Sunday, 16 December 2018

Review of Command and Control

Battle with four corps per side

Purpose of Command and Control Rules
My problem with the role of the Army Commander has caused me to reconsider what I want to achieve with Command and Control rules.   I have used them since I wrote my “house rules” about ten years ago.   They were derived from LFS, and have changed little.

This week I have tried to “tinker” with those rules, but found that I created more problems than I solved.  So I have decided to reconsider the whole concept of Command and Control.

In my games I have two levels of commander.   There is one army commander and up to four corps commanders.   The main purpose of my Command and Control rules is to prevent the corps commander reacting too quickly to something which is happening outside his zone of control.

At the start of a move a poker chip is placed in a box for each army and corps commander.   They are drawn one at a time and this determines the sequence of activation of all commanders.

At present we use Command Points (CP) to restrict the number of orders any commander can issue each turn.   I like this system because it is easy to understand and keep track of. 

Role of Army Commander
He commands between one and four corps commanders

I want him to restrict the range of options open to the corps commanders.

His orders confirm the objective and area of operations of each corps commander

They also confirm whether the corps should hold, move, engage, attack or retreat
Only he can change this stance.

Role of Corps Commander
He commands four infantry brigades, one cavalry brigade and corps artillery brigade

Infantry brigades use column, line and square formations.  They also skirmish, volley fire and have hand to hand combat.

I want to restrict the zone of command to ensure that all brigades remain within 8” of the corps commander.

I want to make command more difficult as brigades suffer casualties and loss of morale.

Current Problem
The role of the Army Commander is in keeping with the historical role.   However it does not transfer well to the wargames table.

The Army Commander performs well when there are only one or two corps on the table.   By keeping the two corps relatively close he can move to either within one move and change their orders.

But as the numbers of corps increase to three or four this becomes much more difficult.   It can take two or even three moves for him to reach a corps commander.  In a game which lasts a maximum of twelve moves this is too long, particularly for an attacking army.
I need to redefine the role of both types of commander to ensure that there is the required delay in reacting to change of circumstances, but not so much that it slows down the game too much.

I want to keep the general outline of the command and control as at present.  But I have to find a way to allow the corps commander to react within one, or at most two, moves.  

I also want to find a more useful role for the Army Commander.   At present he spends the whole game riding around the battlefield playing “catch up”


  1. C&C is always an issue.

    Perhaps instead of always moving the commander, rate each general as, let' say 2 for average, 3 for more for superior, 1 for poor. 1 pt allows a general to move OR to issue an order to a corps commander who is close, 2 points would allow an order to go to a corps commander who is far away.

    Thus a superior commander could issue an order to a nearby corps commander and another to one far away etc while a poor one will be very constrained.

  2. Hi Ross

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    I already have a points system for commanders which makes it easier for a Gifted commander to issue orders and more difficult for a Poor commander to act on them.

    But the real problem is one of distance on the table. It is 6 foot wide and the general can only move 16" each move. I could allow longer move distance for the general, but that is very difficult to justify.

    Or I could change the orders a corps commander can issue, so that he does not have to wait for his orders to arrive. But that defeats the purpose of command and control rules, which is to stop the corps commaner doing whatever he wants whenever he wants.

    I think the answer will be to adjust the balance between the Army and the Corps commander. But there has to be some sort of penalty for the corps commander.



  3. Paul,

    Sorry for contacting you this way, but I don't have your email address on my PC.

    With luck I should be publishing THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME in the very near future, and I’d love to send you a copy. Please could you send me your postal address so that I can post one to you as soon as it comes out.

    All the best,

    Bob Cordery

  4. Hi Bob

    That is very kind of you, I would love to have a copy

    But I don't have your email address

    Could you send it to me at

    Look forward to hearing from you



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