Commands and Colors Ancients: First Impressions
Whew... I just applied stickers to both sides of 345 wooden blocks for C&C Ancients... actually 344 as my copy from GMT was missing one. Grrrr!
- Bits: Acceptable... I would have preferred miniatures, but much better than counters or stand-ups. I would imagine most people are not going to enjoy the experience of applying 700 stickers... Thank heavens for my iPod to keep my brain from exploding out of boredom. Then to finish and find I was missing one block... I had to laugh (to avoid crying)!
- Board: The artwork, for a plain desert map isn't bad. However, it's unmounted cardstock, i.e., disappointing. For $50 you should get a mounted board.
- Rules: Very well done with plenty of examples and illustrations. Just a little better organization could have been done, as the rules for leaders are in 3-4 different places, but overall very good. I'm really impressed with the leadership, close combat, support, and elephant rules. The game is going to play a lot differently than Memoir. A key point seems to be keeping your troops from breaking ranks and retreating (echoes of Battle Line). I think this game is going to be a lot of fun.
- Dice: Poorly made hollow plastic boxes with stickers. This is just criminal for a game with so much dice rolling. I don't mind the stickers as much as the hollow plastic boxes.
- Box: Solidly made. The box art is just okay in my opinion... not McGowan's best effort though.
- Cards: They look and feel almost exactly like the cards from Battle Line. Thin with pretty basic art. Days of Wonder spoiled me. Having a Spartacus card in a game where its Rome vs. Carthage struck me as just wrong, but definitely a minor point.
- Scenarios: Ten in the rules, and GMT gave three extras to those who pre-ordered. Personally I think this is pretty cheesy compared to how Days of Wonder just posts tons of official scenarios on their website. GMT promises more scenarios in their C3i magazine, which sells at $20/copy. Yikes! Just inspecting the scenarios, I'm a bit concerned that many of them are going to be unbalanced. Now this would be historically acturate as it wasn't unusual for ancient battles to be one-sided massacres, but it doesn't make for the best game play. Hopefully I'm wrong on this point. The battle of Zama looks totally awesome though!
- Expandability: Huge. The game just covers Rome vs. Carthage. So there's a huge variety of other ancient battles which could easily be added to this game system.