Brett Myers
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There are a number of new special rules detailed in the scenarios, uncluding special units like the Immortals and Silver Shields, and an optional special rule for Roman tactical superiority vs Greek phalanx in the scenarios with Romans vs Greeks.
 
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Andrew C
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I haven't fleshed this out at all, but off the top of my head I think unit facing would add a lot to the feel of phalanxes. Phalanxes were incredibily durable and powerful on flat ground and from the front. But if the formation was broken up by rough terrain or attacked from the flank or the rear, the phalangites 16 foot spear was a major problem in close combat against a short spear or sword-armed opponent.

In this variant, the units would face the spine (point) of the hex. The two hexes on either side of the frontward hexspine are the "front", the two on each side the "flank", and the two behind the "rear".

I did a mockup but couldn't figure out how to paste it in here. This picture will help make it clear.

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/112061

In this picture, the two hexes at the bottom (near the camera) would be the front. The auxilia infantry on the left of the picture would be on the flank, as is the unit just to the right. The two hexes behind them, bordering on the phalanx (okay, its a Roman legion in this pic, but go with me on this) would be the rear.

If facing mattered, you could give the phalanx a bonus against attacks from the front, say ignore one hit and one flag per attack. Conversely, if the phalanx is attacked from the flank, the attacker gets +1 dice, if from the rear +2 dice and one automatic "free" flag.

During movement, the phalanx can move one and change facing by one hex spine (60 degrees) or stand still and turn any direction. The phalanx can only attack units in their front arc.

Also, if phalanx is standing on rough ground or river, they do not get the bonus against frontal attack.

This would add to the importance of maneuver and of keeping a solid line, and would more accurately reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the phalanx. It would also differeniate the phalanx from a Roman legion which would not enjoy/suffer the same benefits/drawbacks.

Warning- not playtested, I just thought it up. Also you'd need to think about how to handle facing for other units (or perhaps it only matters for the phalanx...)

-edited for typos and clarity, hope it helped.
 
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John O'Haver
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Cleitus the Black,

I pieced this response together while doing laundry so it is a bit disjointed.

I thought there would be special rules for the phalanx and not special rules for the legion versus phalanx, also. I like the sound of your phalanx rule. But I do have a couple thoughts.

How do you make sure you've identified phalanx units correctly in every scenario?

Quote:

It would also differeniate the phalanx from a Roman legion which would not enjoy/suffer the same benefits/drawbacks.


I agree wholeheartedly. What I like about the Ancient era is... in essence, almost all combatants fought at the length of their arm plus some pointy thing.

The primary difference between all sides was the tactics of how these men with pointy things were organized, trained and deployed on the battlefield.



Quote:
Also you'd need to think about how to handle facing for other units (or perhaps it only matters for the phalanx...


In this particular game I think the extra "chrome" only matters for phalanx units.

Off the top of my head giving an automatic retreat in addition sounds too severe. The +2 dice for attacking a phalanx from the rear is going to create more retreats anyway.

Does the phalanx Battle Back after a flank or rear attack? If so, at reduced dice? Say 3 dice maximum when battling back from a Flank Attack and 1 die maximum versus a rear atack.

In AHs old Alexander the Great, the phalanx units combat strength was halved when defending against a flank attack and halved again versus a rear attack. So it was still possible for an attacking unit to suffer losses even when atacking a phalanx from the flank or rear.


Also from that game...

Cavalry, Chariots and elephants will not attack a phalanx from the front unless the phalanx is also being attacked from the flank or rear.

You know in C&CA Medium and Heavy Infantry are always Elephant magnets. This rule makes sense.

Under the Advanced Game Rules (rephrased by me to adapt to C&C:A)


Specialized Maneuvers:

Retrograde: Allow Greek Phalanx to move one hex backward (without turning 180 degrees). Units using retrograde movement may still change facing by one hex spine (60 degrees) after movement.

Side Step: Allow all Greek Phalanx and Macedonian phalanx to move one hex to the right or left without changing facing. Side step cannot be used in conjunction with other movement that turn. Neither can it be used with enemy units adjacent at the begining or end of that move.


Other Greek or Persian units capable of the above maneuvers are the Persian Foot Guards and Greek Mercenaries on either side.










 
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Andrew C
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scribidinus wrote:

How do you make sure you've identified phalanx units correctly in every scenario?


Two ways come to mind. 1) Any Alexander scenario all heavy infantry is Macedonian phalanx. Greek merc hoplites should be medium. OR
2) Use the "special unit blocks" for phalanxes

Quote:
In this particular game I think the extra "chrome" only matters for phalanx units.


I agree, but as a Alexander buff (just completed a thesis on him) I'd like to see special units for the hypaspists as well. Say, all the benefits of the phalanx but no flank penalty and only +1 rear. Or perhaps move two and fight.

Quote:
Off the top of my head giving an automatic retreat in addition sounds too severe. The +2 dice for attacking a phalanx from the rear is going to create more retreats anyway.


You might be right, I was winging it. Though I don't think a phalanx attacked from the rear could hold together. It never happened in Alexander's battles (he was too good a tactician) but at Issus a gap opened between phalanxes when Alexander charged. Greek hoplites (in Persian employ) charged the gap and took a phalanx in the flank. 120 Macedonians fell (of the 1,500 in a phalanx) in a few minutes...but the phalanx held and Alexander wheeled left to attack the Greek's flank and rear.

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Does the phalanx Battle Back after a flank or rear attack? If so, at reduced dice? Say 3 dice maximum when battling back from a Flank Attack and 1 die maximum versus a rear atack.


I like that, sounds perfect.

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Cavalry, Chariots and elephants will not attack a phalanx from the front unless the phalanx is also being attacked from the flank or rear


I like that except for elephants. The elephants trashed the phalanxes head on at Hydaspes. It was easily Alexander's bloodiest battle and his losses were horrendous. He suffered 6.5% dead, and using a 10:1 wounded to killed ratio, that means nearly two thirds of the 14,000 Macedonians engaged suffered injury. (Source Theodore Dodge, Alexander, pg 680)


Quote:
Specialized Maneuvers:

Retrograde: Allow Greek Phalanx to move one hex backward (without turning 180 degrees). Units using retrograde movement may still change facing by one hex spine (60 degrees) after movement.

Side Step: Allow all Greek Phalanx and Macedonian phalanx to move one hex to the right or left without changing facing. Side step cannot be used in conjunction with other movement that turn. Neither can it be used with enemy units adjacent at the begining or end of that move.

Other Greek or Persian units capable of the above maneuvers are the Persian Foot Guards and Greek Mercenaries on either side.


I like that too...though the Macedonians were clearly the best drilled and precise phalanx on the field (once Alexander scared the tar out of light infantry that surrounded them in nearby hills simply drilling the phalanx in open ground, parade style).
 
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John O'Haver
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Quote:
Or are the scenarios still a bit too early in history for such developments?



From what I've read, rules for using the pilum will be in the next expansion, so I'm assuming you are correct, it's too early. No mention of the testudo so far.


Cleitus, I think we are reaching a consensus on phalanx rules.
 
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Kevin Duke
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The tone and content of this thread makes it appear that there are some folks who have recently come to the C&C system.

No one has written-- "I've played new scenario X three times (against another human) and found...

If you will check back to the original game's forum and look under "variants," you will find considerable detail about thoughts like this-- of making the game "better."

If you look around, you'll find that-- like you-- many people have these thoughts when reading through the rules-- before they've actually set the game up. Some people have posted, on BGG and CsW, their creative thoughts that came-- they admit-- before they even finished reading the rules!

It's something that seems to follow the C&C system around-- people love it and enjoy the excitement of the games, but they do not see blatant mechanics that they can jockey with-- "I get +2 for a flank attack"-- and think the game would be "better" if only the designer had thought of doing something like that.

Maybe it's because we are so used to seeing half-assed games that haven't been developed very well and need fixing. In this case, you can rest assured that the designer was very aware of mechanics like that and chose to do something differently.

Sure, you can pick out rules from other, different games and tack them on here and feel good and "creative" and enjoy the feeling of "improving" the system.

Or, you could take C&C for what it is, recognize that many of the tactical things you are talking about are actually factored into the system in a seamless, elegant way... and those that are not put there in a way that you can obviously control were done that way completely on purpose. I can tell you, the designer is well aware of all the points that you wonder "why didn't they put something in there about that?" and realized that this was a slippery slope to the depths of advanced squad leader land.

You are used to seeing a list of DRMs and manipulating your pieces on the board in order to maximize that list because this gives you the sense of control that suggests you are a wise general.

You'll find plenty of that in the variants box, and on the C&C support site you can find plenty of home-made scenarios that were created with "special rules" to "fix" things and make it a "more authentic simulation." Read closely and you will note that most of these are done in the same, seat-of-the-pants-without-ever-playing-it (or even testing the scenario-- that takes too much time and interferes with the creative process!) method... reading the rules, not finding things working in the old familiar way, and cobbling into the system some of the usual drivel.

Variate away-- but you won't be playing C&C any more. And you won't be able to sit down with a stranger and just play the game, because-- if everyone works like that-- you'll have to have a nice constitutional debate to determine what blend of whose house rules you will elect to use before you start. You know how much fun that is going to be.

In the meantime, some of us will take what works wonderfully well as is and just be playing the game again and again.

But I'll make a wager with any of you-- Six months or a year from now, we'll still be playing C&C "as is" and enjoying it.

Note some of the names of the variant writers-- folks who were writing (creating) hot and heavy in the first weeks after the game came out... and then look around and find those names absent from further discussion. They aren't playing C&C any more, and if you asked them about it, they would probably tell you it's not really that good a game. As though they even knew...


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Andrew C
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scribidinus wrote:
Cleitus, I think we are reaching a consensus on phalanx rules.

Yup, seems like the basis for a nice modification. Thanks for your insight!

kduke wrote:
The tone and content of this thread makes it appear that there are some folks who have recently come to the C&C system.


That's quite an assumption...and an incorrect one.

Quote:
If you look around, you'll find that-- like you-- many people have these thoughts when reading through the rules-- before they've actually set the game up. Some people have posted, on BGG and CsW, their creative thoughts that came-- they admit-- before they even finished reading the rules!


I've played the game many times, and have a special interest in, and knowledge of, Alexander. What I've found is that the game has some incredible strengths and a few things I don't like very much.

I love that C&C is simple enough for a non-wargmer to learn and enjoy in one sitting, that my son can play, and the theme.

What I don't like is that the tactical decisions feel less complicated (fewer options) compared to my usual faire and the mechanics are too simplistic to differentiate unit strengths and weaknesses.

The OP for this thread, regardless of his number of plays, asked for some ideas on how to incorporate more "chrome" into the game, and while "play it like it is" is good advice, it doesn't really address his question.

Quote:
It's something that seems to follow the C&C system around-- people love it and enjoy the excitement of the games, but they do not see blatant mechanics that they can jockey with-- "I get +2 for a flank attack"-- and think the game would be "better" if only the designer had thought of doing something like that.


Its not that we think the designer didn't "think of it," its rather that the designer's purpose was to design a game that non-wargamers would enjoy, and that can be played in an hour. In that goal he admirably succeeded, for the betterment of the hobby.

The beauty, however, of board games is that players can make house-rules to customize the game experience to meet their wishes. For those that desire a bit more "chrome" to reflect the difference between a phalanx and a legion, this game provides a fantastic starting point for them to experiment with. I, for one, think we should encourage that kind of creativity. Hence my suggested modification, written off the top of my head while sitting at my PC at work, and with a clear caveat that it was a brainstormed idea and not playtested.

Quote:
In this case, you can rest assured that the designer was very aware of mechanics like that and chose to do something differently.


Agreed 100%. For the type of game he was designing.

Quote:
Or, you could take C&C for what it is, recognize that many of the tactical things you are talking about are actually factored into the system in a seamless, elegant way...


Or simply left out, which is a absolutely appropriate design choice.

Quote:
and realized that this was a slippery slope to the depths of advanced squad leader land.


It would be a long slope indeed before it hit that level of complexity. There is a middle ground that some gamers might enjoy.

Quote:
You are used to seeing a list of DRMs and manipulating your pieces on the board in order to maximize that list because this gives you the sense of control that suggests you are a wise general.


Not sure how to respond to that. I'll pass on the flame war.

Quote:
and cobbling into the system some of the usual drivel.


Again, pass on the flame war.

Quote:
Variate away-- but you won't be playing C&C any more. And you won't be able to sit down with a stranger and just play the game, because-- if everyone works like that-- you'll have to have a nice constitutional debate to determine what blend of whose house rules you will elect to use before you start. You know how much fun that is going to be.


Or, when playing with new players, you can simply drop the house rules.

Quote:
In the meantime, some of us will take what works wonderfully well as is and just be playing the game again and again.


Enjoy!

Quote:
Note some of the names of the variant writers-- folks who were writing (creating) hot and heavy in the first weeks after the game came out... and then look around and find those names absent from further discussion. They aren't playing C&C any more, and if you asked them about it, they would probably tell you it's not really that good a game. As though they even knew...


Or perhaps the game just was not their cup of tea.
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Kevin Duke
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You both have valid points and I apologize for any offense. I do suggest that CCA is not really "introductory," although relatively simple mechanics may make it appear so. I am reminded of We the People, which I almost did not get because the box description called it "introductory" but, fortunately, the guy at the FLGS said, "It's not complicated, but it's certainly not introductory-- there is a lot of thinking to be done."

While the layers of complexity do make this one easier to bring in non-wargamers, I'm finding the greatest enjoyment coming from people like me-- 'veterans' (victims?) of the "simulation versus playability" wars who really enjoy a game that involves choices that can involve a lot of thought (without involving a lot of rules diving.)

There was some heat shortly after CCA first came out when folks who really hadn't played any were either bashing it for what it wasn't or loudly blahing about how much better the game would be with their "just a few changes." The loudest, weirdest part was an insistence that things like adding facing rules and minutia down to the level of "dust cloud effects" were not really "changing" the game at all. (It was when I got to dust clouds I started thinking of ASL.)

The "slippery slope" of the CCA system is that it is, indeed, so easy to consider "off the top of the head" additions and they sound pretty reasonable, while the long-term effects of these changes on the system will be a lot harder to figure out.


But while we're all in a tinkering mode, here's a "house rule" you can consider adding--

Make it so that a player can use ANY card for an "command one unit" action, like the "order mounted" cards which-- if you do not have ANY mounted-- let you pick any one unit to activate.

In this way, there would be no such thing as a totally useless card.

I realize it seldom happens that a player can't do anything and just has to discard, but that potential is one of the "too much luck" complaints we hear. Just activating one unit is fairly low level-- altho I don't make light of being able to order one key unit in a board section that you might not otherwise be able to activate. Again, it sounds "small" but it makes a significant difference in the game.

Good luck with your experiments.
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John O'Haver
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Kevin, since GMT published this game I'm sure you are correct that it was done exactly as Richard Borg intended.


Quote:
No one has written-- "I've played new scenario X three times (against another human) and found


I've played every original scenario against Richard (the Methodical) Diem at least 4 times each. And several scenarios against Mike Updike, Keith Sullivan and Steve Ford of The Falls of the Ohio Gamers, FOTOG for short.

Most of those guys are miniatures guys and once a month they rent a conference room at a local hotel to set up some giant battle w/ miniatures. Last Saturday it was Napoleonics with 4 guys on a side and the month before they had six 30 x 72 conference tables arranged 2 x 3 for a 12 player battle.

To help defray the cost of the room, they open it up to anyone who wants bring a board game. Donations aren't required but are appreciated...


But I digress...

Last Saturday Richard and I played Granicus 3 times before dinner.
The Macedonians won twice. The third game I was humilated by Richard and the Persians when he was able to keep bellying up to my units when they were in the river thus equalizing the number of dice. The Companion Cavalry were reduced to one block on a very lucky roll by Persian Light Horse.

After grabbing a bite to eat we played Raphia three or four times. I like that one. Clear terrain, big armies (18 and 19 units), 5 cards per side, elephants on both sides and it plays to 8 Banners. I distinctly remember Richards Ptolemaic Elephants and Heavy Cavalry completely mopping up my left wing in one game. I am sure his Hvy Cav struck the killing blow to six of the seven units on my left flank. I was kicking ass but not taking names. I was unable to finish off reduced units. IIRC, at battles end, Richard had SIX single block units on the board and won 8-4.


I posted this thought somewhere on BGG. In essence, most ancient warfare was done at the length of ones arm plus the length of a pointy thing. What differentiated the armies of that era was how long the pointy things were, how well the pointy thing users were trained led, organized and deployed.


A Greek phalanx versus a Legion represents a major clash between two schools of heavy infantry tactics.

In understanding that, the optional Roman Tactical Flexibilty rule does not "feel" like it is the best way represent the tactical difference.

The suggested phalanx tweak, at first read, feels like it would reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the Greek phalanx w/ 17' pikes versus the Legion with short sword

Having said all that...

I wouldn't teach a brand new C&CA Player a house variant

there are plenty of scenarios where the issue isn't an issue

and in many of my games versus Richard, the battle is almost decided on the wings before the heavy infantry crunches in the center anyway.



By the way, how's your brother?


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Kevin Duke
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Just to clarify, when I spoke of the problem of lots of house rules making it hard for "new" players to play each other, it was not so much about introducing newcomers as it was experienced folks coming together to just play the game.

I understand the interest on what makes a phalanx special, but I do think introducing the concept of "flanks" on a per-unit basis will have a huge impact on the game, and just not one I am interested in seeing.

But see what you get...
 
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Alexius Exfalso
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My gripe - the one that just won't go away having played the game alot - is that one is dependent on line order cards to activate the entire main body or wings. Shuffling individual units one by one is just not how things happened; it is nice to have the option to activate a single element, but it is frustrating being unable to launch a wing into the fray when you know that is precisely what happened in 327 bc.

So, the one modification I play consistently is that a card may activate a unit or a group of units of a given type adjacent to one another. That allows for satisfying formation movement while reflecting the framentation of the battleline in contact; a group broken in two will have difficulty co-ordinating action, which is as it should be.

I find this does no violence to the game as it stands; I actually find it improves the pace of the early game, and adds a certain amount of tension to the middle game as groups begin to break up and tough decisions have to be made: consolidate your battle line for ease of activation, or exploit your opponant's fragmenting brigades, even though you may have difficulty responding to a counter move or the opportunity to follow your assault up?

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Well, it's good that you are having fun, but you've created a different game.

Actually, many of the cards DO active a group of units and keeping units adjacent in order to take the most advantage of those cards is part of the strategy of the game.

I think you will find that there are actually more cards which move units in a cluster than there are cards which completely force a player to move units one at a time.
 
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Ken Takacs
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Alexius, I understand what you are doing, but to me, that makes it too easy to move a lot of units at once which consequently makes attacks too powerful and allows for too much control over the units which I do not believe existed in ancient battles. For example, one could form a group of ranged units, cavalry and heavy infantry and activate all of them during the same turn. Such coordination seems out of place to me. I have played in the Vassal tournament against very good players and I would cringe at the thought that one of those guys could activate that many units that easily.
 
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I just noticed that a new file had been accepted after Greg's scenarios, a phalanx variant by BradyLS (didn't see it coming in "recent additions"...?):

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=23174

I think it is a very elegant way (well in the line of the game rules) to distinguish the phalanx significantly from standard HI. I have not tried it yet, but I guess I'll do soon!

Even if you don't try it, have a read, Brady's explanation is as elegant as his variant rule...
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