Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Change of Command

First things first though....

I completely missed the fact that I have now been blogging for a whole year as my blogging anniversary was just a few days ago!

I was never sure how this was going to go, but I've been enjoying it. Part of the enjoyment has definitely been finding other gaming blogs within the blogging community to see what others are up too. There are so many great blogs about a great hobby. So, I hope you've enjoyed my first year with many more to come :) I also continue to look forward to checking out your blogs too.

Now... on to more important things... Sunday gaming!

We still stuck with 28mm WW2 today... but there was a change. A different rule-set.

We've been keen to try out Chain of Command as an alternative to Bolt Action for a little while now and it felt like a good time to give it a try.

Therefore, today would be Mark's British facing my German's in a small Chain of Command game.

As it was our first game we decided that we would keep it simple with just using an infantry platoon each with no support.

The mission would be "The Patrol" with this being the first scenario in the rule-book and looking like it was the simplest.

Chain of Command has some very different set-up rules with a "patrol phase" to determine where you will end up being able to deploy units. Adds quite an interesting tactical edge to the game..... do you push forward and grab territory or ensure a consolidated deployment area....??

Rather than try and explain it here, I'd suggest you check out Too Fat Lardie's you-tube vid's on the rules - Chain of Command, Part 1. I think there are 6 clips in total and they are a good place to start if you're interested in the game.

So.. onto the game.

The table... pretty standard and unchanged really from our last game... :)

I didn't get a good photo of what happened during the patrol phase, but basically I ended up being able to string my patrol markers from the forest on the bottom right, through the building to the left and then up to chateau and the building just above it. This gave me immediate control of the bulk of the table forcing Mark into the corner. But.... Mark was able to deploy his jump off points around the buildings there...

With that, the game commenced and both of us starting to use our command dice to deploy units. British units quickly made use of the buildings by deploying in them. One German unit deployed around the hedgerow near the forest whilst the other deployed up by the ruined building.

And then the shooting started. A bit of shock (pinning/suppression) being handed round, but not much else. 

Mark's command dice meant he was able to bring on units a little quicker than I. The British sensed an opening and quickly advanced towards the forest to try and flank my forces..

The Germans saw the threat and deployed a unit to counter it...

Things kinda bogged down a bit here with neither side really able to advance much. But also not helped by unfamiliarity with the rules/game play. Shock came and went on units and numbers on both sides started to dwindle. Especially in the forest. That was going to be an important firefight...

The British light mortar sent some HE flying around the place, but generally missed and quickly exhausted it's 3 rounds of HE leaving only smoke rounds....

By now the British infantry section that had started to move through the forest had taken a number of casualties. Survival was going to be a better option than continuing to try and compete against the German infantry sections firepower (having a belt feed MG means the German infantry squads have more dice than than their British counterparts with the magazine feed bren).

It then took me some time to be able to advance up close enough to the edge of the forest to fire out at them to try and finish them (movement is D6 to move and fire!)! Just as I get to the edge.... a nearby British infantry section in a building pops out to move up and add their weight of fire into the gun battle!

But they only find themselves enfiladed by MG fire from the German section in the ruined building! Casualties are continuing to be taken on both sides, but neither side has yet to reach that tipping point where a unit will be forced to break! This is mostly due to Junior and Senior leaders on both sides working overtime to keep shock levels down.

But then Mark discovers the smoke option on his light mortar and overwatch, but I quickly knock these off by using a command point to end the turn. And so ends "turn 1" :)

At this point Mark is distracted by the new book smell of my copy of Crescent & Cross for Saga so hands over command of the British forces to Phil so he can have a read.... Phil immediately moves one of the British units out into the open!? Luckily for him, I only have a few riflemen who can see them, so they are able to make it into the smoke next turn.

And then out of the smoke to try and take on my unit in and around the ruined building...

I think it was mainly because he wanted to try out the rules for grenades... at least that's all I can think of since standing, in the open, against the full firepower of a German section was going to get messy. The grenade misses. Casualties quickly mount on the British unit.

Back on the right flank... it's first blood to me as I've finally broken one of the British sections which drops Phil's force morale. The other British unit proves to be very stubborn and refuses to run away.... helped by Phil able to put lots of shock on my unit whilst I seem to hardly do any damage.

The unit throwing grenades finally breaks and I foolishly run after it finding myself in close combat. I've got a few guys left.... Phil only has a couple... how bad could it be?

Bad. Real bad. Based on how the close combat rules work in Chain of Command... Phil ends up with almost twice the dice I do (due to having a senior officer present and not being pinned). End result...

I do destroy his unit, but end up having my own unit effectively destroyed in the process.

And on the right flank... I finally finish of that remaining unit. Only just though.... it took a lucky throw of a grenade through the forest to be able to do it!

And with that, Phil's force morale reached zero ending the game with my force morale still on 6. So a convincing win when looking at morale, but neither of us had much left on the table! Casualties were very high....

So, thoughts on the game....

I quite liked it. Once we got the hang of the command dice and what that allowed you to activate, we soon settled into the game. Gameplay is relatively simple (like Bolt Action), but there seems to be a lot more tactical options in Chain of Command. You have to think carefully as well as you never quite know what you will be able to do... sometimes I found I didn't have enough command dice to activate all units, but other times I knew I would be able to go again immediately... completely changes your thinking.... 

I'm not I'm finding the right words to explain my thoughts at the moment nor the tactical edge it gives. I'm sure we'll be having another go at Chain of Command soon, so will post more about it then.

Definitely a game I'm keen on exploring more.