We are new to Command and Colors Ancients. I have been playing with my 11 and 9 year old. So far we like it a lot but it has taken a bit to get up to speed on the rules. It feels organic but it just takes a while to get there. So far we have only played the default scenarios and have been voiding terrain. (It has been a big help finding the printable Unit Cards, the Battle Sequence Flow Chart, and the Esoteric Order of Gaming rules summary.)
I have a couple older friends who are into war gaming who are interested in playing (both love the Roman era concept and general unit battles) but the hiccup is neither has played any Command and Colors games and both are a little leery of the command card system / board division into left/middle/right. Which was my only concern before I got the game, namely the “idea” that you are limited by your hand. The thorough reviews note this is the fog of war and isn’t too bad but I have had a couple games where I had a lot of “Left” cards but almost all my units center and right. I am a complete noob so I am not too concerned about this—I chalk it up to lack of better preparation and the issues of historical scenarios.
But we would like to involve more people into our gaming sessions so I have tinkered with an alternative setup sequence.
Any thoughts & criticisms? Concerns where this is going to break?
Summary: After rules are agreed to, each player draws cards, THEN buys units, and finally arranges their battle line.
My thinking is while the players will still be subject to the randomness of card draws during gameplay any “bad hand” concerns from the initial draw are muted as the players each get to draft and arrange an army to complement their hand.
1. Select sides.
2. Agree upon rules and parameters:
a. Buy Points: +30, +40, or +50.
b. First Move: Romans or Carthigians.
c. Unit Purchase: Secrete or Open.
d. Battlefield Arrangement: Secrete or Open.
3. Agree to victory conditions. Default is Elimination of 50% of Opposition Units / Elimination of all Opposing Leaders (whichever is first).
4. Select number of leaders; leader count will dictate the number of Command Cards.
5. Draw Command Cards.
6. Purchase units.
7. Arrange battlefield.
Ps. I am not complaint about the Command and Colors system or saying it has issues. I like the game a lot. But I am trying to adapt it to our groups gaming wishes. It is such a great game it would be a crime to allow some setup issues prevent us from enjoying the game as a group.
That said, maybe someone has already addressed these issues? I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has not invented a stock “Command Queue” that each side receives as default. Like a stock “inventory” of Commands that is exhausted during the rounds (with more basic maneuvers like 2 units left/center/right never being depleted… maybe a cool down period?). That was my other “idea” but I haven’t mastered the cards enough to determine a good way to do this and it really undercuts the Command Cards systems.
I guess another alternative would be an open draw of cards. After your turn when you discard you could select any card from the deck you want. Maybe split the deck into “Standard” and “Bonus” cards, with the more powerful cards going into the Bonus pile which is a blind draw and the Standard pile being an open draw.