Command HQ
Rules of Play

Game Controls


Starting A War


Command HQ offers you a lot of choices when you first start up the game.  To make a choice, use the The Mouse (or Joystick or Arrow Keys) to scroll through the menus.  Press Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key to select.


Start A New War: This begins a new game of Command HQ.  You are then given a choice of opponents, communications methods, and eras in which to fight.

Resume a Saved War:  This restarts a saved war.  The game will begin using the same parameters under which is was saved (e.g., a two-person saved war cannot be restarted as a solo game).

Layout Armies: This is a special option used to create personalized layouts for "1986" wars only.  See the section on Layouts for more information.

Load a Film:  This selects a previously saved War Film, and loads it into memory.  See Game Films for more information on films.

Watch a Film:  This runs the War Film currently residing in memory.  To watch a different film, it must first be loaded.

Save a Film:  This saves a War Film of the war just fought into a file of saved films.  If a film is not saved, it is lost as soon as a new war is fought.  See the section on Game Films for more information.


If you are playing Command HQ at Safe Harbor Games, your Alias Name is the same as your Safe Harbor Games user name.

If you are not playing at Safe Harbor Games, then after you select "Start a New War", you are prompted to type in your Alias Name.   This name is saved between games, so whatever you type here will become the default next time, until you change it again.  Enter your name, or whatever nickname you wish to be known by for this game.  In 'official' Command HQ games such as in ladders or tournaments, it is customary to enter your nickname or 'handle', followed by a comma, followed by your real name.  If you do this, then your nickname (up to the comma) will be used for most messages during play (the opponent's names appear at the top of the screen in the message area if there are no other messages to be displayed), but the full name will appear in the Endgame Statistics screen.


After you enter your Alias Name, you are then given a choice of opponents.  You can play another human being (via cable link, modem, network or Safe Harbor Games website), or a Computer Opponent.   "Sgt. Stan Still" is a special, non-active computer opponent, to be used for practice, or if you want to play with Two Players on one Computer.


If you are playing at Safe Harbor Games, then both players simply need to sit across from each other at the same table at the website, and select “Another Human” as their opponent. No connect options are provided and you are immediately connected to your opponent as soon as both players make that selection.

If you choose to play another human and want to connect directly without going through Safe Harbor Games, then, you will be offered several choices as to the type of connection you have (direct connection through a serial cable link, modem, or IPX network).  You may also be asked for more information about the type of connection, such as the Communication Port for your modem or serial port.  See the section on Connecting for a Two Player Game for details on how to do this.


Once you have chosen your opponent (and established a connection if playing via cable, modem, or network), you are offered a choice of crisis situations in various eras of world history (and future).   If playing against a human opponent, one player is chosen at random to select the crisis option to be played.

1918: This game begins late in World War One, after the fall of Czarist Russia.  The German forces must be remobilized for an all-out assault on the western front, and the German fleet must escape into the Atlantic to prevent the arrival of American reinforcements.  1918 is a good scenario to play for your first game of Command HQ.   It uses only infantry, cruisers, and subs, and limits the scope of the battlefield.   It is also an interesting operational problem in its own right.

1942: This game begins with American involvement in World War Two.   The German forces have invaded Russia and are in a race to take Moscow before the Allies begin their D-Day invasion.  Meanwhile, the Japanese have conquered the Philippines and may be heading for Hawaii.  This scenario adds air power and carriers, and enlarges the scope of the war to cover the entire world.

1986: A hypothetical World War Three between the Warsaw Pact and NATO, as envisioned several years ago.  This scenario adds nukes, foreign aid, satellites, intelligence scans, and cease-fires.  Oil becomes a consideration in this global war.

2023:  This scenario uses all the rules from 1986, but presents each side with a balanced but randomly selected mix of cities and oil fields.  It postulates a World War Three-style war further into the future, when national alliances and super-power status have changed.  The random selection process allows for millions of possible starting setups.  No starting forces are given in this scenario; instead, players are allowed to build their armies from a large pool of money.

????:  A far-future scenario postulating a fragmented Earth of city-states.  You are one powerful overlord who begins a program of world conquest based from your own capital.  Your opponent's forces and possessions are hidden from you, so you must first find his capital before you can win!  The cities and oil fields are distributed randomly (as is your capital) providing millions of different game situations.  The ???? scenario is by far the most popular of all of the scenarios among Command HQ players, and is the scenario commonly used for most official ladder and tournament games.


In two-player games, the player who did not choose the scenario gets to choose which side he will play.  In all cases, when choosing sides, you may play either red or blue.  The red forces control the Axis armies in 1918 and 1942, and the Warsaw Pact in 1986.  The 2023 and ???? scenarios feature random setups, so color choice is irrelevant in these scenarios.


If you are playing 1986, you have the choice of using the standard opening layout, or a custom layout you have created with the "Lay Out Armies" option (see the section on Layouts).  Select the layout you wish to use.


For all scenarios, you are allowed to adjust the amount of money with which your opponent begins the game.  This can be useful as a handicapping device.



Looking Around The War Room

Game Screen


At the top of the screen is a mode status bar.  The modes and messages are self-explanatory, and appear as reminders (for example, when in Airplane Mode the message "Airplanes" appears in the mode status bar).

The Map

The map is a terrain representation of the world.  Types of terrain include ocean, lake, shallows, plains, forest, jungle, desert, polar, and mountains.  The colors for each terrain type are listed in the table entitled Colors Used in the Game.

The map also shows the locations of all major capitals, cities, bases, and oil fields in the world.  Cities and bases are black squares and oil fields are small "+" signs. The object of any scenario of Command HQ is to capture all of the Capitals on the map.  Oil is important in some scenarios, to keep the machinery of war and commerce running.

Zoom: You can zoom in on any area of the map by holding the cursor over that area and pressing Right Mouse Button, Joystick Button #2, or the Spacebar.  This shows the terrain in more detail, and shows combat units at full size.  Press Tab to toggle through small, larger, and full-screen zoom windows.

Press Scroll Lock or Num Lock, with Cursor Movement and move the The Mouse, Joystick, or Arrow Keys to alter the zoom position a little bit at a time.  To zoom in on a distant area, press Right Mouse Button, Joystick Button #2, or Spacebar to unzoom, reposition the cursor, and then press Right Mouse Button, Joystick Button #2, or Spacebar again.


The four screens below the map are called Monitors One through Four.  Each serves several functions during the course of the game.

Monitor One shows you your oil status, in games that use oil.  Selecting the Ctrl-Z, or Click in Monitor One for Monitor One displays your opponent's oil situation.  See Economics And Oil for more about oil.   In addition, when you select a unit to move, Monitor One shows the unit and any pertinent status messages.

Monitor Two automatically displays the national flag for any city, base or oil field over which the cursor is held.  In addition, it displays animations whenever a crisis message appears. (See The Message Bar, below.)  Selecting the Ctrl-X, or Click in Monitor Two for Monitor Two displays a city/bass/oil comparison graph, including the number of each that you hold.

Monitor Three is the crisis monitor.  It begins the game displaying the area around your national capital, and shifts view throughout the game whenever a crisis message appears.  Press Alt-Spacebar, or Right Click/Spacebar while in Monitor 3 to focus the game map in on the crisis area.  You can also do this by pressing Right Mouse Button, Joystick Button #2, or Spacebar when the cursor is in Monitor Three  Selecting the Ctrl-C, or Left Click in Monitor 3 for Monitor Three converts the crisis window to Show Ownership Mode. (See the paragraph entitled Show Owner.)

Monitor Four displays the type of terrain and occupying unit, if any, in the map space over which the cursor is placed.  Units sometimes have status messages accompanying them (see the section about Unit Strength and Repair).  In some scenarios, the owner of the terrain is also displayed.  Selecting the Ctrl-V, or Left Click in Monitor 4 for Monitor Four shows you current income in Billions per Round (BPR), and your current cash reserve.   Pressing the key a second time shows your opponent's known income; his cash reserve is always kept secret.



Below the monitors is a space for game messages.  These include crisis messages such as "Enemy threatening Hiroshima" or "Enemy sub spotted in the North Atlantic", messages typed and sent by the opponent, announcements of capture ("We liberated an oil field in Oman") and results of air missions.

You can set the level at which "threat" messages will be received.  Level 0 gives no threat messages, level 1 gives warnings only of serious threats, level 2 gives warnings of all threats, and level 3 gives all warnings and announces the spotting of enemy units.  It is suggested that level 3 be used until you become proficient at the game, and probably even then, too.

You can review previous messages on this line by pressing Backspace, or Click in the Message Area at the bottom of the screen.   The buffer stores about 30 messages.



The Middle East Theater



You can see your units as small icons when looking at the full map.  You can see a close-up in Monitor Four of any unit the cursor is over.  The close-up also appears in the zoom windows, and in Monitor One when the unit is selected.

Each unit represents an army, fleet, or air wing of up to several thousand soldiers and vehicles.  Types of units include air, infantry, tank cruiser, carrier and submarine.  All units except air units have several common features:

Type Icon: Each unit type is recognizable from the icon in the center of the unit.  See Unit Diagrams, below, for a picture of each unit's icon.

Strength Bar: A unit is at full strength when the band of color at the bottom extends all the way across the unit.  As the unit takes damage in combat, the bar recedes.  A unit with no color bar showing is very near destruction.

Background Color: A land unit has a white background color.  A sea unit has a light blue background color, the same color as the oceans.  When a land unit boards transports and becomes a sea unit, its background color changes from white to blue.

Infantry Entrenchment: Infantry armies can "entrench", making them much harder to kill.  An entrenched infantry has an additional green color bar above its strength bar.  If this bar is not there, the infantry is not entrenched, and is therefore more vulnerable.

Units Diagrams


Enemy units are hidden from sight until they enter the scanning radius of one of your units.  Scanning radius ranges from very large (for active air units) to very small (moving submarines).  See the Firing and Scanning Ranges chart for details on the scanning ranges for each type of unit.  An enemy unit remains hidden (does not appear on the screen) unit it is scanned.

Your recon satellite scans everything in its radius (see the section on Satellites).

Submarines do not appear in the scan radius of enemy units.  Subs are only revealed when they attack, or move into the fire range of an enemy unit.




To order a unit to move, first select it.  The cursor changes shape, the selected unit flashes, and its icon appears in Monitor One.  Move the cursor to the desired destination and press Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key.  If the destination is illegal for that unit, a warning sounds and a message is displayed in the status bar.

Multiple movement orders (or Waypoints) can be given for a single unit at a time. To give multiple orders, after selecting the first destination, press Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key again without first moving the cursor in order to reselect the unit, and then you can move the cursor to the 2nd destination and repeat the process. Up to 4 destinations can be specified this way. The move order will be considered complete after either the 4th destination is given, or you move the cursor after giving and earlier destination. The unit will start moving towards the first destination even before the rest of the move orders are complete, and when it reaches its first destination, it will move on to the 2nd, then 3th, then 4th.

Once movement orders are given, the unit will begin moving towards the destination without further commands.  Infantry that are ordered to move lose their entrenchment benefit (see the paragraph about Infantry Dug-In).  A unit moves in a straight line over land, but if a land unit's path of movement lies across the water, it will "board transports" and begin to move along the sea routes.  Naval units cannot cross land. Waypoints are useful for specifying more specific routes for a unit to take, especially when crossing the sea routes.

If a unit’s path crosses the edge of an enemy or neutral city, base, or capital, its destination is automatically re-routed to move towards the center of that city, base, or capital in order to capture it, and any subsequent destinations are forgotten.

Speed and

All sea units (except transports, which are slightly slower) move at the same rate of speed.  Land units move more slowly than sea units, and infantry moves more slowly than tanks. 

Steps Per Round
Infantry 12
Tanks 24
Transports 36
Submarines 40
Cruiser 40
Carrier 40

The table here lists the number of 'steps' a moving unit will get credited with in a round.  These steps will get spent as the unit moves across a space.

Speed is also dependent upon the type of terrain the unit passes through.  See the Terrain Effects chart below to see how many steps are required for a unit to move through a particular terrain space.  Since jungles require more steps to cross (60) than plains (20), units will take 3 times longer to cross a jungle than to cross the open plains.  Note that forests, mountains, and polar regions also cause slower movement (in that order).

Land units will never move more than one space per round, even if they have accumulated enough steps to do so.  Sea units, however, can move more than one space, provided they have accumulated enough steps, and also have not been spotted by the enemy.   Sea units slow down slightly when spotted, due to the need to prepare for battle and take evasive action.

When not moving, a Land Unit's accumulation of steps returns to 0, while a Sea Unit's value returns to it's steps available per round.  Therefore, ships are quick to make an initial move while land units are not.

Terrain and

Some types of terrain cause attrition.  Attrition causes a unit's strength to drop each round that the unit is in that terrain; strength cannot go below 20 per cent of maximum due to attrition (except in a nuclear wasteland).

Some types of terrain provide better opportunities for defense.   A unit on one of these spaces suffers less damage in combat.

The following table is a summary of movement, defense, and attrition effects of each type of terrain.

Terrain Effects
Steps Used
Defense Attrition
Base* 20 Yes Yes**
Capital* 20 Yes Yes**
City* 20 Yes Yes**
Desert 20 No Yes
Dock* 20 No Yes**
Forest 30 No No
Jungle 60 No Yes
Lake 20 No Yes
Mountain 40 Yes No
Ocean 20 No No
Oil Field 20 No No
Plains 20 No No
Polar 50 No Yes
Shallows 20 No No
Wasteland 20 No Yes
* These terrains allow friendly units to repair when resting in them.
** These types of terrain cause attrition only to enemy units


When you select a unit and then select a destination, the unit will move to that spot and await further orders.   It will go to that destination regardless of the presence of attrition-causing terrain, enemy units, or any other factor.  Be sure to keep an eye on your units as they move to make sure you still want them to go where you told them to go!

Showing a Destination:  To see a unit's destination you can either press F8, or click on 'DEST' or hold the cursor over the unit in question.  Pressing the key shows the target and travel path for all your units.  It is useful for getting an overall idea of where your troops are going.  Holding the cursor over a unit shows only that unit's path and destination.  This is sometimes a little easier to see.

Sea Routes:  Land units can board transports and become sea units.  When they do this, the will begin to follow the sea routes, which are sometimes tortuous-looking but are usually faster.  Note that the sea lanes are standard paths, and are not always the most efficient.  Be sure to check a sea unit's path when navigating near islands (such as England, Japan, and Borneo) to make sure the sea unit isn't taking the long way around.

Shallows:  As far as players are concerned, shallows and ocean spaces are the same.  The only difference between them is how they are used when calculating Sea Routes.  A unit will not cross shallows when finding its path, unless it is required to get to the final destination.  They are used to help keep ships from accidentally getting too close to land.  Otherwise, they are just like oceans, so you should treat them as such.  The only way you'll notice shallows is by placing the cursor over them, and looking in Monitor Four.  You'll often find them at the tips of peninsulas, to help keep ships offshore as they travel around them.

Dug - in

An infantry unit that does not move or engage in combat (offensive or defensive) can "entrench".   This represents anything from true trenches to improved positions and the preparation of kill zones.  When an infantry is entrenched, a green color bar appears above its normal strength bar.   This bar disappears if the unit is ordered to move, but once entrenched an infantry remains entrenched even if engaged in combat.

Entrenched infantry suffer significantly less damage from all types of ground and sea attack


To move air power, first press F4, or click on 'AIR' to view all planes.  Then select the plane you wish to move.  Finally, select its destination (this must be within the larger circle visible on the world map).  The air unit is immediately transferred to its new location, and becomes unready.  Air units may only be transferred to cities, bases, capitals, and aircraft carriers.

and Air

An air unit may transport an infantry unit to any land location (except enemy cities) via a paradrop.   To perform a paradrop, first press F4, or click on 'AIR' and select an air unit.   Then select a non-moving infantry unit within three spaces of that air unit.

The infantry may be paradropped within the small air mission circle.  Conducting paradrops in the presence of enemy air power is a risky thing.  Infantry lose strength from the act of paradropping due to the fact that they must leave behind their heavy equipment.

If the air unit transporting the infantry targets a friendly city, the "paradrop" becomes an air transport, and both the air unit and the infantry unit are moved to the new location.





A typical infantry army represents 300,000 to 500,000 troops, with artillery, trucks, and helicopters.  A typical tank army represents 100,000 to 300,000 troops, with artillery, armored personnel carriers, attack helicopters, and 1,000 to 3,000 tanks.

When two opposing land units' icons overlap, they engage in combat.  To order a unit to attack, simply give it a destination that overlaps the location of an enemy unit.

Infantry are fairly fragile and deal out small amounts of damage; entrenched infantry are enhanced defensively, but do no extra damage.   Tanks are overall best on offense and defense, but cost twice as much as infantry.


When a unit engages in combat, it causes damage to a single enemy unit once every round.  The unit remains targeted on the chosen enemy until one of them is destroyed or moves away, or until a different enemy unit moves closer, at which point it will be targeted.  The chosen enemy will be the closest enemy unit, except that land units will give preference to targeting other land units, even if an enemy sea unit is actually closer.  A second friendly unit added to the combat inflicts damage on the enemy, but takes none itself.

When units engage, they take on a "facing"; that is, one of their four sides is considered the "front" of the unit (the side nearest the targeted enemy).  If the unit is then attacked from the flanks or rear, it takes additional damage.

When fighting, a burst symbol appears in Monitor Four when the unit shown takes damage.


When a land unit attacks or is attacked, some of its movement ability is lost.  Units that are heavily engaged can become pinned and lose the ability to move until enough time has passed, or until you re-order them to a destination.

Units can accumulate movement steps as they are moving, up to a maximum of 100. (See Speed and Terrain.)  When in battle, infantry units lose steps equal to the damage done when either attacking or defending.  Armor lose steps equal to half of the damage.  Battle damage to sea units do not affect their maneuverability.  This effect can reduce the steps value for a land unit down to a deficit of -25.  When steps are negative, the unit is pinned.  Giving a pinned unit a move order will cause any deficits in step accumulation to return back to zero, possibly resulting in the unit becoming un-pinned, if they can move out before getting hit again (a 50-50 shot, each round).


When a unit takes damage, its strength bar is shortened to show the approximate percentage of strength it has left.   When this bar is completely gone, the unit is very near destruction.  When a unit takes a hit that inflicts more damage than it can absorb, the unit is destroyed; you'll hear a warning sound and see an appropriate animation.

A unit can recover strength by remaining in a friendly city, base, or oil field.  Sea units can recover only in the dock spaces of a city, base, or capital..  Each round the unit is in such a space, it recovers some of its lost strength, its strength bar gets longer, and the message "Repairs" appears above the unit in Monitor Four.

Units can never be repaired beyond their starting maximum.

and Oil

Land units can capture enemy cities, bases, capitals, and oil fields.  Oil fields have no defense, and become part of a side's territory when a unit from that side occupies the field.  The field remains on that side (even if the unit leaves the field) until an enemy unit occupies it.

Cities and  bases have intrinsic defenses against invasion, but a city alone cannot withstand attack from a full-strength combat unit.  Enemy cities inflict a little damage to conquering units, but neutral cities can take almost half of a unit's strength.  Once a unit is given the destination of a location in an enemy city, it will attempt to seize the central portion of that city, until in it conquers it or is given orders to leave the city entirely.

If the unit reaches the center of the city without being destroyed, and no enemy units are in any other space within the bounds of  the city, then that city is "liberated" and joins the attacker's side.  The city remains on that side (even if all combat units leave) until an enemy unit occupies the central space of the city.

Liberating a city or base will cause the unit to 'forget' is prior move orders, if the city space was actually on the route to another final destination.  Once the city is captured, you may need to give your attacking unit new marching orders, unless you want him to stop there and repair.  Oilwells can be captured without stopping or changing direction.

Combat Symbology


Combat Symbology


A typical sea unit represents an entire fleet of ships and its support units.  A carrier represents 3-10 carriers each with about 100 aircraft, plus 40-50 support ships.  A sub represents 50-100 subs.  A cruiser represents 10-20 cruisers and battleships, with 100 or so support ships (destroyers, frigates, PT boats, etc.).

In general, sea units follow the same rules as land units as far as targeting enemies, facing, and taking and receiving combat damage.  Sea units' combat ranges are usually larger than those of land units, but the procedures are the same.


Sea units that engage in combat do not suffer a loss of mobility; sea units are never "pinned".  In addition, there is no "flanking" at sea.

Submarines are hidden as long as they do not move; if they move, they can be spotted by a stationary enemy, and attacked normally.  Once spotted, they can be seen at normal scan range.  Otherwise, they attack and are attacked only when within two spaces of the enemy.

Land units that move out to sea become "transports" with extremely limited ranges and combat power.



Air Power

A typical air unit consists of 1000-1500 aircraft, including 100-200 heavy bombers, 100-300 transports, 200-400 fighters, 100-300 strike aircraft, and 100-200 miscellaneous aircraft, such as electronic warfare and reconnaissance planes.  An air unit based from a carrier represent proportionately fewer planes.  This is partly because carrier crews are expert at getting multiple missions out of their planes, and partly because a carrier craft cannot perform paradrop missions (and thus has no transports).

To enter Airplane mode and view air units, press F4, or click on 'AIR'.  In the world view, each air unit is visible in its base, city, or aircraft carrier.   Active air units are distinguished from inactive by color - active units are Blue or Red, inactive units are gray.


All air units are either active or inactive.  Active air units can be given missions when in Airplane mode.   Giving an active air unit a mission causes it to become inactive for eight rounds after the mission is completed.

An active air unit can also become inactive if an enemy air unit performs a mission within ten spaces, as the unit must scramble to perform Combat Air Patrol (CAP).  This is called the CAP radius of the unit.   CAP is performed automatically.  Air units rendered inactive by performing CAP are made inactive for only four rounds.  Inactive air units can still perform CAP, but at reduced effectiveness.  An inactive unit performing CAP has its amount of inactive time increased by four rounds.  Inactive units can perform no other type of mission.

Selecting an inactive air unit causes a message to be displayed that tells what round the air unit will become active.


To have an air unit perform a mission, select that air unit while in Airplane mode.  Two circles appear around the unit.  The smaller is the "restricted air radius" in which most missions must be performed.  The larger is the "maximum air radius".   This radius is used for unloaded air transfers only.

Loaded/Unloaded Air Transfer:  To perform an unloaded air transfer, select a friendly city, base, capital, or aircraft carrier within the "maximum air radius" (the larger circle) of the air unit.  The air unit will move to the new destination and become unready.  (Air units can transfer directly from the city they are in to another location in the same city).

Air units can also transfer friendly infantry.  Infantry must be within three spaces of the air unit's starting point, and be entrenched, in order to be the subject of an air transfer.  If you select such a friendly infantry unit as the air unit's destination, you may then select a friendly city or base within the "restricted air radius" (the smaller circle) of the air unit.  The air unit and the infantry are both transferred to the new destination, and the air unit becomes unready.

Air units based on carriers cannot perform loaded transfers, as they have no transport craft as part of their wing.

Paradrop: If an infantry is selected as above, selecting a destination anywhere within the small circle other than a friendly city or base executes a paradrop.  In a paradrop, the following restrictions apply:

1) The target must be on land, and may not be directly on an enemy city or unit.

2) The air unit remains at its original base and becomes unready.

3) The dropped infantry suffers a minor combat loss.

Air units that are based on carriers may not perform paradrops.

Air Strike:  To perform an air strike, select an enemy unit (land or sea) as the destination.  If the target is a land unit, then half of its remaining strength is lost to the air strike.  If the target is a sea unit, then a constant amount of its strength is lost.  Thus, sea units can be destroyed by three air strikes, but land units can take six strikes.

Bombing:  If you select an unoccupied enemy city, base, or oil field space as the destination, then that target will be "bombed".   Bombing deducts resources from the opponent - money if the target is a city or base, oil if the target is an oil field.  In addition, a city or base will be unable to produce new units for five (additional) rounds (see Placing New Units).


All air missions except "transfer" have a chance of failure, regardless of the presence of enemy air units.  This chance is increased when attacking enemy cruisers or carriers, and is also increased the closer the mission is carried out to an enemy air unit (active enemies are more deadly than inactive) on Combat Air Patrol.  Air units perform CAP automatically.  An air unit that fails a mission might become unready, or it might be shot down.

If you attempt an air mission (except transfer) within ten spaces of an enemy air unit, there is a chance your mission will be intercepted and the two air units will "dogfight".  This may result in the enemy being shot down and the mission succeeding, in an aborted mission, or in your plane being shot down.   Inactive enemies are less likely to intercept.

Note that the chance of your mission being intercepted rises as you perform the mission closer to enemy aircraft, but that the resulting dogfights are always an even battle.

Air MissionsAn air unit has been selected after pressing F4, or click on 'AIR'.  If Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key is pressed while the cursor is over an enemy unit, an airstrike is performed.  If Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key is pressed with the cursor over a friendly entrenched infantry within three spaces, a paradrop / air transfer will be designated.

In the 1986 and 2023 Scenarios, airplanes have a Restricted Air Zone with a radius of 15 spaces, and a Maximum Air Radius of 100 spaces.  In the 1942 and ???? Scenarios, airplanes have a Restricted Air Zone with a radius of 12 spaces, and a Maximum Air Radius of 70 spaces.


All active air units automatically carry out reconnaissance flights over the surrounding area, exposing all enemy units (except submarines) to view.  Inactive aircraft do not perform reconnaissance flights, so using an air unit might cause some enemy units to disappear from your view during the air unit's subsequent period of inactivity.


Economics and Oil


Although it sometimes seems like war is an end in and of itself, the true purpose of war is usually to seize economic objectives.  In Command HQ there are two types of economy that drive the machinery of conflict, money and oil.

Cities &

Each round, each of your cities produces 50 million dollars in income.  (Bases do not produce income, but they also do not use any oil.)  This money is used to purchase new units and, depending upon the scenario, to pay for a variety of useful effects such as nuclear weapons and intelligence scans.  By selecting the Ctrl-V, or Click in Monitor Four for Monitor Four, you can display not only your current money supply (in whole billions), but your income in billions per round (not rounded).  Press the key again to see your opponent's income.  The opponent's available funds are secret.

All things being equal, the nation with more cash will eventually win the game.  Thus, you must conquer cities to gain an economic edge.  Once you can outspend your opponent, you can produce more troops than he can, and the final victory is just a matter of time.


Or so it seems.  In the 1986 and later scenarios, however, oil becomes a major consideration.  You can have economic might and still lose if your oil situation is not taken care of.

Oil fields produce oil.  You can keep track of your current oil situation in Monitor One.   This displays the amount of oil you are currently using ("Out"), compared to the amount of oil you are currently producing ("In").  By selecting the Ctrl-Z, or Click in Monitor One for Monitor One, you can toggle back and forth between your own oil situation and your opponent's situation.

An oil shortage can cause your units to stop moving, your planes to be unable to fly, and your cities to stop producing income.  An imbalance in your "oil budget" is signaled when the word OIL in Monitor One flashes red.   When your reserves are exhausted, you will begin to see messages indicating the effects of the crunch.  The red bar above the "Out" oil column indicates how much oil you would be using if you had enough for all your units and cities.

Cities use a great deal of oil, but bases do not use any.  Airplanes use more oil than land units.   Land units that are not in motion use very little oil.  Ships use no oil, partly because many of the ships represented are nuclear-powered, but also because oil used by ports takes into account naval refueling and maintenance.


Production ScreenTo purchase new units, press F6, or click on 'BUY'.  This brings down a menu showing all units available for purchase in the game.  The next two columns lists the number of each unit type which you possess ("Count"), and the number of enemy units that are visible ("Known").  Your opponent is likely to possess more units than those listed - the number given includes only those units currently visible to you.

The last column lists the cost per unit of purchasing the indicated item, in billions.  To purchase a new unit, highlight your choice with the The Mouse, Joystick, or Arrow Keys and select the icon with Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key.  The money is instantly subtracted from your funds and the production screen vanishes.  You are then asked to place the new unit.


General Placement Rules:  Once you have produced a unit, you must place it.  In the "Placing New Units" mode, every city and base you own is highlighted on the map with a green, yellow (or white), or red square.

Land units and aircraft may be placed in any friendly city, capital, or base.  Ships may be placed only on docks.  Thus, if all your ports have been conquered, you cannot produce new ships.

Readiness:  Each time a city or base produces a unit, that city and several surrounding cities become unready, much in the same way as air units.   The amount of time a city is unready is proportional to the cost of the unit built in or near it, and the number of friendly cities (and especially capitals) nearby.  Buying a tank causes the affected cities to be unready for twice as long as buying an army, since tanks cost twice as much as armies do. 

When cities are first liberated, they are unready for 15 rounds.  Often the purchase of a unit causes cities to become unready for longer than that.  So, one good strategy is to purchase a new unit right before liberating a nearby city, since you will probably be able to build in the newly liberated city before you'll be able to build again in the city you just purchased the unit in.

When you are placing your purchase, ready cities are highlighted in green, unready in either yellow (or white) or red.  If the city will be ready in 20 rounds or less, it will be outlined in yellow (or white).  If it will take longer than 20 rounds, it is outlined in red.

If you attempt to place a new unit in an unready city, a message appears in the mode bar, telling you in what round the city will be ready.

Placing Non-Unit Purchases:  See the appropriate section below on each unit for information on placing satellites and nukes, and the use of foreign aid and intelligence scans.

Escape:  If you press Escape before placing the purchased unit, the funds are returned to you.



Other Features



Satellite ScreenIn the 1986 and 2023 scenarios, satellites and satellite killers are available for purchase.  To view existing satellites, press F9, or click on 'SATL'.  A small insert box appears, showing the locations of all satellites on both sides.

Each satellite has a reconnaissance radius, shown as a circle surrounding that satellite on the satellite map.   Within this radius, all enemy units except submarines are exposed.


Satellites can be purchased like any other unit.  To place a new satellite or move an existing satellite, select the satellite and then select a new destination, as with other units.   Satellites move much faster than ground and sea units.

Each time a satellite is moved, is uses up a little of its booster fuel.  While "satellite sweeps" are an effective way to keep track of your opponent's forces, they will ultimately knock your satellite out of the sky.


Satellite killers are used to knock reconnaissance satellites out of orbit.  Satellite killers are purchased as any other unit; to place a satellite killer, select a destination on the satellite map.  The satellite killer begins over your home capital and moves quickly to the selected destination.

Once a satellite killer reaches its selected destination, it explodes, destroying all satellites within its kill radius (about six spaces on the world map).  If your opponent moves his satellite, you'll have to give your satellite killer a new destination to avoid detonating in empty space.


Nuclear Warfare


In the 1986 and 2023 scenarios, you have the option of deploying nuclear weapons.  Nuclear weapons are launched from undetectable ballistic-missile submarines (i.e. they are not represented by specific units in the game).  They can be targeted against any location except national capitals and locations very near to such capitals, which are protected by SDI/ABM networks.


Nuclear weapons can be "bought" like any other unit, by selecting from the Purchase Units menu.   Once bought, a nuclear strike is used once.  A nuclear strike costs 10 billion dollars.  Once purchased, the nuke is deployed by selecting a location on the map.

Restrictions: Capitals are protected by SDI/ABM, so nukes cannot be used within a certain distance of any capital.  In addition, your missile crews will refuse to target a nuke in your home country (even if it's been invaded).

Finally, there is the "three-nuke" restriction: your missile crews will only fire three more nuclear weapons than your opponent has used.  Thus, if you fire three strikes, you may use no more until your opponent uses one.

of Nukes

Kill Zone: A nuclear strike destroys all units and all terrain within three spaces of ground zero.   This includes all land units, sea units, air units, cities, bases, and oil fields.   Only satellites and satellite killers are unaffected by the nuclear strike.

Wasteland: After a nuclear explosion, all land area covered by the blast radius is converted to wasteland, including cities, bases, and oil fields.

Wasteland is radioactive, and causes extreme attrition that can destroy a unit.  Do not enter wasteland!

Diplomatic Effects:  World opinion is heavily against the use of nuclear weapons.  Therefore, whenever a nuke is used, some number of cities in the world will shift their alliance, either becoming neutral if part of the offending alliance, or shifting to the enemy if already neutral.

The number of cities that switch is partly random, and partly determined by civilian casualties (represented by the destruction of cities) and friendly casualties caused by the nuke.  Also, the first side to use nukes suffers an additional penalty in this regard.

Production Reduction:  After a certain number of nukes have been dropped, the overall deleterious effect on the Earth's biosphere begins to be felt.   All city production is reduced by 25 per cent or more when this occurs.

Nuclear Winter:  When the ash and haze from too many nuclear explosions threatens to bring about a new ice age, a warning sign appears with the dropping of each nuke.  With each nuke, there is a chance that true nuclear winter will occur, and the game will be a loss for both sides.


Diplomatic Warfare


Foreign Aid enables you to sway the loyalty of other nations, causing hostile ones to become neutral, or neutral ones to become allied.  To use it, choose the Foreign Aid icon from the Purchase Units menu, then select a city within the nation you wish to sway.  It may take more than one use of foreign aid to gain a nation's services - the more cities it has, the more it will take to sway it.  Cities within an opponent's home country can never be the target of foreign aid.

Your opponent can give foreign aid to the same targets you do, thus negating your efforts, but only large countries make it known that they have received foreign aid.  You may be able to gain a smaller ally without interference.

Once a nation switches to your side, however, your opponent might try to sway it back.   Garrison its cities quickly to avoid this.

Violating Neutrality: Foreign aid can be used even during wartime, where it represents aid to insurgents, partisans, and other disruptive forces within a conquered nation, or continued diplomatic efforts on a neutral.  If the enemy captures a city within a neutral country, the remainder of that nation can be swayed to your side with only minimal foreign aid efforts.


At the start of the 1986 and 2023 scenarios, and at any time during those scenarios that both players agree, peacetime conditions prevail.  At the start of the game, this is called the cold war.   During a war, it is called a cease-fire.  In either case, several special rules are in effect during peacetime.

Duration: Peace lasts for a pre-set amount of time, depending upon the scenario.  A counter in Monitor One tells you how much time remains in mandatory peace; after that, either player can start a war by pressing F2, or click on 'WAR'.

Unit Transfers and Production: During peacetime, units may be transferred from one location in the world to another instantly.  Simply select the unit once, then select its new location.  This does not cause air units to become unready.

Units may be produced normally, but need not be placed in cities; units may not be produced in or transferred to neutral or enemy territory.  (Foreign aid can be especially important during peacetime.)  Producing units does not cause cities to become unready during peacetime.

Starting Destinations:  A unit can be given a destination to which it will start to move the moment war begins.  To give a unit a destination, select it twice, then select its destination.  Destinations do not have to be within friendly territory.  Air missions cannot be predetermined.

Oil and Economy: Regardless of the number of cities or units, a side does not use or generate oil during peacetime.  Cash, however, still accumulates, and at an accelerated rate.

Intelligence Scans (Spies):  During peacetime, the opposing player's troops are "invisible".  This is mainly due to the differences in time scale: his troops exist, but where they will be stationed at the time of war is top secret.  The Intel Scan represents the use of spies, and can give you an idea of his plans (i.e. his disposition of troops during war).

When you select Intel Scan from the Purchase Units menu, the world map shades over.   A single bar runs across the screen, and beneath which all units are revealed - including your opponents'.

Your opponent receives a message that you are performing an Intel Scan, so be aware that his dispositions might be changing even as the scan is taking place.


Computer Players


In addition to playing against Another Human, you can select one of  five computer opponents available for solo play.  They are, in increasing order of difficulty, Sgt. Stan Stil, Cap. Luke Warm, Col. Buck Zeal, Gen. Win Moore, and Mars God of War.

Sgt. Stan Still, as his name implies, he will never give any new orders of his own.  It is like having no opponent at all.  This selection is useful for experimenting with the game in order to learn more about how it works.

The toughest opponent is "Mars God of War", and as his name implies, he can do some magic us mere mortals cannot.  Specifically, Mars can build units at any time without having to worry about city readiness.  (See Purchasing New Units.)  You'll quickly discover that you won't be able to take an enemy city owned by Mars, if he has enough money in the bank to buy reinforcements.  An apparently empty city will suddenly fill up with defenders when attacked, if Mars has enough money to buy them all.  Otherwise, his AI is the same as Gen. Win Moore, which will play a reasonably tough game.

Computer opponents can be made tougher by giving them a large handicap of money at the beginning of the game.  Giving Gen. Win Moore a handicap of $990bil in the ???? scenario will create a formidable opponent (that plays by all the same rules as you do).   Although it is still possible to defeat Mars God of War with the same handicap, it requires a slightly different strategy to deplete his bankroll before going on the final assault.

Remember, however, that the toughest opponent of all is Another Human.  Just because you can walk all over Mars, even when you give him a strong handicap of 990 billion dollars, doesn't mean that you have mastered Command HQ.   All it means is that you are more than ready to play head-to-head with another human.  That's where the game really gets interesting.


There are certain limitations to the game, which you will probably never run across during normal play.  Specifically, there are limits to the total number of units allowed on the map on both sides (combined).  The maximum number of Land/Sea units is 100.   There can be no more than 30 planes on the map, and no more than 10 satellites.   If you try to build a unit and get a message saying 'No More Units', that means that you and your opponent have reached one of these limits.  That usually means it is long past time for you to go on an attack.  Or you could use Ctrl-Alt-K (see Kill My Unit) to kill some of your own men, before buying new units.

The object of the game is to capture all of the enemy Capital Cities.  The first player to do so is the winner.  When a player wins, there is a short animation showing all of the land masses changing colors to Red or Blue (the color of the victor), and then the Endgame Statistics are displayed.

After the game is over, the two players' Endgame Statistics are displayed.  This screen shows the number of units of each type bought by each player, as well as the number lost by each player.  Press any key, and the Endgame Statistics screen is gone, and you can inspect the final board position or chat with your opponent.  To view the statistics screen again after the game, or at anytime while watching a film replay, press F3, or click on 'WAR'.

The information in the Endgame Statistics screen is also saved to a file called CHQSTATS.TXT in your game's subdirectory.  This file can be viewed with any text editor, such as Edit in DOS, Notepad in Windows, or E in OS/2.   Using one of these editors, you can mark the text and 'Copy' it to the system clipboard, then 'Paste' it into an E-Mail reporting your victory on the internet, for example.  If you are playing in a tournament game, you may be asked to do just that when reporting your victories.



Menu Command Summary

Following is a summary of all commands that are available across the hidden menu bar at the top of the screen.  To access the menus, move the The Mouse, Joystick, or Arrow keys into the Mode Bar or press F10, or click on the 'up-arrow' symbol on left side of menu bar; the menu bar appears.  Use the The Mouse, Joystick, or Arrow keys to move from menu choice to menu choice; use Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #2, or the Enter key to enact a command.


Enacting the F0, or Click on Up Arrow on Left Side of Menu Bar changes the menu bar to the Game Functions menu; see Other Commands for how to use these commands.


Use the F1, or click on 'MSG' command to scroll between warning message levels.  Level three warns of all threats to friendly cities, and of enemy units spotted; level two warns of threats only; level one warns of only "serious" threats; level zero gives no warning messages.  Most players seem to prefer to play with message level three set, to be warned of everything possible.


Enacting the F2, or click on 'WAR' command during peacetime allows you to begin hostilities, but only after the mandatory time has elapsed.  Enacting this command during wartime allows you to ask for a cease-fire, or to resign.  Your opponent must agree to your proposed cease-fire, or the war continues.  Enacting this command after the game is over or during the viewing of a game film brings up the war statistics screen, showing the total number of units of each type bought and killed by each side.


Use F3, or click on 'TER' to examine terrain features and ownership of cities and oil fields.  When in Terrain Mode, all units are removed from the board.  Enacting this command again returns the game to War Room mode.

Show Air

Use F4, or click on 'AIR' to examine all known air units on the map.  While in Airplane Mode, air units can be given missions.


In F5, or click on 'CHAT', you can communicate with your opponent.  After enacting this command, simply type whatever message you wish to send.  It will automatically appear (as you type it) on your opponent's message bar at the bottom of his screen.  If he replies, his message will be displayed for you at the bottom of your screen.

To exit Chat Mode, press F5, or click on 'CHAT' again or press Left Mouse Button, Joystick Button #1, or the Enter key.


When you press F6, or click on 'BUY' this command is enacted, the Purchase Units menu appears.  To exit this mode, press Escape or the ` key or press F6, or click on 'BUY' again.


The F7, or click on 'OWN' command turns the world view into an ownership view.  It shows which side controls all cities, bases, and oil fields, and also shows all units.  In addition, national boundaries of friendly countries are outlined, to help you in placing units during peacetime.


Press F8, or click on 'DEST' to get into Destination Mode.  In this mode, each unit's path is shown as a line on the screen (this works in zoom as well).  While large numbers of units' destinations are hard to distinguish, this command is useful for getting an overall idea of where you've ordered everyone to go.


When the F9, or click on 'SATL' command is enacted, the satellite map appears, showing the locations of all satellites and satellite killers.  Satellites and killers may be given destinations on this screen (only).



Next Chapter: Special Functions