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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Flank and rear rss

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Alex Limoges
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I'm just a bit curious... Why are there no advantages given for attacking from the rear ? I mean, I know that there is no facing in this game, but in one of my first games, I was left wondering why I was so happy that I routed the left flank of my opponent, seeing that I was not going to get any bonus when attacking the center with it from the rear, afterwards...

Then I thought that, at least, I could attack from the rear to block the enemy's retreating path. I attacked, but I got no flag. The enemy battled back, got a flag, and since I was behind him and my own retreat path was blocked, I had to take the hit...

Isn't it just a bit strange ?
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Yep, this is one of the things where you can make your own input: house rule.

I think if attacks from the rear would be incorporated you are in the grey area where to stop adding rules and where to continue making additional rules.

An attack from the rear doesn't need per se to be successful and units that try are often isolated. Troops that can see the attack comming can anticipate.

However, if the unit is engaged from the front as well, maybe a bonus should be considered. Example: battling back is not an option when attacked from the rear (and being engaged from the front).

anyhow, you can adjust it to your liking.

Agree with your point but can understand that Richard Borg drew a line to keep things managable and said: no further rules, even if they make sense.

enjoy playing! Thursday night is the big night again for me and all gamers are fighting to play with me!!!
 
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Alex Limoges
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It's interesting that on the French forum, I came up with the same house rule as you just proposed.

I said that units attacked from both the rear and the front should not be able to battle back against units attacking from the rear. I added that units attacked by a unit engaged from both the rear and the front can ignore one flag.
 
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Dan Becker
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On existing rear manouever technique in the game is to block off the enemy unit's two retreat hexes. This turns flags into destroyed blocks. It is especially deadly with horse and warriors who must retreat more than one hex per flag.

However, another idea for a house facing rule is to add extra attack dice for side and rear attacks. For a strong effect, add one die for a flank attack and two die for a rear attack. For a mild effect, add one die for a rear attack. What is nice about this method versus your battle-back rule is the missile units get a bonus. We all know a javelin or arrow in the back can be quite painful.
 
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Kevin Duke
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Another idea, of course, is to play with the game that came in the box.

Having units in one's rear and blocking retreat routes and preventing the removal of low-block units is devastating.

Being attacked in the flank means you are not "supported" and can't ignore a flag-- that is big-- take time to see how BIG that is.

Really, people, the game system has been played HUNDREDS, if not thousands of times. These little questions have been dealt with many times before and what we have is a fine, fine game with excellent replay value.

The more "house rules" you add on, the weaker the core system is.

Do what you want-- you will anyway-- but don't think these are "they must not have thought of that so I'll make it better" ideas. These are elementary ideas that were tried, factored, and--in many cases-- deleted for good reason.
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Jason Sadler
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I will counter with the fact that games rules are not holy and immutable. It does not make rules weaker to change them. If you want ZOC, flank and rear attacks, and goblins with bazookas in your game then put them in.

Several people have cried foul because some end users don't agree with the designers. Well, the designers didn't agree with each other all the time either. A lot of rules in final products are compromises themselves for playability or ease of understanding. See GMTs selection of errata and optional/updated rules to see that the Game Designers are not always satisfied either.

 
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John Burt
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BeatPosse wrote:
I will counter with the fact that games rules are not holy and immutable. It does not make rules weaker to change them. If you want ZOC, flank and rear attacks, and goblins with bazookas in your game then put them in.

Several people have cried foul because some end users don't agree with the designers. Well, the designers didn't agree with each other all the time either. A lot of rules in final products are compromises themselves for playability or ease of understanding. See GMTs selection of errata and optional/updated rules to see that the Game Designers are not always satisfied either.


I believe Goblins with Bazookas comes out in the version from Games Workshop called Command and Colours:Warhammer 40K.

 
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Gordon Gray
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Kevin,

I agree with the points you make about playing the game that came in the box. Despite my BGG name, I would (almost) always prefer to play the game intended by the designer rather than play ... something else that I've put together with only a tiny fraction of the designer's time and effort.

But ... I believe that some of these variant ideas are being presented (at least partly) just to read your reaction. The idea of drawing a card each time is fine for teaching the game (or playing solitaire ... with kids, etc.), but I find it difficult to believe that anyone believes that a 6 to 4 card advantage doesn't give the 6 card holder a bit of an advantage (and allow the opportunity for more planning/better strategies in the long-term). Yes, you may have better cards than I do even with your 4 to 6 disadvantage ... and may get better draws for an entire game, but ... Hey! Let's play some poker after we finish the ancients game!

Likewise, why would anyone believe that having 5-6 blocks for some units improves the game? More variability in a game that already has a lot of dice rolls ...

Additional bonuses for flank attacks looks good for awhile, but then you realize that it gives players the chance to do some "gamey" things that they wouldn't do otherwise. Say a hole opens in your opponent's center. Send in the cavalry for the flanking bonus! Surrounded? It doesn't matter because they won't be attacking those other guys!

Variants are fine. Geeks seem to really enjoy creating variants. Realize that most people will play a well-designed game (which I believe this is) as close as they can get to the way that the designer intended. Good gaming to all.
 
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Alex Limoges
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I agree that by just having units in the rear of the enemy, it blocks their retreat path, and they hits. The thing is, if those units you just attacked battle back or attack, your own path is blocked by them, and you also take the hits with flags... Therefore attacking units in the rear is dicey business !

 
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Kevin Duke
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Good points, Gordon and Alex, and I will hang up my "give it a chance" broken record from now on.

I guess what has been driving this surfaced pretty clearly over on CsW. One guy said "it's a cute game, but it leaves out all these things that are important to ancients games." (Start with 1579 and read on.)

Someone-- blessedly not me-- gave a point by point discussion on the things the guy mentioned, showing how they are either covered very well by the current rules/engine, or at least are addressed.

My point is that I realize C&C looks "simple," but that there are a lot of elements we might expect in a "tactical" game which have been built smoothly into the system. Making quick "alterations to make it more realistic", before really going through the motions with a game that has been played and tweaked for years, is a "good" way of missing the point and never seeing it for what it is.

And the more people whacking around with 48 different versions of house rules, the fewer people who can actually play the game with each other.

Enough of that- variant away all you want. I'll leave you in peace, as long as you don't write volumes here about how much better "your" game is than the one the rest of us are wasting our time having a ball playing.
 
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Justin Borges
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This really is a no-win situation between people who tweak the game and people who are against tweaking. I've already come up with a bunch of tweaks, and have enjoyed reading/borrowing tweaks from people's variants here on the Geek.
But does that mean that I don't know how to play, can't appreciate, or never play the original version? Heck no!
Those of you who don't like people tweaking this game have to realise that just because we come up with these different ideas, it doesn't mean we don't like the game, know how to play it properly, appreciate how much work has gone into it, or PLAY the original way!
Yes, there are people who say the game is bad or simple or whatever, but we all know they're wrong. Don't get mad at all the others who just want to try something else out once in a while.
I played a two-card-draw variant one time, but only once so far, and we didn't even do it for a scenario: we had equal forces. Does that mean I don't play the original? No. Does that mean I think there is something wrong with it? No. I just wanted to try something else out, and we both enjoyed it. That doesn't say anything bad about us, the game, Richard Borg, whatever.
It's a fantastic game, with many opportunities to play around with it. 'Nuff said.


After all that, I think a flanking VARIANT is cool.
 
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Dan Becker
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I really don't understand all the arguments against variants here. If people want variants, it does not detract from the original game system, and it does not negate any playtesting or investigation the original designers have done. There need not be any winners in these choices. It is done simply because people are curious.

If one person wants to add raisins to his bread, does this make a plain bread recipe any weaker? Is this a problem for chefs who have tested many bread recipes and published one version? Does it matter that 99% of people eat plain bread and 1% eat bread with raisins? No, it simply comes down to personal preferences.

The game of chess has existed in a standard form and a multitude of variants for centuries. What difference does it make if I tweak the rules? Those who want the standard game will play that and those who want the variants will play that.

One Battle Cry rule is that units retreating off the map are eliminated. People added a variant that rather than be eliminated you lose one element per hex that cannot be retreated. That's a standard CCA rule now. I say tweak away, try different things, and play what works for you and your opponent.
 
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Jason Sadler
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No one should ever be belittled for asking a question. That is all.
 
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Matthew M
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The main argument against variants that I've heard (and agree with) is that you may end up teaching new people with these variants in place. Now you've got people who do NOT know and appreciate the actual rules of the game and would be less-prepared to play against others that do play with the proper rules.

That and it is often presumptuous to assume that you know better than the designer. I read many variants that are meant to fix something where actually the tweaker didn't understand the importance of some aspect of the design in the first place. Not saying that's going on here...just saying

-MMM
 
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Matthew M
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BeatPosse wrote:
You have the right to presume that you know as much about what you find enjoyable as some guy who sat down with his friends and designed the game in the first place.


You illustrate my point wonderfully. As someone who had been involved in multiple levels of game design and spoken to both aspiring and published designers I can tell you that the image you draw up with your statement of some guy and his friends is the farthest thing from the truth.

A good game has gone through a much longer and harsher process involving MANY people to eventually reach its final form. It seldom benefits the game for someone to make a change. More often than not changes either complicate the game without appreciable gain to actual gameplay and/or have unintended side-effects that may only go unseen due to the playing style of the tweaker's particular group.

It's your game, so do what you will with it. Douse it in gasoline and set it ablaze if that's how you get the most enjoyment out of it. Just don't try to convince others that they should do the same because is somehow objectively better unless you are very sure that it really is - and even then, be prepared to be wrong 90% of the time

-MMM
 
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Solipsist wrote:

I agree that by just having units in the rear of the enemy, it blocks their retreat path, and they hits. The thing is, if those units you just attacked battle back or attack, your own path is blocked by them, and you also take the hits with flags... Therefore attacking units in the rear is dicey business !



I'm fine with variants, but thought I'd comment on this -- typically, if you've managed to completely flank an enemy unit with two of your own, your units probably have clear retreat paths "around" the enemy unit -- though it's possible to wrap one end of an enemy line such that only one of your units has a clear path.

We've found that flanking and punching holes in the line are very, very effective at destroying units.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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please everybody: STOP WHINING about the fact that the game system is the purest of all games ever produced.

The basic system is GOOD, is FUN, doesn't NEED change. But:

And if rules should be the exact way to play:

WHY DID NOBODY OF THE RULE PURISTS DROPPED A COMPLAINT THAT THE SYSTEM OF BATTLE CRY AND MEMOIR WERE TAKEN OUT OF THEIR CONTEXT BY C&C:ANCIENTS.

Oops, maybe I got a bit too carried away here and am provoking carried away reactions but in a few threads around C&C:Ancients I noticed a strong Rule purist lobby. I understand the importance of rules as they are and meant to be but I don't understand the point rule purists are making. Gaming is about evolution, otherwise we were still stuck with bloody CHECKERS...

By discussing and threads like these to share ideas, games undergo an evolution. This is not something only exclusive for game designers. Also gamedesigners learn and pick up from questions and variants.

So why can't we simply discuss variants and ideas about an already great game??!!!

This is what gaming is about. Yes the initial system IS FANTASTIC!!

But trying other variants is FUN, is GOOD, is a way to see whaether the initial rules were indeed GOOD.

We don't need someone to tell us what we should and what we should not. Of course we know about the reasons and play testing and what the game was designed for.

But why on earth should we NOT:

-Play fog of war
-put five blocks in our own scenario to represent veteran units
-take one card each turn from the pile
-make a houserule for flanking

If these rules were taken into an 'optional rule chapter' nobody would have responded since they were part of the original.

Yes the game is pure and fun in itself but so are ideas to play with the rules!!

Tschüß!
 
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Kevin Duke
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Harro,

Yes, perhaps you did get a bit carried away with the bit about BC/M44 being taken out of context.
While I can't speak for anyone else, I certainly don't have a strong inner belief that there is some pure, Platonic "ideal" of C&C and that variations are pale shadows.

Sure, have fun and try anything you like. Someone mentioned gasoline might be fun, but that's too dangerous for indoor gaming (to me, anyway.)

Since you say you don't understand the point the "rule purists" are making, let me make a suggestion outside my own ramblings. There is a very interesting discussion about this on CSW right now. Message 1579 is a good place to start, with a guy making a list of areas where the game "does not properly" do things to capture ancient warfare. That was March 8, and about 8 messages earlier the site administrator is "welcoming" the same guy to the game, which it appears he just got.

So you can put that scene together pretty easily. Guy gets game, reads the rules (I hope) and in reading, certain things he expects to find-- like flank bonuses-- are not there. Sure, the thoughtful mind wonders. Some people will set the game up and see what happens. Others will log into to one of the forums and see whether they are out of touch and that it's been announced "terrible omission in the rules-- the flank bonues ARE..." (This has happened to me-- I've struggled with something that did not seem to make sense, only to get on line and find that there are 3 more iterations of the rules beyond the ones that came in the box.)

In the case of this guy on CSW, several people wrote in quickly to explain how his concerns are addressed in the game, but done so in such a fluent fashion that it seems invisible until you get wallowing in the dust of a scenario and realize how big it is having X happen because it covers your worries about A, B, and C.

But suppose instead this guy, and anyone like him, finds instead Variant House Rule 29 that puts in flanks and dust and whether the ground has many pebbles which get caught in Roman sandals. In short, he "finds what he expected to see in the rules." Of course, this is the game he will set up and play.

Sure, people will tweak and create and dabble. The 'too bad' part is that, based on the postings and the timing involved, it's clear that some folks have done this--or a lot more-- before they even put the stickers on.

I encourage anyone reading this to check out the column mentioned above. There is a posting from R. Borg about their efforts on the system. Someone asked by they cut this off at 400AD "because it would easily go into the middle ages with some tweaks." RB explained they cut it off then because they perceive a significant shift in tactics after that time. (This would be the rise in cavalry strength, I believe, but that's a guess). They felt it was a shift significant enough to warrant a significant shift in game rules and mechanics. He lists all the periods they have used the system on and, here is the interesting part, explains that each period has its own set of tweaks and variations and things done differently because those worked most appropriately for that period.

Back to someone else's point, if these concepts were all placed in folders for "variants" or "optional rules," then at least the viewer would have them in context. Since BGG lets anyone start a thread with any heading, a guy like the one in my example-- who expects to find something about flank and rear in the rules and does not,--is very likely to click first right here or on something else like this one. For many of us, game time is precious. A guy like him may wonder why he should "waste" his precious time playing a game which is too simple to meet his expectations, when he sees other people share his focus and have providently provided an alternative for him to use instead. But when the result does not work, does he blame the tweak or still think the original game is just not very good, "even with the fixes?"

Quote:
But why on earth should we NOT:

-Play fog of war
-put five blocks in our own scenario to represent veteran units
-take one card each turn from the pile
-make a houserule for flanking


No one can stop you.
Five blocks seems very reasonable and not a very big change-- a chance for a bit more flavor and one way of capturing some elite unit (Alexander's Companions probably would get more than 3 blocks, wouldn't they?) Interesting thought.

Fog of war. Fun for some. Removes a fair amount of thinking. Encourages the play of "fake" moves-- moving a light unit slowly may fool the other guy into thinking it's a heavy, then "surprise!" Fine. That actually slows the game down, but if it rolls your socks up, have at it.

House rule for flanking-- go to it. Alters the engine a bit, maybe a lot-- I don't know. I've already seen at least 5 variations on how to deal with modifiers and things like battle back. Variations and fixes have a way of piling on. It's easier to "fix" by adding more and more than to fix by taking out, but any writer who has worked as an editor can tell you that.

Draw one card and play it-- Well, enjoy. That change makes a huge difference in how the game works and takes most of the "fun"out of it in my view, but if it makes you or anyone else happy, have fun.
 
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Kevin Duke
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from the man himself
I found a link in another section (actually talking about a fantasy version) that provides some insight into the thought behind all this.

This is Richard Borg talking about the (then) recently released Battle Cry game and what else they were thinking about and doing. (And yes, it certainly opens a door for options and house rules- but note his thoughts.)



http://www.thewargamer.com/battlecry/notes.html


Consimworld Posting (July 6, 2000):
Quote:
By design Battle Cry from the outset is the most basic game in the entire Commands & Colors franchise.
The American Civil War, with very similar opposition armies, made up of basically three type of units, (Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery) was the perfect historical setting for this type of bare-bone, fast action game play. (And was the type of game that AH/Hasbro was looking for at the time.)

Other Commands & Colors historical periods are more complex. Over the years of development, we attempt to create a unique feeling of historical command and battle for each. They range in complexity from the American Civil War, American War of Independence, Mexican American War, Fantasy, Napoleonics to Ancients. But even the Ancient game is still not that difficult.

We truly believe the system at all levels has many decisions, some luck elements and one where you are constantly battling your opponent, not the rules.

During the past few weeks, (the game has only been out about six weeks now) a number of good comments and suggestions have been directed at Battle Cry. Many of these rule modifications will work and they will not break the system.... I know this because similar play ideas are already working just fine in other Commands & Colors historical period games. Once more, it is not that we did not like these concepts, it is just that we chose not to include them in the ACW game, because in our opinion they help give another historical period more depth, detail and/or feel.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Never mind....it's okay.

JUST PLAY COMMANDS & COLORS:ANCIENTS........DOESN'T MATTER HOW.JUST PLAY IT!!!!

Even if you enjoy just tossing the blocks over the table....
Even if you like putting the stickers on your girlfriends butt and try to engage with your elefant....

Just play C&C:Ancients for.....sake.

They should have made cubes with stickers for all 6 sides!!! no mistake about the damn FOG OF WAR.

These Columbia bastards have brainwashed us silly human wargamers.

Anyhow. Just Play C&C: Ancients.

Enjoy and tomorrow I am having another session with my gamegroup. And I play how it is meant to be.....

Provided we do not get into a discussion about fog and stickers and missing the point etc...

Forget it. .....Just Play it

play it

play

bye....
 
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Jason Sadler
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Harae wrote:



Even if you like putting the stickers on your girlfriends butt and try to engage with your elefant....



This sounds like way more fun than burning my set or creating house rules for slingers.

 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Hi Jason,

As I mistakenly have put stickers on only one side of the blocks and still have 2 sheets of spares.....and I have a girlfriend.....
 
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Kevin Duke
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"Variants" and "house rules" are on your own at this point!
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Hi Kevin!

I will try some new variants and post the latest scenario's.

Subject of the thread is becoming a bit vague now....

Cheers!
 
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Kevin Duke
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Things usually get vague when girlfriends and "flank and rear" coincide.

I look forward to your report (about the game, I mean!)
 
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