Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Commands & Colors

Back around Christmas time, my brother, Mark, got me the board game Memoir '44 as a present. The game lets you replay a number of battles from the European theater of WWII, and I found that the level of detail, while not something that will appeal to a die-hard, made for a fun, quick game. I also like how you give orders based on order cards, which are randomly drawn. First of all, the cards add a bit of a random element, as you can only give orders each turn to a limited number of your units on the board. Second, and more importantly to me, the use of cards makes it easy to play the game solitaire, as I can randomize orders for the other side. Yes, sometimes the other side ends up making sub-optimal decisions that way, but this is made up for by the fact that I roll atrocious attack dice for my own side, (usually the Americans and British) while rolling really well for the other side.

This same rules series has also been used in a number of other games, including Avalon Hill's Battle Cry and Days of Wonder's Battle Lore. All of these games have been designed by Richard Borg, and they all use what is called the Commands & Colors system. After I realized this, I noted that I had a game in my basement that I had gotten over a year ago, called Commands & Colors: Ancients. I broke it out, and sure enough, it was also a Richard Borg game. Thus, it took me maybe 5 minutes to get used to the rules, and I now have a nice, Ancients wargame (Alexander the Great vs. the Assyrians, Rome Vs. Carthage, etc.) that plays quickly and didn't drive me crazy with the complexity of how a peltast is different from auxiliary javelin unit. And since it uses the same card-driven system, it is easy to play solitaire, just as with Memoir.

So, yeah, not playing any video games these days. Too many board games to play! Now I just need to save lots of money so I can buy all of the Battle Lore stuff.

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