Platoon Command 33

Status: In development

30-60 minutes / ages 10+ / 2 players

In Platoon Command you take the role of a platoon leader, guiding your platoon into combat in order to capture critical battlefield objectives. Platoon Command is a quick-playing game that uses cards for combat, command and control, fog of war, and attrition. The goal is to gain Objective Points by controlling areas of the battlefield. You accomplish this objective by issuing orders to your command group, three rifle squads, and specialized personnel.

Object of the Game
You win by controlling areas and gaining Objective Points. Additional scenarios have a variety of win conditions.

And you can visit the Platoon Command entry on BoardGameGeek here.


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33 thoughts on “Platoon Command

  • Barry Kendall

    You’ve captured my interest already just by what the markers shown suggest about the system. Very nice map graphics, too.
    Please keep us informed; this looks like a strong contender for “Buy Me Now” status!

  • Ron

    The ‘machine gunner’ combat card show a guy carrying a rifle. If you can find some art of a guy with an MG that would be cool.

    The combat cards read ” Suppressive Fire -3″ etc, and at first I couldn’t figure out of it was 3 or -3. Maybe just lose the dash?

    Typo: page 3 Command Cards section. 2nd sentence, ‘command cards are not used… ‘ Command needs to be capitalized. 3rd sentence, ‘command’ also needs to be capitalized.

  • Ron

    You know, for wargame-lite, you have some really neat ideas here.

    Something to think about– you can only move into a space that has a ‘scouted’ token. I like that, because all too often, everybody just charges ahead because they have a god’s-eye view of the map.

    OTOH, what happens if all your scouts get killed? You can’t move to unscouted terrain? You may (or may not) want to playtest/add to the Move rule: “If you move into a space that does NOT have a ‘scouted’ token, you lose all defensive benefits of that space.”

    • David Thompson Post author

      Thanks for taking the time to read through the rules and for the kind remarks, Ron.

      Things like elimination of all the Scouts as a possible stumbling block for a “broken” method for winning has been my chief design concern. Fortunately, it has never been a problem. It is possible that if the game played differently (if it was a lengthy game with a much larger board and more objective tokens) that there could be a time when all scouts were exhausted; however, in practice it would be VERY difficult. And it’s basically impossible in the current design of the game. The reason for that is because you can’t target the Scouts unless your opponent has acquired them from the supply and their combat token is on the board. So it will take at least a few rounds for the players to get all of their scouts in play, even if all they did way buy all their Scouts (which will seldom happen). The other factor is that the board is so small and the Scouts so fast (relatively speaking), that only if you have a couple Scouts in play, they can typically cover the part of the board you need to move to. So, in theory, yes it could be a problem. But in practice it’s basically impossible. Having said that, as I continue to develop all the scenarios, it is one of the main things I’ll be testing for.

  • Barry Kendall

    I think the US machine gunner has a BAR, but I see it’s the same icon for the German. An MG 42 would be more appropriate.

    Both weapons had bipods, so that feature would help set the weapon off as an LMG.

    My graphic preference for the Riflemen would be a more ‘active” figure advancing or standing with weapon at the ready. Legs together, rather than separated, could help differentiate Riflemen from Machine Gunners.

    Have downloaded the components, will be mounting them for play this week.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Right. The US should have the BAR and Germany should have an MG42. In the original PnP art, each of the two forces had unique silhouettes, but players felt it was confusing – they wanted to be able to instantly correlate the silhouettes. So I changed it so that both sides have the same silhouettes. Again, this will only be an issue in the PnP version, as the final version should have proper art. I’ll work an improved Riflemen…agree that the current one isn’t too evocative.

  • Barry Kendall

    It would be easy enough to substitute another soldier if all Scouts are gone, replacing the Rifleman or Machine Gunner card with a Scout from the same squad. If Sgt. Saunders could do it in “Combat, so can we . . .

    It might be beyond the level of simplicity/detail you’re aiming for, but it did cross my mind that a LMG usually had an Assistant Gunner–another soldier from the squad. Perhaps an LMG would only fire two dice, not three, if an AG (a Rifleman) was not assigned with the Machine Gunner? As an optional rule, perhaps.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Hmmmm. Actually I really like the idea of sub-optimal substitution. Perhaps as a standing rule, any card that has been removed from the game can be added back into the supply by trading out two cards from the same squad.

      This is tough, but it underscores the sort of abstraction assumed in the design of the game. The number of each type of card can be directly linked to the appropriate number of men in the platoon with that job. So, for each squad, there is a squad leader, 3 scouts, 3 machine gunners, and 5 riflemen. The only exception is that an actual squad had an assistant squad leader and only 2 scouts. It’s important to note, however, that the game is not trying to make a one-to-one correlation between the men in the squad an each of the cards. Instead, the cards are also suppose to represent training, efficacy, attrition, etc. In the case of the AR team (which consisted of the automatic rifleman, assistant automatic rifleman, and ammunition bearer) losing a card doesn’t indicate one of the three men is a casualty. Instead, it means that the team as a whole is negatively affected for some reason (casualty could be one reason, but there could be others). I know this is a bit abstract and maybe not very intuitive, but that’s the core design approach. Having said all that, I do think there’s room for optional or variant rules to add extra layers of detail and realism.

  • Barry Kendall

    I do like Ron’s suggested option for a non-scouted space, but wonder if that should be an option all the time . . . but rather than losing terrain benefits of the space, give a squad which has so moved a “minus two” when fired upon so that even moving into Clear terrain will always have a penalty and increased risk.

    But I also think a new Scout could be raised, if the Scout has been lost, by converting a Rifleman from the same Squad–as long as the Squad Sergeant is still in play or the Platoon Leader or Platoon Sgt. is with the Squad.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Agreed – coming up with a simple, streamlined system for replacing cards from the same squad seems like an easy rule to implement that would carry lots of flexibility.

  • Barry Kendall

    I appreciate your clarification that the cards do not necessarily represent one man. I see how this will allow scenarios with veteran troops vs. green troops, better-trained vs conscripts, etc.

    I do think there’s potential to “break” a scenario if the Scout limit is absolute, and to turn things “game-y” (Players targeting one another’s Scouts, especially the last one, to “paralyze” the other side’s capacity for advancing, flanking, etc.). I’d say the simplest fix would be to allow the squad Sgt. to “assign” (convert) a Rifleman to a Scout. Whether that Rifleman represents a single soldier, or two or three, the squad’s capability would be degraded by such a conversion, while allowing the Player to choose whether to preserve Scouting ability, or to keep firepower at the max for that squad.

    Regarding loss of a LMG, the two-for-one (Riflemen, for instance) to bring the LMG back makes sense, a LMG team hit/loss would in almost any instance represent the loss of both the Gunner and his Assistant (who otherwise would simply take over the gun).

    It occurs to me that such a conversion should only be possible if the LMG has been removed entirely, not merely put back into the pool/discard stack for some reason (representing the difference b/w a KIA gun team and a temporarily suppressed, displaced, lightly wounded, etc. soldier, or a jammed gun/burned-out barrel [I knew a Battle of the Bulge veteran who went through twelve LMG barrels holding his position over the course of one day–spending part of that time holding his internal organs in place with an abdominal wound] –in these non-KIA cases, the crew would not give up its LMG to other soldiers from the squad).

    I like the way these conversations are going; things seem to be clarifying nicely.

    Your explanation of the semi-abstract nature of the “squad cards” was very helpful; my brain was stuck on the one-card-one-man concept, and I was picturing “field-strength” squads rather than grasping the great flexibility inherent in your approach. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Michael W. McFall

    I might be able to help you out. I was a US Army Infantryman for 20 years. I retired in 2007. Lets see whatcha got.

  • Michael W. McFall

    A couple of things… I was pleased to see you give the term “suppressive fire” verses “opportunity fire”. That’s the correct term. Suppressive fire is used to fix the enemy to a position. Don’t forget, there’s also over-watch. That’s used to protect your own moving element.
    A Platoon Leader fights his Platoon in three elements. The “main effort”; the “supporting element” and his “reserve”.
    I haven’t looked at your system to see if it accounts for that but I haven’t seen anything that discourages it.
    Overall, the game looks promising.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Michael, I’ll definitely be interested to see what you think once you’ve had a chance to try the game out. Every design choice during the game’s development was about trying to balance real world elements (disposition, tactics, etc) with quick-playing game mechanisms. In some areas, I chose to use abstraction over simulation, but I’d like to think I struck a good balance for the most part.

  • Patrick van Gompel

    Thank you very much for sharing your game for free and putting a link on BGG. We’ve recently printed the game and really enjoyed playing it. Definately the best PnP game I ever played and easily one of the best light wargames I’ve seen.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Thanks so much for the kind comments, Patrick. I wanted to make sure the PnP was available to blind playtest groups, as a wide range of input – especially from groups with diverse gaming preferences – will definitely help me to improve the game. Your comments on BGG and playtest input you sent via email is very much appreciated.

      • Patrick van Gompel

        Is there any more news on this game? I am just back from Holiday and wondered how the development went. Any recent rule changes or any new updates on when/if/how this game will be available? Thanks.

        • David Thompson

          Patrick, thanks for the post. Design and development are complete, and the game is with the publisher. They are currently sourcing art. When the official announcement is made, I’ll post it here and on BGG. Also worth noting – I will be making a call for ideas for special, stand-alone scenarios for the publisher’s website when the announcement is made.

          • Patrick van Gompel

            Thank you for your reply. Good to hear that the progress is running smoothly. I wish you good luck for the things that still need to be done.

  • Eddie Carlson

    When you use the scouting ability and it says to add a fog of war card to the discard pile, where does that fog of war card come from? My thought are if it doesn’t specify a location, it must come from the extra cards left out at the start of the scenario. This seems like it would add a lot of fog of war cards to your pile over time.

    • David Thompson Post author


      That’s right. The idea is that by spreading the platoon out to cover more ground, you increase the amount of “fog of war” the platoon has to deal with – meaning difficulties managing communications, C2, etc. You mitigate the impact of fog of war through the use of Recon and oftentimes by using the Fog of War cards as your initiative.

      • Eddie Carlson

        So I just played the first scenario with my son. After explaining the rules to him, we dove in. He won initiative and pulled his squad leader and a matching scout. For some reason, he thought using Inspire to place concealment and then used the scout again to place concealment would be a good idea. Well, actually, it was brilliant. He spent the first few turns using concealment and flooding my deck with fog of war. I tried to play a balanced hand but soon had 8 fog of war cards in my hand. I tried to bolster my supplies to help mitigate the fog of war, it helped, but wow, it’s tough to pull one infantry and three fog of war cards for a turn. Meanwhile, he then spent what turns he could pulling recon and removing fog of war from the action area and pulling troops in to fight. This gave him a lean deck over time and I had a hard time cleaning out my deck of useless fog of war cards. I eventually won by racing to my objectives on the last turn. Very good finish as we were each on a tile that could have won the game.

        So, the thing that stood out was that we actually had very little combat. I removed one of his scouts and an infantryman and he didn’t hit any of mine. We did try every once and awhile to shoot, but it was actually more fun to try and manipulate the deck maneuver the troops to scout and capture points. This created a dynamic game that didn’t draw down to a stalemate of back and forth dice rolling for combat. I’m very anxious to try the next scenario. That one does look more combat focused and it will be fun to see the contrast in play focus.

        Thanks for a great game.

        Oh, if you could clarify the fog of war cards again, that would be great. So I start scenario one with 2 in my draw deck and 8 in my supply. If I remove some of those using the recon feature, that would leave some “removed” from the game. If my scout then later tries to use concealment and there are none left in the supply pile, does that mean he can’t use the concealment action, or do we pull from the fog of war cards removed from the game? It just seems silly to have the option to remove cards if down the road I can just add them back in from outside the starting amounts. Seems like if I scout my way down to 0 for of war, then that means I have great knowledge of the area. Which means when I scout, I don’t pull any fog of war because they have all been removed from the game.

        Ok, so I guess i’m rambling there, but the question is, is there a limit to the amount of fog of war you can place on yourself or your opponent? If for of war cards are removed from the game, can they ever come back? Thanks again!!

        • David Thompson Post author

          Eddie, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the first game. Your son definitely realized the power and importance of deck management. That approach will help him through the various scenarios in the game. Just to make sure I’m tracking correctly, you guys were playing Scenario 1 (La Raye), right? Or were you playing the Basic Training scenario?

          As you can see by looking through the scenarios, I designed the game so that each scenario introduces a new element to the game (new character types, new tactics, etc). So I will be interested to see what you and your son think of the different scenario experiences.

          You’re exactly right about your interpretation of the way Fog of War works. When you remove them from the game, they are permanently removed, meaning they cannot later be re-introduced to the game. So yes, there is a finite amount of Fog of War.

          Thanks again for trying the game out and for the feedback.

    • David Thompson Post author

      Cason, sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Somehow I missed your post. Platoon Command has been picked up by a publisher and is undergoing development now. They are making some tweaks to the game. I should have something more to share about it soon!