Last week I published a video on my YouTube Channel about learning new rules and I guess that means I have to put my money where my mouth is and learn a new set of rules! Actually, I can't really call Chain of Command a 'new' set of rules because they first hit the hobby scene in 2013, and I bought my copy over four months ago. Since then I have been converting some of my 15mm Flames of War figures for use with this ruleset while trying to learn the rules. As I explained in my video, I find it very hard to just sit down and read a rulebook, so I have been watching a lot of how-to videos, playtesting and otherwise 'dabbling' with the rules on my own. Now its time to play a proper game, bringing together the various elements I have been working on over the last few months.
I started by setting up the table, making use of my recently completed ploughed fields and wheatfields, along with my collection of homemade Bocage hedgerows and gates. My table is a bit small for this game (just 4' by 2'6") although I have plans to make this a little bigger in the future. Despite this, it is still just about big enough to play a solo tester game on and start reviewing my understanding of the rules, figuring out what I don't know or don't understand.
Because this isn't a proper game - it's more a training exercise for myself - I didn't take as many pictures as I would normally, and didn't fully finish the game. I did get a chance to play out my first Melee, with the Germans overextending themselves in an attempt to capture the farmhouse and then getting counter charged by overwhelming numbers of Americans and basically having their backsides handed to them.
After that encounter, the Panzergrenadiers were in a dreadful position, bleeding troops and now overlooked by American MG's firing from the upper floors of the Farmhouse. Eventually, I reached a point where I decided I had learned enough from this test game and brought it to an end. However, I have decided to keep the layout largely the same and immediately play another test game with the sides swapped around. I'll start from the beginning again, carrying out the Patrol Phase and seeing if I can play with fewer mistakes next time.
So what have I learned from this solo test game? First, no matter how much I try to read and absorb the rules, I really learn from playing with them. Second, I need to keep a list of rules or topics I am vague about, so I can focus my attention on those bits of the rulebook. Thirdly I have found navigating the rulebook a little confusing at times so I think I'll add some 'tabs' to key pages in the rulebook so I can jump to them quickly. The fourth thing I already alluded to, highlighting the leaders a bit more so I can see them easier on the games table.
I expect I'll have to play quite a few more games like this to 'master' the rules. Certainly, I need a better grasp on them before I try to run a game of CoC for the Rejects. Looks like I have my work cut out for me over the next few weeks!