Saturday, 24 May 2014

Oh Nigel, what a C.N.T !!......Or how not to play Chain of Command

It seemed like such a good idea, go to the club, with a shiny new set of rules, and have a go at playing them.
So, duly armed with a copy of these

Off I trot, over to New Buckenham, with a car full of Spain, in the shape of my buildings, trees, and assorted Spanish Civil War figures
Now what follows, is not a review, more of a post mortem, on how not to put on a play test.
Ok, I admit it, mistakes were made, the first of which, was thinking I could blag my way through the game, without an in-depth read of the rules themselves, I had watched some very fine videos, made by the Lardies, that went some way to explaining the rules, so I had a limited knowledge of how the rules worked, a very very very limited knowledge as it turned out!!! Learning point No1, there is no substitute  for actually playing a few turns on your own, and actually reading the rulebook.
I had took the time to print out all the required gaming aids, generously supplied by the TooFatLardies Forum, and had given them a cursory glance, not realising that I had not printed out a full QRS, just the supplement for the SCW version, oh look yet another mistake.

Time for a distracting photo, oh look a table with some stuff on it

So, here is the table layout, game was played from end to end, using the "Assault the Objective" scenario, with the objective being the road exit nearest the camera, deemed the road to Madrid. The village was defended by the F.A.I/C.N.T militia, and the attackers were the Spanish Foreign Legion.
Support options, oh dear....I had no idea how to work these out, and I fudged my way through the list, and this went  a long way to spoiling the game :-(
I gave the Militia too much support, then ended up with a platoon of hardened militia, a support Tiznao, off board artillery, and a sniper team!! The Legionarios got a Panzer 1A, and a unit of Moroccan scouts, fortunately the Pz1 was a godsend, as its 12 dice for the twin MGs, at least gave them some much needed firepower.

The Foreign Legion with their terror weapon, the dreaded Panzer 1

We start the game, by playing through the patrol phase, now this takes a bit of working out, and for gamers used to bunging a load of figures onto the table, and getting on with it, it did seem a bit mad to be shuffling little round markers about. I think we managed to do this bit ok, and we managed, after some judicious circle shuffling, to get the jump off points sorted.
The rules are quite easy, once you get your head around them, and they would play really well, if you had an umpire who knew what they were doing, sadly we did not!!
I muffed it up completely, the two sides were badly worked out, I had not got the commands worked out properly, so there was just a platoon sergeant, and whatever junior NCOs the sections had, including the Militia, who should not have had any junior leaders!! Not that it mattered, because I failed to use any of them properly anyway. If Mr Dickhead had read the rules, and had played around with them a bit, he would have realised that Junior leaders can undertake TWO ACTIONS, which includes removing shock markers.
We managed to work our way through the basics, and we played a game, of sorts, it was not a game of Chain of Command, more of a hastily assembled balls up, with a set of rules sort of played in bits. 

Overall, Chain of Command are going to be a very good set of rules, for The Spanish Civil War, they play well, add the right amount of friction, and take away that godlike control, that players have over their forces. The added nuances for the period specific lists bring that extra flavour I wanted. 
Next time, it will be a lot better, so its thanks to Andy, Steve,Stuart and Alan for helping me blunder my way through the game, and I hope my pathetic efforts ahve not put them off having another crack at the rules in a month or so.

Here's a few jolly pictures to end this sorry tale.

Until next time folks


  1. Nigel we all cock up at times and especially with new rules. The game look mighty fine

  2. Well if nothing else it possibly reflected the chaotic nature of the early days of the conflict and an amusing read to boot :-)

  3. Don't worry, they're good lads - they won't put you up against the wall and shoot you. At least next game you'll be prepared.

  4. O.K. I'm tempted. Been pondering CoC for a while now and you've nudged me in the right direction, although the figures and terrain might have had something to do with it. ;O)

  5. I'm getting from this post you hadn't read the rules and didn't know what you were doing, is that about the sum of it? Terrain and figures look superb though.

  6. That is about the sum of it, yes :-)
    lesson learnt, I have had a damn good read now, and will make my own QRS, and memory jogging game aids.

  7. Blue berries for memory jogging always good, but ummmmm you gotta have a memory in there for it to be jogged. Yep the enthusiastic desire to get the game underway should always be tempered with a couple of hours playing through the rules. Been there done that and the lads don't play my game anymore, sounds like yours are of sterner stuff. love the look of it all though

  8. When it comes to a choice of painting/modelling or learning rules, the former always wins with me! Great looking table. Love the mounted Militiaman.

  9. We're playing CoC always every week at the clubhouse and are still finding subleties that we overlooked. Once you've got the basics down it's an extremely enjoyable set of rules. Love your table!

  10. Just a short note to let you know that I've nominated this blog for a Liebster Award. It's entirely up to you if you want to accept it and how you want to respond. Details at:

  11. That is a lovely table!

    I've gotten 2 games in and am quite taken with CoC.