Commands & Colors Ancients
Expansion #4 Imperial Rome
Designed by Richard Borg
Available from GMT Games
The beginnings of Imperial Rome came to be, partly as a result of giving returning heroes magnificent rewards for their accomplishments. This brought men like Pompey, Julius Caesar, Marius and Sulla to prominence in ancient Rome. All these men claimed that they had the favor of the gods. The first to be worshipped as a god was Marius. Julius Caesar said he could trace his ancestry back to the goddess Venus through her son Aeneas. His claims of god-hood led to the formation of a cult of worship, which elevated his status among the common people.
The beginning of the end of the Roman Republic came with the elevation of Sulla to the position of Dictator in 82 B.C. Sulla had the power to change the Constitution with the blessing of the Senate. Sulla made changes which restored the powers of the Senate at the expense of the Triumvirate. Thus began the accustoming of the people to the rule of a single Imperator.
After various periods of Civil unrest and the relaxed control from Rome itself, various governors who had been lining their pockets in the provinces were brought to heel by the central government. During this time the Romans had been expanding their empire throughout the east and west. As a result piracy had grown rampant in the Mediterranean region.
In 67 B.C. Gnaeus Pompey was named Dictator for a period of three years to eliminate the pirates. He quickly subdued the pirates and captured their stronghold at Cilicia. He was then sent east to deal with the Armenians under Mithredates in 69 B.C. After Mithredates committed suicide, Pompey went on to conquer Syria, Phoenicia and Clle-Syria, which were combined under the name Syria.
In 60 B.C., the First Triumvirate was formed between Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar. After the end of his first consulship Caesar was dispatched to Cisalpine and Trans-Alpine Gaul. He proceeded to conquer all of Gaul between 58 B.C. and 51 B.C. In 54 B.C., Crassus was killed trying to conquer the Parthians, leaving only Caesar and Pompey to control the affairs of Rome.
Antony’s Siege Train
After completing the conquest of Gaul and pushing the Germanic tribes back across the Rhine, Caesar felt it was his time to take control in Rome. In 49 B.C. in the company of his Legions, he crossed the Rubicon back into Italy. Pompey, with a few of his own legions escaped to Greece, forfeiting control of Italy to Caesar. Caesar was moderate in his actions and after bringing order to Italy, Sicily, Syria and Sardinia, he confronted Pompey at Pharsalus in Thessaly. Pompey’s forces were cut to pieces and he fled to Egypt.
In 45 B.C. Caesar came back to Rome and carefully avoided taking the title of king, although he was in reality the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. He instead took the title of Pontifax Maximus. After his assassination in 44 B.C., the rule of Octavian began the period which is known as Imperial Rome.
This expansion of the Commands & Colors series contains scenarios requires the gamer to have in his possession, the core C&C Ancients Game and all of the previous expansions. As with all of the previous expansions, ownership of the base module is essential to provide the game board, Command card deck, and the Battle Dice. Also, scenarios in the Imperial Rome Expansion will require blocks from the various other expansions. One of the nice features is that it is noted in the rules that if the gamer does not possess all of the other expansions, substitutions of forces can be made so that they can play the scenarios somewhat unhindered.
The contents of the box include the following:
- 293 Blocks in Tan, Purple, Green and Black
- The necessary labels for those blocks
- A Rule/Scenario book consisting of 32 pages, containing 24 scenarios
- Additional Terrain Overlays
- Two Wooden card holders
- Two Player Aide cards
The Tan blocks are for the additional units for the Eastern Kingdoms Forces. The Green blocks are for additional units for the Barbarians, the Black blocks are for Victory Banners and Baggage Wagons/Wagon Laagers. The Purple blocks are for the forces of Imperial Rome.
The Game Turn Sequence of C&C Ancients remains the same as in the core game which is;
- Play a Command Card
- Order units and leaders
- Pick a new Command card
The New Units included in this expansion are Heavy Cataphract, Cavalry, and Cataphract Camel troops for the Eastern Kingdoms forces along with Baggage Wagons/Wagon Laagers. Destruction of Wagon blocks yields Victory Banners which means they should be protected at all costs when used in a game.
New game mechanics include Special Unit blocks. These blocks designate units such as the Praetorian Guards. Another mechanics addition is the Caltrops Rule. Caltrops were small spiked balls carried by light infantry and slingers, that when they were attacked by mounted troops, the retreating light unit would drop the Caltrops in their wake disabling the horses which would not allow the Cavalry to close on them.
The last of the new mechanics is the Para Bellum System. Most of the scenarios in Commands & Colors Ancients are one up, single battles. This rule allows certain battles to be grouped together into consecutive, long term affairs. For example, the battles of Nisibis were a three-day battle. By using this rule, the three days are connected together into one engagement with partial victory totals and the ability to re-use some of the destroyed units.
The set-up for the first day of the battle is placed on the game board as usual and as units are destroyed they are placed to the side. At the end of the first day’s battle, the player attempts to rally the destroyed units. Successfully rallied units are placed back in service and are available for the second day’s battle. Units that are not rallied are kept aside for another attempt to rally them for the third day. The units which are not rallied are removed from the board by the owning player.
Three special rules are included in this expansion. They are the;
- Marian legions Rule
- Julian Legions Rule
- Imperial legions Rule
All three of these Rules affect Roman Heavy and Medium Infantry units. When one of these rules is in effect, these units are armed with both Pilum and sword, so that they are considered both shock, and ranged units for combat. Each of these rules has exceptions dependent upon the period in which they were in effect.
Finally, there are two new additional Terrain Overlays that are included with this expansion which are;
- River Fords.
The scenarios included in this expansion are not only concerned with the battles of Imperial Rome but also add a number of other scenarios which were not included in the previous expansions of Commands & Colors Ancients. There are a total of 24 Scenarios included with the C&C Ancients Expansion 4, Imperial Rome, and they are;
|Antony’s Siege Train||36BC||Parthian||Roman||Parthian|
|“ Wailing Street”||61AD||Britons||Roman||Roman|
This expansion, as its predecessors, gives the gamer the feeling of controlling the Legions of Rome against their enemies. You participate in the expansion of the Empire both east and west. Finally, you fight in the battles fought by Constantine in the eastern Roman Empire. I need not tell fans of Commands & Colors Ancients games the fun involved in the fighting of these engagements, nor the appreciation of history which can be gained when refighting the battles. As with all of the GMT C&C Ancients products, they are well designed, challenging, but most importantly of all, they don’t lose their fun. This expansion can be highly recommended to all who have come to enjoy this game series with the hope that the game designer and developer will continue to publish additional scenarios in the future.
Available from GMT Games at http://www.gmtgames.com