Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Two games of Commands & Colors Ancients

Commands & Colors: Ancients is probably the best of the C&C games, a series that for me sits somewhere between a boardgame and a gridded miniatures game depending on what you use to play it.

C&C Ancients and its extension sets offer a huge range of historical scenarios which you can set up in minutes.

Ian and I fought two games. In the first, Cynoscephale 197 BC, I commanded the Macedonians against Ian's Romans and won.

In the second, Battle of the Sabis River 57 BC, I had Julius Caesar's Romans against Ian's Belgae and lost. It was a close-run game.

Ian has a lot more experience of board wargames so he gives me  lot of advice. This means he's often playing against himself. So he always deserves the credit, whoever wins!

Like every game, C&C has its quirks and you need to 'play the game' to win. There are no objectives other than the total destruction of a given number of enemy units, and you constantly need to keep that priority in mind.

The other priority is to use your opportunities (the cards) as efficiently as possible, which means that you sometimes have to compromise about where to attack.

Finally, I was reminded of the importance of supporting units with two other units, something I'd completely forgotten about, and, in fact, don't even remember!

Anyway, this has fired up my interest in C&C and I've just ordered a copy of the new Commands & Colours: Medieval which covers the Early Medieval period - Huns, Byzantines and Sassanids.
Cynoscephale. My light troops commence
the game with good control of the hills.
Ian makes a strong atack on my left. I was
tempted to counter this but better opportunities
presented themselves elsewhere.
My left holds while my centre advances
And it's curtains for the Romans. In the real
battle the Macedonians were heavily defeated.
Sabis River. I seem to have taken only
one shot at the end. I was successful on my
right but badly mauled on my left. Caesar
survived but the 10th Legion was wiped
out. Ian pipped me at the post on the
last victory point. In the real battle, Caesar crushed the Belgic tribes.


  1. CC: ANCIENTS is the best of the lot (IMHO) and I play it frequently with both blocks and miniatures. MEDIEVAL has seen a few playings too and it was enjoyable as well. Much different than ANCIENTS and produces interesting twists to the original.

    One of my favorite systems that we can always get out on the table when we lack either time or the foresight to plan a game.

    1. Jonathan

      Yes, C&C is a great game to have on standby!


  2. My mate Chris and I went through a phase of playing C&C Ancients. We made an attempt to play all the scenarios. Didn't succeed of course but it was fun trying.

    Flawed but fun was our assessment.

    Somehow it got put in a box in the store room - probably when I moved house. And, three years later, it hasn't come out again. Not sure why really. Perhaps not fun enough, for us anyway.

    Although Chris has just purchased Memoir 44. So it will resurface.

    1. I guess C&C can be criticised for being too abstract and over-simplified while historical scenarios shouldn't have literally balanced forces, but the game mechanics are brilliant. I think the dice system is particularly clever, and, perhaps, something to be imitated.

      Memoir 44 is not the most popular C&C game but I wonder if it could be reworked with more chrome.

  3. It's a great game for a short game on a club evening I find

  4. Hi Richard,

    As I mentioned recently, I also see C&C as a very good 'game' and I find that I need to keep that in mind if I'm to enjoy it fully. That's because all the variants are much closer to the game end than the simulation end of the wargames spectrum and the more I let my inner geek worry about the distortions, the less I enjoy an otherwise good game.

    C&C has one particular virtue though, that sets it apart. It's the only wargame I can think of that rewards the 'commander' for pulling battered units out of the line and replacing them with fresh troops. It's worth playing for that alone.



    1. Hi Chris

      Games are games...wargames are games of chance with a military theme...wargames model different things...none of them tick all the boxes...they're all pretty abstract...they don't norally involve pain and death...

      I could rant on for hours about these issues!