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Subject: Pax Romana - Lost Battles - CC Ancient - The Great battles of Alexander rss

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Ste M
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Hi.
This is my collections: https://boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/Stefano1234

I need some more wargame in my collection.
From what I have read, Pax Romana is more a strategic wargame, but I like the fact that can be played by more than 2 people. (I am still investigating in the kind of game it could be tho)
Lost Battles - This one I've heard is very historical, but something in the rules makes it less desiderable. (eg no flanking)
CC ancient- a gateway to wargame with hexes, simple and effective. (feels like chess with dice and cards from my first look)
TGBOA the rules are pretty intimidating (I took this one coz i can't get SPQR) but the level of simulation is incredible (I've read units has a finite ammo) and I've read there is some rules that plays easier.

Could you help me?
Thanks
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Roger Hobden
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I play and enjoy Lost Battles very much.

It's creator is a historian specialized in Ancient History.

He explains and justifies his model well, IMHO.

I do understand that some people would prefer a 'game' rather than a conflict simulation, though.

Commands & Colors: Ancients is fun but not too serious, again IMHO.

The others I have never played.
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Ed T
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It took a couple plays to (mostly) internalize the rules, but once I hit that point I am very much enjoying Great Battles of Alexander right now. It's ridiculously fiddly and takes forever to play though and at the end of the day I'm not at all convinced that it's really any more "serious" than Commands & Colors in regards to historicity, but it's an interesting endeavor to play the game either way.
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Kent Reuber
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I've played both Lost Battles and C&C Ancients. One nice thing about C&C Ancients is Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #5 – Epic Ancients II, where you can play with up to 8 people. Standard games of C&C Ancients play in about an hour; epic battles are closer to 2 hours, but are quite fun.

Another series to look at is Ancient Battles Deluxe. It's 2-player only, but is fairly simple.
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L. SCHMITT
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C&C is a good introductory game, with a lot of flavor. As it was said before, it is not to be taken too seriously. Lots of armies, scenarios and multiplayer options provide a lot of fun ( but will also take a lot of room on your shelves, consider it if your room is scarce )

Lost Battle is the best simulation on the market, but you may hesitate as it is more abstract than many other games. In this case, you may consider Legion by the same author, which uses an hex map and more detailed mechanics.

TGBOA has an incredible level of detail, which doesn't mean a better simulation. Many of these details are just educated guesses. Time and space warping induced by the system also seem to be quite artificial, but I have to admit that it works - at least apparently - better in GBOA than in other games of the series ( SPQR for instance ) as it was designed for Alexander's feats. Also consider that the non-Macedonian side has scarce chances to win a battle against such a juggernaut.
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Ste M
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Then I am more tempted to go for C&C...
Lost battles have a lot of simulation, but from what I've read it doesn't take in account flanking and other small things.
I have understand that SPQR is more balanced than TGBOA.

Is C&C epic battle playable with 3 p?
 
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Roger Hobden
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Actually lost battles does take into account flanking, but not against all types of enemies.


BTW, the game is out of print, but can be found on the BGG marketplace and on eBay.
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Kent Reuber
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Yes, you can play Epic battles with 3 players:

Single player side: player plays the C-in-C and all field generals.
Two player side: one player plays the C-in-C and commands the center section, while the second player commands both flank sectors.
 
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Richard Hellsten
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Stefano1234 wrote:
I have understand that SPQR is more balanced than TGBOA.
Yes and no. Most of the scenarios in the core GBoA are not balanced, as they shouldn't be, these are Alexander's greatest victories, and the game models those. However, the new edition comes bundled with Phalanx and Diadochoi which have better balanced scenarios. Plus you can pick up Tyrant separately quite cheap and that is crammed with great 2 player scenarios.

Plus I just wanted to add a voice in the other direction to say that I completely disagree with the 'C&C is just as good a model of ancient wafare' statement. I've played both systems dozens of times and I don't think they stack up against each other at all. C&C is a very fun game that I enjoy a lot but if you want a game about ancient warfare, GBoH it is.
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Andy Daglish
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Quote:
it is not to be taken too seriously




Think it over.
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L. SCHMITT
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What are we supposed to understand with an unexplained graphic ?
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
I have understand that SPQR is more balanced than TGBOA

Not really, the side with the great general always wins ( both sides get one in Zama, but Hannibal's army is the weak point this time ). Battles like Metaurus or Cannae ( which is also a disaster as a simulation ) are one sided slaughters.
 
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Andy Daglish
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santino el cato wrote:
What are we supposed to understand with an unexplained graphic ?


The reason why CCA is a great classic and the other three aren't is because it sticks as closely as it can to this simple ancient tactical combat synthesis accepted by historians. In game design terms its an adult upgrade of Battle Cry, which presents the gamer with the seminal question of how to kill without being killed. It is clear that the same people always seemed to do well in international competition, so clearly the cards aren't as limiting as some think. With one or two exceptions, and perhaps the "barbarian mob" memes, the scenario design was extremely good.

Vassal is better than the boardgame, however, unless you want to play face-to-face, whereupon one finds the stand-up block concept doesn't work well, due to the self-concealing shadows. EPIC doesn't work either, as it presents the player[s] either with 3/4 of an uninteresting situation and/or a battle that lacks the dimension of depth in favour of too much length eg. you can't push back the Alexandrine left at Gaugamela very far.
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Ed T
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aforandy wrote:
santino el cato wrote:
What are we supposed to understand with an unexplained graphic ?


The reason why CCA is a great classic and the other three aren't is because it sticks as closely as it can to this simple ancient tactical combat synthesis accepted by historians. In game design terms its an adult upgrade of Battle Cry, which presents the gamer with the seminal question of how to kill without being killed. It is clear that the same people always seemed to do well in international competition, so clearly the cards aren't as limiting as some think. With one or two exceptions, and perhaps the "barbarian mob" memes, the scenario design was extremely good.


Right. While GBoA encodes this historical combat concept into its mechanisms through the various Shock Combat tables and special unit rules and certainly offers more (speculative! fun! interesting!) detail, in the end I'm not finding it any less "gamey" or "random" than Commands and Colors and I'm definitely finding circumstances all the time where entire swaths of troops are unable to do a thing because of random chance (a common complaint about Commands & Colors games).
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aforandy wrote:
santino el cato wrote:
What are we supposed to understand with an unexplained graphic ?


The reason why CCA is a great classic and the other three aren't is because it sticks as closely as it can to this simple ancient tactical combat synthesis accepted by historians. ...


Fabulous, but could you please stoop to explaining how to interpret the diagram. My first guess was 'A' stands for attack, 'D' for defend, and an arrow means "is effective". I would therefore read "Heavy cavalry is effective attacking light cavalry" which seems plausible. However I lost confidence in that interpretation as it's not clear to me why light cavalry would be effective attacking heavy infantry but not light infantry.

How do I read the damned diagram?
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
The reason why CCA is a great classic and the other three aren't

So, GBOH is not a classic ? This is a good one. Really.

Quote:
It is clear that the same people always seemed to do well in international competition, so clearly the cards aren't as limiting as some think

The fact that luck is not so important in a game doesn't make it less gamey. There are also good bridge or belote players, they known how to manage a hand a cards, and win more than often. I don't really see what it demonstrates else.

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How do I read the damned diagram?

I'm with you. Just an exemple, it seems to say that light cavalry would have the edge on heavy infantry. As historians know it, for instance through the study of Rome's Parthian Wars ( yes, even Carrhae ), such confrontations often ended in tactical stalemates.
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michael connor
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santino el cato wrote:
What are we supposed to understand with an unexplained graphic ?


My best guess would be that 'D' means to repel, not necessarily to defeat in detail. 'A' would mean advantage suggesting the possibility of a successful attack. One might wonder how light infantry can have an advantage over heavy infantry. Depends on the situation as they can go around open flanks, penetrate gaps and skirmish them with quick situational response times.
 
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Stefano1234 wrote:

From what I have read, Pax Romana is more a strategic wargame, but I like the fact that can be played by more than 2 people. (I am still investigating in the kind of game it could be tho)


Pax is a great game. Turns are 25 years, and there are usually four activations (ordered by chit pull) per power in that time, so it is very broad in its scale. The whole of the Hannibalic War would take just one turn, for example. It gets the sweep of events pretty well right, and the game play is tense and exciting. Downsides are that the rules (1st edition anyway, don't know about the new edition) take a bit of ingesting, especially naval aspects. There is also quite an advantage to going last in the turn, but with the risk that you could have been hammered too much to be able to take advantage of the opportunity to put enemies out of supply.

Some of the scenarios have special rules to take into account political situations so these can add a bit of extra detail / fiddliness depending on how you look at it.

The combat system is brilliant and allows the kinds of decisive results that the ancient world saw in reality. Players look for every advantage before committing to major battles and leadership, cavalry superiority, terrain and supply lines are as important here as they were historically.

It's a great game, but takes time and patience to learn and time and dedicated ancients geeks to get it to table. A four player game of Pax is a thing of majesty, and was perhaps why God invented VASSAL.

Not really a run through of historical events if that's what you are looking for. You start a game and then things rapidly go off on their own course.

Quote:
Lost Battles - This one I've heard is very historical, but something in the rules makes it less desiderable. (eg no flanking)


Another great game, but not in everyone's opinion. Flanking is very important in Lost Battles (Perhaps it's C&C:A you're thinking of?), but not so much of the immediately obvious 'add +1 to the attack and eliminate defender if forced to retreat' variety. The effects are seen in increased attack frontage for the outflanker, possible morale reductions, and severely reduced movement options for the unfortunates so outmanoeuvred.

Biggest complaints about Lost Battles are that it is boring and you don't get to make many choices. I would disagree, but can certainly understand how someone might reach those conclusions.

It's very difficult to learn but it is an excellent solitaire game and a really interesting battle study.

I probably wouldn't recommend it to you though; going by your game collection it would likely be an expensive and disappointing mistake.

If you do want to put a toe into the Sabin waters, pick up Strategos II (Lost Battles in its original form) from the Society of Ancients and learn the game with homemade counters (or miniatures, if you already have a collection of them).

Quote:
CC ancient- a gateway to wargame with hexes, simple and effective. (feels like chess with dice and cards from my first look)


A strong option. A cracking game but often only accidentally historical on a grand-tactical level (some units do nothing all game because of the card draw; others cannot do what they did historically. Flinging your victorious cavalry wing against the enemy rear will not usually result in a rout of the enemy army, for example, but will almost certainly be the death of you!).

The base game is probably essential playing for anyone interested in ancients. See how you like the system and take it from there.

Quote:
TGBOA the rules are pretty intimidating (I took this one coz i can't get SPQR) but the level of simulation is incredible (I've read units has a finite ammo) and I've read there is some rules that plays easier.


Can't really comment. Have not got beyond setting a couple of battles up at different times, playing through a turn or two, wondering what on earth I was supposed to be doing, and then packing them away again.

Great topic, and hope that this gives you a little more to go on.
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carlos pendragon
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I would like to echo previous comments here about Pax being a great game that gets the "big" stuff about right. I feel the new edition's rules are pretty easy to understand and while I haven't played it much I really like the sandbox it presents.

Lost battles I can't comment on.

CC Ancients is a lot of fun! It's one of my wife's favorite games and we enjoy it a great deal. I have become a bit disillusioned with the simulation, and as such, I got TGBOA. CC:A is quicker and easier than just any other game you've listed and could be played 4 player with some sorta team alternating strategy.

TGBOA is beautiful with all of it's bits and one really feels like this will be a beautiful simulation of ancient conflicts. Then - the lines hit and everything is a confused mess and control of the forces is pretty much completely gone. I think this probably would be accurate and as such I appreciate it. It somewhat sad to watch the beautiful lines vanish and chaos take hold, but hey it's a simulation.
 
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L. SCHMITT
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Quote:
If you do want to put a toe into the Sabin waters, pick up Strategos II (Lost Battles in its original form) from the Society of Ancients and learn the game with homemade counters (or miniatures, if you already have a collection of them).


I never tried it but Legion provides the counters, it was re-edited last year by the Society of Ancients.
http://www.soa.org.uk/joomla/18-games/65-legion
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Andy Daglish
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rayofsunshine wrote:
it's not clear to me why light cavalry would be effective attacking heavy infantry but not light infantry.

The classic example is the Battle of Carrhae. Light cavalry can drop any number of arrows on the heavy infantry at a range that precludes any resistance. Men on foot cannot attack far more mobile cavalry, as they cannot close the range to them. At Carrhae the Persians were resupplied with camel-loads of all the arrows they could shoot.
King Masanissa's Numidian light cavalry were particularly effective in the Second Punic War. They would gallop across the front of heavy infantry shooting madly at the shortest possible range, so they couldn't miss, whilst their arrows connected with maximum energy.

'Light' in all contexts means missiles, usually javelins, arrows, slingshot or darts. Heavy means armoured, which are therefore heavier and slower, and which fight face-to-face.

Archers on foot can shoot faster, farther and more accurately than light cavalry, and so will tend to best them defensively if the cavalry deign to come within their range.
If they had too much equipment or armour weighing them down, it was possible for say medium infantry to catch light infantry at some times and places, but usually not.

Similarly defending heavy/medium infantry can bring a lot more force to bear on attacking heavy/medium cavalry as the infantry are more densely arrayed, as seen here at Hastings:- http://www.angelfire.com/mb2/battle_hastings_1066/lovell.htm... In this picture the horses are far too well-bred & muscular for 11th century stud breeding, the axe-heads are the wrong shape and Bishop Odo, with his symbolic blunt instrument, wouldn't have fought at all, but otherwise it shows the vulnerability in combat of the horsemen. Without such a formation the advantage of horse versus a single man on foot is very great, thus maintaining formation here and elsewhere was paramount.

Lights on foot [or Napoleonic skirmishers] were therefore highly vulnerable to heavy/medium cavalry attack, as in the game. Cavalry closed the range too fast for them to get off many defensive shots, and their projectiles might bounce off armour.


Heavy/medium cavalry would mobilise light cavalry, and its hard to use missiles effectively at longer range whilst moving. If the heavies got close to or in amongst the lights they would have a great advantage, or more likely would scatter them permanently, away from the battle.
 
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Noel Houben
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To the OP: another option for an Ancients game is Sword of Rome. It's multiplayer, the four powers differ greatly and it is far less difficult to learn then Pax Romana. Another great ancients multiplayer game is Successors (third edition)
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L. SCHMITT
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The explanation confirms what I suspected of the graphic : caricatural and over-estimating widely the average efficienty of Ancient missiles in battle. What was achieved in hours of pounding at Carrhae, with loads of resupply armies usually did not have at hand, and against a dispirited army the Parthians didn't manage to destroy directly, just confirms what was obtained in a more classical engagement : nearly nothing ( a few casualties against the Marathon greek assault, a stalemate against the Spartans at Pylos, and I never heard of legions being disrupted frontally by Numidians javelins - no arrows here. Also nothing obtained in Thapsus by the swarms of light troops encircling Caesar's resolute legions ). Many accounts just do not bother to record the opening volleys of the skirmishers as their effect on battle was so marginal without situational advantage ( rear or flank attack... of course difficult to obtain in games like C&C where there are no flanks ).
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I'm planning on getting that Archer Jones book to read, but based on the snippets I have read so far on Amazon I expect it to be more an interesting point of view than authoritative. The description of Leuctra presents an outlier interpretation as fact. The classification between heavy and light infantry makes little distinction between light infantry equipped and organised for skirmishing, and Persian infantry described by the book as light, actually equipped and organised both for mass archery and for close combat (although less specialised for close combat than Greek hoplite or pike phalanx infantry).
 
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