Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2

CoverPicAnother test of the rules in the Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2. The first playtest report is here.

Again I’ll cover things in as much details as possible to show the interaction between rulesets. I’ll try not to let it get too boring or overwhelming.

The rules we used here were completely from the CoC40k document, v0.5. This sees a few key changes. A refinement of the deployment options, more concrete deepstrike rules, the introduction of Shock, and the use or leader/ HQ/ unit abilities. A few more questions popped up, so we have some more questions to think about. On another good note, we have the basis of the flyer rules and are planning another playtest this week to look at how a heavy drop pod/ deep strike army with flyers works under CoC40k rules.

As a reminder:

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2

This playtest saw the valiant Ultramarines of the 5th Company do what they do best, raid a Tau prison facility in the hope of breaking out the human prisoners.

Armies were selected at 800 points, with an 5 being rolled on the additional support points. That meant the following points total:

Ultramarines: 1300 points attacking

Tau: 1000 points defending

The mission played was Attack and Defend from the Chain of Command rulebook.


ULTRAMARINES – 1300 points – Space Marines Codex

  • HQ – “Captain Iratissimus” – Space Marine Captain: Bolter, Power Sword, Artificer Armour, Frag & Krak Grenades, Iron Halo, Warlord
  • HQ – “Librarian Magicae Digiti” – Space Marine Librarian: Bolter, Force Sword, Power Armour, Frag & Krak Grenades, Psychic Hood, Level 2 Psyker – Telekinesis.
  • TROOPS – Tactical Squad (x10) – Veteran Sergeant and 9 Marines: Power Armour, Bolters, Lascannon, Plasma Gun. Vet Seg with Power Sword and Storm Bolter
  • TROOPS – Tactical Squad (x10) – Veteran Sergeant and 9 Marines: Power Armour, Bolters, Heavy Bolter, Meltagun. Vet Seg with Power Fist and Bolt Pistol.
    • DEDICATED TRANSPORT – Rhino: Extra Armour
  • TROOPS – Scout Squad (x5) – Sergeant and 4 Marine Scouts: Scout Armour, Sniper Rifles (x3), Heavy Bolter. Vet Serg with Bolt Pistol and Close Combat Weapon (CCW)
  • ELITES – Terminator Tactical Squad (x5) – Veteran Sergeant with 4 Terminators: Power Fists (x4), Power Sword, Storm Bolters, Assault Cannon (x1)
  • ELITES – Dreadnought – Twin Linked Lascannon and Missile Launcher, Extra Armour
  • HEAVY SUPPORT – Predator – Twin Linked Lascannon Turret. Lascannon Sponsons, Extra Armour
  • HEAVY SUPPORT – Whirlwind – Vengeance Launcher, Extra Armour

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Space_Marine_List

TAU CADRE– 1000 points

  • HQ – Ethereal – Honour Blade
  • HQ – Fireblade – Pulse Rifle
  • TROOPS – Strike Team (x12) – Shas’ui and 11 Firewarriors; Pulse Rifles
  • TROOPS – Strike Team (x12) – Shas’ui and 11 Firewarriors; Pulse Rifles
  • ELITES – Crisis Team (x3) –  Shas’vre and 2 Crisis suits; Plasma Rifle/Missile Pod/Target Lock
  • ELITES – Stealth Squad (x6) – Shas’vre and 5 Stealth suits; Burst Cannon
  • FAST ATTACK – Pathfinders (x4) – Shas’ui and 3 Pathfinders; Rail Rifles (x3), Pulse Rifle

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Tau_Cadre_List



Terrain was setup in such way that represented the mission and narrative at hand. I could only carry so much scenery so the table is sparser than usual (but many thanks to Troy for loaning me a terrain box) so we turned the location of the prison to an oasis area in a desert. Mainly sandy with some green areas.

Players were given sides that fit the scenario. Patrol Markers were started as per the Attack and Defend scenario.

The attacker was predetermined (Ultramarines) and had first move of the Patrol Phase with 4 Patrol Markers. Taus as the defender has 3 Patrol Markers in position.

Deployment of Patrol Markers and Jump Off Points (JOP) ended as per the picture below (Tau are black circular markers on the left, Ultramarines the Imperial Eagle markers at the right):

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_1_Combined_Forces

The Scout Squad opted to use it’s Infiltrate ability allowing it to deploy 12″ from an Imperial Patrol Marker BEFORE any JOP’s were placed. You can see the location marked above. After any Infiltrators opted to deploy then JOP’s were placed according to the CoC mission and rules.

Both players rolled for Force Morale

  • Ultramarines rolled 1 for a Force Moral of 8. Obviously it had been a tough slog to get to the prison area!
  • Tau rolled 5 for a Force Morale of 10

Ultramarines, as the attackers, would have the first Phase of the game.

No free adjutants were given this game. Players would have to decide the best use of their HQ units. Future games will see the ability to buy an Adjutant for 50 points,  and are available for any army (replace adjutant with any suitable name, Logistics Servitor, Mobile Command Relay etc).


Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2a

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2-2

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2a-3

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2-4

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2a-5


Ultramarines Phase 1, 2 and 3!


Wow! What a start. Ultramarines would get the next phase, only the senior leaders could deploy AND the turn ended.

Looking at the board I decided that either senior leader would not have range to command the scout team, so I opted to deploy nothing else and ended the phase and Turn 1!


Nice, Ultramarines would get the next phase again and hoped to get their assault underway AND 2 Chain of Command points.

The 2 would allow me to activate the scouts or deploy a unit to support. Wary of moving the scouts without enough support, I deployed the Tactical squad in the Rhino in position to advance and help the scouts should they need it.


Here my run would end, but I accrued another CoC point.

The dice allowed me to place a Tactical Squad (with the Lascannon) into the cover of the woods. With them would deploy Captain Iratissimus to lend encouragement and lead the attack. The Tac Squad Veteran Serg ordered the 2 teams on overwatch.

Tau Phase 1


THREE CoC points but the next phase was handed back to the Ultramarines.

Luke opted to deploy his Stealth suits on the right flank and take care of the thorn that was the Marine Scout squads. 20 shots and one Fusion Gun later, the scout squad was obliterated. They paid the price for being so passive and not chasing the Tau JoP from the beginning.

With the scouts destroyed I rolled on the Bad Things Happen and ended with a result of 2! That shifted my Force Moral to 6. Not a good beginning at all.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_2_Combined_Forces

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2-6

Ultramarines Phase 4


Next Phase was Tau.

Trying to mazimise my efficiency, and claw back from the destruction of the scout squad I split off Captain Iratissimus with an assault team of 4 (with a plasmagun) from the Tactical Team in the woods (activating on a 4). Commanding them forward they set off at a normal move (2d6″) as the woods were difficult terrain stopping them from moving At the Double. The remaining team and the squad Sergeant remained on overwatch with the lascannon.

Using the 3 I activated the Tactical Squad in the Rhino and sped them forward At the Double.

Tau Phase 2


Next phase was Ultramarine

Not seeing any real threats or targets of opportunity the Tau kept out of sight, with the stealth team moving behind cover of the closest building, covering their JoP.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_3_Combined_Forces

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2-7

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - Playtest2-8



Ultramarines Phase 4


Next Phase was Tau and another Chain of Command point was accrued.


Trying to provide some support for the forward units, and threaten multiple Tau JoP’s, the Rhino was moved again At the Double (activating on a 3).

The Dreadnought was also deployed (activating on a 3), in a position looking to cover as much of the table as possible. It then proceeded to fire at the Pathfinders, destroying one of them with it’s lascannon

Tau Phase 3


Double 6! Tau would retain the initiative next phase, leaving Luke with a bit of a buffer in which to execute his strategies.

Feeling the treat of the Ultramarine assault team, Luke deployed a Strike team on the building on their left flank. Behind them and higher up the Pathfinders perched with their rail rifles. Both teams fired on the Marine assault team, and under heavy fire, 3 of them succumbed. The Captain received one of the hits from the rail rifles and lost a wound! The Captain and the Plasmagunner stood firm however and did not break.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_4_Combined_Forces







Tau Phase 4 and 5


Massive momentum lifted the Tau as another double 6 gave them the next Phase as well!

Trying to make the most of this, Luke fired the Strike team at the remaining Marines and finished of the last member of the assault team leaving the Captain standing alone. He was also wounded in the volley. Under heavy fire though he did not break. Losing the team however meant a roll on Bad Things Happen, thankfully a low roll so no further loss of the Marine Force Morale.

The Pathfinders turned their sights to the Rhino attempting to sneak around the woods. Their shots landed but could not penetrate the armour of the vehicle.

The Stealth team, concerned about lurking orbital insertion teams, retreated to cover the prison JoP.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_5_Combined_Forces



Two more CoC points, but the Ultramarines took the initiative back next Phase.

Seeing the damage caused to the small assault team and realising the Captain was hurting badly, Luke opened fire again on the lone heroic figure. Pure weight of numbers saw Captain Iratissimus fall. and with it the advance of the Ultramarines stalled as 2 Force Morale was lost reducing the overall total to 4!

The pathfinders again tried to bust open the Rhino but did nothing but pepper the armour with rounds.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_6_Combined_Forces




Ultramarines Phase 4


I had a problem now, down to 4 command dice. Things were going to be tough.

Trying to put the Tau on the back foot, Librarian Magicae Digiti deployed to bolster the remaining team of the Tactical squad. Upon arrival he hastily ordered the squad forward into a better firing position and used a Command Initiative to attempt to cast Stealth on the team, using one of his Psychic Powers. The power was successfully cast and the Tac team was stealthily positioned in the woods looking up at the Tau Strike team. The remainder of the Tac squad opened fire on the Tau Trike team but their position was too good, with most of the shots bouncing off the cover of the walls.

Using the 3, I decided it was time to deploy the Whirlwind. Some indirect fire on the defensive Tau positions should soften them up. Unfortunately the initial shot fell wide and cause no damage.

The squad in the Rhino was activated on a 2 (joined the double 1’s together) and it swept forward to claim the Tau JoP. This meant no further deployment from this position and a chance to capture it if the turn ended. This effectively gave me near full control over this section of the table.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_7_Combined_Forces




Tau Phase 6


An interesting sequence of rolls! A lot of tactical flexibility but there would be a need to add a few of those ones together to activate any squads or leaders.

Luke opted for an interesting set of activations. A 1 was used to activate a team from the Strike squad and they fired on the Librarian and remnants of the  Tactical squad. They scored a number of hits and one marine went down. Amazingly they failed their leadership test and broke, running 2d6+6″ away from the unit. They remained on the board, but only just. Bad Things Happen saw another 1 point removed from the Marine Force Morale chart. This left the Ultramarines with a Force Morale of 3! Being Marines the rule ‘And They Shall No Know Fear’ kicked in and auto-rallied the squad after their retreat move. This means the squad does not stay Broken and is free to activate again next turn.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_7_Placeholder



The second Strike squad deployed from the prison JoP on to the roof (using a 2 to activate), allowing them to cover a lot of the battlefield and any advance up the centre. This allowed the Stealth squad moved into a more aggressive position (activating on a 2) to stop the Rhino’s advance and maybe take back the lost JoP.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_8_Combined_Forces



Ultramarines Phase 4


I was in real trouble now with only 3 command dice so I decided to try one last gamble.

Activating the Tactical Squad in the Rhino on a 3, the Sergeant ordered it to advance at Normal speed (staying within 4″ of the Tau JoP so they could not deploy from it). As the Rhino rumbled to a stop, the Segeant ordered the charge and the marines disembarked and moved at disembark pace entering melee engagement range of the Stealth suit. Navigating the ineffective ’40k Overwatch’ fire, the combat was extremely one sided with five of the suits being destroyed and no marines taking any casualties. As this resulted in a Win for the Marines, with a casualty rate of greater than 4 to 1, the Stealth suits fell back 18″ Broken and doubling their shock points. A Bad Things Happen roll saw the Tau take their first loss of Force Moral as they recieved the impact of a marine charge, losing 2 points. This took their Force Morale to 8.

Finishing off the Phase, the Whirlwind fired again at the first Strike squad killing one Tau Firewarrior. The dreadnought used it’s action to take a shot at the Pathfinders but inflicting no damage, the Tau were too well dug in.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_8_Placeholder



Tau Phase 6


A final CoC point to give a full Chain of Command dice. Luke tucked this away for possible use later.

After taking their first real beating of the game, Luke decided it was time to finish things. Using the 4, the Tau Fireblade was deployed with the Strike team on the prison, intending to guide their fire. Giving the orders, and using 2 Command Initiative to activate the Fireblade rule allowing the Strike squad to fire an additional time this Phase, the Strike squad opened up with 36 shots! This decimated the Tactical Squad leaving only the Segeant. Amazingly he made his morale check and stayed put, analysing the situation and radioing in for reinforcements on his position he wasn;t about to hand back over the Tau JoP. Even better was a good roll on Bad Things Happen seeing no loss of Force Morale for the Marines.

Seeing the destruction, Luke also called down his Crisis suits who arrived via Deep Strike. The jetted in scattering only a small distance away, landing near the Stealth suit. The Shas’vre ordering the team into Overwatch.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_9_Combined_Forces



Ulramarine Phase 5


A decent roll all things considered, and more importantly exactly what I needed. Combining dice I used a 3 to activate and deploy the Tactical Terminators. They also arrived via teleport (Deep Strike) landing and scattering a little back from the lone Sergeant. Picking their targets, the Terminators aimed at the Crisis suits. Seeing this on Overwatch, the Crisis suits opened up on the Terminators, their powerful weapons disabling one of the suits but leaving them exposed to the return fire of the Terminators. That fire saw 1 Crisis suit destroyed, the proceeding leadership test was successful.

The lone Sergeant saw this as a perfect time to step behind cover, preparing to capture the Tau JoP.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_9_Placeholder




Tau Phase 7


Time to finish it! A very good command roll saw the Ethereal deployed with the first Strike squad overlooking the woods.

The remaining Crisis suits bounced out of the open ground behind cover of the prison. The Tau Fireblad again ordered the Strike squad to unleash on the Terminators. Another 36 shots saw the Terminator squad disappear. Smoking husks of armour were all that was left. The Bad Things Happen roll saw the Force Moral drop another 1, to a total of 2.

With no other immediate threats on the board, Luke finished the Phase.

Seeing that I had a Force Morale of 2, giving me 2 command dice only, I decided to withdraw from the battlefield.

Being unable to bust open thr prison and free the humans, this left the Tau victorious.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_10_Combined_Forces


Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Playtest 2 - CoC40k_Playtest2_Turn_10_Placeholder


Post Game Details and Thoughts

The game played really well. It felt like the Ultramarines were reaching the culmination of hard campaign trying to free the prisoners with the low starting Force Morale.

We had a few crazt command rolls but it made for a very interesting game. There was a lot of back and forth and while the Tau in the end were under no great threat, it could easily have swung the other way with some better tactical decisions on my behalf. Luke played a great defensive game and the Tau seemed to behave more like they are described in their background.

The refined deployment rules appear to work well, as does vehicle rules. The shock worked very well, adding that little bit more danger to leadership rolls (I didn’t highlight this enough in the report above, but any pics where you can see red tokens are units with shock). Each point of shock subtracts one from movement, one from the number of shots fired from the unit and possibly most importantly one from any leadership checks made by the unit.

Psychic Powers and Command abilities worked really well also.

Ha, forgot my Marine doctrines and Warlord ability COMPLETELY! Certainly would have helped with some fire in a few rounds but I imagine Luke forgot some similar things.

A few more questions to look at:

  • 40k Seize the Initiative rule – this won;t be an option any more. It doesn’t fit into CoC40k.
  • Can Patrol Markers be ‘locked’ if an enemy deploys withing 4: of them as an Infiltrator – we went with Yes as it makes sense and follows on precedence.
  • Ambush rules when using a CoC dice – what counts as too heavy to disappear from an ambush. Will need to look at and work that out.

All up, really happy with the second outing. It is becoming fairly solid in it’s gameplay and hopefully will only improve as we iron out the bugs. Next up will see the introduction of Flyers.

If there is something I missed, or you find something needs more clarification, please ask away. If you have tried this out and have anything to report, I would love to hear it!


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