Chain of Command Warhammer 40k 5

CoverPicChain of Command Warhammer 40k? Really, can it be done? Let’s find out!

Warhammer 40k has been such a large part of my wargaming life, and for so long,  I find it a little bit depressing to see the changes Games Workshop are implementing. There is still a lot to potentially like about the Warhammer 40k universe, it has a lot of depth and history, however the mechanical changes to the game and the business decisions of the company have left me cold for a while now. For a game that saw me enter and run tournaments for decades, heap hours of enjoyment and entertainment both playing, organising and building/ painting armies I don;t like seeing the collection sit.

To that end we came up with a base set of house rules for 40k a while back. These made the game immensely better to play for us as a group, but the changes and apparent randomness to the codexes and point values still make the game a struggle to play, unless careful discussion is had with opponents before hand. The best thing about the house rules is that we started using our 40k collections again, and while 40k is no longer the fixed fallback game it once was, it is back on the scene.

Sometime in mid 2014, I was starting to get another wind (more than second wind anyway, not sure what to call it) when it came to looking at historical games, particularly World War 2. I had played Flames of War previously and looked into Bolt Action, but they both left me cold as they so resembled Warhammer 40k it wasn’t funny. The last thing I wanted was a 40k knock off with different miniatures.

Thankfully I searched around the interwebs and found a discussion on TMP talking about a game called Chain of Command. This led me to the TooFatLardies page where I could read about the design philosophies of the company and the game. From there I was hooked. My thoughts on Chain of Command are long, and for another post, but I’ll unashamedly say that I think Chain of Command may currently be the best set of rules for the platoon+ sized game I have seen. They are currently my favourite set of rules (don’t confuse that with me saying no other rules are good, they are. I like a lot of other rules).

Naturally this led me to thinking if the two rules could be combined or merged. Could I play Chain of Command with 40k miniatures, representing the 40k background and world? Thus began lots of beard scratching, scribbling of notes and long discussions.

This goal led me through various attempts of full conversions, and representations of various facets of 40k in Chain of Command. I sat on the idea for a while as we created house rules and investigated other games until finally inspiration hit me again.

This time a hybrid game was developed that used Chain of Command as the base game, with some Warhammer 40k mechanics to resolve various outcomes. This allowed the decision points of Chain of Command while keeping the stats and individuality of the 40k units.

With the above in mind an initial document has been created and a playtest has been run.

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k document

Chain of Command Warhammer 40k Templates here

There were certain goals I had for the hybrid. These were:

  • Play 40k using CoC command and control, deployment, activation and force morale
  • Allow existing and future 40k codexes and units to be used. This will be accomplished by using 40k stats and certain 40k mechanics.

As a hybrid, players will be better off if they know, or have played, both sets of games previously as it relies on both sets of game rules.

This is only an initial draft (at v0.2 currently). We have had a test game and the basics work. They actually work really well. As always there will be clashes between rules and many things we didn’t think of at the time when it comes to mechanic resolution.

As we play more games and smooth out any lumps, or work out how to implement other features, we will update the document. Currently there are no flyers in CoC40k (Jump Pack and equivalent yes, but no zooming planes or monsters).

So far I am quite happy with the result, it plays a little like each game but has its own feel. There is familiarity in using the 40k units and stats but the flexibility and solid rulebase of Chain of Command give the game much more depth.

The document above has been designed presuming Chain of Command is the base set of rules, the entries in the document list out the changes to that (and where and how 40k mechanics are used).

It isn’t perfect, and there may be a few things either missing or not well explained. I am happy to answer questions here or on any forums, or feel free to tell me know how you resolved it.


I forgot to add that units with Infiltrate can deploy 12″ from a Jump Off Point instead of 6″

CoC40k Playtest

Our playtest consisted of using 1000 point Warhammer 40k armies, as chosen from the relevant Codexes.

We also used the CoC40k Hybrid rules as outlined in the document.

The forces consisted of:

TAU – Starting Force Moral 11


Ethereal – Senior Leader. Can use 2 command initiative to activate an Ethereal ability


12 Firewarriors – Junior Leader. Team of 5 Firewarriors. Team of 4 Firewarriors

12 Firewarriors – Junior Leader. Team of 5 Firewarriors. Team of 4 Firewarriors


5 Stealth Suits – Junior Leader. Team of 4 Stealth Suits

3 Crisis Suits – Junior Leader. Team of 3 Crisis Suits


Piranha Skimmer – 1 vehicle with Junior Leader


Broadside with 2 drones – Team of 1.

CHAOS MARINES – Starting Force Moral 11


Chaos Lord – Senior Leader.


10 Cultists – Junior Leader. Squad of 9 cultists, one with a Flamer

10 Cultists – Junior Leader. Squad of 9 cultists, one with a Flamer


5 Chosen – Junior Leader. Team of 4 Chosen

3 Chaos Terminators – Junior Leader. Team of 2 Terminators


5 Raptors – Junior Leader. Team of 4 Raptors


Land Raider – Vehicle with Junior Leader


Pic of the Battlefield

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 Final Location of Jump Off Points

(Chaos Warriors are Red, Tau are Blue)

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 Chaos launch their first probe

The raptors and Land Raider with Chaos Lord and Chosen are deployed. Raptors from the fight hand JOP, Land Raider from the board edge (as there are no roads)

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 Tau deploy to defend their Jump Off Points

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Chain of Command Warhammer 40k - CoC40k_Playtest-9

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 Chaos Surge Forward

The terminators dominate the left flank, capturing a Tau JOP

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 Chaos break the morale of the Tau and force them from the battlefield

Final look of the battlefield

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The game had a really good flow to it. Units behaved basically the same (due to using 40k stats) but had a lot more versatility and could be used in different ways. Best of all units that were considered useless had life again!

It was really good to see both players have to think about the best way to utilise their units. We aren;t sure if the current incarnation benefits assault units/ armies at the moment. This is only something that will come out with further playtesting but I do think there are options available to counter assault armies.

Both armies took some hits to Force Morale but the Tau took a few more and broke at 0 Force Morale, Chaos Warriors had gotten down to about 7. Interestingly I think the ‘At the Sharp End’ Campaign system would work just as well with this hybrid as it does for CoC (with some tweaks).

Chaos Terminators – Dominated the Chaos left flank wiping out the Stealth suits, a Firewarrior squad and captuing a JOP

Firewarrior Team – on the Chaos right flank a Firewarrior team delpoyed and eliminated the Chaos Raptors in a round of shooting.

Land Raider – I became pretty well untouchable at low points. That being said you now really have to decide what you want to use your Land Raider for. Is it a weapons platform, or is it a squad delivery system? There aren’t enough actions for it to do everything (which I like a LOT!)



Hmm, still not happy with the linking of images from Google Photos to WordPress, it leaves them grainy, but I still haven’t resolved my image upload issue with WordPress so am out of alternatives for the moment….

So, Chain of Command and Warhammer 40k? Can they work together successfully?

I think yes, but it does take some work. The document will fine tune rule interactions as we go along, and I think the core has the ability to resolve any action players may want to take.

What about full conversion? Well that is a while off but is a massive change and something I am kicking around at the moment.

If you give this a try, I would love to see see how it went and what you thought of it.

Leave a Reply

5 thoughts on “Chain of Command Warhammer 40k

  • unhingedtangent Post author

    Thanks, hopefully we can improve on things and make it enjoyable for people to play.
    I think next playtest I’ll take better shots and describe the action along with how the mechanics worked.

  • Ashley Stevens

    So- as the chaos player here, obviously my view is a bit skewed by my win. Ok. The jump off points and 3d6 (march and charge/?) can work for assault armies, especially with 4″ engagement.
    1. I think leader targeting should be as per normal- once every one gets hit, roll to see if the boss/aspiring champion has to make an armour save. If you get 6 hits against a 35 man squad I don’t see why the boss takes it in the face. I’m not even in favour of look out sir, just normal chances of him copping it in goulies like everyone else. 20 wounds, 10 man squad, make 2 armour save rolls in different coloured dice to see if the boss cops it.
    2. I think there should be a leadership penalty for the long charge.

    I also have a more crazy suggestion- a slight 40k rules tweak… Combine the “to hit//to wound roll” into one dice, Combine the armour save, cover, feel no pain etc into one dice. Check the math, use the closest. I did the maths on the train. It’s actually easy to calculate. hit/wound on a 2+ to a 6+, same with saves. No 2++ re-rollable with 4+ feel no pain on top. That would just be 2+…

    • unhingedtangent Post author

      Thanks for the thoughts (and play testing ) Ash.
      I do feel there needs to be an offset for the 3d6 move. CoC uses shock. An alternative needs to be found for CoC40k. I have a few ideas.

      As for hits on leaders it is another area for thought. I don’t mind the d6 chance and then a ‘look out sir’ but it does add more rolls to the game. I’ll keep looking for ways to streamline it.

      As for combined stats. That is something I am focussing on more woth a total conversion. This hybrid is designed to allow players to pick up a codex and use it. The total conversion will remove and condense stats and mechanics.