21 October 2015

Ars Victor - Command & Colors 40K

If you read this blog, you probably know Memoir' 44 scratch quite a few of my itches... Friction (the card activation), unambiguous movement/line of sight system (large hexes), simple rules yet deep tactics... Only I'm not too found of historical games. I've already considered Quar infantry + All Quiet on the Martian Front steam tanks + Memoir'44 rules...

Picture from editor website.
Monday, while procrastinating on the internet, I came across Ars Victor... The rules are free to download (in fact the entire game material - except for the dices you have to kitbash and two deck of regular playing cards - can be downloaded if you sign in on the website) but here are some details (I'm assuming you're somewhat familiar with the C&C system)...

  • Activation using a deck of cards with 4 suits of 6 cards (each with a number of orders from 2 to 7); the player assign a suit to each unit upon deploying them on the board; units can be activated using a card from their own suit or a suit from the same color but different suit albeit at extra cost - 1 extra order over the regular cost of the activation); each player has is own deck and cards can only be used once;
  • Units can be ordered to advance (1 order, can move it's full movement rate but not fight) or to assault (2 orders, reduced move and fight);
  • Units have a close combat (range 1) valued expressed as a combination of dice of specific colors (those dice all have the same symbols but different colors have different numbers of each symbol) and a ranged combat (range 2+) expressed again as a combination of dice and max range;
  • There is a dozen number of special rules; all in all the system is much more cleanly organized than Memoir' 44: rules that are common to all units (move, close & range combat, hit points are standardized in "stats", with just a dozen generic special rules used in combination to define specific units;
  • Similarly the terrain types are defined by four generic effects (block LOS, slow movement, impede close combat & provide cover) with a matrix indicating which of those apply to a given terrain type; some lessons to be learned for a hypothetical second edition of Memoir' 44 there;  
  • And there is a point system...  
Unit tokens, isomorphic terrain tiles and activation cards (and some markers). You either
love or hate the aesthetic, the game system still look great! Picture from editor website.
So far the game comes with two faction: Empire of Man A.K.A. not-40K not-Empire (SM & IG thrown together) and Ancient Hegemony A.K.A. not-40K not-Eldars...
See what I mean? Picture from editor website.
Each faction has 12 units to chose from. For the Empire those are:
  • Assault: not-SM terminators
  • Brutes: not-IG ogryns
  • Cavalry: not-SM bikes
  • Conscript: not-IG cadets
  • Field Gun: not-IG some sort of direct fire gun emplacement
  • Jump: not-SM assault squad
  • Heavy: not-SM devastator squad
  • Lancers: not-IG rough riders
  • Light: not-SM scout snipers
  • Medium: not-SM tactical squad
  • Mortar: not-IG mortar
  • Scavenger: not sure what the 40K equivalent is but some sort of close combat feral warriors
You probably see where I'm going... Make the hexes bigger (4"?), model the terrain features and replace the unit tokens with miniatures (1 for each hit point of the unit)... Only it's against my religion to give money to GW so I won't be using GW (or even 28mm minis)!

Supper time. More on this later!


  1. this is exactly what I was thinking when I stumbled across this game heavily discounted in the "used' rack of the FLGS the other day. As it felt quite heavy, looked very clean and was still in the shrink wrap, AND said it could be played in an hour...I bought it.

    Looks excellent! Obvious 40K without the stupid aspects of the rules, e.g. unplayable loads of special rules, excessive details at the expense of playability, and oh, didn't I also mention expense last sentence? :)

    1. Reading the post back I'm thinking it would make a gorgeous 6mm game... Infantry units modeled with x bases of the relevant minis, with x being the number of hit points of the unit (e.g. "heavy" = 4 bases of devastator SM): 1 hit point lost = 1 base removed...