CAOS – Definitive Gameplay Guide (Mechanics and Features)

This guide explores the mechanics and features of CAOS.

Comprehensive Guide to Gameplay

Introduction

This guide explores CAOS game mechanics in depth and we intend to expand and update it as features are adjusted, or added, and according to player request. More illustrations will be added on a running basis as well. If you would like to request a clarification, or greater attention to a specific topic, feel free to drop us a question below.

We also highly recommend new players complete the in-game tutorial to familiarize themselves with the basics of CAOS. The tutorial is enabled by default the first time a player starts the game, and it can be re-enabled at any time from the options menu.

1. Requisition, Deployment, and Orders Interface

In-Game User Interface

This section explores the most fundamental elements of the in-game interface, including the: requisition screen, deployment box, top/bottom bars, and orders menu. More specialized elements of the interface such as unit detail sheets and weapon cards are discussed in section 3.4/3.5. When in doubt, hovering your mouse over most interface elements and menus reveals a tool tip that explains the relevant menu, button, or game-mechanic.

Note: Blue or yellow letters on buttons or menus indicate hot keys. Memorizing hotkeys for common menus and orders can vastly speed up your turn.

1.1. Unit Pool/Requisition

  • Purchasing Units: The Unit Pool lists all available units in the order of battle for your selected nation and year. Available units are categorized on the left side of the display as infantry, mech., armor, artillery, HQ, air, and all. The yellow letters are hot keys. You may left-click, to select or de-select, a unit. Double-left clicking on a unit opens its detail sheet. Pressing the middle-mouse button de-selects all currently selected units. Right-clicking on a headquarters selects that HQ and its subordinates as well. This greatly speeds up the requisition process.
  • Altering Training: Raise or lower the training level of selected units with the green/red plus and minus buttons to the right side of the unit pool.
  • Changing Attachment: Change the attachments of selected units by hovering over the attachment drop down to the right of the unit pool. You may need to use the middle mouse button to scroll down the attachment list on orders of battle with lots of headquarters. Headquarters units already purchased are listed at the top of the attachment list for easy access.
  • Purchasing Replacements: Purchase replacements, by type, using the relevant plus and minus buttons on the replacement box to the bottom right of the unit pool. Crossed rifles indicate infantry. The Panther tank indicates armor, and the howitzer indicates artillery. The price per replacement point is listed in between the plus and minus buttons, and scales according to order of battle year. Your total replacement points are listed at the top of the screen, next to the intel report button.
  • Re-opening the Unit Pool: If you exit the unit pool you may re-open it by clicking the Unit Pool button in the bottom right of the screen (or by pressing U), at any time during the Preturn.

1.2. Deployment Box

Once purchased, units appear in the deployment box in the top left. Units may now be selected and dragged from the deployment box onto your starting hexes. Alternatively, you may move units around within the deployment box and form battlegroups before deploying them to the game map.

Note: The deployment box can be opened/closed by pressing the green Deploy button on the side of the box, or by pressing the Tab key.

1.3. Selecting Units/Issuing Orders

1.3.1. Selecting Ground Units

Double click on a unit or stack of units on the map or deployment box to select them. Selected units are highlighted in yellow on the bottom bar. Single left clicking a unit on the bottom bar selects/de-selects it.

1.3.2. Deploying Ground Units

Select and drag units from the deployment box onto your color-coded deployment hexes; the blue player deploys on blue shaded hexes, while the red player deploys on red shaded hexes.

1.3.3. Issuing Orders

To issue orders to an entire stack at once, right click the stack on the map and the order menu will pop up. To issue orders to individual units or small groups, left click to select the stack, then right click the unit(s) you wish to command on the bottom bar. Pressing the middle mouse button de-selects all units.

1.4 Overlays, Reports, and Basic Unit Info

1.4.2. Overlays

  • Selectable Overlay: The selectable overlay, to the right of the game menu, may be toggled to show the map without units displayed, losses per hex, stacking value per hex, or aggregate cohesion per hex.
  • Facilities Overlay: The facilities overlay, to the right of the selectable overlay, displays objectives and the victory point value assigned to each. While the facilities overlay is active, objective hexes are marked by yellow stripes, and the victory point value of that objective appears over the hex as a yellow number. The facilities overlay also displays the ownership of capturable installations, such as cities, towns, and airfields, although ownership of most of these facilities is already indicated by the color of their name tag.
  • Names Overlay: The names overlay toggles town names on and off.
  • Zone of Control Overlay: The Zone of Control overlay displays friendly and enemy Zones of Control (ZoC). Friendly ZoC is marked in blue, enemy ZoC in red, and contested ZoC in blue and red stripes.
  • Line of Sight: The Line of Sight (LOS) overlay displays the current field of vision projected by your units. Most units possess a 1-hex line of sight, whereas reconnaissance capable units possess a 2-hex line of sight.
  • Supply Overlay: The supply overlay displays your current supply range, as modified by known enemy Zones of Control. See Supply (section 2.5) for more information about extending supply range.

1.4.3. Combat List

The Combat List button brings up a complete list and kills/losses for every combat, air strike, and artillery barrage the current turn. Clicking on any of these listings brings up a detailed combat report.

1.4.4. Replacement Pools

Available replacement points are listed by type, infantry, armor, and artillery, in the middle of the top-bar.

1.4.5. Intel

The Intel Report summarizes units lost per side, strength point losses per side, requisition points per side, victory points per side, the main objective(s), the victory points required to win, and the expected victory outcome if the scenario were to end this turn.

  • Turn Report: The Turn Report, accessed at the top-left edge of the intel report clip board, provides an impulse-by-impulse summary of every event that occurred during the turn.
  • Scenario Summary: The scenario summary, accessed from the top-right edge of the intel report, reiterates the scenario description.

1.4.6. Replay

Replay provides an impulse-by-impulse replay of the turn as it unfolded. Move forward and backward between impulses using the red and blue arrows that appear at the top of the screen when replay is activated. Replay is especially useful when you are learning CAOS and want to understand how actions unfolded.

1.4.7. Air Command

The Air Command display allows you to manage air groups, change the type of air missions individual air groups perform, and change the overall mission focus on all your air groups. The Air Report, on the right side of the Air Command display lists the relative air superiority strengths of both sides, and the number of air missions attacked and or lost per side.

Managing Air Groups: You may click on an air group on the Air Command to change its mission role for the next turn. Some aircraft are capable of multiple mission types, but an individual air group may only perform one mission type per turn. For instance, a P-40N can perform close air support missions, but it will not do so while tasked for air superiority. Each air group lists the number of missions it is currently conducting versus the optimal number it may conduct at maximum cohesion. Note, the P-40N in the screenshot below is providing 2 out of 4 air superiority missions, because of low cohesion.

Operational Air Focus: Operational Air Focus increases the number of missions from the selected category across all air groups by +25% but reduces the availability of other mission types. For instance, selecting Air Superiority Operational focus increases your total number of air superiority missions by 25%, but reduces your bombing, strikes, ground interdiction, and recon missions by -25%.

1.5. Bottom Bar

1.5.1. Terrain Display

Hover over the terrain image found at the bottom left of the screen to view terrain combat modifiers of the selected hex. Click and drag between hexes to view the effects of hex-side terrain such as rivers, crests, and minefields.

Terrain Movement Cost Display: The numbers next to the boot appearing below the terrain image show the infantry/mechanized movement cost of the current selected hex.

1.5.2. Unit Cards

Each unit in the selected hex displays its own unit card at the bottom of the screen. Selected units are highlighted by yellow borders around their unit card. Single left click on a unit card to select/deselect it. Double left-click on a unit card to bring up that unit’s detail sheet. Press the middle mouse button de-selects all unit cards.

Unit cards display critical information at a glance, including current orders, stacking value, name, name of higher command, strength, combat value, artillery stats, and anti-tank value. See section 3.4.1, for more information.

1.5.3. Group Button

Pressing the group button merges selected units into a battlegroup, stacking limitations allowing. You may also form battlegroups by dragging unit cards on top of each other on the bottom bar. See section 3.3, for more information.

1.5.4. Air Button

The air command manages air groups, but the air button allows you to place air missions on the map. Pressing the air button brings up the air orders menu. Available missions are shown in parentheses, for instance, in the screenshot below; we have 3 air bombardment and 2 air recon missions. Select the mission type you wish to conduct and place (target) it on the map.

Cancelling Air Missions: To cancel an air mission click the air button and then right-click the planned air mission (target) on the map to remove it.

2. Key Gameplay Concepts

2.1. Impulses

CAOS uses 10 movement/combat impulses per turn, from impulse 0 to 9, reflecting different times of day, to simulate real time movement in a turn-based environment. Both sides issue orders and units then move and fight simultaneously. Consequently, enemy actions and friendly units blocking each other can delay or disrupt your plans. For instance, enemy air strikes might prevent artillery from supporting a critical breakthrough, or a crucial tank regiment might become stuck behind friendly infantry and fail to reach its target. Just as in real combat, plans in CAOS, rarely unfold perfectly in practice. Good commanders adapt and improvise in response to unforeseen setbacks and unexpected triumphs.

2.2. Stacking

Every hex has a 4 point stacking limit. To put this into perspective, the typical regiment is worth 2 stacking points, and battalions may vary from 0.5-1 stacking point depending on unit size and type, so the average hex can simultaneously host 2 regiments or between 4-8 battalions.

The 4 point stacking limit may only be exceeded under two circumstances. 1) During beginning of game deployment stacking limits are temporarily ignored. 2) Stacking value is increased to 6 while moving along roads during turn resolution. If a hex is still over 4 stacking points at the end of the turn, excess units are automatically ejected into adjacent hexes.

2.3. Zone of Control

Every unit stack with a value of 1 or more stacking points projects a zone of control (ZoC) into surrounding hexes. Under normal circumstances, units can move into and out of enemy Zone of Control hexes, but units cannot move between enemy Zone of Control hexes. See the images below for examples.

Enemy Zone of Control (marked in red) will block this move because we are attempting to move between two enemy ZoC hexes.

But this move will succeed because we are moving into enemy ZoC and then out into an open hex.

2.4. Negating Zone of Control

Zone of Control may be temporarily negated by pinning a unit stack by artillery, air attack, or ground combat. Artillery barrage, air strikes, and air bombardments that inflict casualties have a chance of suppressing the target stack’s ZoC the impulse after the barrage, strike, or bombardment – the stronger the bombardment, the higher the odds of ZoC suppression. Likewise, ground combat suppresses ZoC during the impulse after a battle. Consequently, with proper planning and a little luck, you can suppress enemy ZoC and infiltrate through their front line if they do not keep reserves behind the lines to stop you. A clever commander can equally use ZoC suppression to create a window of opportunity for their own forces to escape an encirclement. See barrage fire missions, section 5.5.2, for more information.

2.5. Supply

Maintaining line of supply and effectively use your mobile depots is essential to victory in CAOS. All combat units carry three full turns of supply, which they begin to consume when their connection to a supply grid is severed. Units that exhaust their local supply lose their Zone of Control, move at half speed, fight at half strength, and suffer cohesion damage every turn, until supply is restored.

2.5.1 Supply Grids

Each supply source projects supply around itself, so long as it still has the supply to do so. The full extent of your supply grid can be viewed using the Supply Overlay. View an individual supply source’s grid by clicking on it with the Supply Overlay active. Units within a supply grid do not consume their own 3-turn supply reserves.

2.5.2. Supply Units

Static Supply Dumps: Static supply dumps are inexhaustible sources of supply; they cannot be depleted or destroyed, and all other supply units must trace a line of supply back to an on-map dump to avoid depleting their own supply reserves.

Mobile Depots: Mobile depots are the primary means to extend a supply grid beyond the range of static dumps. However, mobile depots must be deployed before they may project supply; the deploy/undeploy button is located on the depot’s detail sheet. If a mobile depot is cut off from the supply grid of a static dump, it carries 5-turns of supply that it can share with any friendly units inside its own supply grid.

Corps HQs: Corps HQs can extend another unit’s supply grid, but they do not independently project supply themselves. For example, fully an encircled corps HQs cannot resupply units trapped with it.

3. Ground Units

Ground units carry out the majority of fighting in CAOS. Ground units come in a wide variety of sizes and mission roles, from commando battalions to heavy artillery brigades and player-made battlegroups. This section details ground units from the largest regiments down to individual weapon statistics.

3.1. Units

Most units in CAOS are composed of multiple attachments that move and fight as a single entity or be detached and employed independently. Units vary in size, the largest units, regiments, or brigades, consist of up to seven attachments, although regiments of 3-4 attachments are more common.

3.1.1. Unit Types and Movement

All ground units in CAOS fall into one of two movement types: 1) Mechanized, encompassing all tracked and wheeled vehicles. 2) Infantry, including all leg infantry and cavalry units. Mechanized units are faster, but cannot enter mountains or marshes, or traverse escarpments, without the assistance of a road or trail. Old-fashioned infantry may be slow and be unglamorous, but it can enter any terrain and take the battle to the remotest locales.

Movements speeds are divided into 3 brackets:

  1. Fast: 15 movement points per turn.
  2. Medium: 12 movement points per turn.
  3. Slow: 9 movement points per turn.

Units with higher movement values not only move farther per turn, but they also move faster impulse to impulse. However, not all mechanized units are equally mobile; heavy tanks, infantry tanks, and many pre-war tanks move at the medium rate, due to slow speed and or excessive fuel consumption.

3.2. Unit Types and Combat

For the purposes of terrain combat modifiers and combined arms, all ground units fall into one of four unit types: armor, mechanized, infantry, and artillery. Memorizing these types is critical to understanding combined arms and terrain combat modifiers, see section 4.2.1.

Mixed-Type Units: Unit type is determined per attachment. Units with multiple attachments frequently include multiple unit types such as infantry, armor, and artillery, simultaneously. Each attachment is affected differently by modifiers such as combined arms and terrain.

3.3. Battlegroups

Battlegroups are player created units, formed by combining attachments from other units together into custom configurations. Battlegroups can be formed by either clicking and dragging unit cards on top of each other on the bottom bar, or by selecting a group of units stacked together and pressing the “Group” button, at the bottom right.

Battlegroup stacking rules: Up to 3 stacking points or seven units can be included in a Battlegroup. Note, a battlegroup formed from more than 2 stacking points of attachments will condense down to 2 stacking value once formed. This represents the improved tactical control of combining disparate units under a single command structure.

Battlegroups and divisional leadership bonuses: Units from separate divisions can be grouped together, but keep in mind they will lose their divisional leadership bonuses while battle grouped with units from other divisions.

3.4. Unit Cards and Unit Detail Sheets

3.4.1. Unit Cards

Unit cards are quick reference cards that appear at the bottom of the screen when a unit stack on the map is selected. Unit cards display the most important combat statistics of a unit, including current order, stacking value, abbreviated name, abbreviated name of higher command, graphic, approximate cohesion, strength, offensive/defensive combat value, fire support, barrage, artillery range, and anti-tank value.

Note: The cohesion bar is color coded. A green bar indicates 70%+ cohesion, yellow indicates 50-69%, and red indicates 49% or less cohesion.

3.4.2. Unit Detail Sheets

Unit detail sheets report every relevant statistic for a combat unit. General details for the entire unit are listed at the top, specific details for each attachment are listed at the bottom.

General Details: In addition to reiterating all the information listed on a Unit Card, detail sheets also display movement value, entrenchment status, anti-aircraft (listed as low/medium/high altitude), whether the unit is receiving supply, and how many turns of spare supply, it is carrying.

Battalion Details: Each of a unit’s attachments has its own battalion card, listed on the lower half of the detail sheet, displaying the individual subordinate unit’s name and combat statistics. Battalions can be detached from and re-attached to their parent unit using the appropriate buttons below the battalion card. Also note, when a unit is conducting a rest order, a replacement button appears underneath each battalion card, allowing them to accept replacement points if available.

Note: Battalion cards are color coded according to their unit type. Blue = Armor, Cyan = Mechanized, Red = Infantry, Yellow = Artillery, Orange = Anti-Aircraft.

3.5. Weapon Cards

View the individual statistics of any weapon system by clicking on its name on a battalion card. This opens the select weapon’s, weapon card.

3.5.1. General Weapon Data

Weapon cards display general information for the selected weapon, such as offense, defense, range, barrage, support, anti-air, and engineering. These numbers are displayed ‘raw,’ as they would appear unmodified by training or cohesion.

3.5.2. Special Weapon data

Weapon cards also display special data such as armor, resilience, skirmish modifier, and breakdown rate.

  • Armor: The anti-tank value required to suppress this weapon. Only armored fighting vehicles such as tanks and halftracks have armor values.
  • Resilience: The percent chance that this weapon system will not be suppressed in armored combat or destroyed in close combat when a casualty roll is made against it in combat.
  • Strategy: Resilience does not reduce the total casualties you suffer from combat. If a weapon successfully makes its resilience check, then the same “kill roll” will be made against another friendly weapon involved in the battle, usually a weapon with lower resilience, such as infantry. When possible, pair armor with infantry to sluff casualties off valuable tanks onto more expendable riflemen.
  • Skirmish Mod: The Skirmish modifier indicates the percent bonus, or reduction, the weapon gains in skirmish combat. Reconnaissance units, commandos, and highly mobile vehicles such as armored cars, typically enjoy high skirmish modifiers. Whereas heavy armor suffers from severe skirmish reductions.
  • Breakdown: The percentage chance that this weapon will suffer a mechanical breakdown for every movement point expended. Mechanical breakdowns incur extra cohesion loss. Units with lower training levels, and units that have exhausted their supplies, suffer greater cohesion loss from breakdowns.

4. Combat

All combat in CAOS consists of two stages, 1) Armored Combat, where armored vehicles are suppressed, and then 2) Close Combat, where strength points are destroyed, and the outcome of the battle is decided. While basic offense, defense, and anti-tank values form the foundation of the combat system, numerous combat modifiers help shape the outcome of battle.

A detailed combat report can be accessed by either clicking on the battle marker on map (crossed rifles), or through the master combat list on the top bar. The combat report popup displays all crucial information from the battle, including odds, combat modifiers, and losses. The “Units,” “Combat,” and “Armor” buttons at the bottom open up additional screens allowing you to view the names of involved units, detailed losses in close combat, and armor suppressed in the armor combat phase.

4.1. Phases of Combat

4.1.1. Armor Combat

During the Armor Combat stage, both sides use their anti-tank value to suppress enemy armor. Suppressed vehicles only contribute half of their offense/defense value to the Close Combat stage. Through proper concentration of anti-tank capability, the threat of massed enemy armor can be significantly reduced.

Determining Armor Suppression: The higher the anti-tank value, the more enemy armor points will be suppressed, although anti-armor results vary. For instance, the same 57mm AT gun battalion will not always suppress precisely the same number of Panzer IVHs if the same battle is run repeatedly.

Role of Armor and Resilience stats: More heavily armored vehicles take more effort to suppress. For instance, a suppressing a single Tiger I subtracts twice as much anti-tank value from the opponent’s anti-tank total as a single Panzer IVH. Likewise, vehicles with a high Resilience stat can be very difficult to suppress. Typically, armored suppression falls disproportionately on lightly armored vehicles, such as armored cars, while heavily armored behemoths are far less likely to be suppressed. When heavily armored vehicles are suppressed, they disproportionately reduce the enemy’s remaining AT pool.

Impact of Terrain on Armored Combat: Some terrain types such as forests and mountains increase anti-tank values for both attackers and defenders. Likewise, some structures such as cities or improved positions also increase defender anti-tank.

4.1.2. Close Combat

After Armored Combat is resolved, Close Combat begins. Close Combat is the decisive stage of battle, where victory, defeat (or an inconclusive result), is decided. The ratio between the offensive combat value of the attacker versus the defensive combat value of the defender, called the odds, determines the losses suffered by both sides and the final outcome of battle.

Determining Casualties: Like traditional tabletop wargames, close combat casualties are determined proportionally according to the odds and randomized within reason. As in reality, combat in CAOS is inherently unpredictable; you might suffer 3% casualties in a 3 to 1 combat, and 6% casualties in the same 3 to 1 if you re-run the turn.

Role of Resilience: As mentioned in the Weapon Cards section (see section 3.5), weapon systems with Resilience have a percentage chance to ignore kill rolls made against them during casualty assignment, and instead pass the loss on to a unit with lower resilience.

Overrun Attacks: If the odds in close combat are 15 to 1 or greater in the attacker’s favor, the defending force is immediately destroyed, without incurring casualties or movement cost on the attacker.

4.2. Combat Modifiers

4.2.1. Combined Arms

Combined Arms significantly increases offensive and defensive combat value during the Close Combat stage. Combined Arms is frequently the single most powerful force multiplier available, and players should attempt to gain combined arms bonuses as often as possible.

4.2.2. Combined Arms Levels

Combined arms escalates in intensity depending on force composition, up to a +50% bonus. Achieving the most basic level of combined arms requires both infantry and armor to be involved on the same side of a combat. Adding artillery and air support increases this bonus further.

  • Infantry + Armor + Artillery + Air Support = +50%.
  • Infantry + Armor + Air Support = 30%.
  • Infantry + Armor + Artillery = +30%.
  • Infantry + Armor = 15%.

Minimum Infantry Quantity for Combined Arms: At least 15% or 30 strength points of a force present in a battle must be some form of infantry to fulfil the infantry requirement of combined arms.

Minimum Armor Quantity for Combined Arms: At least 15% or 30 strength points of a force present in a battle must be some form of armor to fulfil the armor requirement of combined arms.

Special Considerations for Artillery in Combined Arms: Only artillery units that have a range value and are part of a battalion that is type artillery, fulfil the combined arms requirement. Despite being type artillery, anti-tank guns that do not have a range value do not fulfil the artillery requirement for combined arms. Likewise, artillery (usually mortars) integrated inside infantry or armored battalions do not count for combined arms.

4.2.3. Encirclement Combat Penalty

When attacked from multiple directions defending forces suffer a -10% encirclement combat modifier for each hexside the enemy is attacking through.

4.2.4. Armor Superiority

If the defender cannot disable at least 20% of the attacker’s armor value in Armored Combat, then the attacker gains an Armor Superiority bonus. The Armor Superiority reduces defender combat value from -50% to -10%, depending on the terrain and aggregate morale level of the defender. Higher morale units, or units in terrain hostile to tanks suffer lower Armor Superiority penalties.

4.2.5. Supply

As mentioned in section 2.5, units that have exhausted their supply suffer a -50% combat penalty.

4.3. Terrain

Terrain impact unit types in different ways. For example, Light Forest provides a +15% defensive bonus to infantry, but it also incurs a -25% defensive penalty to armor. Check terrain modifiers on the bottom bar carefully when planning future combats.

4.4. Role of Fire Support

Artillery Fire Support and Air Support are added to combat value separately from combat modifiers. Thus, fire/air support is never arbitrarily more effective because of a combined arms modifier or reduced because of encirclement.

4.5. Retreat

Both attacking and defending units may be forced to retreat as a result of combat. The more unfavorable the odds, the higher the chance of retreat. When a combat result forces a retreat, one randomly selected unit immediately retreats, and every other unit on the retreating side individually rolls a retreat check. Units with higher stacking values, and higher aggregate training levels are less likely to retreat.

4.5.1. Inability to Retreat and Excess Losses

Units that cannot retreat for any reason automatically lose 15% of their total strength. Common causes of inability to retreat include:

  1. Being surrounded by enemy/contested Zones of Control.
  2. Fully-stacked friendly hexes blocking retreat, 3) impassable terrain.

5. General Orders

5.1. Combat/Move Orders

5.1.1. March

March is the basic movement/combat order. Marching units engage any enemy stacks in their path if the odds are 1 to 1 or better. March combats are typically low-intensity, with relatively few losses per battle, but they can be used to devastating effect to punch through enemy lines or crush encircled units. Under optimal conditions, a marching unit can initiate up to nine combats in a single turn. March orders are marked by a light-red movement line on the map.

Strategy: Use March orders to advance to contact, probe for weaknesses in enemy forces, or annihilate encircled enemies by hitting them with many march orders in the hopes of rolling retreats.

5.2.2. Defensive March

This is a variant of the March order where units will only engage enemies in their path if the odds are 10 to 1 or better. Defensive March orders are marked by a black movement line on the map.

Strategy: Use Defensive March when you do not want to risk unplanned combat.

5.2.3. Force March

Force march moves further than normal march orders, but it can only move between road hexes and cannot initiate combat. Force marching units take extra losses from enemy air interdiction, bombing, and artillery, and they become disrupted, lowering their combat value by 50% for the rest of turn resolution if they are attacked. Force March orders are marked by a yellow movement line on the map.

Strategy: Use Force March to move units rapidly around your rear area when you enjoy air superiority, and you do not fear enemy ambushes.

5.2.4. Attack

The primary high-intensity combat order. Units conducting an Attack order engage all adjacent enemy units when they reach the target hex, on the designated impulse, and gain a +20% combat bonus. Attack incurs much higher casualties on both sides but is far more likely to force the defender to retreat, provided the odds high enough. Enroute to target, Attacking units engage enemy stacks like normal March orders. Attack orders are marked by a dark-red movement line on the map.

Strategy: Use Attack orders to breakthrough enemy front lines to create gaps for follow-on forces to exploit.

5.2.5. Skirmish

Skirmishing units harass any enemy units that come adjacent to them during turn resolution. Units engaged by a skirmish order may take casualties, but they also suffer from a +1 terrain cost on their next move. Each weapon system has its own skirmish modifier, which modifies combat and anti-tank value during skirmish combat. For example, fast M18 Hellcat tank destroyers enjoy a significant skirmish combat bonus, while slow King Tigers suffer a severe penalty. Skirmish modifiers can be viewed on a per weapon system basis on the weapon card.

Units conducting skirmish orders do not have to move, but if they do they engage enemy units along their path if the odds are 1 to 1 or better, in addition to their skirmish combats. While involved in non-skirmish combats, units with a skirmish order suffer a -20% combat value/anti-tank penalty. Skirmish orders are marked by a green movement line on the map.

Strategy: Use units that have high skirmish modifiers to harass enemies by inflicting small amounts of damage and wasting their movement points. In cases of extreme firepower disparity, the Skirmish order can be used to annihilate weak enemy units adjacent to their movement path.

5.2.6. Reserve

An order to support all adjacent friendly units. Units in Reserve contribute their combined arms modifier plus 50% of their combat and anti-tank value to all adjacent friendly units during turn resolution. However, Reserve units can also suffer casualties and cohesion loss in any combat they become involved in, and if they are directly engaged themselves then they suffer a -50% combat penalty. Units conducting a Reserve order can move, although they do not have to. Reserve orders are marked by a purple movement line on the map.

Strategy: Reserve is a great way to help units stuck behind the front line because of stacking limits contribute to combat. Armored units in Reserve right behind the front line are a great way to provide combined arms to multiple friendly stacks. However, be careful, units can quickly become exhausted (or destroyed) if they are dragged into too many combats while in Reserve.

5.3. Defensive Orders

5.3.1. Reinforce

This order targets an adjacent friendly unit to Reinforce if that unit is engaged, provided stacking limits and Zone of Control will allow it. Reinforcing units will move into the target hex the impulse after the target unit is attacked. If you expect part of a front line stack will retreat during turn resolution, Reinforcements can relieve the remaining defenders before the enemy can mount another attack. Additionally, through clever use of bonus road movement rules, Reinforce can be used to temporarily over-stack a hex.

Strategy: Use Reinforcement orders to plug holes in your line before they happen. Reinforce is a niche order, but when used properly it can mean the difference between containing a breakthrough and having a crucial strongpoint overrun.

5.3.2. Hold and Defend

A basic defensive combat bonus. Units in Hold and Defend gain a +10% combat and anti-tank bonus per turn, up to a maximum of +20%. This bonus lasts until the unit leaves the hex.

5.4. Ancillary Orders

5.4.1. Rest

Rest regenerates cohesion and allows units to absorb replacements. Resting units regain cohesion at an accelerated rate, but they lose their Zone of Control, and suffer a -50% combat penalty if attacked. Resting units can also accept replacements (if they are available) by opening the unit’s card.

Strategy: Whenever possible pull exhausted or damaged units out of the front line and rest them for a few turns to regenerate cohesion and restore their fighting capabilities.

5.4.2. Set Rally point

Designates the targeted hex as the preferred retreat destination for the selected unit. Zone of Control and stacking rules allowing, units will try to retreat into or toward their rally point. A unit’s current rally point is marked by a red flag while the unit is selected. Once set a rally point persists until a new rally point is set.

Strategy: Rally point is a niche and relatively seldom used order, but it can be highly valuable for micromanaging the direction of retreat for high value units. Or for instance, to ensure infantry retreats into favorable terrain like mountains where armor cannot pursue it.

5.5. Fire Missions and Engineering Orders

Fire missions are artillery specific orders that allow your big guns to support friendly units or bombard enemies from afar. Fire missions also give units a chance to move while conducting their fire missions, although the artillery fire movement rate is limited for non-self-propelled guns.

5.5.1. Fire Support

Target a specific friendly unit to support throughout turn resolution. As long as the artillery unit remains in range of the targeted friendly, it will provide fire support for every combat the target is directly involved in during the turn. However, the fire supporting artillery will suffer cohesion loss for every individual battle it assists. Artillery fire support satisfies the artillery component of combined arms.

Strategy: Fire support is a great way to strengthen your forces in any battle, defensive or offensive, from afar. For many nations it simply is not advisable to risk valuable artillery in the front line, so fire support offers a relatively safe method to provide the artillery component of combined arms to frontline forces.

Note, providing fire support to a unit conducting a Reserve order will not pass fire support to units assisted by the Reserving unit.

5.5.2. Barrage

Target a specific hex, preferred target unit type, and impulse, to rain high-explosive hell on. For example, if you target an enemy stack for an impulse 7 barrage, targeting Armor, then your artillery will fire at that hex on impulse 7, and inflict extra damage to armor in that hex. If the selected target type is not present when the barrage occurs, then another preferred target will be selected randomly.

  • Barrage Strength and collateral damage: Barrages against the same hex, impulse, and target type, combine their barrage value. The greater the value, the higher the odds of damage to both the targeted unit type, and the higher the odds of collateral damage against other units in the same hex. Note, some terrains and structures reduce the efficiency of barrage, check the terrain display in the bottom left for details.
  • Pinning Targets: Enemy units that suffer casualties from barrage have a chance to become pinned in the next impulse, thereby preventing them from moving, and negating their Zone of Control during that impulse.
  • Strategy: When possible, concentrate your barrages on a few specific targets to inflict maximum casualties. With powerful barrages, and a little luck, artillery can negate enemy zone of control long enough to allow your forces to infiltrate and encircle enemy forces, or even bypass the front line entirely.

5.5.3. Counter-Battery

Counter-battery is functionally identical to barrage, except it specializes in destroying artillery and yields less collateral damage to non-artillery units in the target hex. Enemy artillery pinned by counter-battery cannot conduct barrage or fire support missions on the following impulse.

Strategy: Counter-battery can damage and even destroy artillery units, but its greatest strength is the ability to pin hostile artillery. For example, if you are confident that a specific enemy artillery unit is the only source of the artillery component of combined arms for a sector of the front, try to silence it with counter-battery the impulse before your ground forces launch a major assault.

5.6. Engineering Orders

Engineering orders include a wide range of options to create or bypass obstacles, ranging from destroying bridges to laying minefields. Building and destroying obstacles is handled by construction engineering, the more construction points you have devoted to a task, the faster it will be completed.

Combat engineering is used strictly for destroying or suppressing fortifications in battle and is discussed below in section 5.6.1.

5.6.1. Improve Position

Builds a battlefield fortification. Improved positions impede attackers, reduce the effect of enemy bombing/barrage, and provide defensive bonuses to attackers.

Combat Engineering: Improved positions can be suppressed or destroyed by enemy combat engineers in close combat. If an improved position is suppressed in close combat it does not provide combat benefits to the defender during that battle. Destroyed Improved Positions are removed from the map permanently.

5.6.2. Bridge

Build a temporary bridge across any river, major or minor. Infantry can cross a temporary bridge while it is under construction, but mechanized and armored units must wait until the bridge is complete, a full turn later. This temporary bridge will only remain in place as long as a friendly engineer unit is adjacent to maintain it at the end of each turn.

Strategy: Use temporary bridges to create new crossing points on major rivers, or to make passage across minor rivers easier. Because infantry can cross temporary bridges immediately, it is often wise to throw a regiment of infantry across while the bridge is under construction to secure a foothold before your opponent can respond. But be careful, the enemy can cross your temporary bridges too.

5.6.3. Destroy Bridge

Wire any adjacent bridge for detonation. Provided your engineers are not interrupted, the bridge will be destroyed on impulse 9.

Strategy: Consider destroying excess bridges that you do not believe you will need to use to force your opponent to waste time repairing them, or to funnel them toward stronger parts of your line.

5.6.4. Repair (bridge)

Repair a destroyed permanent bridge. Like temporary bridges, infantry can cross a repaired bridge the same turn repairs begin, but mechanized and armored units must wait a full turn.

5.6.5. Lay Minefield

Lay a minefield to slow down enemy forces. Minefields slightly increase the movement cost of a hex-side to friendly forces (+1 move cost), and significantly increase it for the enemy (+7 move cost). Additionally, minefields increase defense for all unit types by +10%.

Strategy: Use minefields to delay your opponent’s advance and strengthen your defensive positions. When combined with other terrain features such as mountains and rivers, minefields can make a hex-side nearly impassable to the enemy.

5.6.6. Breach Minefield

Breaching an enemy minefield reduces the movement penalty from +9 to +1. Breaching minefields is a quicker, but less effective alternative to completely clearing them.

5.6.7. Clear Minefield

Completely removes a friendly or enemy minefield. Clearing minefields is a time-consuming process, always consider whether your engineer’s talents would be better spent elsewhere.

6. Special Unit Rules

6.1. Shock Troops

German SS and Soviet Guards units receive powerful, but self-destructive, fanatic and shock combat modifiers.

6.1.1. Fanatic Units

Fanatic units gain a +40% close combat modifier, but suffer 20% higher casualties, when conducting Attack and Hold and Defend orders. All non-artilley units from SS panzer/panzergrenadier divisions, as well as independent SS armored units, gain fanatic combat modifiers.

6.1.2. Shock Units

Shock units gain a +25% close combat modifier, but suffer 12% higher casualties, when conducting Attack and Hold and Defend orders. All non-artillery Soviet guards units, and all non-artillery SS infantry units gain shock combat modifiers.

6.2. Mountain troops move bonuses

Mountain troops gain a 2 point cost reduction to move through broken, mountain, and escarpment terrain types. Consequently, mountaineers move through broken terrain like it is open plains and mountains like they’re normal broken terrain.

6.3. Commando/Paratrooper move bonuses

Commandos and Paratroopers gain a 2 point cost reduction to move through all terrain types. Consequently, commandos and paratroopers move through most terrain types like open plains.

6.4. Self-propelled artillery, fire mission movement bonus

Self-propelled artillery does not suffer any fire mission movement range reduction.

6.5. National Artillery Fire Support Restrictions

To represent historical artillery doctrines, or communication equipment shortages, Soviet, Italian, and French heavy artillery units cannot conduct fire support fire missions. The heavy artillery of these nations are still perfectly capable of barrage and counter-battery fire missions.

6.6. Unsupported Artillery Combat Penalties

If artillery becomes involved in close combat without support from infantry or armor, it suffers a -50% combat, barrage, and fire support penalty for the rest of the turn.

7. Air Units

7.1. Air Superiority

Controlling air superiority allows you to disrupt enemy air missions and protect your own. Air groups tasked with air superiority missions battle for control of the skies, while all other air groups carry out more specialized missions such as air bombardment, strike, air support, ground interdiction, and recon.

7.1.1. Determining Air Superiority

Each air group tasked with air superiority calculates its air strength as: (air weapon stat*morale *number of air superiority missions*cohesion) every turn. The air strength of every air group tasked with air superiority is then summed to determine a side’s total air combat value, and compared against the enemy. The greater your air superiority advantage over the enemy, the more hostile air missions will be attacked or lost, and fewer of your missions will be attacked or lost.

Note: Unlike other air missions, air superiority missions are automatically calculated, they are not targeted on a specific hex.

7.1.2. Air Missions Attacked

Air missions that are attacked suffer cohesion loss mitigated by their air weapon stat, but they still provide air missions.

7.1.3. Air Missions Lost

Air missions that are lost suffer high cohesion loss, mitigated by their air weapon stat, and do not provide air missions.

7.2. Air Orders

The number of air missions available to be tasked every turn is a result of orders given in the air command last turn, minus air missions that were lost during turn resolution.

7.2.1. Air Bombardment

Air Bombardment deals moderate damage against all enemy units in the target hex on impulse 0. The strength of air bombing scaled according to year. Air bombing can be targeted on any hex, even outside of your Line of Sight. Air Bombardment can be driven off or weakened by enemy fighters and high/medium altitude anti-aircraft. Terrain also reduces the lethality of bombing, the same way it reduces artillery barrage.

7.2.2. Air Strike

Air strikes inflict high damage on a single enemy unit in the targeted hex on impulse 0. The bombardment strength of airstrikes scales according to year. Unlike air bombardment, air strikes can only be targeted on spotted enemy units, you cannot call air strikes on hexes outside your Line of Sight. Air Strikes can be driven off or weakened by enemy fighters and low/medium altitude anti-aircraft. Terrain also reduces the lethality of strikes, the same way it reduces artillery barrage.

7.2.3. Air Support

Air support provides flying fire support and the crucial final component of the +50% combined arms modifier to the targeted friendly unit throughout the entire turn. Air support missions can be driven off or weakened by enemy fighters and low/medium altitude anti-aircraft.

7.2.4. Ground Interdiction

Ground interdiction eliminates the benefit of a road or trail to enemy units moving through the targeted hex during turn resolution. Interdiction can be targeted on any hex, even outside of your Line of Sight. Ground Interdiction missions can be driven off by low/medium altitude anti-aircraft and enemy fighters.

Ground Interdiction Bonus Against Forced March: Forced Marching units that run into an enemy ground interdiction mission suffer cohesion damage and are immediately forced to halt.

Strategy: Target Ground Interdiction missions on roads running through rugged terrain, or on roads you believe enemy reinforcements will move through during turn resolution. When properly used, Interdiction can slow down enemy advances, completely deny enemy armor access to roads/trails through mountains, and deny 6 point overstacking along roads during turn resolution.

7.2.5. Air Recon

Air Recon provides a 2-hex line of sight around the targeted hex. Air recon missions can be driven off by enemy fighters.

7.2.6. Maintenance

Aircraft inevitably suffer cohesion damage as they fly day after day without maintenance. Air groups suffer a base 5% cohesion loss per turn, but enemy air superiority and anti-aircraft can increase cohesion loss significantly. As cohesion depletes the number of missions each air group performs per turn decreases proportionately as well. Air groups regain between 20-30% of cohesion per turn when undergoing maintenance, depending on the nation and aircraft type.

Strategy: Exotic aircraft such as the German ME-262 jet fighter suffer from relatively low cohesion regeneration rates. Likewise, most Soviet aircraft possess lower cohesion regeneration rates than their Western adversaries. In both cases avoid flying air missions with all of your aircraft constantly, either hold them all back and flood the battlefield with a tide of aircraft during of a major offensive, or cycle air groups so you always have a few flying.

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