The scenario pitted 2 small rifle companies against one another in an attempt to capture a road junction and a hill. I was initially afraid that 5Core Company Commander (henceforth in this post referred to as 5CCC) would be too blah or generic for my tastes but I was very pleasantly surprised.
As Nordic Weasel makes no secret of, the great strength of this game is in the many features of the game that are on auto-pilot, while you, the Company Commander, maneuver squads around to capture objectives or fight off enemy thrusts. In short - you make decisions.
|One Soviet group moving towards Hill 235|
Shooting is handled in a very novel way, which frankly took some getting used to for me but after a game you've pretty much got it down pat.
|Other Soviet grouping moving towards their objective|
|German HMG team gets into position on another hilltop overlooking their objective|
|And are joined by more kamaraden.|
|German platoon on overwatch|
|More Germans reach a small enclosed garden while their sister platoons to the left move across the road into an orchard.|
|Germans move their way through the woods to get to the hill|
|Skull added for dramatic effect...|
|Germans cautiously advance on the left into the orchard to flank the hilltop.|
I do like that some of the things happen without my needing to decide on and that is built into the genius of the system itself, which controls the tempo of the game for you in an elegant way. It's a radical departure from games like Squad Leader or Flames of War where you are moving everything along and doing all the work.
In 5CCC, some of your men are being held up, holding their positions, ostensibly sorting things out while platoons to the right or left are moving out toward the objective. Who knows what happened there. Wrong azimuth? Lieutenant got lost. Radio died and they're trying tuo get it to work, etc. The point is you focus your attention where it's most needed.
|Germans making a move against Hill 235|
|Soviet squad assaults a German squad on the road. They are promptly wiped out and the Germans maneuver themselves to receive more incoming Ivans.|
|Ivan then launches an all-out assault at the other Germans on his right. He wins the combat with a single squad remaining and both sides are in pretty desperate straights after that.|
|Casualty Collection Point!|
|Final situation. The Soviets making a push int he upper left of the picture, with 3 squads aligned against the German held hill, and Hill 235 in the center unoccupied by any Germans. Casualties aside, you could chalk this up to a Soviet victory.|
I'm keen to play this again. I feel like I don't quite have the hang of some of the special rules but the shooting and moving is starting to sink in now. The right roll at the wrong time can REALLY ruin your day as evidenced by the German HMG that was wiped out before Fritz's other platoons were even set up to attack.
I would also like to mix vehicles into the game, but I'm apprehensive given my thoughts about the game and the armor combat rules. Plus I like hordes of tanks, which Company Commander (rightfully so) relegates to supports in this game.
The rules for "scurry" are pretty cool and the Germans ended up rolling scurry after scurry after scurry which resulted in them getting into position quickly. The Soviets, on the other hand, kept rolling "6" whenever they needed to when shooting so you could relegate that to accurate fire keeping the Germans pinned down and away from the hill. This is where those extra support weapons would really have come in handy.
There is also a nice level of uncertainty when you've a unit that is pinned down or forced back due to fire. Roll badly when you activate them next time, and you could lose them. That said, you can move a squad up to help them get back on their feet. Again, 5CCC forces you to make decisions about the battle, not be the driver, gunner, tank commander, platoon leader, and company commander all at the same time. You pay people to do that stuff for you!
I actually own many of the Nordic Weasel game titles (5Core Skirmish, Company Command, and Brigade Commander to name a few, as well as Laserstorm, From Shako to Coalscuttle, Trench Storm, Clash on the Fringe, and of course No End in Sight, which I REALLY want to play soon.)