Brian Morris
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If you're reading this review and hoping to mine some useful information from it then you likely already own Combat Commander: Europe. Thus you likely are already familiar with the game mechanics so I'll skip going through all that in this review. However if you don't and aren't familiar with the game's mechanics but are just looking to see what the game offers in terms of expansions before deciding to purchase the base game then I suggest you see my earlier review on Combat Commander: Europe which you can find via this link here.

Basically the question for most will not be will you like the game. You already know that answer. What you want to know is is it worth picking up this expansion. Seeing as Combat Commander: Mediterranean is the same price as the base game and the fact that the Battle Pack expansions are half the price, this is an important question. My hope is this will help answer that question for you.



An expansion that's almost a game

One of the funny things about this expansion is just how close it is to a stand alone game. When you open up your box of Combat Commander Mediterranean you'll find a set up very similar to what you get in Combat Commander: Europe. Just like with it's parent game you get 3 decks of cards for the three nations (French, Italians and British More on those in a bit), 6 double side maps (12 maps all total), Rulebook, Playbook, and some counter sheets On the surface all looks the same. So much so that you could almost play the game without the Combat Commander: Europe...almost.

The reason you can't play the expansion by itself is mostly because of a few components only found in Combat Commander Europe plus some of the scenarios require the Germans or Russians. Combat Commander: Mediterranean has about 300 fewer counters than you'll find in CC: Europe. Basically things like mines, trenches and wire are all with the base game along with the sheet you use to keep track of victory points and casualties. Oddly the expansion does still provide things like blaze and smoke counters (still not sure if I should mix in the expansion smoke counters with the ones from the base game).



Components

Overall the components are the same quality as those found in Europe. One nice thing is Mediterranean comes with a copy of the rulebook version 1.1. This is cool for two reasons. First you now have a rulebook for both players playing. Also if you have the first edition of the game you now have a copy of the updated rulebook (although the changes are extremely minor).

Nations

To say the game comes with 3 new nations is kind of a misnomer. While the decks represent France, Britain and Italy they can also be used for minor nations involved in the conflict. In the scenarios provided in the game you find such minor allies as Yugoslavia, Greece, India, Poland and Romania. As with Europe the decks are tailored to their nations. The problem is of course not all nations had the best armies. The Italian and French decks are not nearly as forgiving as those of Russia, Germany and the US. The Italians for example have more jammed events to represent their faulty equipment and the French only discard one card a turn to represent it's lack of training in modern warfare earlier in the conflict (as the designer points out the British had the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. The French didn't before they were overrun).



Maps

Map wise the game is a goldmine for players like myself who enjoy rolling up random scenarios. In the 12 new maps you'll find towns, heavy woods and open desert. A real eclectic mix here. Want a fast game? Try the desert map. Nothing like clear open desert to make a target rich environment. I've had a desert fight last less than 30 minutes. Combined with the maps in CC: Europe you have more than enough selection to give Combat Commander a lot of replayability.



Scenarios

If the pre-made scenarios are more your cup of tea you'll find a fresh 12 to choose from in the playbook and not just featuring the French, Italians and British. Scenario 20 is an interesting fight with the Russians taking on the Finns in perhaps the most wooded map in the game. You can see a section of that map in the picture just above. As you can see it's extremely wooded. Expect a lot of close in fighting in that one. Conversely scenario 23 features the Italians versus the British on a featureless desert map where the only cover are a handful of trenches on each side.

While the expansion may be called Mediterranean the truth is the scenarios in this expansion come from all over the war's European Theater. You'll find in the Playbook battles in Poland, Finland, Northern France and Holland. So while the title of this expansion may say Mediterranean it might just as well have been called Combat Commander: The Guys We Didn't Have In The First Release.



Summery

Overall I think the expansion is pretty solid and most Combat Commander Europe players will want to make this a must own. The variety of the scenarios in the expansion is impressive and that variety in the scenarios translates into even more when one considers that with this and Europe you now have 24 maps to choose from when rolling up random scenarios. Maps ranging from the open desert to the thick woods of Finland.

One thing to also remember is that Combat Commander: Battle Pack #2 – Stalingrad requires the Mediterranean expansion to play all the scenarios as will the upcoming Combat Commander: Battle Pack #3 – Normandy. Also GMT is now including scenarios for Combat Commander in it's in house magazine C3i. So basically if you want to purchase these smaller Battle Packs and play the scenarios from C3i you're going to have to purchase Mediterranean.

I give this expansion a 10
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Richard Pardoe
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mrbeankc wrote:
Oddly the expansion does still provide things like blaze and smoke counters (still not sure if I should mix in the expansion smoke counters with the ones from the base game).


Yes, you mix the smoke counters togethers. The effect is to lower the average hindrance from smoke from 5.5 in CC:E to 5.0 when both sets are combined.

Addendum
Not mentioned in your review - the Random Scenario Generator procedure was also tweaked from CC:E to CC:Med. So if folks like the RSG in CC:E, the one in the CC:Med might be perceived as even better. So another nudge to why one might want this game.
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Good review. I think whenever Mediterranean is discussed, it's important to point out that the designer, Chad Jensen, originally had ONE big game that was both "Europe" and "Mediterranean" together. It was the publisher's decision to break it up into two packages, probably for pricing purposes, I think. It's for this reason that it is exactly what you say: almost the full game but not quite; yet it's not entirely and expansion... Best description is probably "the other half of Europe."

As I've pondered playing ASL and whether to "buy in" to the system, I'm always put off by the lack of availability of much of the material and the price of what is available. But when I consider that I have gotten in on the "ground level" of Combat Commander, I can't but imagine that buying everything CC as it comes out is anything but a good investment!
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Brian Morris
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Malacandra wrote:
Good review. I think whenever Mediterranean is discussed, it's important to point out that the designer, Chad Jensen, originally had ONE big game that was both "Europe" and "Mediterranean" together. It was the publisher's decision to break it up into two packages, probably for pricing purposes, I think. It's for this reason that it is exactly what you say: almost the full game but not quite; yet it's not entirely and expansion... Best description is probably "the other half of Europe."


Both Europe and Med are pretty expensive as it is now. I can't imagine how much they would be combined. Definitely a wise business decision to split them up.

Quote:

As I've pondered playing ASL and whether to "buy in" to the system, I'm always put off by the lack of availability of much of the material and the price of what is available. But when I consider that I have gotten in on the "ground level" of Combat Commander, I can't but imagine that buying everything CC as it comes out is anything but a good investment!


I've played ASL a few times and it never hit it off with me. I think my problem with ASL is it's so rules heavy that you really have to know the rules solid to be able to be tactically effective. It's depth is great but it's not user friendly for the more casual player who may play a game or two every few months. Combat Commander is more moderate in terms of rules so you can jump in and get comfortable enough with it much faster. You can start thinking about your tactics rather than the rules much faster. Mind you that's not to say Combat Commander is in any way a light weight game. In fact one of the things like really like about it is it's tactical depth which rewards players who have a plan and work that plan effectively.
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Quote:
Combat Commander: The Guys We Didn't Have In The First Release.

That was the other title under consideration.
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So, to answer your original question whether you need CC:M if you already have CC:E.

No, not really. There are more than enough scenarios in CC:E. I still haven't played them all. Plus, there is the RSG and all the C3i magazine scenarios & battlepacks. So, you really don't need CC:M if you already own CC:E.

Me, on the other hand, has already bought it!
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You mean you didn't consider: "Combat Commander: The Quest for More Money." I'm joking of course. I fully intend for that to reference the movie. I have enjoyed my plays of Combat Commander and hope to get more plays in this Summer.

Personally, I'll probably play someone else's copy of Med. or Pacific. But, I certainly look forward to trying both.
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mrbeankc wrote:
Malacandra wrote:


As I've pondered playing ASL and whether to "buy in" to the system, I'm always put off by the lack of availability of much of the material and the price of what is available. But when I consider that I have gotten in on the "ground level" of Combat Commander, I can't but imagine that buying everything CC as it comes out is anything but a good investment!


I've played ASL a few times and it never hit it off with me. I think my problem with ASL is it's so rules heavy that you really have to know the rules solid to be able to be tactically effective. It's depth is great but it's not user friendly for the more casual player who may play a game or two every few months. Combat Commander is more moderate in terms of rules so you can jump in and get comfortable enough with it much faster. You can start thinking about your tactics rather than the rules much faster. Mind you that's not to say Combat Commander is in any way a light weight game. In fact one of the things like really like about it is it's tactical depth which rewards players who have a plan and work that plan effectively.


Well said in that trying to master tactics is hard when you can't master the rules. This is the problem we find whenever we play the ASL Starter Kits (which is as far as we've gotten in ASL). I don't think CC has less "action" than ASL, but the WAY in which things happen is much different AND the way the cards work, there is very little to look up in the rules (which make looking things up very easy, btw). Plus, what are many standard but rarely used rules in ASL seem to come up simply as Scenario Special Rules in CC.

I'm up to over a hundred plays of CC in its various theaters and I really don't grow tired of it at all.
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One thing I like about CC over ASL is the fog of war aspect. In ASL a unit does exactly what you want it to do every turn. In CC the cards create a fog of war in terms of command. I may want my three units on the right to move around the enemy in the trees. It's one thing to want that but another in CC to make that happen. So you have to manage your hand. You have to work to make it happen. I really like that. I just wish Chad would make a Civil War game with this system for that very reason. I've never found a civil war game with a comfortable system for handling command fog of war like this.
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mrbeankc wrote:
I just wish Chad would make a Civil War game with this system for that very reason. I've never found a civil war game with a comfortable system for handling command fog of war like this.


This just in: "New 2010 GMT release by Chad Jensen, Combat Commander: Civil War", to include tanks! Geeks mortified at historical inaccuracy, but overlook this in anticipation of having steel-plated behemoths wreak havoc on the plains of battle".

shake
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Quote:
It's depth is great but it's not user friendly for the more casual player who may play a game or two every few months.


ASL is definitely for serious players, not casual players!
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Reply to the OP...

YES!

I just bought CC:Med and love the new units, decks and especially the scenarios. Masses of variety with more excellently designed maps. How do they get that terrain, LOS, objectives, etc to fit 'just so'?

Also: They have Highlanders in there so really, it is a no-brainer.

Regards,

Fentum

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I own Combat Commander: Pacific. It is a stand-alone game in the series but has all the counters you need to play. Can I use them to play Combat Commander: Med without any limitations? My point is that I like the Med Front much more considering factions and topic and perhaps I can spare the Europe game.
 
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Geistwandler wrote:
I own Combat Commander: Pacific. It is a stand-alone game in the series but has all the counters you need to play. Can I use them to play Combat Commander: Med without any limitations?

No.

CC:Med will give you the British, French, and Italian factions. You would be missing the German, Russian, and American factions from CC:E. Not only counters, but decks as well.

Finally - look at Page 3 of your CC:P rulebook. That page lists quite a few differences between Europe (including Med) and Pacific.

CC:P is stand-alone simply because it can't be melded into the CC:E/Med game.
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Fine. I have no problem if I can't play some scenarios because of missing Europe pieces but if it is so embedded into it...
 
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Geistwandler wrote:
I have no problem if I can't play some scenarios because of missing Europe pieces


If you check the nationalities listed for each if the scenarios here: Combat Commander Complete Scenario List (Numerical), you will see that 10 of the 12 scenarios in CC:Med require forces from CC:E. (CC:Med is Scenarios 13-24)
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Alright. Thanks for the information.
 
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