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Chain of Command Preview Videos at You Tube

We are very pleased to announce that the first preview videos for Chain of Command are now on You Tube.

The first video covers the pre-game Patrol Phase which has been developed in order to kick the game off with a short mini-“game within a game” which really accelerates the game through to the point where the action is about to begin. This is designed to represent the players’ knowledge of the terrain and the enemy’s whereabouts. More importantly it tells the player which ground he “owns”, and where he can deploy his troops to rapidly and safely before they need to take a more cautious and pragmatic approach. The number of Patrol Markers, their starting positions and who moves first and how often will vary depending on the scenario. The example shown here is just one simple example from the encounter battle scenario, but the basic principles can be seen.

 

Part Two looks at the turn sequence and troop activation mechanism. This is, we think, a totally new concept which takes a leap towards the wargame designers ultimate goal (ours anyway!) of a truly turn free game. Imagine a game where a turn equated to a half in a game of Rugby, or a quarter in a game of US Football, within that broad period of play you would have an unspecified number of phases in which the players took the initiative in a non-linear way. So, I could have this phase, you could have the next, but then after that I could get two on the trot before it went back to you. As in that rugby or football match, and indeed war, you would see that play ebbs and flows but in an previously undertmined manner, with the players uncertain of what twists and turns are round the corner.

The activation sequence for our miniature troops is designed to allow the gamer to put together a short series of plays in each phase, making the most of what opportunities present themselves. What results is a fast and frantic game with an amorphous structure which the players shape to form the storyline of the battle.

Part 3 of the Chain of Command series looks at the basics of fire and movement. This is VERY simple stuff as we have intentionally kept this straight-forward and easy to learn.

These videos can also be viewed directly on You Tube

And the good new is that we will be in the studio again soon recording part three and a whole series on Dux Britanniarum.

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11 Responses

  1. Roger Beatson says:

    Hi guys

    This new rule set looks very interesting. Has it been designed specifically for WW2 actions or is it flexible enough to be used be used for other periods such as Vietnam or other Modern conflicts ?

  2. Jim says:

    I like what I see so far. A mix of chance and some skill in using the dice values in the best combination.

    The patrol phase seem straightforward and certainly gets rid of artificial fixed deployment zones too. The lock-down distances seem a bit close though, even with the ‘move back’.

    Might I also suggest that different terrain should have an effect too. In the open, the lock-down distance will be much further, while in a small dense wood, the distance patrols could approach would be a lot closer together.

    Troop type might also make a difference. You might get keen/elite types doing a thorough recce and getting close up. Jaded/novice types might just go through the motions and not take any risks, scuttling back to report once they know there are enemy troops about.

    I appreciate you probably don’t want to make this phase cumbersome, but if you’re going to use a patrol phase to determine jump-off points as a key game element, then relative field craft skills are important.

  3. Roger Beatson says:

    Jim :
    I like what I see so far. A mix of chance and some skill in using the dice values in the best combination.
    The patrol phase seem straightforward and certainly gets rid of artificial fixed deployment zones too. The lock-down distances seem a bit close though, even with the ‘move back’.
    Might I also suggest that different terrain should have an effect too. In the open, the lock-down distance will be much further, while in a small dense wood, the distance patrols could approach would be a lot closer together.
    Troop type might also make a difference. You might get keen/elite types doing a thorough recce and getting close up. Jaded/novice types might just go through the motions and not take any risks, scuttling back to report once they know there are enemy troops about.
    I appreciate you probably don’t want to make this phase cumbersome, but if you’re going to use a patrol phase to determine jump-off points as a key game element, then relative field craft skills are important.

    Jim – having watched the first video again I’m wondering if the number of jump off points (which appears to be variable) and that units must subsequently be deployed in cover might be an abstraction of the points you’ve raised.

  4. moocifer says:

    I have 2 questions ..

    How heavily has SAGA influenced what appears to be a very similar mechanic with the dice rolling for actions as demonstrated in one of the videos ??

    I imagine you haven’t got a secret Battleboard still to reveal but for me what I’ve seen so far (albeit a limited amount) has a somewhat familiar air ..

    And this evolution of Blinds into Jump Off points .. has that come about due to a perceived confusion and/or unpopularity with the Blind system ??

  5. Big Rich says:

    And I have two answers!

    I never considered Saga Dice as having any connection whatsoever to the Command Dice in Chain of Command. The function Command Dice fulfil is quite different (and you must excuse me but I have only ever played one demo of Saga and that was a long time ago, so my memory if rusty). Yes, Command Dice do determine what units can activate, but I see that as an extension of the cards used in most Lardy systems. They also determine the structure of the turn, determining who hs the next phase of play, someting that dice do not do in Saga. The Command Dice build up a general reservoir of battlefield awareness and reactability, something with no equivalent in Saga. The dice relate directly to units and leaders rather than key abilities or “bonuses” so unlike Saga again. So no real connection other than the fact that they are dice with six sides. As mentioned, what rolling the dice is actually doing is dealing a hand of cards, some of which you play now, some of which you reserve for later and some of which determine the sequence of play, random events and similar external factors. Very different to Saga if memory serves me correctly.

    Blinds. The Patrol Phase and the subsequent Jump-off points are a natural extension of Blinds rather than a replacement for them. Blinds are a VERY popular component of our games (and more recently several other peoples’ games which have quite clearly been influenced by them) and I have seen no confusion as to how they work. However, in the same way that the dice are a development of the concept of a card driven game, the Jump-off points are in the same way a development of the concept of Blinds. They suit the scale of game we are looking at, they would not, I feel, suit a company level game such as IABSM where the fluidity and uncertainty of Blinds is an important part of the game. So horses for courses.

    I hope that clarifies where we are coming from. This is a next generation Lard product, but the principles within it are very much Lardy principles developed on further as opposed to ideas we have imported from elsewhere.

  6. Big Rich says:

    Replying to Roger and Jim here. Indeed. The demo shows a very vanilla version of the Patrol Phase. The game certainly varies depending on the scenario and quality of troops present, but that does not mean that basic system needs to change in the way it is played out. For example, allowing a better quality force to have a different number of Patrol Markers will subtly change the way the game is played. To allow one side or the other to have an asymetrical set up does the same, but in different ways.

    The big difference between how the Patrol Phase will work in various terraintypes is more determined by the necessity to place your jump-off points in cover. In flatter, more open terrain the obligation to deploy 6″ further away becomes almost irrelevant, what is more important is to deploy in whatever cover there is. Indeed the lack of terrain will oblige the players to be more pragmatic in how and where they advance in order to seize what terrain there is. So, whereas in woodland falling back 6″ will undoubtedly be sufficient, meaning that the jump-off points are very likely to be at around 24″ apart, in open terrain this telescopes out to see forces generally jumping off much further apart. As Roger notes this abstraction does all of that for you without the need for a pile of plus and minus factors for different troop types.

    What is more, the patrol phase does not represent what your force has done before the game, but simply what information you have. That may well have been acquired by other forces, not your elite troops. How your better quality troops then move on from there once on the tabletop will be reflected in their different in-game abilities, and I think that generally suffices. Of course it is perfectly possible to design scenarios to reflect a situation which breaks away from that standard system, and that is certainly how we play some games. But, as a pick up and play system the Patrol Phase’s strnebth lies in its simplicity and speed of play.

    Thanks for your feedback. It is much appreciated.

    Rich

  7. Big Rich says:

    Jim

    Sorry, just seen your email address and realised which Jim you are! Can I say how much I enjoy your blog. Please keep up the good work.

    Rich

  8. moocifer says:

    @Big Rich:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to me, much appreciated.

  9. Big Rich says:

    moocifer. It’s a pleasure. To tell you the absolute truth, I hadn’t even considered any similarity between Chain of Command and Saga, so it was quite an interesting comparison you made. What I CAN see is that if you have enjoyed a game like Saga with their dice, picking up Chain of Command would be very simple.

    Funnily enough I have Mike Hobbs of Saga fame coming round in two weeks for a game, I will ask him if he sees any similarity.

    Rich

  10. Jim says:

    Rich,

    I think you might still have the wrong Jim lol. It’s always good to get feedback, so thanks!

    Thanks for the response too! I appreciate it is early days and the demonstration videos can’t give an in-depth look, so it’s easy for us out here to get the wrong impression… but it is an interesting system that’s developing for sure.

  11. Any specific game and mechanics aside (Chain of Command looks interesting so far, indeed), I appreciate you coming back to explanatory videos. Have hoped for this since the first outing with Sharp Practice which made life so much easier – just watch it with your gaming buddies and you’re ready to go.

    Looking forward to the DuxBrit ones…

    Cheers
    Tilman

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