Thursday, 13 May 2010

Command and Colours - table-top

I played with my new toys for the first time last night. Mark D, Dr. Ken and Graham H came round and we played Trebbia using bastardised Command and Colours (board game) rules.
The game went very well. It was over to full conclusion (we played for 10 flags each) in two hours, which is not bad for a game involving over 40 units. If it had been a one on one game it would have taken half an hour less - at a guess.
The bolt on rules for moving command groups, rather than units, had a few initial niggles. But these were soon resolved. The extra rules for pilum, veterans, skirmish, 'out of ammo', strong / weak units and manipular formation worked very well from the off. All in all, I enjoyed the battle very much; which considering it was the rule systems first outing surprised me a little. I put this down to the very strong core mechanics of Command and Colours rather than anything I did.
The biggest change I made to the rules, was to do away with table sectors. Instead, groups of units (some groups were just 1 unit) were brigaded together into commands. Each command was given a sector title (e.g. the 4 units of velites were brigaded as a command and given the prefix 'centre'). Command groups could move for a single activation providing a unit was within 3" of another - 'linked'. If the gap widened the unit was 'out of command' and cost a separate activation. 'Battle' was treated slightly differently: Regardless of the commands activated, the number of units that could battle was equal to activation points (e.g. the four units of velites could move for a single activation, but if the card was 'two units centre' only 2 units of velites could resolve battle). This allowed, especially early on in the battle, whole chunks of the battle lines to advance - which to my mind looked more historical - but slowed down the wholesale slaughter very nicely.
The Carthaginians (Mark D and I) won the battle ten flags to six. The Romans, having had a dice knocked off their combat ability for being cold, wet, hungry and tired, could rightly claim a 'game draw' - but I'll claim a Carthaginian victory anyway.


Galpy said...

Sounds like it was a great game and it looks real nice

Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Wow!Great looking game with a load of wonderfully painted mini's!


Caliban said...

Hi James, looks great. How did you feel the scenario worked out - did it play the way you expected? From the photos, it looks as though the Romans had to divert some of their heavy infantry to shore up their cavalry.



Hi Paul,

It worked better than I expected. The Romans, being novices, tried to match the Carthaginian efforts on the wings and lost heavily. Towards the end of the game they got their central legions up and running to good effect; they almost broke through.

I'm not sure, but I think they might have been short of 'centre' cards early on.

The game ended with a partial withdrawal of the Carthaginian centre - trading space for time - followed by their remaining flank troops enveloping. The Roman ala got pasted.

Caliban said...

That's interesting. After seeing your scenario and doing a bit of reading I thought that the best thing the Romans could do was to hold back on the wings for as long as possible and go for broke in the centre. Your outcome seems more or less to mirror what happened on the day as the central (Roman) legions burst through before the encirclement was complete.

Good stuff - you must be pleased with that!


IM said...

>I'm not sure, but I think they >might have been short of 'centre' >cards early on.

James is right. We had three left sector cards out of five so that's where we attacked. To the best of my recollection we never had a right sector card in our hand all evening. Our original (relative) success on the right was bad rolling by Hannibal when he attacked.

I enjoyed it. There was no messing about - units came together and then one of them was destroyed. Good stuff.

Ron said...

Great looking game James! I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping you'll release your "mods" of C&C as soon as you are comfortable with them. All in all the Commands and Colors system is extremely robust and you seem to be doing the rules justice.

BigRedBat said...

Sounds great- I'd be very interested in seeing the mods, too. The armies look very impressive.

Cheers, Simon

SoA Shows North said...

How did you interpret Mago's hidden cavalry detachment? Some while back, Graham Evans did a participation game of Trebbia for the Society of Ancients
...using Neil Thomas's rules.
We made Mago's Command an off table 'flank march' of traditional type. Diced for.
Trebbia is an interesting battle, and now Zama's done, I'm thinking of going back to it.



Hi Phil,

I intended to activate Mago on a leadership any section card. As it was we didn't need him.