26 October 2013

Chain of Command - First Fight!

Ziggy and I got an opportunity to try out Chain of Command Friday evening. Like many games, the first go-round is always a bit slow and stumbly, but by the end we had a pretty good grip on the rules and how things flow. We used my freshly-minted 1/72 Germans and Soviets - Zig using the Wehrmacht of course any me herding the red horde. The Germans were a full platoon of three squads and the platoon HQ team. The Ruskies were a platoon of three squads (one missing its LMG) and the platoon leader. We didn't fiddle with any of the support elements for our first game so I was at a minor disadvantage with much less flexible elements.

 We muddled our way through the Patrol Phase and got our jump-off point positioned. I could tell that the Germans were trying to get holed up in the train station so I positioned my entry points to surround it.

With typical German efficiency, two full squads are deployed - one gets moved up into the train station. My activation dice for my first phase was tragic and I couldn't get anything onto the table (6,5,5,4,1). Ziggy's second activation roll ended the turn. The table was now set - the Germans had captured the train station and my mission would be to dislodge them.

My first squad arrives and takes up a position to pour bullets into the station.

And then the second, which straight away begins firing into the third German squad on the road. Basically unlimited weapon ranges (except sidearms, submachineguns and flame-throwers) mean that if you can be seen, you can be hit. I managed to roll two 6es on the activation dice to start my phase which would give me two phases in a row.

That same squad blasted away at the guys on the road again and my third squad arrived on the road, concealed by the hedges.

Unterfeldwebel Zeigler had to re-arrange his forces to stay in the battle at this point. The MG team was forced to break and ended up behind the hedge. The rifle team managed to get out of danger around the corner of the station. The squad in the train station kept firing at my guys in the woods (far right in the picture).

The German platoon leader got in position to help both shot up teams recover while the squad which hadn't seen much action yet moved up and assumed a tactical stance, gaining some survivability while advancing. (We put the green yarn on units in a "tactical stance")

 A moment later, the guys in the train station found their mark and unloaded on first squad in the woods, causing them to break - right off the table.

Without much in the way of good options, I decided to rush the station. A miserable movement roll by second squad left them with their asses in the wind. Some top-notch shooting later and they were routed along with my senior leader. Third squad was still in OK shape, in a tactical stance and still approaching the station. The turn ended but I got to keep initiative. Tactical markers, etc. got pulled off. Turn three was going to be a bloody mess.

In an effort to give close combat a try, I hurled my squad towards the Germans on the tracks. A swirl of blood and trenching tools later, I had kicked the shit out of the Germans and run them off. You can see the hand of fate reaching for shock counters in the last picture. 

It didn't take long for the remaining Germans to blast my remaining squad into oblivion and we called the game there.

Well that was fun. Small wonder that Chain of Command is what all the smart kids are playing. The game is tight, has a very nice ebb and flow and just works. The dice mechanics are simple and consistent from one rule to the next. Close combat was simple to manage. Some additional teams would make things a bit more interesting. As it was, we were both typically getting enough actions to do everything we wanted. With more teams per side, there would be some tougher decisions about which teams to activate. CoC, after a first game, gets two thumbs up from Z and myself.

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