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Subject: A Recommendation that can Only be Asked Here - GBoH or C&C:A ? rss

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Don Whitney
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The 1st thing I should mention is that I'm really looking to get a game that works for my 13 year old son. He's very interested in ancient history and recently chose the Romans in Gaul as a subject for an open history project. Due to his interest in the Gauls, and my long time interest in Western European history of late antiquity, I'm looking for a tactical ancients game that allows us to involve some of those peoples and civ's at least through future expansions. As an indicator of his interests; I recently got Britannia and he ate it up. Whichever game I decide on I'll almost certainly be picking up the Barbarians expansion for it. As well, in the GBoH series it's Deluxe SPQR that I'm really considering

My son's had some exposure with tactical wargames, namely Battlelore -past 3 years- and LnL Band of Heroes -very recently. In terms of Battlelore, I can comfortably say he's very close to mastering it including playing with lore, 10pt War Councils and CtoA deployments. That gives me some concern that C&C:A may not be enough of a challenge for him in a year or 2, hence my reason for looking at GBoH SPQR. On the other hand SPQR is quite possibly too difficult for him right now. As for me, I'd say that outside of Battlelore I'm not too much of a fan of the Borg'ian battling system. I've played both Memoir 44 and Battle Cry but haven't enjoyed either too much. In particular I don't like movement being section restricted for games about historical battles. I can comfortably live with those restrictions in a fantasy world setting though and I do really enjoy BL. Bottom line though, if C&C:A is the better game for someone like my son I can easily make the sacrifice and I'll gladly play it for his sake.

A few other things to consider. In terms of components, chits or blocks don't really matter; I'm comfortable with either and my son is learning quickly to be comfortable with small chits in LnL BoH. In my area I can pick up C&C:A w/Barbarian expansion or Deluxe SPQR w/Barbarian expansion for about the same price. I also have an old wargaming buddy that has the Simple GBoH rules expansion and I can likely borrow it for a while. If that fell through though I would consider buying it. For game play time, it's usually possible for me to cut out 3 hours out of a weekend. I'm also comfortable using Vassal to document board positions if we run short. I do like the expandability of C&C:A, but my impression from reading about Del SPQR is that there's enough there to keep us busy for a while - no?

If anyone can make a recommendation for either game it would be much appreciated. I'd also like to hear about any other games that anyone thinks might be more appropriate for what were looking for.
 
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Dave Terhune
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I wouldn't be too worried about complexity. If his interest is that great, he'll learn. It's amazing how easily something can be learned if it's interesting.

Aside from that, I can't help you pick between your games, however, as I haven't played either of them.
 
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Peter
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C&C:A will offer a similar game play to Battlelore with a few different rules which alter game play enough. for me, to be considered a different experience. But both have a lot of similarities. And considered to be a light wargame by some wargamers.

GBoH, (Great Battles of History), will offer a different wargame entirely and tends to be a heavier wargame experience.

If your really worried about complexity, go with C&C:A. If your willing to take a plunge and want to expand your gaming experience with different styles get GboH SPQR.
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Don Whitney
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Astinex wrote:
GBoH, (Great Battles of History), will offer a different wargame entirely and tends to be a heavier wargame experience.


What about with the Simple GBoH rules expansion applied,would the difficulty be comparable to C&C:A?

Oh, many thanks to you and Volfield for replying.
 
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Brad Heath
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C&C:A is great for a beginner and gives you some basic wargaming concepts to begin with. GBoH is more complex but an excellent system, just a pity I sold Great Battles of Alexandercry Maybe just get both and have fun!
 
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Alexander Meyer
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GBoH: Deluxe SPQR is a deep and complex game. It takes some commitment to learn, but offers tremendous insight into the tactics and diverging military doctrines of ancient armies (Rome, Carthage and the Macedonion system). The historical info provided in the scenario books is an excellent read.
GBoH is, however, a long game. A play time of three hours might work for shorter scenarios, but only if you are familiar with the rules. It also has a lot of counter stacking. Up to two Roman units may occupy a hex, each one can have several markers. Lastly, a lot of scenarios do heavily favour one side - as it historically was the case in many battles.

Similar, but lighter games you might want to check out:
Rome At War I: Hannibal at Bay
Rome at War II: Fading Legions
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p55carroll
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Just to complicate things a little, here are a couple other choices:
Pocket Battles: Celts vs. Romans
Ancient Battles Deluxe
 
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Don Whitney
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irreg77 wrote:
C&C:A is great for a beginner and gives you some basic wargaming concepts to begin with. GBoH is more complex but an excellent system, just a pity I sold Great Battles of Alexandercry Maybe just get both and have fun!


As much as I'd like to believe money is no obligation, with 3 kids it unfortunately is. As well, getting both with the Barbarian expansions seems like a bit too much gameplay for what we can realistically handle time wise - still gotta find time for BL, LnL and Brittania.
 
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Bartow Riggs
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I've played both and both are truly excellent games but very different fish.

I would say C&C:Ancients though. It is plenty interesting and a great game of card and risk management.

Plus if one of you is significantly a better player than the other, the less skilled player can still win. (I always compare C&C: Ancients to Backgammon...the better player _usually_ wins.)
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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I would definately start C&C:Ancients but buy Simple great battles as well; once he feels ready for some more serious stuff, take out Simple Great Battles.
Ones he masters this one, play the standard Great battles of History.

If your son likes the Gaul, he will LOVE The Siege of Alesia (but it might take another while for him to enjoy this one)
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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If it were my son, I'd have him make his own decision. I'd start by having him check out the images and rating comments here. Then I'd provide him with links to the rules for each at the GMT games website.

If he's old enough to play this sort of game, he's old enough to make an informed decision.
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Don Whitney
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Sphere wrote:
If it were my son, I'd have him make his own decision. I'd start by having him check out the images and rating comments here. Then I'd provide him with links to the rules for each at the GMT games website.

If he's old enough to play this sort of game, he's old enough to make an informed decision.


That's a great suggestion. I was hoping to surprise him with one or the other for his birthday, but this seems like the better approach. The only thing I'm hesitant about, I don't think GMT has the Simple Great Battles of History rules published on their living rules site. So if my son's going to review the rules he's going to have to look at the more difficult standard GBoH rules.

[Edit] Never mind, I just found Kent Reuber's 3 page game play summary for the simple rules - that'll do. Man oh man, is there anything someone hasn't already thought about on this site?
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Mike Kozlowski
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So it sounds like you've got a plan, but I will add that I (and I think most people) believe that C&C:A is the best implementation of that game style. So if you like Battlelore and the ancients theme, you should like C&C:A even more.
 
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Kent Reuber
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I'd say go with C&CA. Scenarios in GBoH will take too long. C&CA is a significant step up from BattleLore: there are lots more unit types, special rules, and new mechanics such as leaders and evasion. I think it will be a while before he gets bored.

As an alternative, you might look at Ancient Battles Deluxe or its ancestor Ancients. Ancients is a free download, as are the rules for ABD.
 
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Mike McClellan
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I'm the father of a 14 year-old, and I have played both CC:A and GBOH quite a bit. I'd say go with CC:A. Much simpler game system, but with enough depth and complexity to make it interesting for both of you. GBOH would be overkill for the average wargamer, and probably not the place to start with a beginner. The time investment needed for CC:A is also considerably less and it's possible to play a game to completion in one sitting (actually, it would be pretty hard NOT to complete a game in one sitting.) You could probably play a game of CC:A in the time it would take you to figure out your first rules question with SPQR. Just sayin'.
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Benjamin Hamdorf
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I am not a big fan of the CC:A series. For some reason, GBOH and especially SGBOH manage to give me a more 'vivid' impression of what is actually happening on the battlefield - notice that I wrote 'vivid' and not 'more realistic'. Both GBOH and SGBOH provide a lot of chrome and detail, wich means that the authors had to decide for certain descriptions and accounts of the battle while negelecting others. They also had to come up with ways to model certain systems like, for example, manipular legion with its interplay of velites, hastati, principes and triarii, even though the exact procedures are still under debate. And it is quite interesting to note that in this instance GBOH uses a completely different model than SGBOH.

Having said all that, I would still suggest CC:A for starters. It is a very accessible game that can be quickly set up and played in a decent amount of time - and it should be a lot of fun for a 14-year old.

Alternatively, you could go and buy Phil Sabin's book 'Lost Battles', an rather abstract but outstanding rules system doubling as a 'scientific' model to test certain assumptions about ancient battles. To us gamers, it is essentially a short rules set with about 200 pages of scenario notes, designers notes and examples of play attached.
The only problem with this approach is that the terrain and counters that you can download and print out for this game definitely lack the visual impact of both CC:A and GBOH - which is something you should take into account when playing with a 13 year old.
 
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Ian Peters-Campbell
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If you're not married to playing a tactical game have you considered Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage? It's one of the better regarded games/wargames on the geek, deals specifically with Rome (though not so much with Gaul I guess) and I would think with the card-driven system and point-to-point movement might be a good step between the Battle Lore/C&C:A and a hex-and-counter game.

It's certainly a step back from tactical though so if you're really most interested in being down in the mud it probably wouldn't fit.

 
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Don Whitney
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mahatmamanic wrote:
If you're not married to playing a tactical game have you considered Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage? It's one of the better regarded games/wargames on the geek, deals specifically with Rome (though not so much with Gaul I guess) and I would think with the card-driven system and point-to-point movement might be a good step between the Battle Lore/C&C:A and a hex-and-counter game.

It's certainly a step back from tactical though so if you're really most interested in being down in the mud it probably wouldn't fit.


For now it is a tactical game I'm looking for - my son's been studying some of the battles been Rome and Gaul, so I want something where unit variety is apparent. That said, Hannibal RvsC is very high on my MUST OWN list, and is very likely my next purchase.
 
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Don Whitney
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Many thanks for the recommendations everyone. My son has been going over C&C:A and Dlx SPQR reviews and instructions and he'll likely make his decision tonight. I've actually been quite surprised that there's been so few recommendations for SPQR. I was aware that C&C:A has been a run away success in my city, but I wasn't expecting the support for it to be so strong by wargamers at BGG. Makes me think I've made the mistake of underestimating the game.
 
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Richard Maurer
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If you don't mind complex rules and details, then I would recommend GBOH. I haven't played the games, but from reading them, they appear to have a lot of rules and details that you need to get down in order to enjoy them.

However if you are looking for a lite and easy to pick up wargame, then I would recommend Commands and Colors. The rules are easy to learn and after a few scenarios, you will have a good grasp of how to play the game and utilizing the various units.

Plus, you will probably find more people to play C&C with then you would GBOH. That is just my two cents.
 
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Stephen Harper
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kronovan wrote:
Many thanks for the recommendations everyone. My son has been going over C&C:A and Dlx SPQR reviews and instructions and he'll likely make his decision tonight. I've actually been quite surprised that there's been so few recommendations for SPQR. I was aware that C&C:A has been a run away success in my city, but I wasn't expecting the support for it to be so strong by wargamers at BGG. Makes me think I've made the mistake of underestimating the game.


Based upon the situation you described, I am not surprised there are more recommendations for C&C Ancients than GBOH (SPQR). There is not much for me to add to the several excellent responses above. I have both game systems/series and they both are my top favorites. Start your son out with C&C Ancients. If that wets his appetite, and it sounds like it will, move on in a year or two to GBOH, starting perhaps with the SBOH rules. The GBOH system is easily the most fascinating Ancients tactical battle system that I have encountered, and SPQR is my favorite of the series. When the first edition Great Battles of Alexander came out many years ago, it was a head above any other game on the subject. Since then I have snapped up every GBOH game as it comes out.

But then again I snap up every C&C Ancients game that comes out too!
 
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