There is a real scarcity of Cold War models on
Tabletop Simulator, so a couple of podcasters had to make do. Especially since they’re reviewing Cold War Commander 2nd edition, a game that demands you bring post-WW2 kit to the field!
The main quirks of Cold War Commander 2E (or 1E, really) are the commander-based activation system and regenerating hits. A commander may activate the same unit multiple times a turn, but it is increasingly harder to do, and units that have stopped receiving orders can’t be ordered anymore. Hits are easier to explain: if you have damaged but not destroyed a unit during your turn, they just regenerate to full at the end.
Of course, this a game of modern combat, so both rules and optional rules (which became available in the middle of editing the podcast) provide for ATGMs and their quirks, heliborne attacks, chemical munitions and napalm, and so on. The army lists are free and new ones are being added constantly. They cover the Cold War and, when appropriate, can reach into the 2000s.
At the basic level, Cold War Commander 2E is designed to play with 1 stand representing 1 platoon. Technically, going 1 stand:1 squad or 1 stand:1 company is possible and supported (that’s what we did for playtesting), but the rule abstraction gets real weird at that point. On the other hand, HQ units being abstract representation of command assets – yet their position on the battlefield also mattering – is already weird.
But unexpectedly for a solidly grog game, it’s really easy to run once you get the hand of the rules. The dice rolls aren’t too complicated, nor are you constantly rolling to roll. The dice pools can get a little silly (pictured above) when you use a three MLRS battery to fire a chemical bombardment on a town full of enemy troops, though.
But the big issue of Cold War Commander 2E is the rulebook. It needs more proofreading and playtesting by people that are unfamiliar with the system (like me). A lot of stuff is missing or unclear because it was ported directly from 1E. The errata thread is 8 pages at this points – that’s not counting the army list errata thread. And I if keep giving Chain of Command shit for existing with 28 pages of FAQ, then you can bet I’m mad at CWC.
Now, I did get my book for free from the devs, and it’s a digital copy that can be seamlessly updated via DriveThru. But as Pendraken boasted on their Twitter, the physical book has already sold copies in the hundreds, and those books are becoming increasingly obsolete. And that’s sad, because, like said, the game is good!
Would I play Cold War Commander 2E? Yes. It’s a better, more attractive game than, say, T eam Yankee. It has grog vibes without much grog crunch. It just needed more love and care put into making it as clear as possible – in both writing and formatting – before going out the door.