Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chain of Command - Modern Adaption

If you´ve been following this blog you know that I´ve been musing back in August at what was needed to play Chain of Command in modernish / post-WW2 settings.

Well, I´be been thinking about this again, having since played the first game with my African soldiers, which started with an Infantry squad beeing caught in the crossfire of my defending troops, progressed with a desperate defense against a Tank that rumbled onto my defensive positions, killing off all my AT assets and ended with a Grenade exploding inside said tank after a heroic charge of an officer. Fun game, and I´m still in debt regarding that battlereport...

Anyway, I´ve come back thinking about how to adapt Chain of Command to more modern settings and have tried to identify the core issues that need to be addressed before such a conversion can happen. I´ve come up with the following points for a start:

1.) Weapon & Vehicle Stats
2.) Army Lists for different Forces 
3.) Alternative Morale System for Irregular Engagements (Regulars vs. Guerilla Force)
4.) Rules for Protective Gear & Combat Medicine, especially for Irregular Engagements
5.) Fire Support Options (Airstrikes!)

As analysed back in August, you can pretty much play Chain of Command as it is for Cold War Settings that pit regular Forces against each other. Pretty well suited for your average Cold War gone Hot scenario, I´d reckon. It´s a system designed for kinetic engagements with two first class forces pitted against each other. All that is needed is additional Army & Equipment lists, especially if tanks come into play. Treat Battle Rifles (FN FAL / G3 / SLR) as Semi-Automatic (D6 with Rerolls for a 1) and use the Firepower of MGs as given, according to the Squad Organisation they´re embedded in  (operating as MG-teams or by a single man -> choose Firepower accordingly).
I´m not sure if Assault Rifles should give 3 D6 per Rifle on effective range, seems a bit excessive compared to Self Loading Rifles - I´d probably go with 2D6, as most Armies trained their soldiers to shoot accurately instead of pumping out rounds. In most situations, the biggest difference of an AR over the semi-auto rifle in regards to rate of fire is just magazine capacity and better control due to the smaller cartridge. And I don´t think that loading times facilitate a threefold increase with all the  aiming and actual shooting going on.

Vehicles are a different challenge. I´m no expert on that field. I´d start off with the usual suspects, primarily Russian APCs  -   BTRs, BRDMs, BMPs and their western counterparts. Priority is probably not to get their values exactly right, but represent the respective amor vs. AT capability roughly - so BTRs can get shot by HMGs (or larger), while you´d have a hard time penetrating a BMPs front armor with these, and so on.  Let the criticism flow in an adapt the values accordingly. I´m no expert in this field.

Fire Support Options could be expanded, including Airstrikes in Danger Close Zone -  but most support assets would fall into the pre-game bombardment anyway, considering the frontage on which the fighting would happen and the usual safety distance. Mortar Support is already in the game, no need to add things here, maybe tweak efficiency.

Things get tricky when you consider adapting the system for assymmetric conflicts, like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The Force Morale System doesn´t really suit those conflicts, as the usual scenario was heavy fighting, Insurgents get hammered, regulars might suffer casualties but morale usually doesn´t falter. A different system for "defeating" the regulars could be added. This fighting is usually not over terrain, which means other factors have to flow into the calculation of who has won a particular engagement. The solution could be as easy as creating an additional Setback-Table for assymmetric engagements, using different triggers & effects for setbacks, or as difficult as creating some completely new system... I´ll have to think about it :)

Insurgent Organisation and special tactics can be handled via special rules & support options in the respective Force List.

With the improvements in modern tactical gear and the importance of life saving vs. pushing through, I think new additional rules for wounded soldiers & medevac could be added, especially in conjunction with asymmetric engagements where casualties should occur more infrequently and medevac is usually possible. Could be handled by having another Roll like FoFs First Aid check, determining the status of the wounded and the respective effects (like +2 shock for a seriously wounded that requires attention from 1-2 squadmates to be saved).

To conclude: I don´t think much needs to be changed. Adapting the game to suite Assymmetric engagements should be the hardest part, the rest is really about working out proper Army Lists & Support Options for the combatants.

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