Command is a fictional board game within the MMO ORION (game). It is played by the human colonist NPCs and players in the game, and has become popular as a real world game since being introduced. The first major Command tournament, the ORION Command Conference, took place in 2315, two years after the release of the game.
Command is played on a rectangular board, each player occupying the shorter ends. The board is an elongated 9x9 grid, each cell being labeled with an increasing number, except for the central "plateau", which are all the same number. Each player's pieces are lined up on their "home row" immediately in front of them, and must move them forward according to the piece's abilities to defend their base while simultaneously weakening their opponent's pieces. Pieces represent distinct Earth military units, most of them heavy artillery or mechs, which can move and fire a prescribed distance, as well as withstand a prescribed amount of damage. The pieces are modular, allowing the player to visually display this damage. Certain cells, scattered about the board, have indicators that give pieces occupying them advantages or disadvantages that the player can make use of.
In order to win, a player must either destroy all of their opponent's pieces or complete the construction of their base by using their pieces to gather 100 resources. A clever player may win a resource victory by repeatedly landing on high-value cells, essentially farming the land while distracting their opponent. Most games, however, are more straightforward.
Play begins by players placing their pieces on their home row in an alternating fashion after deciding who goes first. During their turn, the player may move one of their pieces according to its rules and execute attacks with that piece. The player may move and attack, one or both, or may choose to pass their turn. Attacks always end the turn; a piece may move then attack but NOT attack then move.
Attacks always deal 1 damage to the unit(s) it targets. A piece with no damage units remaining (i.e. only the base is intact) is removed from the game. All attacks may only target cells to the front, back, left, and right of the attacker - no attack may be made diagonally.
As pieces move over the board, they collect a number of resources as indicated on the cell they are moving to. Pieces must actively and legally move onto a square to claim its resources; a player that passes their turn or only attacks does not claim any . Pieces that are pushed (as with a Sniper attack) do not collect resources for this movement. A player who reaches 100 points wins the game regardless of the status of their pieces. A player who loses all their pieces loses the game.
The Command board is an elongated rectangle with a 9x9 grid of rectangular cells delineated on its surface. In ORION, the board is decorated to appear as a swathe of wartorn land. Each cell is labeled with the number of resources awarded to the player, increasing from each end toward the "neutral zone" in the middle, which features two high-value cells spaced out in the central row.
Command pieces are modular, formed of one to three red colored stackable "damage" units over a black or white piece-specific base. The base is designed to look like the unit they are meant to represent, and have movement and weapon information printed on them. One player's base pieces are white, while the other's are black, which differentiates them on the board.
Each player's unit complement consists of 4 Infantry, 2 Snipers, 2 Mobile Artillery, and 1 Mech. Each unit does 1 damage to other units in their prescribed attack range.
- Infantry is the most numerous piece, and has 1 damage unit. It may move one square at a time in any legal direction, and may attack any unit in a square immediately next to it.
- Snipers have 2 damage units, and move like Infantry. Snipers may only fire on units that are at any distance directly in front of them, toward the opponent's side. Units hit by sniper fire that are in the central three rows are pushed backward to their home row.
- Mobile Artillery have 2 damage units, and may move one square at a time, but only forward and backward. Mobile Artillery may only attack any unit 2 squares away, skipping the cells immediately next to them. While in friendly territory (the player's 3 closest rows only) they are immune to knockback.
- Mechs have 3 damage units, and may only move if at least one nearby cell is occupied by a friendly unit. Mechs may attack up to 3 squares in a straight line away from them, hitting all units in between regardless of whose pieces they are. Any piece with more than 1 damage unit may transfer one of their damage units to the Mech, replacing any lost health, or extending its damage units beyond the standard. This transfer counts as an attack for the purposes of aiming and turn resolution. A unit may not kill itself in this way.
Optional Resource Chips are provided with physical copies of the game, while electronic counters modeled after those used in ORION are sold separately.
In ORION Edit
Within the ORION game, Command is presented as a view of the board, with loosely animated figures of the opponents and a randomly generated crowd surrounding it. The board features digital counters that automatically monitor each player's resources. Transparent overlays are displayed around pieces when the player selects them, showing their possible movement and attack abilities, accompanied by a floating text explanation. Many features are automated, such as the removal of damage units and dead pieces.
Opponents of different quality are scattered through the cities of Mintaka Prime and Mintaka Beta, including two grandmasters. Several empty boards are scattered throughout homes and public spaces, allowing players to challenge others or join automatically matched games with anyone else wishing to play.
In an interview about developing the Command game, a game within a game, Orion Interactive Group (OIG) co-founder David Wright said his inspiration came from playing a game with his son:
"We were sitting at the kitchen table, playing with his Legos, building action figures and fighting with them. We'd sort of hit them together and pieces would fly off, both of us going 'Aahh! You hit my leg! It fell off!' At the time, we were already wanting to include playable minigames within ORION, but were running into legal and funding issues getting the games we wanted. We could have done Chess, but this is the future, right? They've probably got some future chess with robots and futuristic pieces. I played with it for months, finally arriving at Command, where you play Chess by banging your Lego action figures together, watching the pieces fly off." - David Wright, CEO Divinity Interactive, co-founder of Orion Interactive Group