Saturday, January 9, 2016

Five Core Company Commander

I picked up Five Core Company Commander and its supplement Company Commander in Spaaace during the "winter offensive" sale at WargameVault. As explained in the product description, this is Five Core adapted to a larger scale: each unit is a squad, and each player is expected to field 2-4 platoons of 2-4 squads each.
We must destroy that machine gun!
Instead of attributes, squads have a type (e.g. rifle squad, assault squad, heavy weapon team etc.) and may have up to two specialist attachments -- single figures that abilities to the squad, like an extra machine gun or a medic.

The main rules are the same from Five Core but there are changes to reflect the fact that now each unit is a number of soldiers instead of a single person. There are also rules for vehicles but as the author states, this is a game focused on infantry. Therefore, tanks, helicopters and transports are there to provide some support to the soldiers. As a result, vehicles are not highly detailed, with different transportation modes and weapon types. Instead, they fall into broad categories relative to each other an to infantry.

The "...Spaaace" supplement includes rules for many things found in sci-fi games like: bugs, grav tanks, power armor, walkers, giant mecha and monsters, orbital bombardment, and psionics. There is also a more general discussion on how to model aliens in the system by giving them modifiers to different actions, but there are no example templates.

Assaulting the outpost
I played a few test battles on a small board (around 2'x2'). As in Five Core, providing cover and avoiding long corridors is necessary to make an interesting battle. In the first one, the blue army was defending an outpost, while the yellow army must destroy it. Blue had two rifle squads (one of them with a medic), and a machine gun team. Yellow had four rifle squads, two of them with demolitions experts, one with additional light machine guns and one with a scout.
Mission setup: Blue guarding the outpost, Yellow with two groups trying to explode it.
The Yellow forces advanced in two groups. The scouts crossed a hill to probe Blue's left flank but were surprised by the enemy hiding in the ruins; they scattered after suffering heavy losses. Blue's heavy machine gun team then fired at Yellow's approaching squad, also taking them out of action. The hail of fire was so intense that even the nearby demolitions squad was pinned down.
Yes, that is an "out of action" result from snap fire!

Having lost two squads, Yellow had to change plans. Back on Blue's left flank, the other demolitions squad advanced and fired at the enemy entrenched in the ruins, wounding many soldiers. The other squad recovered and advanced between two hills, thus protected from enemy fire.
Let's try and outflank them! Yeah, you go first.
The field medic in Blue's squad entrenched in the ruins was able to put some soldiers back in action and they fired at the demolitions squad, causing them to scatter. Their machine gun team moved a position where they could fire at the approaching enemy. With only one squad left, Yellow's platoon leader ordered them to leave the battlefield.

Escaping the swarm
Using the same table setup and Blue forces, I now placed a swarm of bugs as their enemy. The bugs only want to destroy all humans. The humans must hold until all civilians have left [I would make a task roll at the end of each turn. When 5 successes were accumulated, the humans would win.]
Humans were easy. Can they hold against the swarm?
The swarm advanced towards the humans but the entrenched squads managed to suppress and even kill the aliens. At one point, squad B (the one farthest from the platoon leader) was assaulted and still managed to destroy the creatures.
Again, the squad in the ruins got the highest kill count, including more kills on snap fire.
By the time most of the civilians were rescued [4 accumulated successes] the swarm managed to reach and destroy the machine gun team and one squad. However, squad B managed to take down another group of aliens, buying time for the last civilian ship to leave.

Five Core Company Commander works very well, within its bounds. It is a game of infantry combat with simple rules for vehicles, and it supports up to a company (around 12 stands) per side due to its activation system. Still, there are a lot of battles to be played within these parameters, and they are fast and fun to play. The squad types and attached specialists allow the construction of various types of forces.

When I first read the rules, I was a bit concerned that squads hit by fire do not degrade (e.g. a squad can receive Man Down status, then recover without any loss of strength, and this may happen more than once.) When playing, however, I did not find issues with this. I think part of the reason is that activations are limited, so at times a squad in Man Down status will remain that way for a while.


MajorTheRed said...

Some of the great aspect of 5core CC is the simplicity to set up games and campaign. ALso, it's nearly a game you can bring with you anywhere, even if you can make it really standing out like BlackHawkHet did with its many campaigns.

Ricardo Nakamura said...

Agreed! It is cool to see how the Five Core system works well for larger scale battles.