Our group resumed play with Tim as German (Rick was away) and Brent as Russian, determined to end the game this session since game play is getting faster after getting the hang of the rules. Part 2 was paused for a week at the end of Phase 16 German which also ended Turn 1 with the following statistics.
Russian Force Morale is (10 - 1) = 9 Casualties = 9 men of 32 at start = 28%
German Force Morale is (11 - 1) = 10 Casualties = 5 men of 32 at start = 16%, 1 wounded JL
The Russian MMG and squad at the front of the church were checked for shock level and both will remain pinned for all of Turn 2. Here are the unit positions at the end of Turn 1.
Turn 2 Phase 1 - Russian Roll 6,6,6,5,4 CoC Dice = 6 + 2
Three sixes ends the Game Turn 2 at the end of the phase and the Russian keeps Initiative! 1 more pip to the second COC dice for 2. A pretty short Game Turn! Brent just activates the SL to spend 2 CI remove 2 shock from the squad by the church so the squad will unpin at the end of this phase and Turn 2. The SL spends the last CI to move himself close enough to the MMG to attach himself to it across the open field.
End of Turn 2, the squad by the church unpins.
Turn 3 Phase 1 - Russian Roll 5,5,4,4,2 CoC Dice = 6 + 4
Next phase is German. Second CoC dice is up by 2 pips to 4. With a 4 die, Brent activates the SL to remove 2 shock off the MMG and spends the last CI to activate the squad by the church to fire on the Flamethrower Team, causing 1 KIA and wiping it out. The Force Morale roll caused a -1 so the German FM = 9.
Then Brent uses the 2 die to activate the north squad to fire on the German squad in the hedge, causing 1 shock and a KIA on the Rifle Team and 1 shock on the LMG Team, missing the JR. End of phase.
Turn 3 Phase 2 – German Roll 6,4,3,2,1 CoC Dice = 4
Next phase is Russian. Tim activates the SL who uses 1 CI to remove the last shock on the PzSh Team, 1 CI to move the PzSh Team to the door of the building, and 1 CI to move himself into the building.
Then Tim uses a 2 and activates the squad in the south to fire on the Russian MMG causing 1 KIA and pinning the MMG. [Note: No test was done for a hit on the attached SL since he is across the clearing in the little woods and out of LOS of the firing German squad. According to the rulebook insert diagram on page 30 the SL cannot be a target if not in LOS.] Then a 3 die activates the now recovered JL with the squad at the hedge and uses his only CI (he is wounded) to have the squad fire on the north Russian squad, causing 5 shock! These two squads are slugging it out as a separate mini-battle.
Using the 1 die, the Rifle Team in the monastery activates and moves out the west door and along the wall to the north, ending the phase.
Turn 3 Phase 3 - Russian Roll 5,3,2,1,1 CoC Dice = 6 + 5
Next phase is German. 1 pip to the second COC for 5. Brent uses the 3 + 1 dice = 4 to activate the SL to take 3 shock off the MMG. Then he uses the 2 + 1 dice = 3 to activate the JL in the north squad to take off 1 shock (to 7), and fire at the German squad in the hedge causing 1 shock to each Team (3 each). The Russians play a CoC dice to end Turn 3 and the MMG becomes unpinned.
Turn 4 Phase 1 - German Roll 4,3,3,3,1 CoC Dice = 4
Next phase is Russian. Lots of good activation dice to work with. Tim plays a 3 to activate the JL of the south LMG Team who spends both CIs to activate and fire the LMG Team with 2 extra dice using the Maschinengewehr special rule. Then a 1 die to activate the Rifle Team to fire with them. Both fire at the MMG but that big fire only nets 1 KIA and 1 shock. The MMG is not pinned but down to reduced fire with only 1 crew left. [No leader hit test – out of LOS]
Tim plays a 3 die to activate the JL to have the squad by the hedge fire on the Russian North squad again, causing 1 shock (they are at 8 now). The 4 die is used to activate the SL who has the PzSh Team move into the building and then moves himself out the west door toward the monastery to bolster the main action in that area.
Then another 3 die activates the JL in the monastery to spend 1 CI to reduce the LMG Team shock by 1 and the second CI to move the Rifle Team behind the stone wall across from the church, ending the phase.
Turn 4 Phase 2 - Russian Roll 4,3,2,2,1 CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is German. No 5s so no change in CoC dice. Brent plays a 4 to activate the SL, spending 3 CIs to remove 1 shock from the MMG (to 0), 1 shock from the squad by church, and order the squad in the little woods by the church to fire on the German south squad, causing 1 shock.
Then a 3 die activates the JL of the squad in the north west woods to remove 1 shock (to 7) and fire on the German squad in the hedge, causing 2 shock on each of the Teams in the squad (both at 5), and pinning the squad! It is getting desperate for the German squad!
Brent spends a 2 die to move the squad by the front of the church back into the woods to give LOS from the riflemen in the other squad in the little woods to the German squad at the stone wall. They activate on the last 2 die, fire and miss the German squad in hard cover there.
The last die, a 1, activates the sniper for a shot at the German south squad but he misses again. Snipers are supposed to be hit and miss but in this game so far they are “miss.” End of phase.
Turn 4 Phase 3 - German Roll 5,4,3,3,1 CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is Russian. One more pip for the CoC dice. Tim activates the SL with a 4 to move at the double across the road toward the monastery and the squad in trouble behind the hedge. Then uses a 2 dice to have the pinned German squad in the hedge fire on the Russian squad to the north, causing 1 KIA (missing the JL).
Tim plays a 2 die and activates the JL for the monastery squad and spends 1 CI reduces the LMG Team shock to 0, the other CI has the Rifle Team behind the stone wall fire on the damaged Russian squad by the church, causing 2 more shock (up to 4) pinning it [The pin is an error. With 4 men including the attached JL and SL the squad would have needed 5 shock to pin.] Then a 3 die activates the JL in the south squad using 1 CI to remove the shock and the other to have the squad fire on the MMG, causing 1 KIA which wipes out the MMG! The Force Morale roll is -1 so the Russian FM is now 8. End of phase.
Turn 4 Phase 4 - Russian Roll 4,2,1,1,1 CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is German. No addition to CoC dice. Brent plays a 4 die to activate the SL and remove 3 shock from the damaged squad nearby. Then he adds a 2 and 1 dice together for a 3 to activate the JL in the north woods. One CI to remove a shock (to 7) and the other to fire on the pinned German squad in the hedge, dealing a nasty result of 2 KIA + 1 shock to the LMG Team (1 crew left with 6 shock) and 1 KIA to the Rifle Team (4 riflemen with 5 shock), but missing the wounded JL. The squad is very near to breaking! Finally Brent adds the 1 and 1 dice together for a 2 and activates the squad by the church to fire at the Germans behind the stone wall, missing them completely. The game is coming down to a real slugfest!
Turn 4 Phase 5 - German Roll 6,4,4,4,1 CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is Russian. No addition to CoC dice. Tim plays a 4 to activate the SL who spends 1 CI to move and attach to the squad by the hedge, and the other 2 CI to remove 2 shock from the LMG Team (to 4). Then he uses the 1 die to activate the Rifle Team behind the stone wall to fire at the damaged Russian squad, but misses. End of phase
Turn 4 Phase 6 - Russian Roll 5,5,4,4,4 CoC Dice = 6 + 1
Next Phase is German. 2 more pips on the CoC dice complete one and starts a second one. Brent plays the 4 to activate the SL. One CI to remove the last shock on the squad by the church, one CI to move himself at the double toward the squad in the north woods, attaching himself to them, and the last CI to have the squad fire at the pinned German squad in the hedge, missing it completely (pinned = hard cover). Constant firing back and forth there for the last few phases. Who will get a lucky fire first! End of phase.
Turn 4 Phase 7 - German Roll 6,3,3,2,2 CoC Dice = 5
Next phase is Russian. No addition to CoC dice. Suddenly, Brent decides to play his CoC dice to interrupt the German phase and activate the Russian squad in the north woods to suddenly fire on the pinned German squad in the hedge, causing 1 KIA. The roll for a leader hit is a 1 so a leader is hit! Since both the SL and JL are attached a dice roll reveals it is the JL that is hit, and the JL roll for effect is another wound. Since he is already wounded, the second wound is equal to his CI level, so he is KIA! The Force Morale roll results in a -1 so the German FM drops to 8.
The German SL is certainly in the right place now. Continuing with the German phase, Tim adds the two 2 dice together to make 4 and activates the SL to spend 2 CI remove 1 shock from the LMG Team (to 3) and 1 shock from the Rifle team (to 4), and with the third CI has the pinned squad fire at the Russian squad (LMG also at reduced rate), missing it. Tim then uses a 3 die to activate the JL in the monastery squad, spending 1 CI to move the LMG Team out the west door and north along the wall. The second CI activated the Rifle Team at the stone wall to fire on the pinned Russian squad by the church, missing it.
Lastly, Tim uses a 3 to activate the south squad to fire on the Russian squad in the east end of the church, causing 1 KIA and 2 shock. End of phase.
Turn 4 Phase 8 - Russian Roll 6,5,2,2,2 CoC Dice = 2
Next Phase is German. 1 more pip on the CoC dice. Brent uses a 2 to activate the squad in the little woods at the east end of the church. The LMG fires on the German south squad, causing 1 shock. The 6 riflemen fire on the German Rifle Team at the stone wall, and miss.
Then Brent adds the 2 and 2 dice together to make a 4 and activates the SL with 2CIs used to remove 2 shock and the third CI to fire on the German squad in the hedge, getting 2 KIA on the LMG Team and 1 shock on the Rifle Team! Since there is only one crew left in the LMG Team two KIAs mean it is wiped out even if the SL takes a hit on one of the KIAs! The Force Morale roll is a -1 so the German FM drops to 7. The SL must also roll to see if he is hit as well and the roll is a 1 so the SL is hit! The effect roll is another 1 so the SL is KIA! Another Force Morale test and Tim rolls a 6 which is the worst roll you could make for -3! The German FM drops to 4! A disastrous bit of dice luck at just the wrong time. End of Phase.
Turn 4 Phase 9 – German
Tim decides to end the game at this point by Withdrawing. He sees that his SL is lost, the pinned Rifle Team is on its way to breaking with no rescue, and his Force Morale is in the basement while the Russian Force Morale is still high. While he still has two squads, one is far to the south and the other at the monastery is very exposed to Russian flank attack with no SL support available. Best to order a Withdrawal and avoid further losses. Here are the troop dispositions at the end of the game.
Force Morale #Men
Start End At Start Casualties Units KIA
Russian 10 8 32 14 (44%) MMG Team
German 11 4 32 13 (41%) SL, JL, LMG Team, Flamethrower Team
Game Length: 28 phases taking 6-1/2 hours over 3 sessions (first learning game, lots of discussion)
Comments & Evaluation:
1. In Part 3 of the game AAR all the squads on the table mainly continued in a heavy firefight with their opposite enemy, with SLs racing to the hot spots. But it was the fierce firefight between the two western squads at close range that decided the game, with the dice favouring the Russian on key leader hits. Input from a veteran CoC player on the CoC Forum explained that squads pairing off and engaging in firefights until one side breaks is normal for a first game. He explained that concentration of fire and flanking movement tactics become more successful once players become familiar with how to use the JOPs to best deploy units at a location and at an optimum time in the game. So for our group's first game of CoC to just learn the rules and try things out, I felt it was pretty successful. The game is very engaging and we all quite enjoyed it.
2. However, while playing though the last part of this game we uncovered some situations where we feel that the CoC game mechanic falls short. I am somewhat reluctant to comment on these in detail since CoC is obviously a successful and well liked game. Miniatures game rules fit each wargamer's fantasy of simulation differently and one man's gold is another man's bronze. That's why there are so many rules systems out there, each with strong advocates.
On the other hand, I can't post this game AAR without including both the “plus and minus” comments from our group. So please take these observations with a grain of salt, they are the way we see the game. We do find CoC a worthwhile game, so if we can invent some house rules to handle them, then I suspect CoC will stay in our stable of frequently played rules.
These are some of our concerns, with ideas that we are considering (completely untested):
- KIAs don't cause shock. One would expect the death of a squad member or attached leader to be a significant morale blow to that individual unit. We'd like to try a game with each KIA in a unit also adding one shock to that unit and the KIA of an attached JL or SL adding one shock to the targeted unit he was attached to. [Edit: I've now shelved this idea. See my reply to Richard's (rim66) comment at the end of the post.]
- Movement in LOS of an enemy unit can be done without risk. Overwatch covers this to some degree but does not seem to go far enough. If an enemy unit does not get the required die roll to be ordered onto Overwatch, then friendly units can move in their LOS with impunity. Additionally, it seems odd that a unit needs to be told to go on Overwatch again each time after it fires. We're interested to try playing with all units, without being ordered, allowed to Defensive Fire at half rate against moving enemy units in their LOS, once per phase (half rate to reflect spotting and reaction readiness).
Others: [Edit: After considering advice from veteran CoC players, I've put house rules for the points below and Defensive Fire above on the back burner for now. We'll re-evaluate their need after we have more play experience.]
- No replacement for the loss of a JL or SL. Military command structure always makes provision for a more junior leader or veteran member of a unit to assume command if their leader is KIA. We'll try a game where if an attached JL is KIA the model stays on the table and a man from the attached unit is “promoted” to be the JL with a CI level of 1 for the rest of the game (still 2 wounds to eliminate). And if an SL is KIA his model is moved to the nearest JL. That JL is then promoted to SL (CI = 2) and the vacant JL position filled with a man promoted from his unit.
- Support Teams are only commanded by the SL. We feel that Support Teams should also be able to be commanded by any JL, with some conditions.
- A sniper can't shoot at a moving target. We'll try playing with a sniper allowed to have Defensive Fire at full rate (1D6) at a moving enemy unit.
3. On the positive side, things we really like about CoC are the Patrol phase with the JOPs for deployment, the command dice system for unit activation, the random movement rate for units, and the CoC dice for that extra flavour. So far we are looking forward to playing CoC again to explore it further, with some of our ideas thrown in.
4. One other interesting idea came up from a member of our group. The current dice command mechanic for activation is 1 - team, 2 - squad, 3 - JL, 4 - SL, with addition of lower dice allowed to total a larger dice. This makes the game a command driven game with more capability for Leader activation. If you wanted to make this a Team and Squad driven game, what if it were reversed? Like 1 - SL, 2 - JL, 3 - squad, 4 - team, still allowing the addition of lower dice allowed to total a larger dice. All of a sudden orders would become more scarce and therefore more valuable with less capability for reduction of shock. This would reflect more difficulty of command in the face of combat. It is an interesting idea for playing COC a completely different way. If we get the basic game sorted, then perhaps worth trying.
5. The four members in our wargame group rate Chain of Command with three 7s and a 6-1/2 out of 10. All want to play it again. I would push my vote higher if we can resolve our concerns with some house rules while keeping the game play interesting and exciting.
I hope you have found this AAR to be interesting and perhaps it may be of some help to those looking to try out Chain of Command.
Hmmm... Not sure what game will be next or when the next game AAR will be posted. I suspect it will likely be Chain of Command and some sort of Attack/Defend scenario.