For most of my wargaming “career” I’ve been a hardcore sci-fi gamer with adventures in Warhammer 40K and Battletech. Sure I’ve played DBA a bunch, enjoyed X-Wing Miniatures before FFQ pulled the 2.0 bait and switch, and I LOVE Wings of Glory WW I- but real deal historical wargaming?
Chain of Command changed that, and overall it is quickly becoming one of my favorite wargames- part setting and part rules.
Playing WW 2 Germans gives me a lot of historical options- early war with larger squads and light tanks, late war with more machine guns and heavier tanks. Americans, British, and Russians only get to fight the Germans, while the Germans get to fight all three of those army lists which means different opponent’s all the time for my one army.
It’s also a nice break from the locked in systems of Games Workshop and Battletech- you can use any miniatures and even scale for the game- Chain of Command is a rule set and not a miniature set.
I’ve been using Plastic Soldier Company for my infantry and tanks, and it’s crazy coming from 40K where you can can an army with everything and anything you will ever need for $100 or less.
Tactically the most interesting thing for me vs. other gaming systems is range and how damge is worked out.
In Chain of Command the range is…
There is a “short” range bonus, but if you can see it you can shoot it- which makes sense given the squad level and tank lever firepower vs. range.
Quite a different take vs. Warhammer 40K where if you are 25″ away from my Space Marines I can’t hit you with my bolters.
CoC forces you to move, keep your heads down, use covering fire- VERY tactical.
Naturally when you shoot, you roll to it followed by the results to wound/kill on the unit you are firing on. This is modified by cover and a few other variables with a 4/5 on the D6 being a shock token and 6 being a kill.
Unlike other wargames it is somewhat rare for a unit to get wiped out from one round of shooting- unless they get hit with a flamethrower. What you do get hit with is shock- as it piles on it decreases your movement, fire rate, will cause the unit to be pinned, or even break.
Just coming under fire is enough to stop your advance of men.
In each army list- junior and senior officers on the table issue orders and can remove shock, but they have to be with or near the unit, and can be killed themselves.
Tanks also work with shock- take an AT hit and it might not damage the tank but it will hand out shock tokens causing the crew to react.
In my last game, my tank got hit with an AT round from a hidden British gun, it bounced on the armor, but with the hock result the crew in my tank decided to back the tank up 6″ in response.
The game is very moves management not only in strategy, but also in keeping your men on point, motivated, and following your orders.