Sunday, August 12, 2012

Commands & Colors Crazy

Where in the heck has LTL Dad been lately?  He's been playing the Commands & Colors games by GMT.  I don't know if I've ever been this addicted to anything before.  Well, maybe when I was younger, chasing LTL Mom, but other than that...
These games are by Richard Borg, and are the final evolutions of a very fine game system starting out with Battlecry and Battle Lore.  You get to set up, play, and get this, FINISH a game in one to two hours, and maybe three or four hours for large multiplayer games when drinking beer and chatting too much.
The games come with high quality components.  Beautiful, well thought out charts, card decks, special dice,and rules.  The rules are written clearly and are simple and well organized.  Everything is very intuitive and after a few games you will rarely go for the rulebook or charts.  The games come with wooden blocks and you have to apply the stickers, the only down side for some people.

The heart of the game system is battlefield friction.  Each commander maintains a hand of cards, the quantity depending on the commanders skill level.  So historically better commanders will have more cards in their hand giving them more choices of commands and tactics.  The cards allow you to activate units based on sections of the battlefields or special conditions.  The card deck is the representation of command control/communications problems.  So the bottom line is you can do anything that the cards in your hands allow you to do.  This means that from turn to turn the commanders will have to react to a constantly changing condition and find ways to get their army to do what he wants despite the fortunes of war.

If you are the type of gamer who thinks he should have complete control of every unit in his army at all times, and that things should always go as planned, this game is not for you.  However, if you enjoy cursing the cards, the decks, the enemy, the game Gods, and biting your nails until the last turn of every game than this is the absolutely what the doctor ordered.

I had been eyeing this game for a long time but didn't try it till a few months ago.  I really wish I'd found it sooner.  Many of the modules are out of print but the good news is that GMT supports their stuff and they have a reprint system in place for game demand.  CCA and CCN look they will both be around for many reprints in the future so keep an eye on it at GMT and join the P500 list to help keep these games going.
In the meantime there are rules available for download and modules for vassal play.

Of course my group has already started to play this game with miniatures.  Finally found a use to drag all my historical armies out of the closet and get them some workouts.

I will post some of our miniatures battles here on my blog to give an idea what the game looks like converted to miniatures.

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