21 December 2011

GameTalk - Chain of Command

How important is it for your wargames to model a chain of command that requires certain units to interact within a particular hierarchical structure?
Do you want your HQ units to have to control the actions of their subordinates?
How about chains of activations with subordinate units (a la PanzerGrenadier)?
What do you want from modeling the chain of command and what can you live without?

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

As I tend to play tactical level wargames, the chain of command isn't that important for me as command radius or command influence (having a leader unit stacked or near a fighting unit).

A few notable exceptions to personal preference stand out and bear mention. Breakaway games made two Napoleonic real-time tactical games (Waterloo: Nap's Last Battle and Austerlize: Nap's Greatest Victory) that utilized chain of command quite well. Units were attached to Leaders, who were attached to higher leaders, who were in turn attached to Generals (Nap, Wellington, Blucher, etc). Issuing an order to a leader caused movement / action my all subordinate units. Units could also break from or rejoin command for independent action.

A number of Nap. naval games have also used chain of command as well, notabely Man-of-War: Chains of Command (hence the name) and Salvo! Issuing orders (via flags and signals) was done via hierachal c-o-c. Useful (and historically accurate) for modelling in-line ship movement. Again, individual ships could break from the c-in-c if desired (a la Nelson at Copenhagen "I really do not see the signal."


Jack Nastyface

Anonymous said...

Well, first it depends on the scale of the action. I think most tactical games, regardless of historical period, need some kind of C3 measure unless you want to assume that every infantryman has a radio and doesn't mind being stuck out on his lonesome sometimes.

With modern operational games, chain of command becomes something more like chain of logistical effort. I've designed a number of 20th century games at the brigade to division level where the presence of headquarters units is critical; however, the HQ units do not represent the commander and his staff, they represent the edge of the supply net, the presence and attention of resources and special units, and so forth.