too.

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  3. Oh fun! I have got to try a game of CoC myself. Thanks for the post.

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    1. Kurtus, we enjoyed our first game and recommend that you give it at try!

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  4. I enjoyed it too. I know I made a hash of the rules in a couple of places, but I think we got the overall system right. I think we have found our WWII skirmish rules!

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    1. Scott, no rules play through is perfect the first time but the results were believable anyway. It was fun, challenging, with many decision points. and a half day well-spent gaming.

      We should do it again very soon!

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  5. Nice report Jonathan and a lovely looking game!

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  6. I love CoC and it only gets better after a few games when you learn some of the nuances. It does require an awful lot of terrain however. If there are too wide open spaces, the game quickly devolves into a simple shootout. I've seen people complaining about the game not being good and then seeing their test layout being the typical "two woods and a hill" -setup you see in 40K.

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    1. Even after only one game, your point about terrain is a good one! Machine guns are lethal even when behind solid cover as I discovered at the start of our game. A fistful of 6s spoil the best laid plans. We look forward to more games and,perhaps, even developing tactics.

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  7. What a nice collection Scott has there - glad you liked the CoC rules, and that they inspired a further drive of WW2 in your painting queue!

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    1. Yes, Scott has many nice collections. Master painter and at a speed unmatched.

      The initial game has motivated me to bring my small WWII skirmish collection up to full roster.

      I look forward to giving these go as a solo game some day too.

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  8. I also enjoy Chain of Command, the rules are very good and they play out very well. Next you have to try the Big CoC rules and add a platoon of tanks to you German Infantry platoon!!!

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    1. I will look into Big CoC but I better get the infantry game down first before adding additional complexities. Looks to me that CoC might work well in a programmed approach by adding more variety as one becomes familiar wit the system.

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  9. Cool looking game, I've heard lots of good things about the rules.

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    1. Thanks, Ray! Cool looking and fun too! Good combination.

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  10. Well out of my areas of interest, but it seems like it was an extremely successful first game!

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    1. Peter! I did not know ANY era was outside of your interest!

      It was a successful first game. In fact, Scott was proclaiming he had found his set of WWII skirmish games after years of searching. After trying a number of different rulesets, I cannot argue with that.

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  11. Happy that you liked the rules; for me CoC is the best skirmish rules published so far, with a strong biass towards historical tactics. The fact is thta my gaming group has been playing CoC continuosly more than 2 years now

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    1. Your blog has been a major inspiration for me to finally give CoC a try. The SCW games have made great reading. I thank you for that!

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    1. Thanks! Appreciate you dropping by for a comment.

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  13. What a very nice looking game Jonathan, great pictures!

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  14. I'm really pleased that you had a good first experience with CoC, Jonathan. It is a terrific system for small unit battles.
    Your description of the LMG squad getting hammered in the stone house made me smile. Even though hard cover is pretty good cover, it is a curious thing in my games that sixes kill even in hard cover, and for some reason, units in hard cover attract a lot of sixes!

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    1. The first game was encouraging but our tactics were likely not optimal. We both suffered great casualty rates and would have both been relieved of command if not shot first.

      Very good point about sixes kill no matter the cover and like a trailer park attracts tornadoes, LMGs attract sixes!

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  15. Great looking game and images - thanks for the heads up on CoC Jon..

    oh, Great looking header banner/picture of SYW Prussian Infantry too!

    cheers,

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    1. Thanks, Phil! It is good to switch up the banner from time to time.

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