Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Chain of Command Africa

Since Chain of Command has been such a success as a platoon level WW2 game, we thought it might be a good idea to try them out in a more modern setting, using my modern Africa AK47 figures.

Keith  [Keith's blog ] and I gave it some thought and had a look at some suggested modifications that had surfaced on TMP here but these seemed to be much more of a CoC/Force on Force hybrid which wasn't really what we were after.

After a bit of discussion we settled on staying simple for the first game.  For speed and simplicity I lifted stats for modern mortars and HMGs from their WW2 equivalents.  My rationale was that although these weapons may be much more effective now, armour is proportionally also effective at resisting them so it would balance out... I know the reality's much more complicated but this seemed a good starting point.

The only major change we made was to allow the Senior Commander to activate any unit regardless of distance on the assumption that the use of radios would make this much easier.  We could have extended this to Junior Commanders as well but left these as per the rules... they tended to stick with one unit anyway so this had little impact.

We pitched a regular force of Government troops against a larger force of 'Militia'.  The Government had smaller units but better Command dice and were supported by a Panhard AML.  The Militia had larger units but poorer dice and a couple of Technicals.  They also had a Recoilless Rifle and both sides had an on-table mortar although mine was only just on the table before being knocked out!

The table featured a lot of jungle and woods and a couple of villages joined by a road and after the Patrol Phase had determined out starting positions, the fighting quickly settled down to a struggle for the village I occupied.

The Rebels defend the village

My Recoilless Rifle and Mortar were deployed behind the buildings and thanks to some very effective mortar fire from Keith, my Mortar was quickly knocked out.  Luckily the Rifle hung on despite heavy fire which was to prove vital as the game went on.

The early stage of the game was dominated by a gun duel between my Gun and Keith's Panhard which I was gradually able to damage and then destroy.  Keith also advanced up to the village just as I deployed a squad and opened fire, pinning them down and then forcing them to rout.

I brought on my 2 Technicals and quickly discovered that normal cars vs Squads armed with AK47s and RPGs is a really rubbish contest!  Both were knocked out in quick succession although one did at least get to fire its HMG before being shot to pieces.

oooh, look... a burning Technical!

...and here comes another victim...

I decided to move one of my squads from the relative safety of the building and managed to get there despite drawing lots of mortar fire from Keith.

...aaand... it's been knocked out!  Note the infantry casually strolling
across the road ignoring the Mortar fire

This was relatively short-lived though as Keith was able to concentrate fire from 2 squads on the unit before a 3rd charged home and wiped out my defenders. As I had now taken heavy casualties in the other unit in the village and lost both vehicles and a full squad we decided that the Government troops had restored democracy/brutally crushed the freedom fighters and won the day.

some Militia infantry wandering through the woods... unfortunately
in the wrong place and didn't contribute a great deal

So... the rules worked very well for the modern period as well.  Vehicles, and especially unarmoured ones, are quite vulnerable which felt logical.  The firepower from assault rifles was pretty devastating and with hindsight we felt that perhaps not including the 're-roll 1s' rule might be a good reflection of poorer fire control, especially for the Militia.  I think there's also more that could be done with Command and Control to highlight the differences.

We hadn't used anything more complicated than a Panhard and I think we'd need to do a lot more tweaking to reflect heavier armour.  Luckily Jim at Arlequins Adventures has done just that and has suggested a whole load of excellent amendments for armour, helicopters and anti-tank weapons which I may shamelessly nick!


  1. Thanks for the plug and indeed the comments on my post. It's always good to see what other folk come up with, especially if it's a better idea than your own!

    Nick away... you can guarantee I will be doing the same. :-D

  2. A nice write up. I use CoC for low level sci fi, and as most men have assault rifles i treat them as normal rifles (one shot) but they get the +2 in assaults, to represent the men firing single shots at range, but blasting away at close quarters.

    1. Good idea...I think there's definitely something to be done around poorer fire control. I suspect less well trained troops probably tend to spray bullets wildly although at close range a hail of automatic fire is probably deadly, regardless of who's on the other end of the gun!