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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: C&C Ancients - Expansions - Value and purchasing strategy rss

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Travis Emmitt
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Normally, when I buy a board game, I buy all the "main" expansions for it (e.g, Memoir '44, BattleLore, and The Great War).

I'm interested in getting C&C Ancients (primarily to learn about that era of history), but most of the expansions seem to be out of print and very expensive.

Does the C&C Ancients core set have enough historical breadth and gameplay depth to feel like a "complete" game in itself, or do the expansions contribute a significant amount of the "meat" of the series?

If we go by [non-scalper] prices alone, each expansion should add another 50% to 100% of the historical value of the core set. Is that indeed the case? Or are there diminishing returns?

And if the expansions are indeed critical to getting the full Ancients experience (in terms of both fun and historical lesson), then what do you recommend as a buying strategy for them?

a) buy them used (to avoid stickering) ASAP (since prices are likely to rise)

b) buy or preorder (P500) them directly from GMT (to get the latest editions)

c) prepare to spend gobs of time waiting for decent new prices on eBay or BGG Market

d) try to download the expansions' scenarios and play a "poor man's" version using blocks from the core set (or make custom blocks somehow)

Thanks!
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Frank Lewis
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I think the C&C Ancients Expansions are currently at the printer.

I have had Ancients and the first 2 expansions (the second used to sell by itself)for 10 years or so and I can say that there is a lot of game in the original box.
 
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Marina SC
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Just a note that most of the C&C:Ancients expansions (#1-3) are at the printer and should be released within a month or two, so you also have the option of buying from your normal local/online gamestore (which may or may not be cheaper than buying directly from GMT). I think #4 & #6 are still available.

I think there's quite a bit of gameplay in the base game alone, but history-wise each expansion only covers its own chunk of history so if you're getting them primarily to learn about that period in general you'd probably want to get the expansions as well.
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James C
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I love the game and I've picked up all of the expansions.
I didn't pay scalper prices, but ordered them through GMT's P500 system.

Although I don't regret all the $$$ I spent on this game, I don't think it was at all necessary.

The base game is indeed a full and complete game. The other expansions really simply add additional armies. Sure, some of the armies have some specialized units that add a rules twist here or there, but it's nothing profound at all. The games rules remain entirely the same. No new cards are added to the deck, and only expansion 6, I think, adds some new terrain.

Indeed, GMT could have easily done away with ALL OF THE EXPANSIONS and sold the game in one box, with about 10% - 20% more pieces/blocks. Most of the expansions are simply different configurations of the very same units (heavy infantry, light cavalry, etc.) in different colors. But then they would have only sold 1 game instead of 6!

The only expansion that is different in kind is Epic Ancients (Expansion 5). This adds a second board, and a specialized card set. To play it many of its 12 scenarios, you'll need one of the other expansions, in addition to the base set (as there aren't enough blocks to play all the scenarios with just the base set).

Of course, with just the base set, you'll eventually run out of scenarios (I think there are 15-25 included in the base set). But there are more online that you could certainly download for free.

So, as much as I hate to say this (and as much as others will probably hate me for saying this), what you get with the expansions (aside from Expansion 5) is largely more of the same.

Now, if you like CCA, more of the same is a good thing! Each expansion features about 25 new battles to play through. That's tons of fun. Do you really need entirely new set of colored blocks to accompany the additional scenarios? As I said, probably not. You could easily go with the "poor man's" solution you mentioned. However, it is kind of cool that each "army" has its own distinctive color. And, despite my complaining, I do kind of dig GMT and don't mind supporting the company.

As for stickering, I actually find it relaxing. Crack open a beer, put on some music, and take your time.

So, in sum: buy the base game. See how much you enjoy it. If you love it as much as I did, and if you suffer from the same psychological condition as I do ("completionism"), pick up the expansions over time when they're reprinted. I wouldn't overpay for them, however. I'd recommend patience. But don't feel as though you're really missing out on anything - you're not. The game is the game - it doesn't change at all from expansion to expansion.

I hope that helps.
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Travis Emmitt
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Having grown up in America, I know very little about the time periods depicted in Ancients. Most of what I learned about pre-US history came much later, from computer games (Assassin's Creed, Total War, etc.) and the occasional book ("Guns, Germs, and Steel", the DK History books, etc.)

So, I'd be pretty much "going blind" into each of the expansions, not really knowing what to expect in terms of troops, terrain types, special rules, etc. Each expansion therefore has equal apparent value to me, which is what makes it weird to see such crazy price differences!


Another question: I've read that some expansions don't come with a mounted map board. Does this mean that in addition to the 6 "main" expansions, I should also order a mounted map board? Or will at least one expansion have a mounted map board anyway? A bit confused there... Doesn't the core set have its own map board?

And finally, is it worth waiting for GMT to finish the 6th printing of the core set, or should I just snag a cheaper secondhand 4th or 5th edition?
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Marina SC
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tripecac wrote:


Another question:

I've read that some expansions don't come with a mounted map board. Does this mean that in addition to the 6 "main" expansions, I should also order a mounted map board? Or will at least one expansion have a mounted map board anyway? A bit confused there... Doesn't the core set have its own map board?
The core set comes with the mounted board and the command card deck, so regardless of which expansions you want you will need to get the core set. You will only need the extra board if you plan on eventually getting the #5 Epics expansion (the first printing came with a board, but later printings did not, so I'm assuming the future printing will not include a board).
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James C
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Apologies if I was unclear:
the base set is absolutely essential.
It comes with the board, the dice, and the cards - not to mention the first two armies.

Thereafter, you could pick up the expansions in any order you please - and you certainly don't need all of them.

Picking them up in order would be preferable, as some of the later expansions assume ownership of armies from the earlier expansions, but this doesn't effect every scenario in the box -- only a few. So, although preferable, it's not necessary.

PS: a product of the American public school system, I too didn't learn about all this history. That's one of the reasons I'm homeschooling my children!
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James C
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tripecac wrote:
And finally, is it worth waiting for GMT to finish the 6th printing of the core set, or should I just snag a cheaper secondhand 4th or 5th edition?
You'd have to see what they've added to the Sixth Edition. My sense is that's its largely a reprint, so an earlier edition should suit you just fine. But I'm not sure.
 
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Travis Emmitt
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Where can we see a list of version-specific differences?
 
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James C
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tripecac wrote:
Where can we see a list of version-specific differences?
GMT's website perhaps?

If it's not there you could email them.
 
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Caleb
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Here is my ordering of the expansions in order of preference

Essential
Exp 2/3 combined set "Rome & the Barbarians" - the most scenarios of any expansion set, barbarian scenarios are typically very fun, wild, shoot-out affairs with lots of terrain and interesting setups

Recommended
Exp 1 Greeks/Eastern - You get 2 different armies, and a lot of famous scenarios


Exp 4 Imperial Rome - would NOT get this w/o 2/3 since many of the scenarios require barbarians

Take it or Leave it
Exp 6 Spartans - I'm not a fan of many of the Greek battles - they are fairly bland and I don't like the hoplites being commanded by "mounted" cards (although I understand it why it is necessary for the game to play well).

Exp 5 Epic. Only valuable if you want a much bigger/longer game or if you routinely want to play with 6-8 players.
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Travis Emmitt
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Thanks, guys!

Well... thanks to your enthusiasm and my completionist impulse...

I went all-in, ordering base game plus all 6 expansions (from various sources). I found very good prices for all of them. (Although shipping to New Zealand is painful!)

I skipped the extra map board, though. If one isn't included in the upcoming P500 printing of expansion #5 I can order one then... or reuse some boards from Memoir '44, Tricorne, Battle War, or The Great War... right?
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HERSCHEL SARNOFF
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I tried to sell an extra copy of Spartans on Ebay and could not get $30 for it,
 
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Cracky McCracken
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tripecac wrote:
Having grown up in America, I know very little about the time periods depicted in Ancients...

yeah ... You know, us dumb ol Americans never read books. We just play video games lol
 
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Mark K.
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I didn't read it that way myself since the ancient period gets quite an extensive treatment in european schools. And even then it was all about the broader political happenings and rarely about individual battles save for the most famous ones. My playthrough of the base games has been very educating.

On the other hand I know little about the American civil war since we just barely brushed that topic in school. And I don't even have video games to fall back on

Back on topic: As others have already mentioned, expansions 1 and 2+3 are the crucial ones. You need those in order to play certain if not all scenarios from expansions 4-6. I think that's worth mentioning especially since the Spartan box might be tempting for many because of its topic and current availability. Of course you could always proxy units ...

Ave! And welcome on board!
 
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Giulio
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tripecac wrote:
Does the C&C Ancients core set have enough historical breadth and gameplay depth to feel like a "complete" game in itself...?

Definitely YES. It's mainly (but not exclusively) about the Second Punic War. A key point (if not THE key point) of the military and political development of ancient Rome. Hannibal, Scipio, elephants on ice... lot of stuff! Plus with the armies in the base game, you can play several official and unofficial scenarios not included in the box. Check here:

https://www.commandsandcolors.net/ancients/

I've seen some decent prices on BGG market. If you are not rich, avoid anything above 60 bucks.
 
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Kevin Duke
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Although the OP has already made the “buy nearly everything” choice, I wanted to chime in.

Yes, base game is essential—no discussion needed— and offers a lot of play, especially when you include the extra scenarios for it.

While I really like the Barbarian expansion—and that having the 2nd Roman army opens up the Civil War scenarios— I think my recommendation for “If you buy just one expansion’ would be #1, the Greeks and Eastern. That opens the door for all the Alexander scenarios and the Successor battles and also sets up some better scenarios for the base game (where Carthagians or Romans are stand-ins for Greeks, depending on which of the two is fighting Greeks.)

And for future use, the Eastern army shows up again and again in different forms.
 
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Mike Brown
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Best just to buy the whole gallon of milk at once.
 
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Jon Snow
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cool You made a good call in getting them all! I have enjoyed playing over 100 battles with a pal who knows a lot about Ancients! I decided to buy it all because he couldn't afford them, after another buddy gifted me the core set. Since then I've learned a lot and had fun over the years as they came out. I encourage anyone to do so!

I own over 30,000 54mm miniatures from Medieval to the Korean War, but no Ancients, since by the time any came out in this scale I was out of storage space! So this has been my entry to a period that is after all as long as all the other periods combined. Now I also have all of the C&C games; I think 8 now with all of their expansions, with 3 more coming in 2019. If you like the game system, you can't go wrong.

GMT just announced that there will be a new "C&C Expansion" in the next few months. Who knows, there may finally be another CCA!
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Greg
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chas59 wrote:
<snipped>

GMT just announced that there will be a new "C&C Expansion" in the next few months. Who knows, there may finally be another CCA!

Could be, but my guess is that it will be the CCN Grand Battles expansion Gene was referencing in the following thread:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2047108/when-will-they-fini...
 
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Tim Walker

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The base set, as others have commented, is an excellent stand-alone, and a fine introductory route to this huge period.

If -and perfectly understandably, as it has been for me - cost of buying expansions is a factor, Travis, I'd suggest you buy then play with the base set, to ascertain which elements of the battles you enjoy, most, and perhaps which light your fire, less.

Then you can take a fuller view as to whether, say, you want to explore the warfare of Alexander/ Sucessor armies, and perhaps Greece & Sparta; or whether you might more enjoy Rome, and its conquests.

As you may be aware, you need Greece & Eastern Kingdoms, to play Sparta.
And Rome & the Barbarians, to fully utilise Imperial Rome.

But my advice is try it, and see. I found I really enjoyed colourful and varied troops, so I bought Greece & Eastern Kingdoms as my first expansion.

Another point is 'selling' the game to would- be opponents.
It's a bit of an easier sell, to say 'try this Ancients game; you play Rome vs Celtic warriors, or Alexander the Great vs Persians' to non gamers, than ' oh well, it's a game set in Caesars conquest of Gaul.'
I've played with several decidely unconvinced non Ancients fans, plugging it that way, who have all remarked upon how much they enjoyed it and how surprised they were, that they did.

Just a few thoughts, I hope helpful.
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I got the base game + the Greeks & Persians expansion because I really just wanted to play the Greek battles. And the Sparta expansion is on its way to me because I really want to play those (currently playing Assassins Creed Odyssey which has really got me into the Greek/Spartan history)

I'm not that interested in Rome and Carthage, but that said I also picked up the combined expansion 2&3 because it's just a really good deal (plus the Barbarians are cool). I have zero interest in expansion 4 though.

 
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EDG_ wrote:
I have zero interest in expansion 4 though.
That was my situation a few years ago, but then my love for this game made me buy it and my interest grew, so much that I started reading on that period of the Empire and even ended up designing a game!

Starting with the period you like the most is a good advice, but all periods 'work' in their own way and all are great to tell stories of the time while fighting the battles.
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I did have the option of buying Exp 4 for cheap from my FLGS but someone else bought it anyway. I just didn't fancy doing even *more* stickering (oh gods, the horror) for something I wasn't really into, which from what I've read is a crappier version of the normal roman army from other expansions anyway.
 
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Michal K
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franchi wrote:
EDG_ wrote:
I have zero interest in expansion 4 though.
That was my situation a few years ago, but then my love for this game made me buy it and my interest grew, so much that I started reading on that period of the Empire and even ended up designing a game!

Starting with the period you like the most is a good advice, but all periods 'work' in their own way and all are great to tell stories of the time while fighting the battles.

A very good game!
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