Mark came over for some one-on-one gaming back on the 28th. The main thing up for the day was to try out his Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles set. Neither one of us had ‘studied’ ahead of time, so we spent a fair amount of time going through the rules, which were generally familiar enough, but with some important differences.

Mostly, it’s a lot like C&C: Medieval. You’ve got the main colors system, leaders attached to units, and the rest familiar from Ancients, but you also have the color- and stature-based ignoring of sword hits from Medieval. You also have “honor & fortune” tokens, which are akin to the “inspired action” tokens of Medieval, but they’re meant to cycle a lot faster than those. Instead of army-based actions, these tokens let you use a second deck of “Dragon Cards”, which have a number of neat actions on them; they can also be used to add a die to any combat with a leader available. And then there’s the fact that there’s no evading, and retreating can be downright dangerous/expensive, as it costs tokens, and if you run out, units start deserting.

Between getting through the rules, and a slowish first game, we just got through one playing of the introductory scenario. Things started badly for me when Mark led off with the C&C:SB equivalent to Darken the Sky, which wiped out an entire Medium unit. I spent what seemed like a lot of time just trying to come to grips his army, and not doing a very good job at first.

I eventually managed to get in and smash his left flank, and then moved things over to concentrate in the center. But Mark got some momentum back, and managed a 3-5 victory with both armies in pretty bad shape.

Thanks to overall lower unit speeds (notably the lack of light cav), and the fact that there’s no evade, and every reason not to retreat, this one feels less maneuver-centric than CC:A and CC:M (though it is there). Because of that, I don’t think this can become my favorite C&C game, but it does hold the promise of delivering well on the period (which I’ve liked ever since Nobunaga’s Ambition), and it comes with a stunning forty scenarios, so I hope we get to really delve into it at some point.

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