Thursday, 2 August 2012

Ancients, Napoleonics and Boxes

The great Command and Colours label-fest continues and I have now completed the second Carthaginian army and am three quarters of the way through the second Republican Roman set. I have been able to download details of the unit mixes from each of the expansions from the C and C Ancients site whuch has proven to be invaluable as it shows exactly the composition of each army. Some of the expansions add units to earlier sets so it is handy to know where I will need to leave gaps for extra blocks when they arrive. I reckon that I will need another four storage boxes for the entire collection and the breakdown will look something like this:
  • Carthaginians - brown blocks 
  • Early to late Republican Roman - grey blocks 
  • Eastern Empires (various Persians and Indians) - tan blocks
  • Macedonian and Hellenistic Greek - light blue blocks 
  • Hoplite Greek - orange and bronze blocks for the Spartans, light blue blocks for the other Greek Hoplites 
  • Barbarians (Gauls and Germans etc) - green blocks
  • Early to late Imperial Roman - this may need two boxes - red and purple blocks respectively
C and C work on the basis of 4 blocks for infantry, 3 for cavalry and 2 for artillery, elephants and chariots. This is fine for use with the game but when I use the blocks with DBA I shall use a block per figure so light infantry will have two blocks, most auxilia and warbands will have 3 or sometimes 4 and most spears, pikes and blades will have 4 blocks. Knights, cavalry and light horse will vary from 2 to 4 blocks. Using DBA will be a pleasant change for me from my usual grid based adventures and I am quite looking forward to the prospect
I have never played DBM but rather like the idea of 'Big Battle' DBA for those occasional forays into large battle refights. Using this method an army consists of three separate 12 element armies. For my own purposes this may well be the route I take for non grid based 'big' games and I certainly have sufficient room to fight any such actions. Terrain wise my plan is cro-magnon in its simplicity. I will use a desert coloured cloth with Hexon hills underneath for any raised ground. Everything else will be cobbled together as needed.
In respect of base sizes my first thought was to use an 80mm frontage so that I could deploy a four block unit of infantry in a single line. I am now having second thoughts about this and may instead opt for the standard 28mm figure element frontage of 60mm and instead deploy the blocks in a couple of rows. I shall have an experimentation session over the weekend and see what happens but I am thinking this will be the way to go. I really need to think about the bases for the blocks though, and sooner rather than later - also for the Napoleonics.
Once I have completed the Ancients I have available I shall attend to the Napoleonics and so the set up for gaming the Peninsular war will be looking pretty impressive. As the Napoleonics stand at present I have opted for the following storage solution (bear in mind that I have two copies of the base set and one of the Spanish expansion):
  • British - red blocks
  • Portuguese - brown blocks
  • French - blue blocks and now in two boxes (they gained some extras in the Spanish expansion)
  • Spanish - yellow blocks
For both the Ancients and the Napoleonics I plan to use the base game boxes for storing all the cards, counters, dice map boards and terrain tiles and so the expansion boxes will not be needed. The 20 odd storage boxes I have for the various permutations of lock based armies I own (remember I have six of my home made types) take up a certain amount of space so redundant boxes will certainly have to go.
There are some very good DBA variants for periods after the original rule book ends and so I shall use them as the basis for the Napoleonic games I intend fighting. I may take a look at DBM at some point but at this stage I have no immediate plans to do so.
For the Napoleonics the next expansions will cover the Austrians, Prussiand and Russians and there are rumours of a big battle expansion at some point, similar to Epic Ancients. It would be nice to see an allies set covering all the minor nations that featured - Bavarians, Brunswickers, Dutch Belgians, Westphalians etc so that truly representative forces could be deployed but again, I am unsure what the future holds beyond the next three sets. I am similarly unsure of anything else that will be forthcoming for the Ancients game although going back to the chariot era would be huge fun - wall to wall Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Myceneans etc - and I for one would certainly like to see that. I suppose whilst I am dabbling in the realms of 'wish lists' you could also add armies up to the Renaissance period as well (the Crusades and Mongol Conquests could be fun) but why stop there?
The Command and Colours system can be readily adapted to just about any period of military history you like and so I only hope that Richard Borg has further plans along these lines - certainly sneaking a Samurai version in with the latest release in the Zvezda 'Art of Tactic' series may be a sign of things to come. Here's hoping! 


Chasseur said...

For my block armies I stayed with the 2 standard Kriegspiel colors of army red and blue. What I did for different armies is took the ideal from C and C and I am building some little round markers with a flag to identify them. For commanders different sized square blocks are used. Also I might make some identification on them as well. Still pondering that ideal.

David Crook said...

Hi Jeff,

I have played some block games using the typical red and blue forces with no visible effect. I am a great believer in that if the scenario gets into the players head then the choice of 'marker' is largely academic.

I will be very interested to see how your ideas develop and am more than happy to help in any way I can.

All the best,