Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Command and Colors Ancients with 28mm Figures and Smaller Scales

Battle of Colline Gate - Sulla leads his troops out of Rome

Kevin suggested I do a post about playing Command and Colors Ancients (CCA) and the mats, figures, units and special rules that I use (mainly 28mm figures but also smaller scales as well). I thought this was a good idea, as it is a very popular board game and it really does look much better when played with figures and terrain. One of the great things about CCA is that there are literally hundreds of historical scenarios available:

If you don't like a particular scenario interpretation or feel that it isn't accurate then they are easily modified. If you have the time it is good to play a scenario twice and swap sides, as many scenarios are not evenly weighted and naturally favour the historical winner.


I have two Hotz felt mats with five inch hexes that I use, one is a desert brown mat and the other is a green field mat for European battlefields. The Hotz mats are based in Canada and have options for hex size and sector size, check out their website:

Hotz desert mat in action for a Second Punic War game

Since posting this originally I’ve purchased two Deep Cut Studio custom desert cloth mats with five inch hexes (13 wide by 11 deep) for Command and Colors Medieval. They’re great to deal with and email a preview of the mat before printing it. Two of these mats joined together make Epic CCA games possible.

There are quite a few other options for purchasing CCA mats, Tiny Wargames the Battlemat Company have a big range of cloth and mousemat mats with two to six inch hexes and also do custom mats. I actually emailed them about ordering a mat but they never responded to my email.

An alternative, if the price of mats (and the postage!) is a bit too much, is to make your own. There is an excellent post, a tutorial on Aaron Bell's Prufockian Gleanings blog on how he made his own mat:

This is probably the most cost effective way to go, especially if you're considering a larger sized mat for Epic Command and Colors Ancients (26 hexes wide by 9 hexes deep) or Command and Colors Medieval (CCM) which uses a wider and deeper board (13 hexes wide by 11 hexes deep) than CCA.

Carthaginian Veterans on a movement tray lead by Hannibal

Figures and Unit Size

For 28mm figures the five inch hex comfortably fits a four by four square of 80mm with sixteen formed infantry figures (HI, MI, Warriors and Auxilia) based on 20mm by 20mm square frontages. My figures are based in fours, threes, twos and individually and are then put on 80mm square movement trays that I make out of mdf, balsa and magnetic rubber steel. The movement trays speed things up when playing and I use casualty markers until the final casualty, when the tray is removed. I also have 80mm by 40mm movement trays made by a laser cutter that I use for ADLG and MeG and two of these joined together make an 80mm square frontage.

Hasdrubal with Gallic and Spanish cavalry

For Light Infantry I tend to have them staggered in two ranks of four, eight in total but sometimes will just use sixteen light infantry figures, it doesn't matter as long as you know what they are. For cavalry I use similar sized movement trays but with a 75mm width by 100mm depth. The Light Cavalry are probably better as four figure units but again it doesn't really matter as long as you know what they are. For Elephants and Light chariots I like to use two models on 60mm by 80mm bases that just fits in the 5 inch hex. For Heavy or Scythed Chariots I use a single model on a 80mm square base. Commanders are better based individually, usually on a horse (25mm by 50mm base) as they can fit within the hex if they're attached to a unit but I also use double figure commands on 60mm circular bases, it's not usually a problem.

Battle of Hydaspes - Indian Ellies take on the Pike!

For other scales the 5 inch hexes still works well, for 15mm you can have four bases or elements of 40mm frontage. For 10mm, 6mm and 2mm the bigger units look great and the smaller scales make it a lot easier to fit in nice buildings and terrain.  A smaller hex size and figure size can be a useful option and there are many practical advantages with this, ‘birds’ eye’ view of a battlefield.

Command & Colors Napoleonics (CCN) with 6mm Russians and French

Special Rules

I really like the special rules that some of the scenarios have. Last year we played the Battle of Sentinum and the consul Decius Mus sacrificed himself by 'devotio' in order for his troops to win the battle! These special rules can really add historical flavour to a scenario as long as they're not too cheesy or elaborate. One of the criticisms of CCA is that there is no facing for troops and that a flank or rear attack is not as effective as it should be. While this doesn't personally keep me awake at night, you could experiment with house rules and give bonus dice to the attackers where this is clearly the case. If they're completely surrounded they're probably not going to survive for long with any flags rolled.

Republican Roman Consul leading from the front!

One of the new rule features that I really like about CCM is the Parthian Shot special rule for Light Bow Cavalry this gives them the option of evading two hexes if they survive any hits (unit symbol only) and shooting two dice as they evade (only unit symbol hits). I'd like to try this out in some CCA scenarios with horse archer armies like the Scythians and Parthians.

The special rules and scenarios in CCA, are just an interpretation of a historical battle. The major battles in the expansion sets have been researched and heavily play tested but with some of the more obscure battles, there is very little that is actually known about them for certain. Some of the scenarios developed on the website have been by volunteer gamers who may have limited historical knowledge of a period. So if, after reading the sources and conducting your own research, it still doesn't seem historically accurate or feasible to you, don't be afraid to modify a scenario or special rules.


  1. CCA plays perfectly with miniatures. We have played it in 6mm, 15mm, and 28mm. All looked great!

    1. I totally agree Jonathan, it's a great game, plays well and looks good in any scale.

  2. Impressive fortress! Hotz mats are great too. Good gaming!

    1. Thanks Dean, we've had so many great games over the years, definitely good gaming.

  3. Your old blog with C&C reports (along with Tim's Megablitz and more) was what pushed me over the edge!
    I loved your Cunaxa report.
    I have sand and green Holz mats and a large lead pile.

    1. Thanks Neil, good to hear that, the Cunaxa game was a cracker! There are so many great CCA scenarios and now with CCM as well. Excellent - endless hours of fun there!

  4. Not played CCA, but a great report never the less.

    I have a few Hotz mats but for aircraft games


    1. Thanks Matt, just the board game itself is great to play but it's better with miniatures. The Hotz mats are good and those Tiny Wargames ones look even better. CCA might be a good quick and easy game option for your guests?

  5. Well written sir, and thank you so much for posting this. This will be really handy information for someone thinking about this and not sure of what steps to take.

    I have had very bad experiences with Hotz Mats, from not getting product for months, but worse very bad communication, like sometimes nothing at all. The only Hotz mats I own are for Check your 6 from I-94 enterprises and only because he had them in his hands already. This is to bad as the mats are nice.

    I will say I got mine from Tiny Wargames and there service was super awesome. Excellent communication, beautiful product, and they even sent me an image of what they were going to print before they did it. Got it in a week from UK to Michigan!

    Once again thanks so much for posting this and keep on posting battles, your minis are great as are your AAR's.


    1. No worries Kevin, thank you for suggesting it, it might be useful for someone interested as you say but not sure what steps to take.

      I had a bad experience ordering my first Hotz mat, it took six months but to be fair he was moving at the time. I have heard some horror stories but my second one only took about a month to Australia.

      The Tiny Wargames mats do look very good, I'm think about ordering one of their mats for CCM but will email them to check.

      Thanks Kevin enjoy your games. I'm planning a solo CCA Battle of Utica from the Truceless War so will post that soon.



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  7. Lots of lovely figures, my nephew has got C&C so I hope to have a game at some time!
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, it is a great game and the C&C system is used for quite a few other games and periods.

  8. Replies
    1. Thanks Ray, the Medieval game is brilliant too.


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