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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Scipio vs Hasdrubal. Ilipa, 206 BC... rss

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Toby Harper
United States
New York
New York
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Last night the Roman and Carthaginian forces clashed in what was about my sixth or seventh game of Command and Colors: Ancients. We are still learning the game, but fun was had by all as the blocks fell. My friend Chris (Carthaginians) and I (Rome) played last night, here is the report:

Ilipa, 206 BC. The Carthaginian and Roman armies were arrayed against each other, with Elephants, lurking as only elephants can, waiting on the flanks of Hasdrubal's army, which was composed of a mix of light troops, heavies and a couple of warrior bands. The Romans had a solid centre of auxilia with strong infantry to either side. Both sides had brought up the obligatory cavalry on the flanks. The Romans had two leaders to the Carthaginian's one, and a 6-4 command advantage.

Both sides took their time manouvering before the engagement really began. A couple of line commands brought the lumbering legions within range, and the cavalry on each flank began skirmishing as Scipio advanced. Light troops screened the heavier Roman infantry from the Elephants, and Hasdrubal proved reluctant to unleash his precious pachyderms. A few blocks were nibbled away, here and there, with the hottest action initially happening on the Roman right/Carthaginian left flank, breaking the symmetry of the battle. With a rather surprising display of (dice rolling - double reds) skill, an enterprising Roman light infantry annihilated the Carthaginian elephants on that flank. This gave Scipio the freedom to drive forward on that flank, a freedom that was to prove important as the battle progressed.

Javelins were exchanged as the two hordes drew close, doing little real damage. Finally, with an impact that resonated through the valleys and plains of Hispania, the armies clashed, with first the auxilia and then the medium and heavy infantry of Rome charging into the Carthaginian lines. Careful evasion and manouvering by Hasdrubal minimised the losses, but the damage done to the Carthaginian left in particular was grevious, and Hasdrubal and his accompanying heavy infantry were annihilated after their almost successful attempt to break the Roman Centre. In front of the Carthaginian army they faced the inexorable forces of Rome; behind them was defeat and dishonour. They chose the latter (Rome had, at this point, accumulated seven flags to Carthage's three - the game was over). The sun was setting on Carthage's dominance over Spain.

My thoughts on the session:

I am really learning this game. It is easy to learn yet the subtleties are taking some time to master (perhaps I am a slow learner!) The larger command pool was, I feel, vital to the win. I had freedom to act pretty much wherever I wanted to on the battlefield thanks to leader command cards, a number of line commands and a good mix of other cards. At the same time, I think Chris was often rather restricted with just the four cards. I suspect that this scenario in general is balanced in Rome's favour (after all, they did win) and is one of the less balanced in the game. There were also a couple of rules that we were doing slightly wrong, although these were probably inconsequential to the final result.

Furthermore, the importance of keeping and advancing a strong and well-organised line, and of careful manouvering, was reiterated to me by this game. By screening my heavier units with light troops I was able to hold off devastating elephant charges, although a little luck with killing the pesky creatures early on helped. Getting those medium and heavy infantry into action is really important, and once the lines meet the game can be decided very quickly.

Finally, elephants are a mixed blessing. They can be devastating in both combat and as a deterrent (I never really brought my heavy and medium troops up beyond their light infantry/auxilia screens on my left, as I didn't want to expose them to the elephants, although I did have a first strike for most of the game which would have helped against elephants) but they can be managed by the opposing player.

At any rate, following history, the day was Rome's. But Carthage will
march again...
 
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Colin Hunter
New Zealand
Auckland
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To approach the Other in conversation is to welcome his expression, in which at each instant he overflows the idea a thought would carry away from it. It is therefore to receive from the Other beyond the capacity of the I...
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great session... next time maybe you'll take me on, Its my game and I have only played it twice...
Colin
 
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