First Game of Chain of Command

Time travel Lardy style continues: I’ve read a number of articles on Chain of Command and always wanted to try it out, so last week, chums Sigur Skwarl and Virago invited me over to have a game. Virago had a nice desert table prepared and lent me his Germans to play against Sigur’s 8th Army, while he himself acted as umpire.

As Sigur has already published a very nice report on the Warseer Forum, I will keep mine short. Thanks to Sigur and Virago for letting me use their photos!

Chain of Command has a very interesting pre-game phase to determine ‘Jump Off Points’, which are points where you can set up your troops (and bring in reinforcements). I wasn’t really sure what to do, but thought that covering the flanks would generally be a good idea, so I spread my Jump Off Points to cover my right flank. Sigur kept his closer together and also closer to the buildings in the middle of the table.

The troops deploy.
The troops deploy.
Germans in the smoke.
Germans in the smoke.

The game started with Sigur rushing towards the buildings and taking up position there. I moved one section to cover my right flank, while my leader took command of a group on my left flank. With this group, I tried to envelop Sigur’s position, hoping to also take out his mortar, which was laying down rather annoying smoke. While everyone was shuffling around, a random event caused a fire in one of the buildings. The resulting smoke was impressive and blocked line of sight over a large area.

The roof is on fire!
The roof is on fire!
The British occupying the buildings.
The British occupying the buildings.
On the left: my flanking force.
On the left: my flanking force.

While the general shooting started, my leader rushed forward on my left flank and impetuously charged the mortar team. A bloody melee followed, putting all of the British guys out of action but also wounding my leader. Sigur immediately deployed an Australian section, which put my shock troops to flight.

Australians riddling my shock troop with bullets.
Australians riddling my shock troop with bullets.

They – and my wounded leader – were out of the fight. Although I deployed my reserve in the middle, I wasn’t sure how to proceed. While they were lingering around the buildings, Sigur managed to take out another of my leaders, reducing my Force Morale to 3 and ending the game.

A German section cautiously approaching the buildings.
A German section cautiously approaching the buildings.

Despite the learning curve, it was an exciting and fun game. I can see that using my leader to conduct a raid on the left flank was a very bad idea – those troops were completely unsupported and my leader was isolated from the rest of his command. Also, I was a bit intimidated by the buildings and unsure how I should dislodge Sigur’s guys from their cover.

However, I really liked Chain of Command. While many mechanics were already familiar to me being a Lardy fanboy, there are significant changes in several aspects. I especially like the pre-game phase and the command dice mechanics. Although I don’t know much about WW2 tactics, the new command mechanics feels right for the period. However, I still think the more personalized command mechanics of Sharp Practice is more apt for the 19th century.

Anyhow, fun was had and the Lard was spread! In fact, I was so captivated that I had another one of my hair brained project ideas: I’m going to collect Free French Foreign Legion to supplement the desert forces of Sigur and Virago. This intersects nicely with my Wargaming Warrior Women project, as I recently read the autobiography of Susan Travers, the only woman to officially serve in the French Foreign Legion. She was present at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in 1942, so I’ll base my forces around that. But more about that another time.

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