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"Differences between CoC and BA?" Topic


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VVV reply15 Jun 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

And yet you didn't use the SL to his full abilities.

Yes because I believed he could only issue one radio order a phase, I am happy to accept the interpretation that he can issue as many as he has CI.
Both the order chit system of JReb/Command Decision or PIP system of DBX do this with reasonable results and playability.

And try Warmaster some time. That can give some really wacky results but the better your leader, the more chance you have making the roll. But its still down to luck.
The pip system of DBx is very subject to the luck of the roll and in my opinion the worst I've used. No way to ameliorate bad luck.

Of course not true. I did point this out early in the thread but I can repeat it. In DBx you know your troops are going to do something and by grouping them together you can at least get some movement out of them.
With CoC its down to what you roll, with a limited ability to modify the roll. If people are happy to play a game like that, it is of course their choice. Ahistorically better leaders do not help you with that but apparently better troops do. Perhaps some would argue that better troops are commanded by better leaders, or that they are better troops because they have better leaders.
Eventually designers will manage to come up with a resolution systems that doesn't involve rolling masses of d6, but this still seems to stump many. (Rolling masses of d6 being about the clumsiest and slowest method of resolution and least random because the sample size is so large).

My solution is simple, don't have them. But even in CoC you are not going to use a statistically significant number of dice.

Keith Talent15 Jun 2018 3:52 p.m. PST

Ultimately some people like a game with a lot of dice, some don't. No different to some liking tables, or mind-bending ground scales, whatever, it's personal taste.
The emphasis on friction in CoC is quite deliberate, and is part of the overall objective of the designers ( they have spoken about it often).
All WWII rules have the same stuff in them …infantry, tanks, they move about, they shoot each other they run away, they die. WWII rules are ten a penny, and they all contain the aforementioned.
One of the things CoC has which makes it unique is in conveying the tension, chaos and fear which was the overriding emotion for the platoon commander in WWII, and one of the ways that is achieved is through friction.
There are 2 real objectives for the platoon commander in CoC, particularly if you play any sort of campaign system, be it a simple ladder campaign or something more specific. Those objectives are: fulfilling your mission, and keeping your men alive. Usually these are in conflict, and I think they perfectly illustrate the underlying problem for a low level WWII leader. He is always going to be under pressure, always going to be in a state of acute tension, and the game try's (and succeeds) in replicating that tension in a small way.
You roll a lot of dice in CoC, I think we've established that, but it's not all about the effects of those dice in terms of the mundane aspects of the game, it's about the effect that also has on the player (our stressed out platoon commander) . You are not only having to come up with a plan, but also make that plan happen with those dice rolls, and that creates tension. It's not enough to look at a wargames table, and think "in 3 moves I'll be there, he can get there in 4, job done" that's simply not what would be going through the mind of a platoon commander.
But it's not just your rolls, it also your opponents that you have to worry about. What can he do with his roll? Why has he chosen to do A instead of B?
The tension builds a lot in CoC, did that team make the hedge? Have I put enough shock on that enemy Squad? Maybe I should go tactical?, but if I do I can't shoot…if he rolls a 3 will he advance that tank? If he doesn't? Why not? ….
As a simple example on creating tension there's one thing I remember hearing Rich talk about was to do with the sequence of saving throws in CoC.
Player A rolls to hit, simple. Then you roll a saving throw. In a lot of rules, you would simply have player A roll again to convert any hits scored . Simple and fast. In CoC player B rolls to save his own men, this takes more time, but psychologically it means both players are invested in the process, and it builds tension in the game- it's not a system unique to CoC, but I give as an example, the point being the atmosphere created is one of uncertainty.
All soldiers would like their operations to run like clockwork, like a training exercise, why wouldn't they? But they often don't, and the reality is that while troops are in combat at the back of their mind they are constantly wondering when the wheels are going to come off, and CoC manages to portray that feeling of tension

VVV reply15 Jun 2018 10:31 p.m. PST

Ultimately some people like a game with a lot of dice, some don't. No different to some liking tables, or mind-bending ground scales, whatever, it's personal taste.

Absolutely. I did give an example (early on) of a computer run wargame I wrote in the 1970's where all the random numbers were computer generated. People asked for and got a dice rolling subroutine. So yes I would say that wargames are an opportunity to roll dice.
You are not only having to come up with a plan, but also make that plan happen with those dice rolls, and that creates tension. It's not enough to look at a wargames table, and think "in 3 moves I'll be there, he can get there in 4, job done" that's simply not what would be going through the mind of a platoon commander.

Well I have been playing wargames for 47 years. One thing I am certain of, players will make mistakes without having to roll for them.
Do I have random events disrupting my life every few seconds, no and I doubt you have either. When I plan to go out and get the newspaper, it happens and a platoon commander is the same. He has an orders group and lays out the plan for the squad leaders, who then pass it onto the squads.
As a simple example on creating tension there's one thing I remember hearing Rich talk about was to do with the sequence of saving throws in CoC.
Player A rolls to hit, simple. Then you roll a saving throw. In a lot of rules, you would simply have player A roll again to convert any hits scored . Simple and fast. In CoC player B rolls to save his own men, this takes more time, but psychologically it means both players are invested in the process, and it builds tension in the game- it's not a system unique to CoC, but I give as an example, the point being the atmosphere created is one of uncertainty.

Yes its a long established pattern, roll to hit, roll to wound then roll to save. I am glad to see CoC did away with saving rolls for infantry (and I don't mind the buckets of dice rolls for vehicles, it seems to work in practice).
You talk about player involvement but thats because CoC is one of those games where I do everything, then U do everything, for entire forces. If you split it into each player activating a unit, then the other, then there is simply not the long delay before the other player gets to do something. Of course it also not matter who actually rolls the dice, that should be a random roll.
All soldiers would like their operations to run like clockwork, like a training exercise, why wouldn't they?

And from the examples given we can see that without enemy action, they do run like exercises (Romans, training was like bloodless battles, battles were like bloody drills).
Even exercises have their problems (and their wounded).
My problem with CoC is I don't see any reason for the Command dice rolls for activation based on history or reality. I am quite happy that if people like playing the game, then thats what they want to do.
What I am not happy about is that they then somehow expect me to share their POV because they say it (rather than with reasons).
I bought a set of CoC rules second hand at the St Helens show, to see what everyone was talking about. I have seen them, played them, enjoyed our little discussion about how they work. But I cannot see myself using them. So I am off to Phalanx at St Helens today and see if I can get rid of them, to someone who wants to play them.

jdginaz16 Jun 2018 12:08 a.m. PST

Personally I don't give the south end of a north bound rat whether you share my POV or not. What I do care about is when you make misleading posts about CoC that might lead somebody looking into CoC to get the wrong idea about how well it plays. They might not realize that you've never actually played a game of CoC think you know what you are talking about.

TacticalPainter0116 Jun 2018 1:59 a.m. PST

My problem with CoC is I don't see any reason for the Command dice rolls for activation based on history or reality.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know all about your opinion, but gives us your argument for this to be case.

Perhaps start with Clauswitz and what he gets wrong and then take it from there. Remember, not your glib opinion, your reasoned argument where you demonstrate your version of reality backed up with reference to rigorous external research, where you demolish the myth of Clauswitzian friction and show us the error of our ways. Not being facetious, I'm genuinely interested in what you have to present, just not any more of your opinion, pleeeeeeease.

I await with baited breath.

VVV reply16 Jun 2018 8:36 a.m. PST

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know all about your opinion, but gives us your argument for this to be case.

Manuals and historical accounts – as quoted. Then we have real life. Does your life suffer from unforeseen occurrences every few seconds? And if yours doesn't why imagine anyone elses does either.
Perhaps start with Clauswitz and what he gets wrong and then take it from there

And perhaps not. If you think a 19th century general and military theoretician has relevance to WW2 platoon actions, please share with us what you think it is. I notice that Too Fat Lardies seem keen on Clauswitz as well.
But what relevance does it have to the topic? Weaponry/technology different, tactics different and vast armies of conscripts who have only just been trained to fight.
Want to try Rommel instead? Someone who fought in WW1 and went on to be a great leader in WW2
Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't, in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide.

link
I withdrew quickly behind the building. Was I to bring up the platoon? No! Four of us would be able
to handle this situation. I quickly informed my men of my intention to open fire. We quietly released
the safety catches; jumped out from behind the building; and standing erect, opened fire on the
enemy nearby. Some were killed or wounded on the spot; but the majority took cover behind steps,
garden walls, and wood piles and returned our fire. Thus, at very close range, a very hot fire fight
developed. I stood taking aim alongside a pile of wood. My adversary was twenty yards ahead of me,
well covered, behind the steps of a house. Only part of his head was showing. We both aimed and
fired almost at the same time and missed. His shot just missed my ear. I had to load fast, aim calmly
and quickly, and hold my aim. That was not easy at twenty yards with the sights set for 440 yards,
especially since we had not practiced this type of fighting in peacetime. My rifle cracked; the
enemy's head fell forward on the step. There were still about ten Frenchmen against us, a few of
whom were completely covered. I signaled to my men to rush them. With a yell we dashed down the
village street. At this moment Frenchmen suddenly appeared at all doors and windows and opened
fire. Their superiority was too much; we withdrew as fast as we had advanced and arrived without
loss at the hedge where our platoon was getting ready to come to our aid. Since this was no longer
necessary, I ordered everyone back under cover. We were still being fired on through the fog from a
building on the far side of the street, but the fire was high. Using my field glasses, I managed to
locate the target which was some seventy yards away and I found that the enemy was firing from the
roof as well as from the ground floor of a farmhouse. A number of rifle barrels were protruding from
the roof tiles. Since it was impossible for the enemy to employ both rear and front sights in firing in
this manner, this must have accounted for his fire going high over our heads.

Should I wait until other forces came up or storm the entrance of Bleid with my platoon? The latter
course of action seemed proper.

The strongest enemy force was in the building on the far side of the road. Therefore we had to take
this building first. My attack plan was to open fire on the enemy on the ground floor and garret of the
building with the 2d Section and go around the building to the right with the 1st Section and take it by assault.


Now I will repeat, why bother making plans if you cannot plan for anything, as its all a matter of chance?

VVV reply16 Jun 2018 10:05 a.m. PST

Oh and lets imagine an Order Group under Chain of Command.

Hey listen up, we are going to advance into that village to the North of us today. Able, you provide fire support in the centre, whilst Baker and Charlie sections clear out the left and right sides of the vill respectively.
Now I really would like you all to be there but understand if you have some washing to do, after all it can't be helped.
Now Able your role is important but if you find you cannot get there or that your troops don't have the right ammo to do any firing, don't worry about, it cannot be helped.
And Baker and Charlie, we really would like you to do your jobs, but don't sweat it. After all if you don't get the right dice rolls, nothing you can do about it.

Munin Ilor16 Jun 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

You're really over-blowing the effect of being unable to activate any/all of your troops. Which is understandable, considering you haven't actually played a game the way it was designed to be played..

Here's the thing: in CoC, your dice rolls reflect not just what you are doing but what the enemy is doing as well. So a random die roll for movement represents not only your own movement, but also the enemy's attentiveness and ability to get a shot off quickly. And because the amount of time reflected in a phase is variable, you might be able to cross 40 yards unobstructed (roll a 12, your movement takes maybe 15 seconds), or you might come under enemy fire as soon as you cross your start line (roll a 2, your movement takes only a second or two).

But I think it's more fundamental than that. I feel like you expect your men to do everything you want them to do with immediate efficacy. But even if Able knows their job, they've received a runner who says, "It's time to go, mateys!" there's still likely to be a delay as the NCO in charge looks around, makes sure he has the attention of everyone in the section (gets a nod, eye contact, a "ready, sarge!" or whatever), and makes sure everyone is good to go (no one is in the middle of a reload, fiddling with gear, or such).

It's not "something bad happening every 30 seconds," but rather, "this Bleeped text is not clock-work, especially when you're doing it where bad guys might shoot you."

You keep saying that you should be able to cross X distance Y times and come up with a mean. But you haven't addressed the variance of that at all.

And when you apply that to more complicated stuff, I think the variance is more pronounced. Could you send a section off to a flank to provide covering fire to "shoot you in" and know with absolute certainty how quickly they'll get to where they're going, get set up, and start their covering fire? Would you be willing to set your watch to it, even under exercise conditions (let alone combat conditions)? Would you be willing to step out into the open from your start line at a particular instant, secure that the covering fire was starting at that exact moment? Even if your life depended on it?

That uncertainty is what the mechanics of CoC are trying to model, and they do it extremely well.

TacticalPainter0116 Jun 2018 3:48 p.m. PST

Manuals and historical accounts – as quoted.

Sorry must have missed that, which manuals? You gave us one historical account from MacDonald where you drew conclusions that were not substantiated with evidence from the account.
.

Then we have real life.

What, so that's different from historical accounts is it?

Does your life suffer from unforeseen occurrences every few seconds?

Hahaha, well yes of course it does. I'm unable to see the future so actually everything is unknown. Somethings might be predictable, but that doesn't make them certain. Care to share with us your special powers of foresight?

And if yours doesn't why imagine anyone elses does either.

Because this is the way of us mere mortals, so wonderful that you have come to dwell amongst us.

What was the first hand account from Rommel supposed to tell us? A short account of a firefight where, ahem, ‘unforeseen':

At this moment Frenchmen suddenly appeared at all doors and windows and opened fire.

Who would have thought that amidst the chaos of a firefight at close quarters unforeseen events would occur?

toofatlardies17 Jun 2018 12:54 a.m. PST

I'm sorry, but this absurd thread has become even more ludicrous as CVVV seems to have expanded it to three concurrently running discussions. However, I do feel that some comment needs to be made in answer to the "hillarious" (if utterly banal) washing up comment and how it would appear in an O Group in Chain of Command.

Firstly, VVV appears to be misunderstanding some of the very central tenets of what Chain of Command is attempting to do. Firstly, he appears to consider Friction means some kind of random events which interfere with battle. This is not the case. Friction, as defined by von Clausewitz in Vom Kriege, is the idea that warfare is full of uncertainty and that to expect troops to be able to operate at the same levels as they would on peacetime parade grounds is a dangerous assumption.

VVV appears to feel that troops will move at a consistent and predictable rate. Indeed he cites his own experiences on exercise as proof of that. I would counter that by suggesting that when operating in known terrain, such as Salisbury Plain or other training areas, you are largely dealing with terrain which is known to you. In war you find yourself operating in terrain which you have never seen before and which you may, if you are lucky, have maps to work from when planning an operation. A friend of mine who served with the US forces in Afghanistan related a cautionary tale to me about such a situation. When asked to patrol an area in a Humvee a look on the map indicated an agricultural area which was clear for movement. As it was the small berms at the edge of each field meant that crossing each one took a large amount of time. As a result, what appeared simple in planning became very difficult in reality.

Which leads us to the relevance of a 200 year old German in modern warfare. Clauewitz was not, as inferred by VVV (who has clearly never read any of his works), reporting on the Napoleonic Wars which he himself fought in, but on war in general. Indeed, so successful was Clausewitz in making his observations pertinent to ALL warfare that he is still studied in every war college around the globe. Indeed, when I was recently working with the British Army as part of the team developing their new battlegroup wargame rules the concept of friction was very much in the fore of our minds. Indeed, let us consider what Clausewitz said about the Humvee incident: "Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing becomes difficult" and "It is friction which makes that which appears easy in war difficult in reality".

In other words, what seems simple when planned on the map is never that simple in reality.

Secondly. VVV seems to assume that the players in Chain of Command are being somehow shackled or restricted by the Command Dice. I would suggest that the command dice rather offer opportunity, Of course, this is a matter of perspective. However, when making a comparison with Bolt Action, one drawing of a dice in that game is comparable with one Phase of Play in Chain of Command. With Bolt Action you can operate one unit. With Chain of Command you can (probably) activate more than one unit and maybe (even more probably) several. This was a conscious design decision which allows the gamer to use fire and movement tactics. So, at its most simple, I can advance with section A while providing coving fire from section B. The rules are based around the fire and movement tactics shown in all of the drill manuals of the period so allowing the two to happen in tandem seemed (and still seems ) like a good idea to me.

However, there is still the key issue where VVV feels that all of his units should activate. My retort there is to point out that each Phase is a matter of what the rule book says in its opening section "just a few seconds of action". The idea that a platoon commander can perfectly co-ordinate every component part of his command in such a brief window is, of course, expecting too much in battlefield conditions. The successful player will recognise that in that very short space of time he can only influence some of his men, so he will focus on those who are key to that phase of the plan.

For example, if I am about to start a manoeuvre with section A, I would ideally want section B to put down covering fire and my 2" mortar to put down smoke. So, in those few seconds of the current Phase I will focus all of my energies on trying to achieve that. For that moment section C who are waiting in a wood in reserve as simply not that important to me.

Of course this does mean that simply increasing the size of my force when selecting support options doesn't allow me to control all of those elements better just because I have more of them. But surely that reflects reality? In ALL armies we see a command structure at platoon , company, battalion level and so on. The reason for that is that ALL armies agree that one commander can only control so many elements in action. That is reality. If you want to increase the size of the game where you have two platoons on the table, then the rules allow you to do that with the BIG Chain of Command amendments which then means you have TWO commanders with TWO sets of Command Dice. That is how armies work in reality, That is how Chain of Command works.

So, let us consider two O Groups. VVV's without friction and mine with friction.

VVV says

"Right section A, you move round to the flank into that small wood, I know that it will take you two turns to get there as it is 12" away, so you will start firing on Turn three. On turn three I will start my advance with section B knowing that you will be firing by then. My advance across the field and over the hill will take three turns as it is 18". So on turn six C section will begin its move up knowing that I have reached the hedgerow on the far side of the hill."

Now, if we accept that friction exists, that would become something like this.

"Right section A, you move round to the flank into that small wood. I will wait here with section B until I hear you start putting down covering fire. When I reach the hedgerow across the field and over the hill, I will signal with a flare to allow C section to begin its move forwards knowing that I have reached the hedgerow on the far side of the hill."

I defy anyone with any military experience to tell me that the O Group without friction bears any relationship to reality. When we plan we need to allow for the unexpected, for things taking longer than a ruler and a map would tell us if we are expecting our men to be moving at parade ground rates.

If nothing else, this thread is a window onto two very different views of what is possible in warfare. Although that may be giving it far more credit than it deserves. Frankly, this whole thread is a load of utter nonsense. I have no objection to VVV playing his rules which reflect what he things is how war happens. It's just a shame that he is so exorcised about other people having different opinions.

VVV reply17 Jun 2018 3:39 a.m. PST

Firstly, VVV appears to be misunderstanding some of the very central tenets of what Chain of Command is attempting to do. Firstly, he appears to consider Friction means some kind of random events which interfere with battle. This is not the case. Friction, as defined by von Clausewitz in Vom Kriege, is the idea that warfare is full of uncertainty and that to expect troops to be able to operate at the same levels as they would on peacetime parade grounds is a dangerous assumption.

Lets make this real simple. Not peacetime parades, field exercises (which of course have no real enemy). In the absence of enemy action, why not accept the performance of the troops on exercise as the standard of performance in war?
Now, if we accept that friction exists, that would become something like this.

"Right section A, you move round to the flank into that small wood. I will wait here with section B until I hear you start putting down covering fire. When I reach the hedgerow across the field and over the hill, I will signal with a flare to allow C section to begin its move forwards knowing that I have reached the hedgerow on the far side of the hill."


Great and I would have no problem with that. BTW at the distances we are talking about, shouting would do the trick, that is also mentioned in real-life action reports.
But its not what happens in Chain of Command, oh no, you roll dice for what you can do with your units. Why and what Clausewitz has to do with it (who was considering warfare in a different age, with different technology, with differently trained troops). As I said you want to think about how troops operate, try Rommel, who had tried his theories of platoon (and larger) warfare in real life.
And my POV by the way is not that there is no non-combat friction but that its not enough to make the core of a set of 'historical' rules. There are blue on blue accidents as well but we both ignore those. Why do I make the point, well its because the adherents of Chain of Command and the author keep trying to put across the idea that rolling dice to limit what your troops can do (I am happy with; reaction to enemy action, crossing difficult terrain and even a random events table) is somehow historical, its not, its a game (like backgammon or yhatzee).
And there is a simple fix, let each unit in Chain of Command be activated automatically, that includes the unit leaders, who then add to the squad actions.
Frankly, this whole thread is a load of utter nonsense. I have no objection to VVV playing his rules which reflect what he things is how war happens. It's just a shame that he is so exorcised about other people having different opinions.

But I don't. I am happy to stand up and explain (and it is explanation with quotes from the people who were there and did it) that this Emperor is wearing no clothes.
That people enjoy playing Chain of Command there is no doubt, they have posted here. That Chain of Command is more popular than my rules is just as irrelevant as, Bolt Action is more popular than Chain of Command. But they should at least be aware that rolling dice to limit what you can do with your troops, is nothing to do with reality.

Basha Felika17 Jun 2018 4:17 a.m. PST

Pig wrestling, gentlemen, remember the pig wrestling.

"An argument isn't just the automatic gainsay of what the other person says…"

"Can be."

Ad nauseum.

kevanG17 Jun 2018 4:41 a.m. PST

In pig wrestling, Does each pig automatically get orders?

Or is it frictionless?

discuss…..

Basha Felika17 Jun 2018 5:21 a.m. PST

Depends on the amount of grease applied, presumably.

kevanG17 Jun 2018 5:26 a.m. PST

"But they should at least be aware that rolling dice to limit what you can do with your troops, is nothing to do with reality."

This is really trying to have your cake and eat it because neither is completely ignoring friction and having "everyone have their turn, in turn".

but what is popular with a lot of gamers who recognise the concept of command friction is one of these is closer to reality and you even admit that in your own rules. Having some system attempting to simulate that aspect of command is better than ignoring it completely.

to quote from your own design notes.
"there are no accidents, All troops only shoot at and hit the enemy (with the exception of off target artillary). Obviously that did happen and very annoying (and often fatal) it was too.
Communications are perfect, every unit knows what it is doing and can tell the higher level command what is going on in its sector. Obviously that didn't happen either.
But with those exceptions noted we can get on and play the game"

I read this and just think you couldn't be bothered…It isn't the first set I have read that made me think that about the author and it certainly won't be the last.

There are a few Authors who do consider the background and consider the mechanisms to force difficult decisions on the players. It never surprises me that these rule writers are successful.

VVV reply17 Jun 2018 6:11 a.m. PST

This is really trying to have your cake and eat it because neither is completely ignoring friction and having "everyone have their turn, in turn".

The reason for ignoring so-called friction is is it sgnificant enough to alter the course of a battle, or indeed to be part of each and every turn (phase). Answer has to be no.
You want something just happening for no reason, you have the random event chart.
but what is popular with a lot of gamers who recognise the concept of command friction is one of these is closer to reality

And that of course is the lie of the Emperors New Clothes. People are told that they they are stupid if they don't believe it. Well I don't believe and can point to accounts of battle to show that it is not the case (MacDonald).
I read this and just think you couldn't be bothered…It isn't the first set I have read that made me think that about the author and it certainly won't be the last.

Well don't think that, rather think that they are not important (and in the case of shooting your own troops, players would not like it. Did you know that James Doohan was shot in a blue-on-blue on Juno beach?). And to keep a set of rules fast, you keep the unnecessary stuff out.
Oh and I thought weather and smoke rounds for AFV was important enough to keep in.

toofatlardies17 Jun 2018 6:25 a.m. PST

At Germantown in 1777, Washington despatched four columns to move independently but to arrive simultaneously in order to defeat the British there. It was, as you would say, a walk in the country. However, it wasn't; for a variety of reasons the columns took more or less time than anticipated and allowed the British to defeat them in detail. That's friction. That altered the course of the battle.

VVV reply17 Jun 2018 7:02 a.m. PST

I wonder why simply did not use their watches :)
But I will give you another one, Grouchy at Waterloo, failing to stop the Prussians from linking up with Wellington.
Neither of course has any relation to a platoon level action in WW2 and the host of random events occurring few seconds that you claim to be so vital that you bother to include them in your rules. Why not do as I suggest at let every unit in someones force actually get to do something (if there is no evidence for something, don't bother adding it in)? As of course is done in Bolt Action and is one of the main differences between the two sets.
Clausewitz was dead and buried long before WW1, let alone WW2. So he never had a a chance to see a radio and the formations he was used to were close order armed with muskets.

Basha Felika17 Jun 2018 7:04 a.m. PST

So, it seems that tens of thousands of gamers, many with considerable relevant military experience, believe that the core mechanics of CofC provide a pretty good simulation of the command and control challenges experienced by a platoon commander, within the inevitable limitations of any tabletop game – and 'friction' is an essential element of that.

VVV does not agree and, so far, seems to be the only one not suckered in by the Emperor's nakedness. Maybe he's the one in the right, but let's just agree to differ, go our separate ways and stop indulging him ?

VVV reply17 Jun 2018 7:15 a.m. PST

So, it seems that tens of thousands of gamers, many with considerable relevant military experience, believe that the core mechanics of CofC provide a pretty good simulation of the command and control challenges experienced by a platoon commander, within the inevitable limitations of any tabletop game – and 'friction' is an essential element of that.

I am happy for them :) Just a few more playing Bolt Action (not that its relevant of course).
But perhaps they never asked themselves the question. Or indeed actually thought that using the Tactical order (in CoC) meant that they were moving tactically, rather than just creating a force field of cover around their position?

toofatlardies17 Jun 2018 8:08 a.m. PST

How do you know more are playing Bolt Action? You have absolutely no idea. If that's the case, then how did Chain of Command get voted as the best game of 2017 by Wargames Illustrated, the biggest magazine in the hobby?

Chain of Command isn't designed for as a competition game, so you won't see that at shows which feature gaming competitions. However, most weekends I am shows or games days around the country where there is plenty of Chain of Command on offer. At Partizan a few weeks ago eight games were Lardy games. Last weekend I was in Evesham at a Lardy Games Day playing CoC, the weekend before in Edinburgh doing the same. In a few weeks time I am off to Historicon in the US where Team Lard USA have organised a whole host of Lardy games at the premier wargames event in the USA. The HMGS committee there have invited me to a dinner where I am to receive an award for services to the hobby. Maybe I should wear the Emperor's New Clothes to that event?

Within weeks of my return I'm in Exeter, Chelmsford and Harrogate ay Lardy events and then have a whole raft of wargames shows lined up for the second half of the year. I see a huge and vibrant community where Chain of Command is the dominant rule set.

What is more, Warlord stated that they had sold 23,000 copies of the first edition of Bolt Action. We have sold 22,000 hard copies of Chain of Command (which is still in its 1st edition) and more in PDF format. So which is the most popular? Nobody knows. There is no one great scorer who logs the numbers of games played, but I can assure you that it is a damned sight closer than you seem to think.

Basha Felika17 Jun 2018 9:22 a.m. PST

Why are you all trying to have a reasonable conversation with the ‘nutter on the bus' who has not played a single game of CofC, has not read the rules thoroughly or understood them correctly, is presenting his assertions as if concrete facts and thinks Clausewitz et al are irrelevant to twentieth century warfare despite remaining a core part of the syllabus at both West Point and Sandhurst?

Why not go and play a game of BA or CofC instead.

Mr TFL, stop wrestling the pig; it achieves nothing, only he's enjoying the experience and you'll only feel dirty at the end of it.

Munin Ilor17 Jun 2018 9:27 a.m. PST

VVV Reply said:

In the absence of enemy action, why not accept the performance of the troops on exercise as the standard of performance in war?

Oh, I think I see your confusion. It's not a matter of the absence of enemy action, it's the fact that at the ranges at which CoC takes place, you're always in the enemy's presence. Remember, the entire table is in easy rifle range. When "enemy action" is just a squeeze of the trigger away, people are much less likely to operate with parade-ground efficiency. If you have reason to suspect (and you do, because your scouts have told you so) that the bad guys are in THAT treeline RIGHT OVER THERE, you're not going to operate on your proverbial sunlit stroll, right?

Rich Clarke wrote:

Maybe I should wear the Emperor's New Clothes to that event?

Great, now I have yet another reason to regret not being able to attend Historicon. ;)

Basha Felika17 Jun 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

Munin, you make a good point – CofC games start at the point when contact with the enemy has been made – the Patrol Phase (dismissed by VVV along with several other core mechanisms IIRC) covers the ‘stroll in the park' advance to contact.

But the importance of this phase to the game doesn't always become clear until you've played a few games, so VVV's confusion (you're being kind, there are several other alternatives) is both understandable and inevitable.

David Brown17 Jun 2018 12:49 p.m. PST

Gentlemen,

Despite the repeated protestations of just one individual; in war, (and let's focus on and stress that word "War"); –

there is no such thing as a "stroll in the park".

A stroll in the park is a lazy Sunday morning TA exercise, when you fire off all your remaining blanks at an "enemy" probably played by Air Cadets, before finishing with a nice cup of tea and jumping on the 4 tonners to carry you home, to your safe warm dinner followed by a safe warm bed.

(With reference to the last paragraph I mean no disservice to TA/Reservists both past and present, it's simply there to emphasis the difference between peace and war, as some individuals seem to have great difficulty in differentiating between the two.)

DB

jdginaz17 Jun 2018 1:44 p.m. PST

The reason for ignoring so-called friction is is it sgnificant enough to alter the course of a battle

As I said you want to think about how troops operate, try Rommel, who had tried his theories of platoon (and larger) warfare in real life.

Ok so you've invoked Rommel's "Infanterie Greift An" to supposedly support your claim that Friction is not significant at the platoon level. Well that makes me wonder if you have actually read the book. Having just finish reading it for the third time recently I can say Rommel didn't believe that friction was always present on the battlefield, he KNEW that it existed constantly at ALL levels in battle.

Here are some examples;

"At the upper edge of these woods, we ran into a wire entanglement the like of which we had never seen. It was more than a hundred yards wide and stretched out to the flanks as far as the eye could see."

After checking out the barrier he noticed some of his men on the other side of the obstacle.

"I tried to move down the narrow path that lead through the wire, but enemy fire from the left forced me to hit the dirt. ….ricochets rang all around me as I crawled through the positions on all fours. I ordered the company to follow me in single file, but the commander of my leading platoon lost his nerve and did nothing, and the rest of the company imitated him and lay down behind the wire. Shouting and waving at them proved useless."

Hum, sounds like a lot of friction there and look a unit didn't activate that phase. He goes on,

"I found another passage through the obstacle ad crept back to the company where I informed my first platoon leader that he could either obey my orders or be shot on the spot"

Oh no! Somebody not doing exactly as he was ordered. Maybe that's not as unrealistic as you think. Back on the enemy side of the wire,

"Meanwhile the troop were trying to make an impression on the frozen ground with their spades, but it was only by using the few available and crowbars that we made any progress."

Oops nobody thought to bring heavier digging tools. More friction.

Rommel in his "Observations" at the end of the account He make these comments on why the attack failed,

"With three battalions in line, inadequate reserves were available. Shortages in small-arms ammunition and hand grenades increased our troubles in the defense…"
"Several things happened simultaneously to render our situation most critical; First, the French sized the blockhouse on the extreme right; second, we received the battalion order to withdraw third, we were short of ammunition; and finally, out way back through the wire was swept by enemy fire."

"In making our hasty preparations for the attack, we gave no thought to heavy entrenching tools."

Looks to me like Rommel encountered, and wrote about lots of the friction he had to deal with at low levels during WWI. An if that isn't enough for you I can list several more accounts from his book.

jdginaz17 Jun 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

Historicon in the US where Team Lard USA have organised a whole host of Lardy games at the premier wargames event in the USA.

Congratulations Rich! well deserved, see even we poor rebels can recognize real talent when we see it.

TacticalPainter0117 Jun 2018 5:45 p.m. PST

Looks to me like Rommel encountered, and wrote about lots of the friction he had to deal with at low levels during WWI. An if that isn't enough for you I can list several more accounts from his book.

Oh you and your clever 'facts' and your evidence based point of view, we don't need that kind of fancy pants stuff here. Oh no, no siree, just opinions please.

jdginaz17 Jun 2018 6:26 p.m. PST

Sorry I got carried away TP. I'll try to do better next time.

kevanG18 Jun 2018 4:47 a.m. PST

"The reason for ignoring so-called friction is, is it significant enough to alter the course of a battle?"

I would say…..

Can you name one where friction didnt alter the course of a battle?

Lowtardog18 Jun 2018 4:53 a.m. PST

Nurse…nurse….more meds please

if you are going to try a play through of an armoured scenario try Villers Bocage and tell me there is no such thing as friction

trailape18 Jun 2018 5:18 a.m. PST

FWIW.
I have served in the Army for over 33 yrs and deployed on operations to Afghanistan and the Middle East and trained soldiers as a Senior Instructor at both the NCO and Officer Level.
If I had to chose between which system (either BA or CoC) gives the most accurate representation of the types of problems a Platoon Commander would be dealing with them hands down CoC is my pick.
That's not to say BA isn't a fun challenging game.
Both are.
But only CoC is remotely realistic

VVV reply18 Jun 2018 5:32 a.m. PST

"At the upper edge of these woods, we ran into a wire entanglement the like of which we had never seen. It was more than a hundred yards wide and stretched out to the flanks as far as the eye could see."

Goodie, terrain. Now can you find anything where I said I disagree with that (in fact you will find several posts where I say that terrain and enemy action are justifiable restrictions on units). Just not fairies at the bottom of my garden producing imaginary 'friction'.
"I tried to move down the narrow path that lead through the wire, but enemy fire from the left forced me to hit the dirt. ….ricochets rang all around me as I crawled through the positions on all fours. I ordered the company to follow me in single file, but the commander of my leading platoon lost his nerve and did nothing, and the rest of the company imitated him and lay down behind the wire. Shouting and waving at them proved useless."

Enemy action, see above.
Now perhaps you would care to give me something like all their shoelaces become undone, so they could not move. Or perhaps they brought the wrong ammunition so they could not shoot.
In Chain of Command, you roll for what your units can do and if you get the wrong roll (all 5's and 6's) they are literally not able to do anything. I cannot think of any reason for that to happen nor been given a reason for it. In Bolt Action all of your units are going to do something (unless subject to enemy action). It makes the game simpler and faster and probably makes it more realistic. So whats the problem with doing that?
if you are going to try a play through of an armoured scenario try Villers Bocage and tell me there is no such thing as friction

Yep did that during play-testing. Of course it was stupid to take the Tiger into the town but Wittman got away with it (under my rules he would count as a Hero). But the infantry fought, until they ran away. Some of the British AFV fought, although they had little chance. What we did not see was troops just watching as the Tiger advanced destroyed their units. Now roll the wrong dice in CoC and that is precisely what would happen. So just what is the 'friction' that was not there at Villers Bocage?
If I had to chose between which system (either BA or CoC) gives the most accurate representation of the types of problems a Platoon Commander would be dealing with them hands down CoC is my pick.

Great, I would love to hear why you think rolling dice to activate troops represents the problems a platoon commander would face? Now under BA everything gets to do something every turn, is that not more realistic? More troops mean you have a greater advantage over the enemy. Not the case in CoC where the number of units you can use in a phase is limited to what you roll for.

Basha Felika18 Jun 2018 7:33 a.m. PST

Them pigs sure love the wrestling…

Lowtardog18 Jun 2018 7:33 a.m. PST

For Villers Bocage the friction would be examples such as

Captain Dyas unable to take a rear shot as his gunner had gone to take a leak

Tank crew brewing up and being unable to reach their tanks as Wittman opened up with his MG34

Another tank unable to traverse its turret as the tiger knocked rubble onto it

Wittman knocking out the RHA Observation tanks addressed as dummies with wooden poles to represent barrels – likely serving others as they acted as a decoy albeit not purposefully)

Taking a Bolt action view of the combat, would pit at least 7 Cromwells a firefly and also light tanks against a lone Tiger, at a dice each that means a 1:11 Chance of getting to activate

with COC in this instance the loss of the first vehicles would have caused morale issues and bad things happening rolls reducing morale, for each squadron also shock and so on.

Also Wittman was not alone, he could have called his other tigers and controlled the battle to maximise impact however made a judgement call (which could be equally a roll of dice and options it gave him) and decided to go on the attack as a single tank rather than co-ordinate with the 2 other operational Tigers

if you cannot see some of those elements as friction, battlefield luck, bad luck, opportunity you name it god help you as none of those are in any manual

Basha Felika18 Jun 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

VVV really, really doesn't get how the command dice replicate the many but finite command decisions a platoon leader has to constantly and repeatedly make in the course of a short but intense action, or the 'friction' that can momentarily throw even the best plan off course, does he?

VVV reply18 Jun 2018 7:52 a.m. PST

OK lets try this

At 0900 Wittmann's Tiger attacked. A few minutes later, in the direction of Caen, he destroyed three tanks; a Sherman Firefly and a Cromwell tank on the right and another tank on the left, proceeding to Villers without pause and attacking the lightly armored vehicles of The Rifle Brigade. During this engagement, he destroyed nine half-track vehicles, four Carden Loyd Carriers, two other carriers, and two 6-pounder anti-tank guns, then destroyed three Stuart light tanks and one half-track vehicle. Entering Villers-Bocage alone, he destroyed three of the four Cromwells in position at the top of the Lemonnier farm.

He followed Clémenceau Street where his tank destroyed two Sherman command tanks of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery before knocking out another scout car and half-track. As Wittmann arrived at the Jeanne d'Arc square, he ended up opposite the Sherman Firefly of Sergeant Lockwood of "B" Squadron. The Firefly, whose 17-pounder was the only Allied main tank gun capable of defeating the frontal armour of a Tiger in most circumstances, fired four shells at Wittman. One hit the hull of the Tiger, which returned fire and knocked down a section of wall on the Sherman. Wittmann then made a half-turn, his tank lightly damaged, and returned down Clémenceau Street. The Cromwell tank of Captain Dyas that had not been destroyed, confronted him, firing two 75 mm shells, failing to harm the Tiger. Wittmann put the Cromwell out of action with one shot.

As Wittmann proceeded on the road leaving Villers-Bocage, his left track was hit by a 6-pdr shell, forcing him to stop on the street in front of the Huet-Godefroy store. Wittman engaged targets in range. Thinking that the Tiger might be salvaged and repaired later, Wittmann and crew abandoned the tank without destroying it, leaving the area on foot but without weapons.


Captian Dyas obviously managed to get some shots in, problem was it did no good.
The 17pdr should have done the business but it failed to hit the right spot, I have heard that the early APDS shells were very inaccurate.
As I said Wittman was a fool to advance into the town, giving up his advantage of a superior gun. But it did mean that it split the enemy forces, so he could take them on individually.
Still nothing about unknown 'frictions' causing a problem , indeed every few seconds no less.
But lets take Bolt Action, everything on the Allied side would have done something whilst the Tiger was shooting that them. Just what are you suggesting they could do to the Tiger?
Oh and is there anything in the action at Villers-Bocage that convinces you that some of the Allied side were sitting around doing nothing whilst the action went on (as it would be in CoC)?

Lowtardog18 Jun 2018 8:07 a.m. PST

I honestly don`t think you have a clue, have you tried 40K

VVV reply18 Jun 2018 8:59 a.m. PST

I honestly don`t think you have a clue, have you tried 40K

Your choice.
VVV really, really doesn't get how the command dice replicate the many but finite command decisions a platoon leader has to constantly and repeatedly make in the course of a short but intense action, or the 'friction' that can momentarily throw even the best plan off course, does he?

Yes please do tell when you saw a unit commander rolling dice for what his troops could do and which hospital he was sent to.
A stroll in the park is a lazy Sunday morning TA exercise, when you fire off all your remaining blanks at an "enemy" probably played by Air Cadets, before finishing with a nice cup of tea and jumping on the 4 tonners to carry you home, to your safe warm dinner followed by a safe warm bed.

(With reference to the last paragraph I mean no disservice to TA/Reservists both past and present, it's simply there to emphasis the difference between peace and war, as some individuals seem to have great difficulty in differentiating between the two.)


Now here you have a point. Your exercise (conducted by people who have had a nice comfortable week) is exactly the situation you face when there is no enemy (walk in the park). So where is the friction? And that is what is happening when you roll the dice for unit activation's in CoC, 'friction' for no reason. Of course the reason you know that there is going to be an enemy in a wargame is because it would not make much of a game without it (but I think there was a Vietnam era game where the Vietnamese player could have no troops and if the US player did not guess that within a number of turns the VC player won).
Then you have in the MacDonald quote, taking towns with no opposition (well light opposition)
Captain Calhoun sent his 2d Platoon down the road. I assembled my CP group and the 3d Platoon and waited until the F Company men had gone two hundred yards. I signalled "Forward" and we started toward the objective on the run, a single column following the ditch on either side of the road. The pace was too fast, and I slowed to a fast walk. I listened intently for the sound of a telltale explosion in the distance that would mean the enemy tankers were opening fire, planning exactly how I would drop to the scant cover of the shallow ditch. But the telltale explosion did not come. We entered the town, and I looked back and saw two more platoons following us. Still the enemy tankers did not fire. The 1st Platoon had almost completed clearing our assigned sector of the town. There had been no fight. They had three prisoners and another who was wounded. My rear CP group arrived and took over the prisoners. "Maybe that's all for the day," Sergeant Henderson said. "As if it weren't enough. This is some kind of record for G Company…two hundred and ten prisoners and at least thirty Kraut killed." E Company led the assault at seven o'clock the next morning riding on the two platoons of tanks astride the highway. We followed on the tank destroyers and three trucks, waiting in Varlossen while E Company took the first town and then moved on to the second. Then we leap-frogged into the first town. There had been no opposition. E Company reported all clear in Dransfeld, the second town, and we moved forward again.

So where is the 'friction'.

Keith Talent18 Jun 2018 10:16 a.m. PST

Good god…. this is like an episode of Father Ted.

In the PATROL PHASE there is no friction, you move your markers as fast as you like, where you like (providing they daisy chain, you like daisy chains).The enemy are not interfering or POTENTIALLY interfering with your units.
Then you put down the JUMP OFF POINTS,
These mark the point AFTER WHICH YOU ARE IN CONTACT with the enemy. My Jump off point is close to me, the enemies, are far away, but not much further. In fact they are probably within one hundred meters. YOUR little soldiers DONT KNOW where the enemy is, subsequently they are nervous, you are nervous. Odd things happen.
The entire game takes place in contact, all you units, at all times, are subject to enemy action,

Your MacDonald quote is totally irrelevant, it's a company action, written from the point of view of one commander. MacDonald's platoon doesn't appear to have been engaged hardly at all, although obviously others were. Just because MacDonald doesn't mention US casualties, doesnt mean there weren't any, and doesn't mean everything went like clockwork. There certainly was fighting, (hence 30 "dead Krauts") of which MacDonald doesn't give us any details, presumably because his platoon wasn't involved.
From CoC perspective most of his activity would occur in the patrol phase.

On the subject of "if you have more units, you will always win" well, no Bleeped text Sherlock, you did pay some attention in class after all. Play COC with 2 platoons against one and yes, you will almost certainly always win. But platoon commanders don't want more men, because they can't control them.
Don't take my word for it, read what Sidney Jary said about it. He didn't think having more than 2 sections of 6 or 7 men were controllable in the attack, and he knew what he was talking about, and he did a little bit more than a couple of weekend exercises.

Munin Ilor18 Jun 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

VVV Reply wrote:

Your exercise (conducted by people who have had a nice comfortable week) is exactly the situation you face when there is no enemy (walk in the park).

Are you kidding me? Even sleep deprivation alone is enough to make this assertion laughable. Throw in a little hunger and season it with mortal fear and you have a cocktail that makes your "walk in the park" analogy utterly nonsensical.

And again, at the distances represented on the typical table in CoC, the enemy is extremely close. They may not be shooting at you at this very moment, but that is very much subject to change with little or no warning.

David Brown18 Jun 2018 1:58 p.m. PST

VVV,

Your exercise (conducted by people who have had a nice comfortable week) is exactly the situation you face when there is no enemy (walk in the park). So where is the friction?

Another excellent illustration of your deliberate/inability to recognise the difference?

What on earth do you mean where's the friction?

The constant enemy threat and stress that constant threat brings with it, of say having your brains blown out by an enemy sniper at any point leads to ….let's just think about it for a minute …friction.

The constant threat of mortars landing and blowing you to pieces and the stress that brings with it leads to ….let's just think about it…yes that's friction as well.

And another one, as you are clearly having great difficulty grasping the concept….the constant threat of treading on a mine that blows your leg off and the stress that goes with it… leads to…yep let's try thinking about this just one more time…oh yes, of course, friction.

It's the CONSTANT threat of enemy action of all sorts, from unknown places and at anytime, not just shooting or slightly steep terrain.

Come on Justin, we know you are being deliberately obtuse, because you lost the debate many days ago, but please get a grip.

DB

jdginaz18 Jun 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

Goodie, terrain. Now can you find anything where I said I disagree with that (in fact you will find several posts where I say that terrain and enemy action are justifiable restrictions on units).

Aah but you said a commander would know exactly how far a unit could across a piece of terrain, but here is something that appeared unexpectedly and shows the fallacy of that claim.

Enemy action, see above

But on May 9th you said

Sorry its just not realistic, if you have troops there you expect them to participate … So die rolls for units to activate, simply not realistic –

I'm sure that Rommel expected that the platoon participate too, but they didn't he had to take time (another phase) to go back and get them to move.

In Chain of Command, you roll for what your units can do and if you get the wrong roll (all 5's and 6's) they are literally not able to do anything.

That seems to be the case but if you had played the game you might understand why that isn't true. What actually happens is a short break in the fighting happens, you know like it does in the real world, and then since you rolled multiple 6s you pick up where you left off and roll your dice again and go on from there.

I cannot think of any reason for that to happen nor been given a reason for it.

In real combat there are often short pauses in the action that happen for unknown reasons. If you didn't know that maybe you need you read more accounts of battles and less children's stories like "The Emperor's New Clothes".

What we did not see was troops just watching as the Tiger advanced destroyed their units.

Actually that did happen as the surprised troop tried to understand what was happening and the next halftrack blew up.

Great, I would love to hear why you think rolling dice to activate troops represents the problems a platoon commander would face?

Ok that's easy, the dice roll give you the options that the commander can use to work his plan. Don't try and tell me that that is unrealistic because one of the guys I play CoC with was a quad leader with multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He continually makes comments on how the dice mechanic perfectly simulates the decisions that he and his platoon commander had to make and I know that other have been told the same thing on many occasions Or do you think you know more about real combat than they do?

jdginaz18 Jun 2018 2:18 p.m. PST

VVV really, really doesn't get how the command dice replicate the many but finite command decisions a platoon leader has to constantly and repeatedly make in the course of a short but intense action, or the 'friction' that can momentarily throw even the best plan off course, does he?

I think it's more an unwillingness to understand because he thinks he knows better than everybody else.

jdginaz18 Jun 2018 2:28 p.m. PST

Come on now, that is a totally disingenuous statement as you know the dice rolling is simply the mechanic used in the game. With that stupid kind of logic I could criticize your rules because I've never seen a tanker roll dice to see if he hit the enemy tank or an infantryman roll to see how many hits he got. and if you don't understand that you need medical help.

Basha Felika18 Jun 2018 4:04 p.m. PST

I've never seen a real platoon commander draw a chit out of a bag before ordering a rifle team to advance either, but it's still a legitimate GAME command/control mechanic.

TacticalPainter0118 Jun 2018 5:00 p.m. PST

VVV tells us he's a systems analyst. This explains a lot, he inhabits a binary world, where there are only ever two answers 0 and 1, yes and no, go and stop, black and white. But soldiers are not computers, they inhabit a world of multiple options, some unexpected, some totally random, a world from white to black with every possible shade in between.

A commander is a manager, a people manager and the quality of people is timeless, which is why Clauswitz's observations remain relevant today. It's why military training establishments teach military history. The means of command may have changed but telling someone to do something to their face or telling them to do it via a sophisticated comms system is still just passing instructions between people. People will react as people have always reacted, in different ways for different reasons.

Ultimately it comes down to people, and their response won't be binary, it will exist in the vague grey zones in between black and white. This is what a commander manages and it hasn't changed.

Our games need to devise mechanics that present us with a similar dilemma, that command challenge. For it is a challenge and anything but a certainty. It's forever unpredictable and unforeseen, but a good commander knows how to size up a situation and make the best call from the limited range of options he will have at any one moment. If he does it better, faster and smarter than his opposite number the chances are he will dominate, but it will still only be a chance because of the myriad factors beyond his control.

If you want to see this in microcosm, watch one of the World Cup football games being played at the moment.

Despite weeks of training and coaching, despite a game plan and a complete knowledge of the battlefield, of the opposition and the time frame for completion of the task, things never quite go to plan. It's not just the opposing team, it's the weather, the bounce of the ball, the small imperfect mistakes of players, the impact of the crowd, the weight of expectation, a fumble here, a misunderstood call from another player there. And sometimes it's just plain luck, the chance deflection that just happens to land at a player's feet, who just happens to be in the right spot at the right time. Unforeseen, unexpected and unplanned for, just like a random roll of the dice.

Amidst all this the coach and the captain must try to get their team to assert their dominance over the chaos. To keep their shape, their composure, remember their training, remain focussed, remain optimistic that victory is possible. The problem is there is only one coach on the sidelines and one captain on the field and there are ten other players spread across an area of about 500 square metres. The captain and coach can't be everywhere at once and so they try to assert their influence in the area they think is most important. They need to rely on the other players to fulfil their roles, which they may or may not do. You have to let go, you cannot command each player. Every game a highly trained player will have a momentary lapse, not move fast enough, be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, just switch off.

If in the far more orderly world of a football game we see so much friction and chaos amidst the struggle to command and control, should we be at all surprised to find that in the life and death struggle of the battlefield this is magnified beyond measure?

trailape18 Jun 2018 6:02 p.m. PST

<q Yes please do tell when you saw a unit commander rolling dice for what his troops could do and which hospital he was sent to. q/>

Obviously no Commander ‘rolls Dice' .
You're completely missing the point.
A Combat Leader cannot control EVERY ASPECT of what's going on around him.
The ‘dice' represents the s@#t sandwich he has to deal with!
The friction.
Yes, I would like to move my 2nd section onto the high ground to my right but for some reason CPL Smith either can't hear me or ‘refuses' to hear me.
Yes I'd like to get those Pioneers from Battalion Support Coy to clear the wire but the platoon Sgt has them in the FUP and hasn't sent them forward! Why?
Who knows! S@#T happens!
So as a platoon commander I must make do with what I have right here right now.
Having experienced these types of cockups countless time both in a training environment AND on operations I can assure you these things happen even during the best prepared ops.
CoC simulates this in a very simple and elegant manner via the Command dice system.
Clearly VVV has never had any ACTUAL COMBAT EXPERIANCE.
Calling Wittmann a fool speaks volumes.
There were obviously good sound tactical reasons WHY Michael Wittmann made the decisions he made at VB. And obviously they were the correct ones. Ask the survivors of his attack if they thought he was a fool.

trailape18 Jun 2018 6:12 p.m. PST

Vvv wrote:
"Now here you have a point. Your exercise (conducted by people who have had a nice comfortable week) is exactly the situation you face when there is no enemy (walk in the park). So where is the friction?"

Where?
Seriously?
Never been on a tactical exercise have you?
Where?
Let me list them:
Sleep deprivation
Pressure to perform.
Peer pressure.
Knowledge your entire squad / platoon / Battery is relying on you.
3rd parties (under the same pressures) fouling up.

As a 23 year old Sergeant being responsible for getting a battery reconnaissance team into the correct deployment area, laying out a gun position, conducting the survey (that if its incorrect high explosive projectiles end up in the wrong spot) combined with the knowledge that a signaller has just told you "Sarge, the Battery is on the road and will be here in 30 mins"! Creates an awful lot of pressure / friction.
And all the time knowing your battery Commander and regimental CO is waiting for you to screw up and snuff out your career (or so you think).

trailape18 Jun 2018 10:34 p.m. PST

I WROTE:
If I had to chose between which system (either BA or CoC) gives the most accurate representation of the types of problems a Platoon Commander would be dealing with them hands down CoC is my pick.

VVV wrote:

Great, I would love to hear why you think rolling dice to activate troops represents the problems a platoon commander would face?

Because it takes an element of ‘total control' out of my hands.
A platoon commander isn't God.
He's not everywhere.
This is why he has section or squad commanders and a platoon Sergeant. Yet these men are also fallible. They sometimes will not issue orders in the absence of orders from higher. Often they will act in accordance with their commanders intent but this isn't always instantaneous OR strictly in accordance as the situation can be fluid.

Now under BA everything gets to do something every turn, is that not more realistic?

NO!!! It is not!
Some sections in an engagement will simply go to ground. They might not have the situational awareness that the platoon Commander might have.
Eg:
A shot rings put.
A contact drill is carried out (run, down, roll, crawl, observe, aim, fire) but they or some of them might not be in a position to ‘observe, aim or fire'.
But other than that they might do nothing. Most troops (even well trained ones) will do nothing without being directed by an immediate superior (JNCO).
Poorly trained ones will often do nothing at all.
I've seen this first hand as an Australian or USMC Squad will engage the enemy whilst a newly minted Afghan National Army (ANA) platoon simply freeze!


More troops mean you have a greater advantage over the enemy. Not the case in CoC where the number of units you can use in a phase is limited to what you roll for.

Quite often Numbers mean nothing!
See example above.
In CoC it's all about the LEADERS getting the men doing ‘stuff' as it should be.
In short, ‘NO' not every unit should be able to do all things in every phase.
Friction should impact on your plans.
But let's just look at a dice Roll.
Let's assume I've rolled 1, 1, 3, 5, 6
That two teams, (1, 1) a JNCO (3) a 5 (a CoC Point) and a 6 (a phasing die)
Options.
Activate a team of Riflemen and a LMG, activate another JCO who can activate a Squad
OR
Add a 1 and 3, create a 4 and activate the platoon commander who could activate Three Squads if they are in command range.
Or
Add the two 1s, create a 2 and activate one Squad, use the 3 to activate another squads via the JNCO.
So plenty of tactical options to exercise.
But not able to do ‘all things' in this particular phase.
Seems pretty realistic to me.
But what would Clausewitz and a veteran of 33 years actual operational Experiance know of such things….

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