A Way to Play Free-Form Command & Colors: Ancients Epic Games
A buddy and I who really like to play C&C:A Epic have already played each of the official published Epic scenarios several times now.
I suppose we could we sit down and compose a few EPIC scenarios ourselves, but we found that there is too much ready material in front of us to go through the trouble. We've hit upon a solution to play Epic-style games with the standard published scenarios.
Here's how we do it:
- You'll need need a copy of the C&C:A Epic rules and boards. Also, we like to play two Command Decks rather than one. (Not necessary, but recommended under the current Epic rules.) Also, you'll need access to a second set of pieces and terrain tiles—or be prepared to proxy the extra units and terrain somehow.
- Pick a standard scenario. (Preferably one that is not too complex or has a lot of troops in it already. But it's up to you.)
- Set up the Epic Boards: You'll note that all C&C:A scenarios are 9 hexes deep, regardless. And Epic scenario maps are simply twice as wide as the standard ones: 26 hexes.
- Set up terrain and pieces: Review the standard scenario and carefully replicate it on the Epic mapboard by "stretching" what is in one hex over two, laterally adjacent hexes. This will double the terrain and units (but NOT leaders) on the board. For example: Look at hex A1 in the lower left-hand corner of the standard game map. On the Epic map, the hexes aren't identified, but let's call the hex in the most extreme lower left-hand corner "A1a" and the one adjacent to it on its right "A1b." If a Light Cavalry unit is to set up in hex A1 of the standard map, you'll put a Light Cavalry unit in each hex of "A1a" and "A1b."
- Initial Leaders: Players may choose which of the two hexes a leader go on on the Epic map relative to its original position in the standard scenario. In the previous set up example, if a leader were to also be in hex A1, the owning player could choose whether to put the leader in hex "A1a" or "A1b."
- Deal cards: Review the standard scenario to determine how many cards each player will receive. In Easy Epic, this number is multiplied by 1.5 and rounded up. A hand of 5 cards for a player in a standard scenario will give the Overall Commander a hand of 8 cards in Easy Epic, for example.
- Victory: Review the standard scenario victory conditions and simply double the number of victory banners needed to win.
- Special Rules: Review the special rules with your fellow players. Use a little common sense and try to anticipate any unusual situations that may arise as a result of playing the game under Epic rules and agree to how it will be handled. Remember that terrain and units are doubled, so a given hex that is important for victory or whatever will cover TWO hexes on the Epic map! (I tried to suggest that you play a simple scenario!)
- Place Bonus leader: Beginning with the side who moves first, the Overall Commander of each side may place one additional leader with any unit in their army that doesn't already have a leader.
- Carry on otherwise under normal Epic rules.
My buddy prefers free-style set ups where he takes the army a commander had and sets it up the way he wants to. There is a criticism that this allows a player to overcome problems or handicaps that the historical commander had in deploying his army in the first place. But, if you wish to deploy the opposing armies they way YOU want to, here is how we do it:
Deploy a screen across the board so that neither side may observe their opponents as they deploy their army.
Elephants and Light troops may deploy on the third row. Everything else deploys on the two rows behind them.
You could allow each subordinate to simply reorganize the troops in the section. (Troops on the split-section can be delegated by the Overall Commander to one subordinate or another.)
...Or perhaps the Overall Commander reassigns all the units in the set-up to different subordinate commanders and then the subordinated organizes them in their own section as they see fit.
...Or the Overall Commander simply sets the entire army up himself and then assigns players to their sections.
It's up to you!
Remove the screen once both sides declare "Ready."
(Nobody is perfect. Or we'd all be geniuses...)
After all units and leaders are deployed and before play begins, each side may adjust the position of up to four units and any attached leaders in their opponent's army by one hex.
Beginning with the side to Move First , the commander of each section adjusts the position of one opposing unit (and its attached leader, if any) in their section by one hex in any direction they wish so long as the hex picked is not already occupied. Attached leaders may not be split from the unit they are attached to. The fourth unit to be adjusted is picked by the Overall Commander of the side and may be any opposing unit of their choice provided it has not already been shifted.
The side moving second then adjusts the position of their opponent's units in the same manner. After all adjustments are complete, play may begin.