Thursday, January 05, 2023

Battle Command - Seven Years War solo try

Decided to try new Battle Command (Bat Cmd from hereon) rules today as a solo venture using my 15mm Prussians and Russians.

Used Seasons of Battle cards to select a table top and just set up 2 forces with no real thought to balance. 

An interesting experience with new rules and to compare with my trusty FOB3, and the bulk of it was very familiar with movement, firing, close combat and rallying all essentially unchanged with only couple of minor additions/changes. Army Morale Points and Unit Integrity et al remain integral to system. 

BUT the new card and initiative system is radically different despite the cards having same nominal functions, but with only 8 basic cards (I did not use optional Event card which can cover a myriad of occurrences) in a deck instead of the 27+ in FOB3. 

Lull and Major Morale cards do not use the Matrix nor does the good old Tactical Advantage but again only 1 each of these per deck.

So despite basic similarities to FOB3 card play is a different animal.

Rolling for initiative is a fairly constant occurrence as only 1 or 2 initiative per player so it comes around very quickly. No more turning possibly multiple cards (up to 11) each initiative and this felt rather restrictive initially until I understood the Action Matrix.  

Decks being so much smaller they are exhausted and re-shuffled much more frequently (often in FOB3 a game ended with at maybe only one re-shuffle in my experience)

One then rolls the respective CinC dice vs a D6 on the Action Cards to establish what options you have with the Army as a whole or with individual Command Groups, this is cleverly achieved via the Action Matrix and the trusty Odds or Evens rolls.

So one might turn the single Move card but unlike in FOB where this allowed each Brigade to attempt to Move 1-3 segments, now your 'Action' roll might allow that same Movement option or 1-3 secondary action options for only 1 Brigade or indeed with a Even winning roll you can give each Brigade a different action from those allowed. Depending on Action card turned these secondary options differ.

As an example in FOB3 each side would generally have 3 Move cards and 1 Move One Command card in their deck here there is but 1 Move card but depending on dice rolls you might get a Move as a secondary option on an Infantry Firepower, Melee or Leadership card which might be applied to only 1 (or more) Brigade or the whole Army.

Lots of decisions to make on each card and often not easy if options limited by Action odd roll, but with generally few 'dud' cards (I encountered such only once by only having Infantry Fire or Leadership as options when neither applicable at that present time)  

I found it pretty easy to pick up, although I would say its not just as solo friendly as FOB and indeed felt like it would be less slick for multi-player due to choices required on Action Matrix as opposed to more fixed FOB system 'here is your card here is what you can do on it' (but that might be down to my familiarity with old favourite ?) 

Couple of thoughts I had were that seemingly not just so easy to tweak things for scenarios,  for instance in FOB I often give SYW Prussians an extra Move card to simulate better drill or Austrians an extra Artillery card to simulate their superior Artillery, not sure if able to effect this sort of nuance in Bat Cmd ? 

All in all a fun and interesting test, would I replace FOB with Bat Cmd ? hmmm, not replace but I would certainly consider as an excellent alternative. 

I think FOB suits better for multi-player/solo but Bat Cmd will shine in 2 player match ups. 

Of course having only tried once and solo its tad difficult to know.

A plethora of pics (it still looked and felt like a Piquet/FOB game)



  1. Great looking game, Gary! Getting a few high "won Even" rolls in the mid game or endgame can be pretty decisive!

    1. Sort of akin to getting big run of cards in FOB but with different variables with Action Matrix. Only having 1-2 cards to turn took a bit of getting used to.

  2. With similarities being greater than the differences, does this dilute or add something for the fan base? My first thought is that it is a distraction from FoW. I’m not sure which one I would choose and probably would not want to buy both.

    1. Simply another option is how I would describe it. Not a replacement for FOB (remember its on its third iteration) for me simply an alternative Initiative/Command system built around same core am undecided which system I prefer. Further play may change my view one way or other. Suppose its similar to Rapid Fire (or even SL vs ASL) as in which of 3 versions is best ? depends on individual choice.