Tuesday 22 August 2023

Command & Colours 'Medieval' - first game!


Being a long standing fan of the Ancient and Napoleonic C&C games, I ordered this and it arrived a few weeks before lockdown in 2020.  As games moved onto Zoom and there were plenty of options, C&C remained largely unplayed for the past three years. I eventually got round to playing CCM last weekend, having taken the opportunity first to sort out and refurbish some suitable toys.

At this point I feel it only fair to issue a warning.  If your idea of 'Medieval' battles starts with say, the 11th Century Crusades and takes in Crecy and Agincourt, you need to be aware that this game deals with the 5th and 6th Centuries.  Mostly the conflict between the Sassanid Persian Empire and the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.  Now as it happens I already had a fair few otherwise unemployed Byzantine and Sassanid toys so this all worked out quite well for me.  "Toys?" I hear you ask, "what about all the wooden blocks?" I was originally introduced to C&C (in 2010) and have only EVER played it with toy soldiers.  For the Ancient version I use old-style 25mm figures (you know, the ones actually 25mm tall) from the likes of Hinchliffe, Minifigs and Garrison.  So for CCM it would be more of the same.

Anyway, back to the game and here is the setup for Thannuris in 528AD.  The terrain is deeper than CCA by two rows of hexes.  As you can see it only just fits on my table!
The game mechanics are basically CCA but with enough added features to make it a very different game.  And now some gratuitous toy porn.  

Adding the two extra rows of hexes was going to be a challenge so I ordered more single hexes and made up five 5-hex tiles.  This is actually the first time I've used the Hexon clips to hold them together.

Anyway, enough setup and theory, on with the game.  Here we go. Byzantine card.

Persians do some moving and (more effective) twanging.
Rolling a lot of flags sees the Sassanid SHC retreat!
Sassanid cavalry charge!  On a +1 they roll 5 dice and score 3 hits. But cavalry in this game can take 4!
Byzantines using an Inspired Leadership action to do a lot of twanging.
….and chew up the SHC.
Feel the ground shaking?
Phew!  A bloody business. The Byz MC on the left evaded while the HC got the drop on their opposition.
Tea break!
Super Heavy Sassanids break into the Byzantine line.
The Sassanid cataphracts continue to run (or gallop?) amok, killing two Byzantine units and a general in a single turn!
Score now 4:1 to the Persians.
The Byzantine fight back!  On the left the event cataphracts are finished off, and a momentum advance nearly does for an evading medium cavalry unit
Sadly the plucky Byzantine HC falls in a hail of Persian arrows

More crazy cataphracts. This time they’re Byzantine and with Belisarius himself at the helm, killing one unit and damaging another which evades.
But now they’re in trouble!
The end of Byzantine hopes. The cataphracts perish, but somehow Belisarius manages to escape.  A broadly historical outcome.
OK, so this was only the first game, but despite appearances, in many ways a different experience than the Ancients version. And who knows- all these chaps on horses might just be the future of warfare…

I'm planning to play this scenario again later in the week.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


An excellent blog post! You certainly ‘sold’ me on this addition to the C&C stable of games, and although I need another period like I need a hole in the head, I must admit to being very, very tempted.

All the best,


Martin Rapier said...

That looks great Tim. Not a period I know much about apart from reading Robert Graves old book about Belisarius.

David Crook said...

Hello there Tim,

Cracking report and it looks really good with the toys out! I believe that there is Crusades expansion currently planned so ‘proper medievals’ could surely follow!

BTW, if you do not want the blocks I know a man that might….. :-)

All the best,


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

What is not to like, great stuff

Tim Gow said...

Bob Cordery
Highly recommended!

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier
I can't claim much expertise either!

Tim Gow said...

David Crook
I'm sure we might reach an accommodation on the blocks!

Tim Gow said...