18/02/2015 at 03:43 #17757
I just read the news about Pendraken and it made me realize that I bought Blitzkrieg Commander some years but never got round to trying it out. Does anyone out there have much experience playing it? With so many rules vying for my attention can anyone give a quick review. Thanks
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”18/02/2015 at 06:17 #17759SparkerParticipant
Hi Mate. Well my group and I like them for high level games – that is to say at least a Brigade per side. With the Command rules meaning that very often a Commander doesn’t get to do anything you need to have lots of commands on the table else it gets frustrating. But employed in the right scale they give a quick play with what seem to be reasonable outcomes. Its important to remember, though, that each unit is a platoon/troop/battery. The artillery rules work well, with differentiation between nominally off table plotted artillery, and on table artillery support units firing in the direct role – ideal for Soviets!
So perhaps not perfect – its hard sometimes to understand why a unit that has taken lots of hits, but not been destroyed, can shrug off all its hits and start again with a clean slate for its next turn, but the only workable rules I know of that will allow large scale armour battles like Second Kharkov, for example. Designed for 10mil, we use them with 6mil, and base 3 tanks on a 65×50 mil base to show its a platoon/troop, just to keep things in perspective.
'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
Matthew 5:918/02/2015 at 07:50 #17761
Sparker that’s exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I don’t have any other rules to play Brigade level and now I know what to try when I’m considering that level. Great photo BTW and demonstrates how perfect 6mm is for Brigade level but I’d probably need to make use of my 15mm.
Thanks a lot
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”18/02/2015 at 09:24 #17765Angel BarracksModerator
I have played FWC which uses the same mechanics.
As Sparker says, the hit things take some getting used to but it does work.
What doesn’t work for me though is the command system.
You roll under your CV (command value) to activate something; if you pass you do something with it.
Assuming you pass you can try again but at -1 as it is your first additional action.
If you pass that you can try again at -2, as that will be your second additional action.
Pass that you can try again at -3, then -4 etc until you fail.
I have played games where in 1 turn I have moved up the entire table length and taken out an enemy unit and mashed up 2 others.
Due to luck.
Dumb luck can play its part in any game but for me that just does not work.18/02/2015 at 09:43 #17767ShahbahrazParticipant
I suspect if you did that then either you had an extraordinary run of luck, had too few troops on the table, or you are allowing commanders with very high activation scores. If you are uncomfortable with hits being removed, then one of the options is not to do this.
--An occasional wargames blog: http://aleadodyssey.blogspot.co.uk/ --18/02/2015 at 10:03 #17768
The Commander series is great fun and a worthwhile game to own. I particularly like it for solo play, as the command mechanism makes for unpredictable games and gives a wonderful narrative to play.
In one game of Future Commander I played some years ago, for example, a mecha squadron was ordered to go over a ridge and attack an enemy position. As they crested the ridge, however, they got hit with an incredibly accurate volley of reaction fire, taking out half the mechas. They then rolled a fumble: 12. The failure table had them scurrying right back across the ridge. You could just see how it played out in “real life”: an attack into unexpectedky strong fire causes chaos and confusion. With the Captain down, a new lieutentant panics and orders everyone to fall back. The ensuing retreat probably saves the company, but in the post battle analysis, the young lt. is courtmartialed for disobeying orders and perhaps even cowardice in the face of the enemy…
The game is not for everyone, though. Because of luck-based activation, the improbable can happen, as Mike points out. That happens in real life too, so it doesn’t bother me. But it will some.
More problematic, to me, is that the activation system means that multiplayer games take longer to play. Also, the cumulative hits in combat thing is annoying because A) you can rarely kill a unit outright and B) this means that a pack of Stuarts, say, can scrub down a Tiger.
But the “recover all hits at the end of the turn” thing is easy to fix. Simply give your units a morale roll they need to make to recover.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!18/02/2015 at 10:09 #17769Steve BurtParticipant
One problem with the game is that lots of little shots at a strong unit are just as effective as one big one.
That’s OK for infantry, but it is very odd that your Tigers can be taken out by lots of Stuarts firing at them just as well as one 17pdr.
Plus there is the ‘if you don’t destroy it, it regenerates next turn’ effect.
The other rules set which has 1 platoon per stand, and allows you to fight this sort of scale is Spearhead. I think that models command and control much better than BK. It’s rather unforgiving, though, as you do actually need to make proper plans and have reserves, otherwise you can’t react to what the enemy is doing.18/02/2015 at 10:46 #17770Angel BarracksModerator
In one game of Future Commander I played some years ago, for example, a mecha squadron was ordered to go over a ridge and attack an enemy position. As they crested the ridge, however, they got hit with an incredibly accurate volley of reaction fire, taking out half the mechas. They then rolled a fumble: 12.
I don’t mind that so much.
But I did not enjoy the fact that due to CV, my army was effectively always going to get more ‘turns’ than the other guy.
I guess it felt a bit like chess where I get to move 3 pieces every 2 turns, but he only gets to move 2 pieces every 2 turns.
Steve will be along shortly I am sure though, and he looooves the game.
😀18/02/2015 at 11:13 #17771Mick AParticipant
The recover from hits at the end of the turn is the bit that always bothered me. We have tried it without that rule but it then makes the examples above about lots of small hits even worse…
having said aid that I don’t seem to mind it so much in Future War Commander as its a non historical game 🙂18/02/2015 at 12:52 #17772Mr. AverageParticipant
The non-cumulative hits thing never bugged me so much. Conceptually, I see it as accumulating fire, not necessarily direct hits on a physical tank. I’m reluctant to tinker too much with rules, lest the balance go out of whack, but I’ve tinkered with a mechanism such that recovering from damage requires a roll against the unit’s save number at the end of each turn, and failure to do so produces a permanent hit on the unit. This could seriously slow down the game, though, and I haven’t extensively tested it.
Overall I find the game’s great benefits are speed and flexibility. It is not scale-specific or genre-specific (outside of the broad outlines of WWII/Modern/Sci Fi). And it does make for random battlefield conditions that I find improves the game narrative and jolts people out of the complacency of their preconceptions of what “would” or “should” happen. You have to think very quickly, and it’s not very forgiving of rules-lawyering because so much relies on chance. Pickup games with little or no pre-game super-strategizing seem to me to be best in this system, though larger, more carefully planned scenarios work out well if you’re willing to think on your feet after things start going off script.
I’ve had games where one player’s plans went off perfectly, whereupon they declared they had learned how best to play the game and “had it figured out.” Next game, they got a string of bad command rolls at a crucial moment, and their tanks were caught in the open when the air strike arrived. So you never know what will happen. I find that rewarding – others may find it irritating.18/02/2015 at 13:02 #17773
A very easy rule to get around the accumulatibe hits thing, without slowing stuff down too much is this:
At the end of your turn, roll against the. Number of hits on the unit. If you roll equal,or greater, remove all hits. If less, remove one hit.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!18/02/2015 at 19:19 #17788
Thanks for the detailed responses. Surprisingly but rather than the the apparent “controversies” discouraging me they’re are actually making me more intrigued with the rules than I was originally.
The accumulative hits thing may not upset me too much if I can maybe get my head around the level of representation? I’m not used to a non 1:1 game so I guess I’m not sure how I’ll feel until I’ve tried it. Don’t particularly like the sound of the gang of pesky Stuart’s situation as described. Made me wonder (and due to the games representation I’m not sure how relevant this might be but…) how would a couple of Tigers react to the close range attentions of a swarm of trigger happy Stuarts? I’ve read where a completely ineffectual shot from a light gun had unnerved a Tiger sufficiently to have it scrambling in reverse and out of the immediate battle
“At the end of your turn, roll against the. Number of hits on the unit. If you roll equal,or greater, remove all hits. If less, remove one hit.”
I do like this suggestion though and I imagine I might try this out
I know mechanics that preordain deliberate chaos or battle ground “friction” is a turn off for some but I really enjoy the narrative it can inspire. Playing more and more solo games and I find I can’t always rely on my schizophrenia so the added disarray breaks the inevitability of it all 🙂
“I would, however, caution in the most unbiased and objective manner that nothing is better than Crossfire. ”
Now Tim there’s something altogether inevitable about that statement; especially coming from you 🙂
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”18/02/2015 at 20:19 #17792
Well, one can certainly make a case that a large swarm of Stuarts would unnerve a Tiger platoon. The cumulative hits thing is no show stopper.
In game terms, however, what it does is push units to concentrate fire in hopes of eliminating an enemy unit before it “resets”.
An easy way around that is to force units to fire on the closest, most appropriate target.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!18/02/2015 at 20:58 #17794Steve JohnsonParticipant
Well as Mike has said I love the game! We play at one stand equates to a platoon of infantry, a tank a troop etc and generally use historical OOB for a game. Most of my games will involve one or two Battalions with their integral and Divisional support attacking a similar force, outnumbering the oppostion by up to 2:1.
As for the Stuarts vs Tigers issue, think of it as the Tigers being driven off rather than destroyed. I’ve recently been reading up on Operation Epsom for a campaign game and in one instance a Panther crew bailed out after the drivers vision glass was broken by a Sherman shell. No penetration but the driver freaked and everyone else followed. So for me the Stuart vs Tigers type event reflects this sort of thing nicely.
With regards to hits coming off at the end of the turn, we simply leave them on (as the author suggests as an optional rule) which speeds game play up, stops infantry wandering around in the open almost impervious to attacks and helps whittle down dug-in troops. Not for everyone but it works for us.
We also use the optional rule that unsaved hits from artillery fire automatically suppress units. We have extended this to include 75mm mortars and infantry guns, as such fire did force troops to go to ground, thus suppressing them as it were.
I’ve put a link below to my Blog that has plenty of AARs that hopefully will give you an idea of how the game plays as well as examples of the ‘house rules’ outlined above.18/02/2015 at 22:28 #17797
I tend to play with half company stands and I find that works very well in the “suspension of disbelief” department when it comes to accumulating hits.
Again, if you want to add more color, here’s a third option: give units morale ranging up to 10 for elite units. Throw a die at the end of the turn, and subtract the difference between the dr and morale in hits.
It is a very easy system to tweak.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!19/02/2015 at 00:10 #17802
Steve really excellent AAR’s you’ve just given me plenty to look over for the rest of the evening 🙂
“Again, if you want to add more color, here’s a third option: give units morale ranging up to 10 for elite units. Throw a die at the end of the turn, and subtract the difference between the dr and morale in hits.”
TB I’m a hog for morale rules differentiating between troop types so again even before a shot is fired I’m attracted to this kind of rule…but I’m getting ahead of myself
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”19/02/2015 at 02:45 #17807Just JackParticipant
Sorry I’m late to the party here, but I think you’ve received a fantastic glimpse at the Commander series of rules. I agree with the comment of having smaller units with more headquarters, it offsets the aggravation of having only three units and having all three of them fail their morale roll. I also played that hits were static, i.e., not removed at the end of the turn, which felt right to me, and sped the game up. And I’ll say I never had a problem with the idea of a strong unit being overwhelmed by a bunch of weak units.
The rules are fast, fun, and flexible. My early FFL games (in Perplakistan) were actually using modified BKC.
Jack19/02/2015 at 07:43 #17816
I gather all the comments for BKC would cover Cold War Commander too? I am boarder line between getting CWC or FFTow to play modern games, and the BKC/CWC seems to be simple enough for my tiny brain to cope with whilst producing a good game.19/02/2015 at 18:04 #17849
Yep. Know one ruleset and you have a handle on them all.
For FWC, I do away with HQs entirely for high tech forces. They get as many activations as they want, presuming a great communications net.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!19/02/2015 at 18:07 #17850
In fact, if you don’t like the series’ buckets of dice mechanism for combat, you can fairly easily switch in any combat resolution procedure you like. I have even used Ogre/GEVs combat mechanisc with the Commander series’ everything else.
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!19/02/2015 at 18:29 #17851Steve JohnsonParticipant
Glad the AARs appeal to you WP.20/02/2015 at 21:30 #18066
Does BKCII have army lists for Japanese and Australian forces?20/02/2015 at 21:45 #18067Mark RyanParticipant
There is a British & Commonwealth list specifically for the Far East. There is a Japanese list.20/02/2015 at 22:23 #18068
Here´s a Future War Commander AAR I did several years ago…
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!20/02/2015 at 22:46 #18069
There is a British & Commonwealth list specifically for the Far East. There is a Japanese list.
Thanks Mark. The idea of learning a set of rules and being able to change over to the other settings and not have to learn the basics again is very tempting, and knowing I could play Aussies vs Japanese for WW2 is making buying the rules an easy decision.20/02/2015 at 23:04 #18073Ivan SorensenParticipant
We played a few times and had a good time but it never managed to supplant Crossfire for us.
I think the scale was a bit larger than what we were after at the time.21/02/2015 at 00:48 #18080
They do Steve, it was a great evening spent 🙂 Thanks for all the trouble in putting them together.
Also delighted to find another gem with Thaddeus’s Site…I’m in my element 🙂
Makes me realize there’s probably a whole lot of brilliant sites out there that remain undiscovered (at least by me)
Thanks to all for the info
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”21/02/2015 at 10:21 #18096Rules Junkie JimParticipant
Taking a look through Thaddeus’s FWC blog posts I noticed he played on a 3’x2′ coffee table using 3mm gear! I kinda wish I hadn’t noticed, as the one reason I’ve never tried this system is my perception I hadn’t enough space.21/02/2015 at 11:21 #18098
Taking a look through Thaddeus’s FWC blog posts I noticed he played on a 3’x2′ coffee table using 3mm gear! I kinda wish I hadn’t noticed, as the one reason I’ve never tried this system is my perception I hadn’t enough space.
This is one reason I am taking a good hard look at the rules too.21/02/2015 at 12:38 #18101
That’s the beauty of 3mm! O8’s stuff is just gorgeous: much more detailed than 2mm and almost as detailed as 6mm. And a 3×2 playing space will do you fine.
Here’s a link to a new topic I just started, showing some of my CWC and FWC games in 3mm, played on a variety of 3×2 and 2×2 spaces. I’ve started a new topic, because other people might be interested:
We get slapped around, but we have a good time!21/02/2015 at 13:53 #18104James RiveraParticipant
In regards to accumulating Hits on a unit, I had been thinking about adapting a “Shaken” status similar to Black Powder and Hail Caesar, both rule sets which I think descend from similar mechanisms. I’m not completely sure how well this would work, but my initial thoughts would be to allow Hits to accumulate from turn to turn and once a unit reaches its max, it is considered “Shaken” and must make a 2d6 save – # of Hits in excess of its Shaken status. A 7+ result and it continues to function normally, 5 – 6 and the unit must retire away from all enemies a full move, 4 or less and the unit is removed. Clear excess Hits after making the save but the unit remains “Shaken” and that forces a new save each time that the unit takes additional damage.
A system like this could also allow to throw in a few modifiers to the save in some situations, such as a small bonus for Tanks taking hits from units that normally would not be able to do them that much damage, i.e. Tigers who are taking hits from Stuarts.
I guess in BP or HC I enjoy not knowing precisely when a unit will collapse as well as seeing the occasional unit that just refuses to quit and hangs in there turn after turn despite being shaken, often ending up being the MVP for the battle when its all over.26/02/2015 at 09:34 #18502Sane MaxParticipant
It’s one of the two WWII games we play regularly at our club. Many of us had 15mm so that’s what we use. I was a big fan of the first edition, the second one in my view added needless extra stuff to a very pure simple game, which slowed the game down without adding much to it. But I still Like it and play it a lot.
I am happy with abstractions in rules, so I have no issue with ‘hits come off’ or ‘tough luck you don’t get to move’ and it keeps record keeping light. The chances of passing over and over again and achieving miracles are quite small, the odds climb exponentially and unless your foe has left a huge gap in his defences you are gonna get reaction fire. When it DOES Happen it’s usually also good for a laugh.
My only genuine gripe is that Mortars can still knock out tanks. Supress them, yes. Maybe occasionally get lucky as someone left a hatch open. But knock them out? It’s still a long shot but it happens.01/10/2015 at 12:14 #31881Nick the LemmingParticipant
It’s the only game in which I managed an easy win at the very start of turn 2. We played CWC a few times, but some of the scenarios are so one sided that it just wasn’t any fun for any of us. The one I remember most is having BAOR against Russians, I had to race to the end of the table to get off table while the Russians were chasing me. In my first turn I advanced, advanced again, then advanced again because of the C&C system and the BAOR high C&C factors. The Russian player managed one action before the turn passed back to me (and was still out of range after he’d moved since his tanks were slower than mine). The first action of the secodn turn, I ha almost all my force leave the table for the win. If I’d pushe dit, I could possibly have won in the first turn before the Russians even got the chance to take an action.
Not for us.01/10/2015 at 13:48 #31886Mr. AverageParticipant
If I could interject, could we have some spam control on this thread?
And back to Commander System, I can’t say I’ve ever had such a strange outcome, but it can happen I suppose. The best way to combat it is with scenarios that have complex or multiple objectives, and giving both sides a diverse force. Specialized forces, in my experience, don’t work as well because the command system can keep you from getting those “just the right moment” moves other game systems might allow.01/10/2015 at 18:39 #31893Nick the LemmingParticipant
We had diverse forces in the game I mentioned (Mostly T72s, BMP-1s and infantry, with some air defence and artillery vs Chieftains, FVs and Infantry, Mortars, Artillery, and some recon Scorpion and Scimitars (and also some Air support, but I never even attempted to use them since I didn’t need to). Most of the BAOR had faster movement rates, but it was that in conjunction with the higher CV ratings that allowed my far too easy victory given that the scenario objective was just to get off table at the other end. The slower units headed for the table edge behind cover where possible (we had a couple of woods, a couple of hills and a small town, I think), the faster units just headed straight for the table edge. It was part of a campaign we were planning to do too, but it was so disappointing, we didn’t bother playing any more games in the series. We’d played a half dozen or so other games before that point, with similarly one-sided results (tanks in cover firing on tanks in the open firing back are almost always going to win).
Another game was my BAOR against Russians; the Russian player was attacking my defended town, so a lot of my units were in cover. We massacred the Russians (lots of stand and fire orders, again that high CV allowed me to pour fire into any unit that came close), and then a couple of days later we discovered that the opposing player had accidentally costed his units incorrectly, so he’d had almost 3 times the points he should have had on table, and yet I’d still destroyed him without losing much of my own forces. We hadn’t realised at the time, because his units were cheaper so I was expecting him to have more of them, and the scenario gave him something like 1.5 to 2 x the points I had as defender anyway.01/10/2015 at 22:26 #31934kyoteblueParticipant
Nope.02/10/2015 at 07:57 #31939Alvin MolethrottlerParticipant
I’ve only played 1st edition and won’t ever play it again. I can field a Russian infantry division (81 platoons) and each platoon gets a one dice anti-tank rifle shot. Long story short, they stop the Panzerwaffe dead in its tracks every single time. There are also issues with MG fire and also the campaign system doesn’t work. Plus, I’m not a fan of the activation system it’s great if you’re German and sucks if you’re not.
Having said that our group’s problems with the game are probably down to the author trumpeting it as an all singing all dancing system that can be played with any scale of figures and forces. It can’t. If you stick to 10mm figures and use small forces it’s maybe an OK game and you’ll likely be playing it at the scale it was play tested in.02/10/2015 at 08:43 #31944Norm SParticipant
I got the impression that Pendraken will do some tweaking rather than running a straight re-print, so perhaps some ‘quirks’ may go (to be replaced by new quirks perhaps!).
I think the modern set is an important book for Pendraken because they are spending quite a bit of time on bringing out new vehicles to meet players order of battle needs.02/10/2015 at 09:00 #31947SparkerParticipant
Well instead of bitchin’, here’s your chance to pitch in!
With all the expertise demonstrated here, and Leon’s appeal for ideas and feedback, the revamped rules should be the best wargames ruleset evah:
'Blessed are the peacekeepers, for they shall need to be well 'ard'
Matthew 5:902/10/2015 at 09:22 #31955MikeKeymaster
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