Rules: Chain of Command

So JP and I tried out yet another skirmish rules set: Chain of Command. JP had bought this recently for his b’day and wanted to try it out. I failed in an assignment to pop round and pick it up, so other than a two page concoction from JP, and a barely understood viewing of a you tube video of the two fat lardies explaining it (the words were all English but made little sense to me) I turned up to engage in battle.

The hard copy is a decent sized glossy affair as is rapidly becoming standard for most mainstream genre rule sets. Sadly AVBCW being very much niche can’t afford to pay for the high production values and extra taxes that come with this level of publication (I’ve asked about this before and had it explained, so no disrespect to niche publishers !).

Ok, so its a glossy book, but how do the rules play ?

We only did the Patrol scenario (the basic engagement encounter), but it turned out to be a quite innovative affair.

After working our your Forces, their skill level, and Force Morale, you work out where you start on your side of the board, and then start deploying patrol markers up to 12 inches away from each other in a chain. You can’t get within 12 inches of the enemy, and if you do you are “locked down” so this represents patrols randomly encountering each other. So there is no hard and fast “deploy 12 inches from the board edge” type rules ! This can radically alter the tactical set up of the board and deployment.

The force with the higher morale goes first and rolls a number of dice dependent upon their morale – between 4 and 6. This is for a Phase. This can determine which/how many units may be “activated”, whether you get to go on another phase, whether you accumulate Command points and so on. I won’t re-write the rules here ! In our games, JP had a knack for going two phases one after the other which did leave me standing idle and it is a bit more of an IGoUGo (heavily modified !) system. By accummulating Command points you can end the Turn if you want, which removes lots of makers and effects such as smoke. However, in the two games we played, we only ended one turn, so I anticipate players reducing the number of Command points needed to end a Turn.

Different leaders have different numbers of Initiative points, so having leaders in the right place and getting the right dice rolls is important.

We also both found that we would have to radically alter our tactics for this rules system. Weapons ranges in this game are LONG. Pretty much Line Of Sight (LOS). So unlike other rules sets, getting up close and personal is a suicidal act with lots of casualties, huge amounts of Shock, and a good way to rout. Shock represents troops going to ground and generally being demoralised. Actual deaths are low, but a hail of bullets is just as effective in driving off the enemy – again a built in aim for the rules. Its similar to duckback rules, and also influences being Pinned. Firepower is awesome, with LMGs on 6 dice to hit, HMGs on 10 dice to hit. As in real life getting caught in the open by an HMG leads to a short life expectancy.

With a “To Hit” roll, followed by a “To wound” roll it seems old school, but what they’ve done is to modify the “To Hit” rolls by using both firers’ skill level and the targets’ skill, and also on the “To Wound” roll making it much better IMHO. So Regular troops utilise cover more effectively than Greens.

Key Question: Did we have Fun ?

Yes ! The deployment/Patrol phase I found very innovative. The Activation rolls innovative – even if I think I got the sticky end of the stick. As commented I’d reduce the number of Command points needed to end the Turn.


  • Comprehensive text and examples
  • The Authors’ intentions are plainly spelt out and understood
  • Innovative command and control system
  • Easy to understand, JP & I picked it up in the first game and within an hour were fairly confident we know the rules
  • Seems flexible to cope with varied “army lists”
  • It has an Index !


  • There are only a few “army lists” currently covered – JP made a few up for AVBCW
  • Lots of counters and trivia on the table…shock, jump off points etc…
  • A 6×4′ table really is a must given the long ranges of weapons so this will limit people unless they use smaller scale figures
  • Turns are open ended, and seem quite long
  • A key rule – Force Morale – is not explained very well IMHO. Its an excellent mechanism but could do with a revised section on it as the overall mechanism is scattered throughout the rule book.

Looks like I’m buying yet another rulest – the copy in the pictures is borrowed from JP.

Obviously designed for WW2, this can easily be adapted for AVBCW, and probably also RCW where morale was very important.

AVBCW: Chain of Command Patrol

Byakhee JP has acquired the relatively new rues set Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies which is a set of rules covering skirmishes in WW2, so near enough the AVBCW (1938). I’ll cover the rules in a posting later, as I had the most sketchiest of introductions and no time to read the rules beforehand so currently only have a 5 hours of gaming to comment on !

The Patrol Scenario

The basic engagement scenario…
Following the events at The Bridge Over the Wye, both sides are taking stock and carefully probing to find each other’s lines on south central Herefordshire’s rolling countryside.

We set the table up – we were playing at JP’s gaff, and there is Evidence(TM) that my ulterior motive in giving him scenery is working as I only had to take a couple of boxes worth of stuff. 😉

the game started with the partol phase, where essentially we probe forward and scout out the enemy’s position. This then determines where the “jump off” points are – where our forces can deploy, so no fixed zones of control exist and this is as tactical as any other rules system is when determining how you set up if not more so. Each of uas had 30 men plus a small command section. the board was about two and a half foot wide by about three and a half foot long.

JP either got lucky with the board layout or was better and ended up controlling half the board straight off with units behind good cover. he then got lucky as he had two “rounds” one after the other when I did nothing – that’s the way the dice rolled.

However, he came off worse, when he rushed his Anglican troops forward and got shot up by my BUF. When the shooting started, the generic markers I’d bought came in handy. They soon mounted up and I was glad I’d bought 50 of each of them ! For bigger games you could probably do with yet more.

A firefight on my right resulted in me driving back the Anglicans, and a bunch of shotgun toting farmers were seen off on my left. This resulted in his morale dropping fast.

However, his local fox hunt cavalry penetrated into my centre and captured one of my (unused) jump off points resulting in my morale dropping as well !

But the cavalry were surrounded by two units and hightailed it away rapidly.

As did the shotgunners who were were massacred.

At which point his morale broke and he conceded defeat. The BUF were combing the countryside of traitors !

The game lasted from approx 11am to just after 1pm, so not long – this includes important interruptions from JP’s daughters and a nice lunch cooked by his wife. We then had a second game as we were now beginning to get the hang of the game mechanics and racing along !