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Fight Like Channing Tatum (Online): A Short, Bloody History of Roman War Games
Posted January 21, 2011 to photo album "Fight Like Channing Tatum (Online): A Short, Bloody History of Roman War Games"
As The Eagle’s battle scenes demonstrate, the Roman Army was one of history’s most effective war machines. Legions of gamers, both in board games and online, have tried to emulate them.
Commands and Colors: Ancients is perhaps the top serious Roman war game today, a classic, old-school strategy-and-tactics game in which scenarios are drawn from specific historical battles. Ancients is the Roman edition of the Commands and Colors series, a set of games that include adventures set in World War 2 (Memoir ’44), the Civil War (Battle Cry) and the Napoleonic Era (Napoleonics). Of the Commands and Colors system, Mike Betzel at the blog Beware the Gazebo wrote, “… Richard Borg's Command and Colors system is an attempt to make war games faster and easier to play. In all of the Command and Colors games… the game board is divided into three flanks (left, center, right) and units are grouped by relative strength. To help narrow a player's options they have a hand of action cards that specify which flanks or types of units may be activated by playing that card. A Command and Colors game is as simple as playing a card, activating the specified units and rolling dice for combat!” Writes Borg on the company’s website (http://www.ccancients.net/Rules/index.html), “The battles, showcased in the scenario section, focus on the historical deployment of forces and important terrain features on the scale of the game system…. The Command card system drives movement, creates ‘fog of war’, and presents players with many interesting challenges and opportunities, while the battle dice resolve combat quickly and efficiently. The battlefield tactics you will need to execute to gain victory conform remarkably well to the strengths and limitations of the various ancient unit types, their weapons, the terrain, and history.” The main game features battles between Rome and Carthage, while five expansion packs add battles with the Greeks, the Persians, the Scythians, the Indians, the Barbarians and the Parthian Empire.