Monday, 9 December 2019

Commands and Colors Medieval

Ian and I played a couple of games of Commands & Colors Medieval. We chose the first two Byzantine-Sassanid scenarios, Thannuris 528 AD and Melebasa 528 AD. These were very much trial games, finding out how things worked and what things worked.

The game functions very similarly to Commands & Colors Ancients, but it's more fluid and more bloody. All things being equal, that should make for a quicker game, but that's balanced to some extent by the introduction of the faction-specific Inspired Actions which give you something else to think about and remind me of the events and tactics in Sam Mustafa's Rommel. These are either an unnecessary addition or a clever way of adding army flavour without proliferating the unit types or cluttering the rules.

Melebasa 528 AD: initial deployment. This is always preset in C&C games.
I'm the Byzantines on the near side. Ian has the Sassanids opposite
I forgot to take any photos of the first game. Ian played the Sassanids whilst I had the Byzantines. It's a very open battlefield and the game was close run. My left was badly mauled but I retreated to and held a couple of hill hexes, successfully fighting off attacks before winning the game elsewhere.

I initially made good progress in taking the central hill mass,
but my attack was badly beaten back and had to be renewed.
Hills are a great equaliser in C&CM and greatly degrade attacking cavalry. In the second game there was a large central hill mass which completely changed the dynamic turning the game into a much more attritional struggle. I eventually won this struggle thanks largely to my Heavy Infantry and then pressed the enemy against his back edge.

Later in the game. Note my nice collection of Victory Banners bottom  right!
The length of Evade and Retreat distances means you can easily end up on or near the back edge. With no place to go this is a bad place to be. At a number of points in the game I was faced with decisions about whether to make voluntary moves which would have meant moving back. But soldiers are there to fight, not fall back. In most cases I rejected that and I believe it paid off.

The main lessons learnt were: (1) Move forward and attack - always a good idea in C&C games - but especially so here to give yourself space, and (2) Find a good use for your relatively weaker Heavy Infantry - this will usually involve hills.


  1. I found moving onto C&C Medieval from C&C Ancients was learning curve , but a good game system nevertheless .

    1. C&CM certainly works, but when I first saw it mentioned I assumed/hoped it would represent a much later period. I think we've got a long wait before it catches up to Agincourt...

  2. This is much different game than ancients. Cavalry really are queen of the battlefield.

    1. Absolutely! The infantry are relatively few and weak, but it can be good to find a use for them...