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Subject: Crimissos River Upset rss

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Chris Laudermilk
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Instead for switching side and playing Akragas again, my son elected to move on to the Crimissos River battle. Hey, look! There's terrain! Randomly selecting sides, he gets to be the Syracusans again, while I am the surprised Carthaginians. Hmm, equal command--but I only have one leader and my forces are split across the river. This one will be tough.

So we get started and I immediately see my son has learned from the first battle. He has a nice setup, with his army all in a nice line and he pretty much maintains it with a Line Command start. Great, here comes the heavy line. I try throwing a red herring by sending my chariot around the flank & bringing up the light infantry to start whittling those heavies down. He didn't bite.

A couple of turns dancing around with our Auxilia didn't accomplish much, and I tried moving Hasdrubal and his Sacred Bad around the right. That was a mistake. While Timoleon has foolishly split his line, he is still able to bring larger numbers into contact. Thus follows a bloody melee between most of the heavy infantry. The end result being the Carthaginian heavies being wiped out, Hasdrubal on the run--pinned against the rear with the single remaining light infantry block and the remainder of a Syracusan heavy unit dangerously close. However; the Sacred Band gave as good as they got. Between their hard fighting, and a flanking attack from the chariots some Carthaginians have scored some casualties as well.

The battle stands at 3 flags for Carthage, 2 for Syracuse. But, it's looking like a few easy scores soon--except that the Syracusan left advance stalled out as the weary soldiers catch their breath. This gave enough time for Hasdrubal to run along the Crimissos bank and rejoin his medium infantry crossing the river. The surviving light infantry makes a dash around the flank and gets themselves clear of the Syracusan heavies, thus relieving the crisis.

The Syracusans use two Move-Fire-Move commands to dance their right flank slingers, lights, and auxilia in and out of range to pepper the Carthaginians attempting a river crossing--driving the one medium infantry unit back with heavy casualties. This maneuvering allows the Carthaginians to return fire as a distraction as their medium cavalry heads upstream to a ford on the far right.

Carthage also manages to move their medium and warrior units up to form a line along the bank of the Crimissos, supported by light and auxilia units. This is done while Timoleon is running for his life after having his last remaining heavy infantry shot down around him and discovering the remainder of the Carthaginian charioteers on the hunt. Eventually, he gets to the hills to the Syracusan rear, covered by the javelins of his auxilia.

Those distractions allowed the archery battle to rage with the Carthaginians getting the better of it, whittling the Syracusan lights down. All the while, the Carthaginian cavalry has reached their objective and have forded the river!

At this point the battle stands at 4 banners to Carthage and 3 to Syracuse.

Now for Carthage's Hail Mary play. The cavalry charges an isolated light unit on Syracuses' right flank. It seems like a great plan, until the infantry spring a First Strike and attempt to blunt the cavalry charge. To no avail! The Carthaginian cavalry mow through the lightly-armed soldiers, sending them running for their lives. Many perish attempting to climb the hills to their rear, while the Carthaginians press the attack. Finally, the light infantry is no more as they are completely routed and dispersed.

With Carthage having formed a strong line of medium infantry and having mounted troops ranging in their rear, Sryacuse retires the field--and history is changed forever.

OK, so that's the story, now for move analysis from a newbie.

This was a really fun battle. My son obviously learned from our first play and made much better use of his forces. I was unable to evade his heavy infantry for very long, and despite better dice rolling on my part (and some better use of my single leader), he simply creamed my right. I ended up with my leader and a single light infantry block pinned against the rear of the map. I was sure they weren't going to make it, but my son wasn't able to find a way to command that one mauled heavy he had in range. I managed to have both the leader and light escape out of imminent danger.

From there, we ended up dancing around. I had the cards I needed to make useful moves and distract him from my cavalry flanking maneuver; I used a Move Mounted and ran the cavalry up the left edge of the board while the wounded chariots chased his leader around--that forced him to address the threat from the chariots rather than pay attention to the cavalry.

I also got a Move Medium which allowed me to get the mauled medium unit to the rear and move the fresh medium and warrior units into a line, with my leader centered. I was ready to let him try to ford the river to get at me.

At this point he was fully reactionary as I had managed to regain the initiative after the mauling I received on the right.

I was able to get that one fresh cavalry unit within striking distance of a light infantry at the end of his line. He got a terrible roll with his well-timed First Strike (my heart sank seeing that). I got a great roll, taking a block and getting two banners--where he had two hexes to retreat, thus taking two more. Naturally, I elected to take my Momentum and chased that last block down. I got two more banners in the bonus combat, eliminating the unit for failure to retreat, and gaining my fifth flag.
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Kevin Duke
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Great report and it sounds like you are enjoying the very essence of the game.

I've seen so many lop-sided, "almost over" games somehow sputter along and the underdog comes out on top.

That's the beauty of it.

You'll note that some of the cards have a long explanation but add "or command one single unit." Some folks have suggested that the standard be you could always drop any card and "command one single unit." Your game shows the elegance of the original design. The "any card" idea is too easy.

I smile for you. Haven't played CCA in too long. After it came out, it took over my gaming time and I realized I was playing it more than everything else combined and that was fine. Mostly the game time has been reduced.

If you haven't spotted them already, check out the links for "solo play" (a thread with lots of different ideas) plus a different thread for playing the base game (not Epic) with 3 or 4 people. If one of your son's friends (or yours) joins you, it's not required that folks sit out while just two play.

The solo options have a variety of approaches (of course, I have my own bias) but the shock for me, long before that thread was generated, was that CCA was really quite enjoyable solo. I would... Ah, but I've started campaigning for my preference that is in the thread. Bottom line is that, on the front end, given the card play, I would not have expected CCA to work solo. You'll find from the heavy response on that thread that a lot of people have found otherwise.

Keep having fun!
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Chris Laudermilk
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Yeah, his heavies just destroyed my right. I had the leader, one light block, and one cavalry block over there. Then the lights just in front of the fords.

I was sure he was going to pin my leader and surviving light against the board edge and take the win. Fortunately my gambit of chasing his lone leader with the chariot and depleting his hand saved me--I was hoarding some command-right cards for my escape. He had to use some of those "or command any one unit" options a few times & did move that heavy to threaten--but they were too slow, thankfully.

I'll have to look into the non-epic 3-4 player variant. I'm not too interested in the solo, I have a built-in opponent & if he doesn't want to play (when video games are calling louder), I can find something else to do.
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Orion J.N. Winder
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Excellent game stories. One thing though that I feel was a total tactical mistake IMHO was (if I understood it right); The Light Infantry should have EVADED the cavalry instead of using a FIRST STRIKE against them.

Light Infantry normally only has 2 dice, doesn't hit on swords, and so is much weaker than (Medium?) Cavalry. (Don't have the scenario at hand right now, so guessing Med. Cav.) Almost without exception Light Infantry should EVADE in such situations. It also stops the Cav. from getting a second attack as it can't take ground.
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Chris Laudermilk
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You are absolutely correct! I was hoping he'd miss that option--since I had been using it heavily all game to try and avoid going toe-to-toe with his heavies. I think that First Strike instead of evading sunk the game for him. He allowed me to weather his attack--which rolled abominably--to execute mine, which was murderous; I was then also able to momentum advance and essentially chase them off the map and into defeat. He tends to be a pretty aggressive player, but will learn. As it is, he learns fast and does well for 10 years old. He also took the sudden, massive turnaround really well.

Oh, and yes, it was a fresh medium cavalry.
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Peter Cooper
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I find that children frequently avoid evading (). They want to get stuck in! I am interested that your son takes the time to get his better troops into position, rather than engaging too early with weaker troops. That's one bright 10-year-old you have there.
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Stephanie Baynes wrote:
I find that children frequently avoid evading (:p). They want to get stuck in! I am interested that your son takes the time to get his better troops into position, rather than engaging too early with weaker troops. That's one bright 10-year-old you have there.


My wife (who does pretty well at CCN, and over the last year has a better record at BC:150 than I do), was also fairly loath to use evade, and kept trying to lead off her offensives with melee assaults by the light troops.

For those not familiar with Ancient history or the use of skirmishing units, the idea that you would voluntarily retreat or decline close combat can be a bit non-intuitive.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Yep, the evade tactic is a little different & takes a bit to get the idea of. Of course, after the first game when my lights got completely mauled by his heavies, I got the idea really quick! After this one, with my constant Monty Python King Arthur calls of "Run away! Run away!" he may remember next time.
 
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Michal K
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In my opinion evade is one of the most ellegant mechanics in CCA. That really reflects way of light troops combat tactics, allows for the specific use of them and, last but not least, is lot of fun!
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Orion J.N. Winder
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mk20336 wrote:
In my opinion evade is one of the most ellegant mechanics in CCA. That really reflects way of light troops combat tactics, allows for the specific use of them and, last but not least, is lot of fun!


I totally agree, and we also tend to sing out Brave, Brave, Sir Robin as we run back after pointing our "Light" skirmishers' pointy sticks at the foe. laugh

Too bad for Aux's though.
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