The brave Requetés take on the Godless Brigadistas in our first Chain of Command outing somewhere in the hills South of Granada but North of Malaga and Almería which remain in the hands of the Rojos. This is the patrol scenario with each side having only 1 support point. The Requetés upgraded a Junior Leader to Senior and the Brigadistas took a mortar for one of their mortar teams. The other team and indeed everybody else was stuck with rifles.
Among the rules mistakes we used 4 command dice per side instead of 5. There are some actions tied to a turn end and with 4 command dice this never occurred. 3 or more 6s on the command dice roll are needed to trigger the turn end. With 4 dice; needing exactly 3 6s would be 1/6*1/6*1/6*5/6 = 5/1296 , that ‘not 6’ could be the 1st, 2nd 3rd or 4th dice so there are 4 paths to success 20/1296 (.0015) . An extra dice factors in another 5/6 for the dice not rolling a 6; 5/1296 * 5/6 = 25/7776 each ‘not 6’ could be in 1 of 5 positions but they cannot both be in the same position, using NCR we have 10 combinations of ordering 3 things from 5 so 250/7776 = 0.032. These calculations do not include the odds of rolling 4 or 5 6’s nor of rolling enough 5’s to generate a command point and end the turn. Short summary with 4 rather than 5 command dice we had no turn ends and no collecting enough 5s to buy the turn end or do any other fancy command point stuff.
On with the game, both players started their patrol markers on a long board edge but the patrol phase swerved the markers leading to Rojos in the West and Requetés to the East. There is a Rojos jump off point hidden behind a hedge at about 12:00 on the image below.
The Rojos rolled a slew of 3s and used 3 junior leaders to deploy the bulk of his forces, 2 big blobs of infantry and a mortar squad. The ‘mortarless’ squad having been broken up and distributed amongst the other infantry. Only a senior leader and friend remained off board. Chain of Command emphasises creeping up,keeping troops back and manipulating the jump off points. In hindsight slamming it all down makes a lot of sense if you have the dice to do it. The Requetés deploy cautiously and advance a squad towards the enemy mortar hoping to first get within its minimum range then destroy it and capture the jump off point.
Troops have to deploy within 6″ of friendly jump off points so the Rojos spent some time sorting themselves out into neat firing lines to avoid shooting through their own troops. Green markers are shock. Both sides are aggressive, ignoring the 1st shock result so shock was not a major factor in the game.
The Requetés run flat out towards the mortar,rolling miserably so do not get far and take a point of shock for their troubles. The mortar should be a small 2-man job not this big model but no more suitable set was to hand.
In a similar miscalculation of force needed to get anything done the Rojos head for an empty Requeté jump off point only to see it spawn Requeté infantry who promptly shoot up the Rojos.
The Requetés head for the mortar but are taking losses and shock. A junior leader heads off to encourage them on.
Things do not look good for the few Requetés left behind.
The Rojos charge in, take some losses but 2 squads (teams in España), already badly shot up, are wiped out and the jump off point is overrun.
The Requetés have to decide to reinforce failure by sending troops towards the lost jump off point or even the odds by rolling over the exposed Rojos jump off points to the North of the board.
The Rojos detach men to take out the exposed Junior Leader, another Requeté moral loss and they are now down to an almost useless 3 command dice (we possibly rolled on the wrong lines of the force morale table but the writing was definitely on the wall).
If the Requetés run troops to take over enemy jump off points they are going to pile up shock, even without being shot at. The best they can hope to do is to use 2 Senior Leader actions, 1 to run a squad flat out and another to remove the resulting shock. That all depends on at least one 4 on the remaining 3 command dice.
If enough command dice had been used the a game turn would have ended by now seeing the loss of the captured Requeté jump off point and their morale crashing out. Brigadista morale had yet to drop as they do not break and no Rojos unit had been wiped out.
We forgot the Requeté special rule allowing rolls of 1 against them in cover to be re-rolled (taking cover not being a manly thing). The Brigadistas keep running until rallied but the Requetés are liable to be removed from the game when broken. The force morale of each side drops when bad things happen so you will be unlikely to fight on until the last man. As breaking is a ‘bad thing’ this rule made it harder to inflict bad things on the Brigadistas.
A debriefing for Bolt Action readers. Shooting has no maximum range but apart from the dice activation systems the mechanisms for infantry combat are much the same. Shock has a lot in common with Bolt Action pins. Enough shock and you are pinned which pretty much freezes a units firing and moving. Only Leaders can remove shock. Movement is based on a roll of 1 to 3 D6s and even moving D6 will halve a unit’s firepower so there will be somewhat less successful movement and shooting than in Bolt Action.
The 2 base forces here were fixed not selected from a points budget. There are set unit sizes but individual models can be split off. The problem with small units is that they swiftly accumulate shock equal to their unit size which pins them or double that which breaks them. In this game each side had 2 big section units plus some command and support. When squads were split off from the sections they only continued to activate on a ‘1’ unless a Leader was sent off to get them, leaving the rest of the section hard to shift. Although big infantry units do crop up in Bolt Action these full sections are 15 and 18 men so it would be a more competitive model in Bolt Action to field them as 2 units, 1 with the LMG when Regulars or the full 15 or 18 as Inexperienced. The Chain of Command model assumes full sections but the possibility of whole sections missing in the platoon. In Bolt Action squads are often under strength but there is an activation bonus if they are at full strength so the model would be more smaller squads for the same number of models.
To summarise Chain of Command is more of an experience, in a role play sort of way. Bolt Action tends towards a numbers game but both are games and there is enough similarity in the two to borrow mechanisms from each other.