Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Why is Chain of Command such a good game?


I was asked to explain why Chain of Command in my opinion is one of the best WW2 games out there. Especially in skirmish level. Well sometimes personal preference is a difficult thing to articulate but if I was to try and sum it up quickly I would say that in the game I found myself constantly needing to make decisions that felt urgent and critical. It's been my criticism on several games I've played that they can turn into miserable stalemates (and that might be very realistic to be fair but not wholly enjoyable for the most part)

The game itself with the initial Patrol Phase immerses you straight into decision making and then the actual battle or the combatants are all in a very immediate proximity to each other….so it feels dramatic and urgent. No slow moving measuring across the battlefield and its suppertime by the time a shot is fired.

I do like the simple order options available….I play another game recently and found myself regretting that going tactical wasn't available to me. Or the the NCO's or leaders couldn't more directly influence proceedings with spending a few Command Points to get things moving. I enjoy the fact that there is a certain random feeling to what you can do…the command dice don't so much restrict your planning but perhaps how quickly that plan is realized and that again feels right to me.

I remember hating that movement distance would be tied to a random die roll and if your thinking in a linear type way of how time and the game are being played out then it isn't very satisfying. But if the game is understood in a nonlinear way then a certain randomness can kill the gamey sense of whats going on. Example at one time in the game the US player knew I couldn't react as my troops had just deployed and I had no Command dice to react to his movement. He presumed that he could move into the house easily and if distance measurements were fixed he could have done that. But he rolled badly and so the Germans would have an opportunity to react. Not to be understood as the US just crawling along like a tortoise but rather the Germans were fairly lucky to react and fire in time.

John