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COMMANDS & COLORS is one of the most popular tabletop board war games on the market. It is available from GMT Games in several eras but like tabletop miniatures games the most favourite is ANCIENTS. Therefore it isn't much of a surprise that when COMMANDS & COLORS arrives on an electronic device, the home computer, that ANCIENTS is the beginning of what will no doubt be a successful online series.


COMMAND & COLORS is a card and mini's based 2-player game where the board is split into three sections by dotted lines so that each player has a Left Side, Middle and Right Side. The Command cards which players are dealt randomly (play and draw) usually designate one of these three sections whilst also determining how many and/or what type of troop unit can be activated.


The STEAM game is very similar to the board game in all aspects, including the possibility of range combat being decided by the distance the participating units (firers and targets) are apart. 

In the board game the units are very nicely detailed plastic miniatures. In the computer game they are beautifully rendered 3D models that look good from a distance and get more excellent as you zoom in on them; they are also a little more animated than in the board game.


The players or player (versus the game) has all the options available to them that the board game offers only at the tap of a mouse button after some intricate cursor movement.

Cards and Troops can be selected by and directed by the use of the mouse; buttons and cursor - the game is that simple ..... mechanically!


This is a single player game, your opponent is one of three Artificial Intelligents. COMMAND & COLORS: ANCIENTS has been specifically designed so you can have all the enjoyment of a strategy game without having to find an actual human opponent. There is no need to have knowledge of the board game, but if you do the only advantage you have is that you can skip the majority of the tutorial and get straight to the game because it plays almost exactly the same way. This is an ideal game for players who like tabletop wargames but don't always have a partner to play against. It is also an ideal game to practise playing so that when you next approach the game across the table from an opponent you may have discovered some tactic or strategy that hadn't previously invaded your military mind. Of course the opposite can be true too - learn from the board game ......

The game allows you to see the map from a wide variety of angles, close-ups and distances, just like the tabletop game. You can see where the opposition is and what type of units they are, what the terrain is like and whether there may be any possible potent encounters you can avoid by carefully planning your strategies.

Personally I like Commands & Colors the board game, and especially the Ancients variations, but my problem is often trying to find the time to play a game through to its fruition, and a decent partner (one who I can defeat) who also has the time and inclination to play. Now, with the Steam version I can play at any time, against sensible intelligent oppositions (sadly not one's I can regularly defeat) breaking for coffee or to go do something else and then come back to the table to find my opponent is ready and waiting and as bright as ever.

I like every thing about COMMANDS & COLORS (okay, everything apart from the spelling of 'Colours') ANCIENTS on STEAM and would happily recommend it to any and all players who enjoy computerised strategy games.


From the Official Website:

Hexwar Games has partnered with GMT Games to bring you a digital version of Commands & Colors: Ancients the board game. The game allows players to portray important engagements of ancient history. The battles focus on the historical deployment of forces and important terrain features on the scale of the game system.

The scale of the game is flexible and varies from battle to battle. For some scenarios, an infantry unit may represent an entire legion of soldiers, while in other scenarios, a unit may represent just a few brave warriors.

The command card system drives movement, creates “fog of war” and presents players with many interesting challenges and opportunities, while the battle dice resolve combat quickly and efficiently. The battlefield tactics you will need to execute to gain victory conform remarkably well to the strengths and limitations of the various ancient unit types, their weapons, the terrain and history.




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015