Command HQ
Rules of Play

Two Player Connections


Connection for a Two Player Game


Command HQ offers several connect options to registered users to allow two players to connect their machines and play head-to-head.  It is important that both players agree ahead of time what type of connection will be used, and any other options that may be required, such as baud rate for the modem.


Safe Harbor Games

By far the easiest way to find and play other human opponents is by going to the Safe Harbor Games website at . Just log onto the site, download the Safe Harbor Games software, and go into a Command HQ lobby. There you will find other players to play. To start a game, both of you sit at a table and press ‘Start’. The connections between your two machines are handled automatically by the Safe Harbor Games website as soon as both players at the table select “Start A New War” with “Another Human”..

See the section about Safe Harbor Games in the Installation section of this manual for more information.




The rest of this chapter on connection options are for players who want to connect without using Safe Harbor Games

This applies if you have an old machine (running DOS or Windows 98 or earlier) and want to connect directly to your opponent through the modem or serial port, or if you want to make your newer system machine (Windows 98 or later) emulate the older DOS system but connect directly through the internet using DOSBox instead of actually using the phone lines to directly connect.

As you can see, the following connection configurations are a bit more complicated, and so are not recommended for the average user.




If you have a computer running Windows XP or later, and want to connect to someone else directly over the internet without going through the Safe Harbor Games website, you can do so using the DOSBox program.

After installing Command HQ from Safe Harbor Games, find the CHQ directory in your Safe Harbor install directory. In there, find the file “chq.conf” and make a copy of it, and rename the copy to “dosbox.conf”. Then edit that file under a text editor like Notepad, and find the line that reads:   “ serial1=nullmodem  “  That is the line you may have to edit.

Determine which one of the two players will be the server, and which will be the client. The client machine must ‘make the call’ to establish the connection with the server. The server machine should leave that line as is, with nothing after the “serial1=nullmodem “, but it must make sure that port 23 is open through the firewall so the outside world can find it. The client machine must know the ip address of the server machine, and that line should be edited to read “ serial=nullmodem server:x.x.x.x “ … where x.x.x.x is the numbers of the ip address of the server machine.

Once you have DOSBox configured, you can connect by starting the DOSBox program, and inside of there, start Command HQ as you would if by typing HQ at the command line. Inside of Command HQ, both players should connect by selecting the connect options ‘Direct Serial’ and ‘Comm 1’ and matching baud rates.





This option allows you to have your computer either dial or answer the phone using the modem.  Select this option to connect using normal phone lines.  After telling the computer where to find your modem (COM port and possible IRQ setting for that port on your modem), one player should select 'Dial' and the other 'Answer'.  The dialer should then type in the phone number of the other player, and after the phone dial, the other machine should answer and the game will begin.



This option is just like Modem/Phone, except no modem initialization nor dialing occurs.  This option should be selected if you have your two computers in the same room connected through the serial ports using a null modem cable.  It should also be used if you are using modems, but have already used some other terminal program to connect your two them, and you already have a carrier signal established between the modems before starting the program.



Use this option if you are connecting through some other type of connection that only allows 7-bit communications, such as in a BBS chat room.  This option functions just like Modem/Phone, except all messages generated by the game are sent using standard ASCII characters, and not the full range of binary numbers.  It may be useful for dialing a BBS system, for instance, where you will sign on and enter a chat room to find your opponent there.  Because the computer has to send more data, this option may play slightly slower than Modem/Phone.



This option assumes you already have an established connection between you and your opponent, and that connection only supports ASCII characters, and not the full range of binary numbers.  Use this option if you are already in a BBS chat room with your opponent before starting the program.



Use this option if you are connected to a Local Area Network (LAN) that supports the IPX communication protocol, such as Novell.  It is also the option to choose if you want to play over the internet, using the Kali software and one of their many game servers.  If you are on such a LAN or running under Kali on the internet, simply select this option to connect to your opponent.   When your opponent has done the same, the connection will be established, and the game will begin.

If there are more than 2 people starting games of Command HQ on the LAN or Kali Server at about the same time, then the first player to select this option will connect to the second player to do so, and the third player will connect to the fourth player, etc.



The Modem/Phone options allow you to enter a communications terminal mode.  This terminal mode is a full ANSI-Compliant terminal program that allows you to call any ANSI or text based BBS and log on.  It also supports uploading and downloading of files, using the X-Modem standard protocol.   Use Page-Up and Page-Down to upload or download a file from within the terminal.   This means you can use the terminal program to log onto The CHQ Player's Club BBS and download the latest versions of code.  You can also use it to log onto a local BBS and enter a chat room, and use that as a communications medium to play the game.

You can either enter the CHQ Terminal before dialing the phone (and use the terminal's phone book to dial for you) or after you dial the phone (if you are dialing a BBS, and must log in and enter a chat room, or do other special stuff, before you're ready to start the game).

Note: The CHQ Player’s Club BBS is no NO LONGER IN OPERATION. You should download the latest versions of code from Safe Harbor Games instead.

To get out of Terminal Mode and continue with the game connection process, press Escape.



Inside the terminal, you can press F2 to get to the phone book.  You can use this phone book to store the names and phone numbers of your favorite opponents, in order to quickly speed-dial them without having to re-type in their phone number every time.

The phone book can store up to 256 names and phone numbers.  To select a number to dial, use the Up or Down arrow keys, or the Page-Up or Page-Down keys to select the desired name.  When the name of the person you want to dial is highlighted, press Enter to dial the phone number.  If you choose an empty entry, it will not dial.

To add or edit a name or number in the list, highlight an entry and press F1.  You can then edit the name.  Press Enter, and you can edit the phone number.  If you make a mistake, press F1 again and re-enter it.  To erase an entry, highlight it and press F2.  This will clear that entry from the list.  To exit the phone book without dialing a number, press Escape.

By default, the phone number for The Command HQ Player's Club BBS can be found as entry number 15, at the bottom of the first page of phone numbers.   You can use this phone book and the terminal program to sign onto the BBS and get the latest updates, if needed.

Note: The CHQ Player’s Club BBS is no NO LONGER IN OPERATION.



The CHQ Phone Book also supports logon scripts, to provide one-key logons to BBS systems that you use regularly.   After you enter a new phone number, you have the option of providing a script.   This is useful if your connection involves more than dialing a number, but also entering a predefined set of keystrokes, like a userid and password.

In the script menu, you have 18 lines to work with per phone number.  It is always in overwrite mode, but the Insert key can be used to add a space at the cursor.

There are four script commands available:


Add a 2 second delay

M <text>

Next command when text is matched, or 10 seconds have passed.

P <text>

Print text out without carriage return.

W <text>

Write text out with carriage return.

These command must be at the beginning of the line, followed by a space, then an optional letter or number.

Here is a sample script, which might have been used by someone who wanted to sign onto the CRIS network and log in automatically.  Once logged in, it will take you to The Game Connection.  (This script is offered as an example and is no longer useful, now that the CRIS network no longer offers The Game Connection as a means of connecting for Command HQ play.)

M :

W <userid>

M :

W <password>

M :

W 4

M :

W 2

M :

W 12

In the above example, we take advantage of the fact that CRIS sends a colon character (':') whenever it prompts the user for input.  We know the first prompt will be for the userid, and so we send that information first.  The second prompt will be for our password, so we send that next.  Once we are signed on, we select option '4' from the Main Menu to get into the Multiplayer Games area.  From there, option '2' would take us to the Game Connection area of the service, and finally option '12' will take us into the Game Connection itself.



If your modem fails to dial or connect, the problem may be with your MODEM.INI file.  This file contains commands to initialize your modem.  You may edit this file, to suit your particular modem's needs.

The default MODEM.INI file for the Version 2 upgrade contains the following 3 lines:


This line is required to reset the modem.


This line is also required.
&C1 will allow the Carrier Detect signal to be used.
&D2 will enable the modem to detect a dropped signal.
S7=60 will wait up to 60 seconds from dial/answer to connect
S10=50 prevents call waiting from interrupting the game
s2=255 prevent escape chars from changing modem mode.


This line is also required, and should be the last line.
X3 will detect busy signal, but still pick up a voice call
T will use tone dialing, not pulse dialing.
&T5 don't go into 'loopback test' mode.
&T0 stop any loopback test currently in progress.

Please refer to your modem manual for more information on modem strings.

If your modem requires any additional commands to properly initialize it, it is recommended that you insert those lines between the 2nd and 3rd line of the default MODEM.INI file as described above.



If your modem fails to connect, look at the message at the top of the screen, and compare it to one of the messages below in order to take corrective action.

     Your I/O card or internal modem card is set to the wrong IRQ or Port address.   The game is designed to use these standard port settings:
       COM1 - Port address = 3F8, IRQ Level = 4
       COM2 - Port address = 2F8, IRQ Level = 3
       COM3 - Port address = 3E8, IRQ Level = 4 (but allows for IRQ 2-5)
       COM4 - Port address = 3E8, IRQ Level = 3 (but allows for IRQ 2-5)
Check your Serial I/O card or internal modem to be sure it matches the above setting.

     Either you turned off your modem, or a wire is broken or missing in the cable connecting your computer to the modem.  Try replacing the cable.  It must have at least 9 wires if the computer has a  9-pin plug, or 25 wires if it has a 25-pin plug.  I also recommend a shielded cable.

Another possible cause of this error is an invalid line in your MODEM.INI file.   Look at that file, and try going into terminal mode and typing each line exactly as it appears in the file.  After you type each line, the modem should respond with 'OK'.  If it does not, that may be your problem.  Edit your MODEM.INI file so that your modem responds with an 'OK' after each line.  This may involve looking up the commands listed here, and trying to determine which command your modem doesn't like, and replacing it with a version of the command that it does.

     Either a missing wire (see above) or the modem really has lost the carrier.   If this error appears during the game, it may later give you a warning to save the game.  It will then display the game save menu if this condition remains for 1-2 minutes.  However, if the game continues to play normally, then you can ignore this message.  It could just be noise in the telephone line.

Hung at TESTING CONNECTION (or no error message given)
     First of all, check with your opponent to ensure he is using the same software that you are using for SERIAL.OVL or INTERNET.OVL.  If the overlay files don't have the same date, they may not be compatible.  If your modem is external, does the SD (Send Data) light flash every 10 seconds?  If it is, then it is working OK.  If it is not, then it could be the wrong IRQ.  Check if it is correct, and change it if needed.   If you are not getting any data from the other player, as indicated by the RD (Receive Data) light, the other player may have a problem at his end.

If you get a CD (Carrier Detect) light, and the SD and RD lights flash, but you still get no connection, you may be trying to connect at different baud rates.  Be sure you both agree to use the same baud rate.  If you are connecting to a Version 1 player, be sure to select 1200 baud.  Otherwise, 2400 baud is recommended.  Faster baud rates are available for your own convenience, but will not result in faster gameplay.

Finally, you might want to try some tests.  If you are using DOS, try removing EMM386 (or other memory management software) or other devices from your CONFIG.SYS.   Or try to disable your cache if your computer has a 386, 486, or Pentium processor, or lower your computer speed, or raise the I/O wait clock, change com port, etc.  Sometimes these settings might interfere with the modem settings.



It is possible to have Command HQ 'pick up' an existing call between the two players.  Make sure your telephone and modem are on the same line (if you have 2 lines this option is probably unnecessary).  You can call your opponent and talk to him/her while you both start the Command HQ program.  Select Modem/Phone under the Connect Options.  One of you will still need to be the Answer side and the other the Dial side (it doesn't matter which).  When you are both ready (i.e. the dial side says "enter your phone number" and the answer side says "waiting for call"), you can begin.  The dialer should type in any number (I just type the number 1) and press Enter.  When the answerer hears that tone, he should press Escape.  Continue to hold the handset to your phone until you hear the screech of both modems and then hang up the handset.  You can do the reverse when the game is over.  Send a "chat" note like "let's go to voice".  Then Alt-R.  When you see the message "Disconnecting", grab the handset and wait until the screeching stops.  If your opponent did likewise, you can then talk while you watch the film, for instance.

This connection method is also useful if you have two machines with modems in the same room, and are connecting the two modems together using a telephone cable.  There is no need to connect through any phone company's wiring in this scenario; you can just plug the modems together directly.



The default MODEM.INI file should set up the computer to keep the connection even if a call waiting beep interrupts.   However, it may slow down the game, and cause the person calling on the call waiting line to not get any answer, and you may never know someone called.

If one opponent has call waiting, he/she should do the dialing to disable it so callers will get busy signals.  Simply precede the phone number you want to dial with "T*70," (or whatever your local phone company wants with a "T" in front and a "," behind).  If you both have call waiting you will have to take your chances.  However, if someone calls, the game will either slow down due to the interruption in communication, or "disconnect" and "save" so you may both resume at that spot, depending on the settings in your MODEM.INI file.   If both players have the 'S10=50' line in their MODEM.INI files, the game should hold its connection.  If either player has a smaller number than 50 or the S10= parameter is not there at all, then it will disconnect and prompt for the save game.

(If you have 3-way calling you may be able to disable call waiting even if you are the answer side but you will have to use the Voice Call note above.)



When you do get connected, you should get either a 'Connected' or 'Opponent Found' message (depending on whether your using a serial/modem or network connection).  As soon as that message appears, you should be able to press the The F5 keykey to chat with your opponent.  One player will get to choose the game scenario, the other will choose the side (red or blue).  Once the game is initialized and you've had a chance to plan your attack, press Alt-Pto start the game.


Next Chapter: Reference Tables