Monday, 14 December 2020

Wounded leaders for Chain of Command

If you've been following this blog for any amount of time you will know that I have already devised several ways of marking wounded leaders for my games of Chain of Command. The quest for the ideal solution seems never ending as I think I've finally found something that works. The solution I've been chasing needs to achieve two aims - to record the event on the table but also to blend in well with the terrain.

One of my favourite methods has been to have an actual figure of a wounded leader to replace the figure of the leader who was just hit. That concepts fits my gaming aesthetic where I want to avoid markers that break the immersive nature of the table. Of course there's always an element of compromise, after all there's no point having an attractive marker if it's function is not clear.

The wounded leader figure certainly works in that respect but presents a few problems of its own. Firstly you need to have figures or convert them and while that is certainly possible it isn't always easy to find the right figures and conversion parts for every nationality or unit. I started off with some simple head swaps using a bandaged head that comes as a spare head with the Plastic Soldier Company 1/72 German Infantry set.

While that solved one issue it didn't solve another which is to show the two different types of wounds in the game - one wound, is a light wound that affects the leader for the remainder of the game. That was the idea behind substituting the figures with the bandaged head. However the other wound is a temporary one that sees the leader out of action only for the remainder of the turn. Given that was a different status it needed a different solution. Many players simply lie the figure over on its side. I don't know if I'm being particularly fussy but that just looks horribly wrong to me, as though someone has carelessly knocked the miniature over. Perhaps it's a reminder of playing toy soldiers as kid. Whatever it is, it wasn't going to work for me.

My second solution was to use an individual sabot base and have one for the light wound that lasts the game and one for the temporary wound (which I refer to as being stunned). I have used these type of single sabot bases for my leader markers for Sharp Practice and they work well. This was more practical and meant the same sabot bases would work regardless of nationality or uniform. I was very happy with this as a solution. 

However one of the things about taking photographs of our games for the AARs for the blog is that I scrutinise all my miniatures and our tables much closer than I might normally do were we just playing and not photographing. I started to notice the large footprint my leaders were taking up on their normal basing and then how much greater that became when wounded. 

My individual soldiers are based on 20mm MDF rounds. The junior leaders were on 25mm rounds and I had carried over a basing convention from another game to put senior leaders on 20x40mm rectangles. Those leader bases were taking up a lot of space, particularly in confined terrain. Once I put the junior leaders in the individual sabot bases they were taking up as much space as the senior leaders (who were already taking up too much space).  

The picture below sums the issue up nicely. The LMG team is on a 40x40 base, when I include a senior leader on a 20x40 rectangle and a marker for shock the space on the upper level is already overcrowded. On the lower level there is a wounded leader on a sabot base and you can see how there simply isn't room for everything when the bases are that large and you start to include markers for shock etc.

So to cut a long story short I rebased all my leaders and the weapons teams to reduce their footprint (you can see that in more detail in this post). Junior leaders went on to 20mm rounds and the senior leaders went on to 20x30 rectangles. This was a big improvement, but then of course my wounded leader sabot bases no longer worked for my junior leaders. My first reaction was to redo those sabots using a smaller size sabot for the new 20mm rounds, but in some ways that felt regressive if I was really aiming to reduce the footprint. I liked the sabot idea but wondered if I could find a way to do it in a smaller size.

I looked at all the types of bases offered by the various manufacturers and found these individual rings from Knights of Dice based in Melbourne. They looked like a good solution. 

They are intended to help when making custom sabot bases of your own design and are a very good and versatile idea.

I had used a painted haversack to represent a medic's satchel with my original wounded leader figures and so decided to use the same concept with these sabot rings. The satchels were quite small and would just about fit the width of the new rings. 

To keep the bases at a low profile I decided to mount the sabot rings on pieces of spare grey board left over from a Sarissa MDF house kit.

The edges were chamfered using the sanding tool on my Dremel to give them a more natural appearance. They were then textured and flocked as I would my normal bases. Finally, bags and haversacks from the spares box were added to make the medic's satchels.

To differentiate the two types of wounds, I painted some of the medic's satchels with the letter S to signify the leader was stunned.

When combined with the smaller bases for the junior leaders this enables a wounded leader to be marked without taking up a significant footprint.

While this works well for junior leaders it doesn't solve how to treat senior leaders with their different shaped bases.

The simplest solution was to use the same medic's satchels but to put these on small 20mm round bases. The satchels themselves looked a bit lost on the base and so I thought I would add bandages, which I made by soaking thin strips of white paper in diluted PVA glue and when soft laying them to shape on the base. At first I didn't add any blood but the bandages looked a little bit too much like toilet paper without it.

While this gives me a universal solution for recording wounds it doesn't mean I have abandoned totally  the idea of have wounded figures fulfil the roll - if I can find them. I've been after some casualty figures for my British platoon for NW Europe and picked up an excellent set of nine figures from AB Figures representing a regimental aid post.

Among the casualties was a walking wounded soldier with his arm in a sling that I thought would lend itself well to a wounded leader and so I based him as I would a junior leader and added a medic's satchel for good measure.

This gives a couple of options for wounded British leaders. I do like having a specific wounded figure, it's very evocative and so I'll be keeping an eye out for suitably posed figures for other nationalities.

While we are on the subject of wounds, the set also includes a stretcher bearer and a medic, both of which will make for excellent medic figures as supports in Chain of Command. All in all a very useful set.


  1. Splendid soloutions, splendidly executed.

  2. Very nice indeed. I agree that the immersive nature of the game is one of the good reasons why I enjoy it so much, and I am trying to upgrade all the game components, figures, scenery, markers etc.

    1. It's a worth goal I believe. For me miniatures is not just about the game it's also about the aesthetic, otherwise I'd stick to board games and push cardboard around on hexes.

  3. Very effective. They'll improve the aesthetic of the tabeletop nicely.

    1. Thanks AJ, that's the goal so hopefully I've succeeded.

  4. That does look excellent! I properly played tested Chain of Command for the first time last weekend and found the same issue you have with laying down wounded command figures. It just does not look right at all. I really like your idea with the medic bag and bandages particularly - that is superb and just needs a small base for a haversack. Thank you for sharing your great ideas!
    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks Jason, to be honest it's taken me a while to get here but I'm happy with this latest incarnation of my wounded markers. Glad you've discovered CoC I think you will find it a very rewarding game experience.