TITLE: Command Decision: Test of Battle
AUTHOR: Frank Chadwick & Glenn Kidd
PUBLISHER: Test of Battle Games
PUBLICATION DATE: 2006
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
The TOB web site is a bit of a mess (in 2022) and looks to be somewhat abandoned? But there is still a good support forum located here.
PRICE (with date): $35.00 (in 2022)
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: World War II
Command Decision - Test of Battle is a paperback book, 218 pages in length. The cover is color and the interior pages (with 1 or 2 exceptions) are black & white. The rules themselves occupy the first 107 pages (including the advanced rules). The remainder of the book is taken up by 10 historical scenarios, army lists and the data charts.
CD is a tactical game at roughly regimental level. Players will command battalions. A single experienced player could possibly handle multiple battalions.
Armies in CD will require a fairly limited number of figures. An infantry battalion of three companies might require 30-50 figures. Vehicle battalions will require only a handful of vehicles each.
The base unit is the company. Companies are made up of multiple stands, each of which represents a platoon.
- Ground Scale: 1” = 50 yards.
- Time scale 1 turn = 30 minutes
- Figure/Base Ratio 1 infantry base = 1 platoon, 1 vehicle = 3-5 actual vehicles.
- Recommended Figure Size: 15mm but conversion for 20mm and other scales is covered.
- Table Size: None stated, however many of the included scenarios are designed for small tables just 36x36”
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening.
There are three size of stands for foot troops in the game: half size, standard and double. Standard bases should be 20x20mm with 2 or 3 figures. Double size are 30x20 and half size should be 20x20 but with fewer figures on them. Guns should be based separately from their crews, vehicles do not need to be based.
- The Artillery Phase: Both sides request artillery and place templates for indirect fire. Templates and smoke from last turn are removed. Indirect fire is then resolved for both sides.
- Movement Phase: Players roll for initiative. They then declare all Prep Fire, and resolve all shots. The initiative winner moves first.
- Opportunity Fire: Stationary units may fire at enemy units, and all such fire is declared and then resolved. Units get a bonus point of rate of fire during opportunity fire.
- General Fire Phase: Units that have not yet fired may now do so.
- Command and Morale Phase: Each side places orders for each command or staff stand. All morale checks are now taken and results applied (thus a unit may be given an order but be able to follow it if it fails morale). Vacated enemy positions are now occupied.
All dice rolls are on a D10.
The Orders System:
Where prior editions In CD:TOB various stands are able to issue orders. A chit for the order is placed next to the stand issuing it - all subordinate stands within 6” may follow that order. Stands may be given no orders, or put on overwatch as well. There are 6 order types (and they used to make cubes marked for them). The six possible orders are:
- Cautious Advance: Troops may advance using their normal movement allowance.
- Hasty Advance: Units may move at double their normal movement allowance (but get no benefit of cover if shot at).
- Disengage: Units may move away from the enemy at double speed. If moving away, they may not be fired at with opportunity fire.
- Hold: A default order that requires units to remain stationary.
- Take Command: Allows a commander to subordinate a unit outside it’s normal chain of command.
- Rally: Used to recover from bad morale (shaken/demoraqlized). Such units may not move or fire.
The advance orders use an arrow chit. The arrow must point in the direction of movement.
Movement for the most part is fairly standard. Bases move 1” for each point of movement allowance. Terrain costs more per inch to move through, depending on troop type. Infantry, for example, move through woods at normal speed, tracked vehicles pay double for every inch moved.
One major exception to this is moving into an artillery fire template. It costs a unit’s base movement to enter a template. Thus only a unit on a Hasty advance order can do so (it pays the base as a penalty, and then measures movement as normal).
In order for a unit to be targeted, it must be spotted. Spotting is automatic (no die roll needed) and based purely on distance. Unit type, cover, whether it moved and/or fired all determine the range at which stands are spotted by enemy stands. If a stand is spotted by one enemy stand it is spotted for all enemy stands.
In order to conduct indirect fire, a player picks the firing unit and then places a template at the desired target. The player then rolls for availability. A battery dedicated to support arrives on a roll of 8 or less. Other batteries may need a 5 or less, some need a 3 or less. If the roll is successful, the fire arrives. Any stands under the template are attacked.
Indirect fire is resolved in the same basic way as direct fire: a stand must be hit by rolling equal to or lower than a hit number. If the stand is hit, a second die roll determines the effect. The effect is dictated by the target quality. Results are either No effect, Pushed Back, or Eliminated. After resolving the fire, the template remains in place until the next turn’s artillery phase. Most templates are about 2” square.
Note, there is Harrassing & Interdiction fire which may be fired at an area even with no spotted enemy stands. Such fire, however, automatically suppresses any enemy stands under the template but has no other effect. H&I fire is available on a 1-3.
Infantry Direct Fire:
Direct fire may only be directed at spotted enemy stands. Each stand or weapon in the game has a data chart. This chart gives the weapon’s rate of fire and base chance to hit at a given range. For example, a Soviet MMG has a rate of fire of 2, and at 12” hits on a 5 or less.
Small arms fire is area fire: it fires into an area 4” in diameter, and hits are assigned to any stand within this area.
For each point of Rate of Fire, a to-hit die is rolled. The “to hit” die roll can be modified for terrain and shooter status. Suppressed units, for example, fire at -2. Medium cover also confers a -2 benefit.
If a hit is scored, the three results possible are No Effect, Pushed Back or Eliminated. Each stand hit is rolled for. The target’s troop quality dictates the results and there are no modifiers to the die. For example, green troops are eliminated on a roll of 6+, Veterans on a roll of 8+.
Vehicular Direct Fire:
Firing at vehicles is somewhat different. Vehicles are targeted specifically. The weapon’s type again has a to hit number at a given range. If a hit is scored, the target’s armor and the fier’s penetration value come in to play. A die is rolled. To this is added the Penetration Value, and the target’s armor value is subtracted. The result dictates the effect just as for small arms fire. Cross reference the target’s quality to determine if there was no effect, the target was pushed back, or eliminated (the chart is the same for both small arms and vehicular fire).
Close Assault / Melee:
Close Assault is resolved between stands in base to base contact. It uses the same basic mechanic as direct fire, with a few minor limitations. If infantry assault vehicles, they do so against the vehicles side/rear amor.
Each unit has a base morale, determined by it’s quality rating. Morale is checked by company. For each company, roll a die, looking to roll equal to or less than the unit’s morale. The die may be modified for stands lost, proximity to the enemy, being pinned or shaken, etc. If the die roll exceeds the morale, the difference determines whether the company is pinned or even surrenders!
The book includes ten scenarios. Five based around Kursk, and five in Normandy. Information for OOBs and weapons data is given for these scenarios.
Additional scenario and army books are sold separately.
The book is very well done. The writing is clear, and there are numerous examples provided. They call out various design choices in text boxes, as well as hints and reminders about how the rules interact.
I recently played the game for the first time. For an experienced gamer it will be very quick to pick up. There are some nuances of course, for example, a US player has an advantage in placing order markers that needs to be thought through.
Coming from a primarily Flames of War / Fistful of TOWs background, the mechanics were smooth, sensible and easy to grasp. My biggest challenge playing as American attacking in France was keeping my infantry stands saced well enough to avoid artillery.