I umpired a match of Battlegroup today for some newcomers to the hobby. I don’t have a lot of experience with Battlegroup, but I’ve enjoyed the system when I’ve played. I appreciate that it delivers a historically plausible game and (usually) a conclusive win-lose decision. However, I have had problems with its handling of command and control, which I think is abstracted to the point of being detrimental. Two solutions came to mind today–I hope readers may weigh in with opinions on whether to implement these rules.
First I should identify the problems I see. One is that there is no mechanism that encourages unit cohesion. Teams can freely intermix and operate on opposite ends of the board without penalty. Platoon leaders do not need to be anywhere near their platoons. A second is that leaders contribute very little except an extra order and the ability to spot, so they are best left well back in safe positions. I can understand this for the battlegroup commander, but platoon leaders at least should be up at the front with their troops.
I come from a Lardy background where games are built around leaders, so the command aspect of Battlegroup really bothers me. So, here are two house rules I propose to improve Battlegroup’s command mechanics:
- A squad may operate together (both teams) under a single order if they are in cohesion (1″), so long as both teams take the same actions and share the effects of incoming fire. (Mostly I put this in because I’m interested in Battlegroup as a company-level game, and I don’t think one should have to worry about elements more than two levels down…so the squad should be the basic element)
- Platoon-level officers only grant an extra order if they are within short range (10″) of another unit in their platoon. Only units within an officer’s platoon that can trace an unbroken chain (10″ links) between other platoon units to the officer may use the extra order the officer generates.
- Platoon leaders may use the “tactical coordination” order on any unit under their command within short range (10″) of the officer.
So Battlegroup-playing readers, what do you think?