So we continue with discussing the changes between Command Colors Ancients (CCA) and the newest addition to the series – Medieval (CCM). In the first article I focused on major changes between the games – things like cavalry superiority over infantry, inspired and battlefield actions as well as pace of game. Today I would like to wrap-up with all those smaller things and subtleties. They really make this new installment a refreshing experience and give additional layers of strategy to the game.
CCA vs CCM comparison: Part 1 (Major Changes) => Part 2 (Minor Changes) => Part 3 (Plays)
Relative infantry strength
We extensively talked about the superiority of cavalry over infantry. However, relative strength of foot units also changed and so did their relative importance on battlefield.
Let us analyze it a bit deeper. The below table summarizes changes in characteristics of infantry in CCM:
|No of dice – CCA||No of dice – CCM||Comments|
|Warrior||4d||4d||Ignore 1 flag|
|Heavy Infantry||5d||4d||Minus 1d|
|Medium Infantry||4d||3d||Minus 1d|
|Light Bow||2d||2d||No changes|
Conclusions? The only unit which is better in CCM than in CCA is the often disregarded Light Infantry. First of all, there are only bow-equipped light infantry units now. And secondly – they always have range of 4. The only unchanged unit – Warrior – seems to be the most flexible and strong foot unit on the table now. Heavy Infantry is not anymore a prevailing force in infantry clashes – unlike Warrior, it cannot ignore flag and momentum advance + close combat. As for Medium and Auxilia types– both are more mobile but weaker in attack. The latter – due to Superior Stature and Superior Armor Class rules – is really a cannon-fodder for all cavalry and majority of infantry units.
One of things which changed are the tweaks to the cards and deck composition -essential to reflect the medieval tactics. We need to remember that some of the cards can be played in conjunction with Inspired Action. In essence, we see two tendencies.
Predominant one – the cards in CCM order less units then in CCA:
- Leadership Any/Left/Right/Center section has one unit less activated; it is important to note they can be played in conjunction with Inspired Actions giving great boost to the cavalry/infantry so limitation here is obviously needed
- Mounted Charge – can give Super Heavy Cavalry +2 dice but will order only 3 units
- One of the most popular cards – Order Green/Medium/Red – now allows to move only 3 instead of 4 units
On the other hand, there are two specific cases where new cards will help us to move more forces:
- Line Command – it no longer pertains only to foot units; now we can move the whole line, intermingling Cavalry and Infantry
- Double Time – not only we can move more units – equal to command, we also have Foot Onslaught card; both are very nice but usually completely useless due to inferior Infantry role in majority of battles
Parthian Shot & cavalry equipped with bows
The early Medieval Era – period on which the base game of CCM focuses – saw significant usage of bows. The game reflects this by allowing such equipment not only for specific Light Bow Cavalry units, but also for Medium, Heavy and Super Heavy ones.
There is also that neat mechanic which allows evading Light Bow Cavalry unit while retreating, fire at the attacking unit with 2 dice, and scoring hit on color. The so called “Parthian shot” was a standard tactic, introduced by Sassanid/Persians and reflected in the game.
On top of all the above changes, there are also some tweaks which were essential for the game mechanics and medieval tactics. Let me elaborate more on them below:
- The board is deeper and allows for more maneuver for Cavalry – standard CCA board is 9×13 hexes while CCM is more square, 11×13. With greater range of cavalry that gives some additional space for regrouping your units – or if need arises, to retreat.
- Ability to add a leader with Rally card – that is really a cool addition. You are of course limited with number of Leader blocks (six) but anyhow that card really can change the game dynamics.
- The Cry Havoc card replaces “I am Spartacus” and in addition allows (with flag) to move the units without fight
- Ambush card – interesting new concept; everybody in Commands & Colors world know the dreaded First Strike; here we have a chance to lure the units using momentum advance and force it to battle with unit of our choice which is adjacent; can be very powerful in certain situations
- There are also siege rules for scaling gates – some of the scenarios – like Dara or Satala – are happening next to those cities and attacker has possibility to get into them and gain the victory points
- We have two interesting bonuses in the game – the last-stand / survival mode scenario at the end of the rulebook plus very high-quality custom dice.
- Just as in Commands Colors Napoleonic, to evade the unit has to have 2 unobstructed hexes towards its baseline
All in all, looking at the amount of differences between CCA and CCM, it is completely justifiable that we got the new game system. This series is very well equipped for addition of the new nations spanning across large variety of conflicts, locations as well as different tactics of the epoch. I encourage you to see how the system works in my Belisarius Campaign session reports series. However, rest assured that this is not the last time when you hear from me about differences between CCM and CCA – an interesting surprise is under development 😊