Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansions 2 & 3 Review
Britain is pockmarked with standing stones. On a recent holiday we passed them in a dozen different sites. High on windy hillsides or perched above rocky bays, the waves seething over jagged rocks beneath. I love to touch them, to touch my history. They feel like the bones of the country, smooth yet pitted.
Alas, C&C Ancients is a shelf toad for me, but not because I don't like it. Short of my son for about half a dozen games I haven't been able to get players to join me, and to some extent I think it's because of the time period portrayed in the base set. Most of my friends couldn't tell me what century (perhaps even millennium) Julius lived in, and they have no exposure to Carthage at all. They also don't care all that much about history. So it doesn't attract very much attention when it's along for the ride. Throw in that it's a two-player game in a group that prefers to sit down to a single title each week and there's gonna be trouble.
Getting into Britain might make a difference, and might inspire me to push a little harder. I have to decide if I want to double-down on this or not. I'll leap to the conclusion I don't need Expansion 1 (Greece and Persia) to play 2&3.
But what's most interesting is your indication that the two sides play very differently, something that I think my son would be more interested in. He likes the idea of mobility and hit and run tactics, whereas I'm more of a heavy infantry taking one step forward each turn kind of guy. This may prove to be a better fit for the two of us than the original, where Carthage and Rome are similar in their approaches, and Carthage didn't bend to my son's wishes very well. So based on what you're saying here I may be purchasing my first expansion to C&C, putting me over the $100 mark on only my second or third game.
If GMT's smart they'll hotlink this review on their game page, just like they did your others. It's very good work.
And yes, it's the asymmetry that makes this so interesting. Be aware, however, that a lot of the scenarios are not terribly well balanced. If you cast your son as the barbarians, he'd better be mature enough to handle losing more than usual.
I really enjoy C&C:A in any flavour. But I mostly play on Vassal - only rarely face to face. I couldn't stomach stickering that many blocks
Alot of my group have all the expansions but I never see it coming to weekly game nights. Set up seems to take as long as the game itself.
I think you could make that case for the C+C system more generally, of course.
"women were ululating as the body was laid out"
I'm teaching History of the English Language right now, and am interested in this time period. Sadly, I traded my CC:A away several months ago after having purchased it and stickered it 2-3 times.
JR wrote: I have been an active member of the hobby for over 15yrs and I have never been so fully enthralled by a review. Rather than overwhelming me with a wall of how-to text, describing mechanisms and victory points, you have wisely eschewed the pedantic for the poetic and in so doing, wonderfully conveyed the beauty of play. Well done sir. Well done.
That's really kind of you to take the time to say so. I'm glad you enjoyed it: I hope you enjoy the rest of the site. There's some top-quality writing across the board here.