Chain of Command

I am learning Chain of Command (click rules name for its website) in my seemingly never-ending search for an elegantly simple but somewhat realistic “skirmish” ruleset. We started with Tractics (or really its predecessor, GRT) in 1970 but noted its flaws of morale and turn sequence. Then after years of D&D, I gained a bit of a role-playing attitude regarding historical miniatures. At that point though we got in Command Decision which is a level up—what now wargamers would call a battalion or regiment level game (each vehicle or stand of infantry equivalent to a platoon)—and a higher level since we were always making the Tractics games “too big” really.

Then along the way, I decided that the Hidden Movement Systems we used for Tractics and Command Decision were too involved. On learning about the SUTC concept, I wanted to try a Double Blind skirmish system. My thinking was that a simple, small game with strong hidden movement would make up for an apparent lack of complexity and “realism”. Hidden aspects really change the game and make it more tense than what happens with the player “loitering over the battlefield in his Piper Cup” seeing everything.

So after trying Nuts! (may be fine but the system is initially challenging to figure out), I have dabbled a bit in Battlegroup which I like a lot (it may be a just-right balance of simplicity & realism), I had a new wargamer locally who wanted to try Chain of Command. Since this rule system was on my original “short list” of skirmish rulesets and my buddy Jeff Glasgo of Oregon has been looking at CoC too, I thought this was a good time to see how it works and get my France ’40 Brits & Germans out on the table again.

Learning cold—without someone to teach

I watched most of a video but without the rules at hand that only went so far. Then with the rules learning seems to be a bit more of challenge than Battlegroup. But only a bit. When one finally straightens out the difference between Commands and Command Initiatives, things got easier. CoC has some good concepts but seemingly a lot of details. So it helped that I found a good QRS made by Mike Whittaker, his version v2.3 11APR2019. It’s a bit ominous that it’s six pages long! But he assures that for an infantry only game, one only needs the first two pages. The “details” issue comes from dicing for a variety of outcomes with a range of possibilities. In most cases the range of outcomes seem reasonable but only playing the game will determine whether they are too much or just right.

Play Aids

Even though I haven’t played the game yet (!), I can’t help myself in making play aids.

Even though they may not come up so often, I made a page for the Random Events as 6 cards on a page. The thinking is that some require multi-phase or turn tracking and so my thought was that the card could be laid down a counter or two used to show the status of the event. Like the rain or smoke. So, click for:

After seeing Mark B’s excellent beginner’s suggestions, terrain, play aids and examples at, here’s one for a compact Force Morale Track with a “parking lot” for Chain of Command Dice (especially if you recess that spot out of a foam-core backing, click:

As a play aid for new players (which is to say all of us here in Uruguay), I made up some “stat tags” that can accompany the units until players feel that they don’t need “Trainer Wheels”.
I know it’s all in the rules but typically spread around and when you’re new *everything* is at least half a mystery. I’m confident that many may not need most of this after the first game (or others who retain what they read, half a game or, me, after about 3 games).
Anyway here’s our first scenario: Patrol between a first wave German platoon with an adjutant (1 support point) and a British 1939 Regulation Platoon with 8 support points.
While I haven’t proofed this 100% yet, I wanted to see if any of you had comments, corrections or constructive criticism?

5 thoughts on “Chain of Command

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