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Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansions 2 & 3 Review

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21 Sep 2015 00:29 #211031 by Matt Thrower

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. 

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21 Sep 2015 08:53 #211032 by Sagrilarus
Quite the novel approach on this review. Very nice bending of the corners.

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.

S.

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21 Sep 2015 10:05 #211044 by Matt Thrower
Glad you enjoyed the review. When you've been writing these things for over a decade, it's nice to find a bit of a different angle.

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 :)

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21 Sep 2015 10:50 #211050 by jgriff
Sag - Put this down for the May Weekend. This is one of those games that I love but things always seem to conspire against it making it to the table. I've only played it a handful of times but it seems like the best of the C&C system easily. Since my son loves the Memoir toy factor, it gets played alot. I purchased Expansion #2 a long time ago for the mounted board but never played it. Now Expansion #3 is nowhere to be found by itself.

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.

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21 Sep 2015 11:54 #211058 by Gary Sax
IMHO, the expansions to C+C are primarily valuable only insofar as their scenarios are good. Otherwise it's just providing you largely redundant sets of different colored blocks.

I think you could make that case for the C+C system more generally, of course.

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23 Sep 2015 00:07 #211172 by CranBerries
Ululate: howl or wail as an expression of strong emotion, typically grief.
"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.

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25 May 2020 18:55 #310627 by JR
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.
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25 May 2020 20:55 #310629 by ubarose
Hi JR. Welcome to There Will Be Games. Matt has been writing for over a decade and has a strong personal voice and style. Poetic is an apt description.

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26 May 2020 10:57 #310639 by Matt Thrower

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.

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