Monday, February 05, 2007

Lite, fun and moving right along

After a couple of weeks of pretty intensive play (at least for me) I think I'm about to get enough of Combat Commander for the moment. It's like the kettle corn of wargaming. Entertaining and a tad addictive, but ultimately not quite filling. The variability of the card system gives it a certain just-one-more-turn quality akin to a pulp sci-fi page-turner. Quite often the system works well. Sometimes it doesn't.

Every once in a while some plain goofy crap happens. The cards fall in just the right order to make me feel like I'm fighting a battle on Bizarro World. In one of my weekend games, when the scenario ended about half the map was on fire (nearly ran out of 'Blaze' markers) for no apparent reason.

And then sometimes the cards fall in just the right order to make a very enjoyable game. In a second game, some US units had to cross a machine-gun covered road to attack an objective. As one unit crossed the road, the Germans played a Hidden Minefield card (the Americans survived, but it was a fun moment) and then played a Hidden Wire card as the US troops approached the objective (the Americans took the OBJ but it was another fun moment).

It's all rather random, which is pretty much what you run into with card-driven systems. Very often it's quite a bit of fun, but I think in only one or two of the six games I've played have I finished and thought it had come close to 'simulating' infantry combat. The others were just 'games' – like maybe playing Memoir 44 on steroids.

There's something to be said for a 'lite' wargame, of course – and CC is certainly the least 'lite' of the bunch. But it's not a game that's going to replace ATS or PG in my inventory.

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