A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hooptedoodle #9 - Commands & Colors: Napoleonics

A good friend has suggested that there is a certain irony in my posting a rant about over-communication, when my blog itself may offer a shining example of exactly that kind of superfluous blether. Further, he suggested that it might be a good strategy to reduce the output a little, in the interests of boosting the average quality of said output.

I value his feedback, as they used to say on management training courses. Undoubtedly he has a point, and I did think seriously about it for several seconds. On balance, however, I will stick with the old market-stall line, “Never mind the quality, feel the width!”.

Firstly, I am touched but faintly surprised to think that anyone would approach this blog with any expectation of quality. There is a lot of real knowledge out there on the Internet, and a lot of expertise which I have never felt qualified to add to in any serious way.

Secondly, there is a monstrous non sequitur in the assumption that a reduction of volume would in any way influence the value of the content. Let’s face it, it behoves the terminally verbose to see ourselves as we really are, and I freely admit that my need to press the PUBLISH button from time to time has nothing to do with strategy – it just feels appropriate at the time (though, as in other areas of my life, I sometimes wonder about it after the event).

I’ll persist with the same old approach – if someone finds at least some of this stuff worthwhile, then I am very pleased. If not? – well I guess I’ll just keep churning it out anyway – at least for a while!

So – today’s pointless ramble will be about GMT’s game Commands & Colors: Napoleonics, which has finally been released. This comes under the general heading of old news, probably, but there are a good many people very excited about this, and I include myself. I have previously identified the application of this new boardgame to miniatures battles as potentially a very important step in breaking down the traditional Napoleonic boardgamers vs toy soldiers divide (which is both sad and obstructive), and towards establishing a middle ground which embraces the best features of both worlds.

I already have a passing familiarity with the Commands & Colors: Ancients game and its expansion sets, and have read a fair amount about Battle Cry and other games authored by Richard Borg. My interest in the new game is not so that it may replace any of my existing games (although, of course, it might). At present I am aware of the lack in the GMT game of a few things I like to see on the tabletop – skirmishing being one – and I would like to know more about the implied scalability (to grand strategy level) which is hinted at in the rules.

However, having read what has been published to date, I realised that I had to give this a trial. I went through all sorts of stupid fantasies about contacting GMT to see if they would sell me just the Command cards and the bits for making up the battle dice, but realised that they would probably just tell me to go and play with my soldiers. After some fairly alarming ideas about producing a mock-up of the game – some of which would entail more cost and inconvenience than simply ordering the complete product from GMT – I eventually saw sense and placed my order like a good chap. I don’t know when it will actually arrive, and I promise not to say too much about it until I have something to say, but I am – how shall I put it? – cautiously expectant.


  1. Been waiting on this game for a while now, stickering a pile of little blocks seems like a better idea than painting a whole heard of minautres that I can ill afford.

  2. Yes indeed - I expect the game to be excellent. Those of us who already have miniatures (that we probably could ill afford at the time) will probably still have to do the block-stickering job anyway!

    Very interested to see how this goes - there seem to be quite a lot of photos around of C&C:N being played, both with blocks and with miniatures, so presumably that was the playtesting?

    Looking forward to seeing it and having a go, anyway.