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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Disaster at Trebbia rss

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Chris Laudermilk
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We played Trebbia, and the amusing string of random choice continues--he is again the Romans and I am Carthage. So basically every game we have played, he has had the gray blocks and I the brown. It's going to feel weird the day we finally swap armies.

It seems my son is learning. In this game we seemed to be pretty evenly matched. Command of 5, but I had the ambush force and additional leaders. That didn't matter in the end--he beat me like a red-headed stepchild.

He starts out by getting some of his screening force out to plink at my own & try to whittle down the heavy infantry at the ends of my line. Good plan, but the Romans need to teach their guys to shoot better as no damage was inflicted. However, he did leave some guys for my elephants to come out and play with--we both lead off with Outflanked cards.

So, learning from the last battle, I got me elephants out and away from friendly units. That was good; but they were fighting light infantry & auxilia--that was bad. In reviewing the elephant rules, I realized we had been missing the "re-roll swords" rule. So, my left flank elephants badly mauled a light infantry, leaving a single block. Darn, no banner yet. The next turn he wounded that elephant & sent it running back to the rear. Unfortunately the rampage was ineffective--seems the Romans have learned to dodge those stompy feet.

I tried bringing the elephants forward to create some chaos again, this time engaging some of his medium cavalry. That turned out to be a bad idea as the right flank unit just died without doing much of anything, soon followed by the left unit. Great, now no elephants and basically gifting him 2 banners. This is not going well.

I bring my screening slingers up and take some potshots, inflicting a bit of damage and trying to entice him to move more of his left flank forward. That worked--his cavalry and auxilia move up to return fire and try to engage. We both take a few hits, but nothing decisive.

I think now is a good time to spring my ambush force as his heavies are now somewhat exposed. So I jump in and go straight for them. This turns out to be a very bad idea. My warriors start off well, decimating his rear-most unit and gaining me a flag. The momentum advance works out ok, too and causes some damage to Sempronius' unit. That's the end of it though. His battle back does some major damage. Then, the next couple of turns ends with a single cavalry block running back to the Carthaginian lines to convey the bad news that the ambush has failed. Sigh, 5 banners to 1.

I spring a line command and get half of my remaining force moving. The medium and heavy infantry are no a double time away from joining battle, and the slingers get to take some shots. I do succeed in eliminating one of his medium cavalry, so now stand at 2 banners. How in the heck am I going to score 5 more without suffering more than one of my own? It's not looking good for Hannibal this time around.

The final act, he moves some auxilia forward and finishes off some slingers. Then follows that with a cavalry charge to eliminate my own. Darn. 7 banners to 2! History is overturned!

This time around I made a few big errors, and did not roll well when I needed to. On the other hand, my son did a great job of pressing his advantage on his right flank. He kept pushing there hard, and didn't give me any breathing room. He also was very effective in minimizing my opportunities with the elephants; he offered up his lights--which restricted the elephants to two dice to fight with--nicely done--then followed that with standing off and shooting them to death, thus neatly avoiding any rampage.

He also took time to consider his evade option. He stood and fought more often than not, but it was apparent that was not just typical 10-year-old boy aggression, but a considered risk to give himself the opportunity for a battle back roll.

On the flip side, I screwed the pooch on my ambush force. I was thinking go for the jugular and take his one leader, but that did not work out at all. Reflecting, I probably should have a) waited further into the battle to allow him to fragment his line more, and b) go for weaker units to grab easy banners instead. His leader likely would have just stood in his starting hex doing nothing all battle had I simply left him alone. Another option would have been to cross the river and eliminate the 1 die advantage the heavies had against my warriors.

On a side note, my cunning plot with getting this game is working on both fronts. First, he is very much enjoying the game--despite my holding the advantage in wins--so we are getting in some good wargaming. Secondly, he mentioned during dinner before this session that his history class is starting to study the Punic Wars era of Rome. devil He kind of caught on to my plot after mentioning that & spotting my Cheshire Cat grin. "Wait! What? I'm learning stuff for school while playing the game?"
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David Pereira
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Only missing pictures m8
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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LOL, yep. No pics this time--I forgot while taking the drubbing. blush
 
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Chris
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The greatest political storm flutters only a fringe of humanity. But an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary children literally alter the destiny of nations. GK Chesterton
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claudermilk wrote:
Secondly, he mentioned during dinner before this session that his history class is starting to study the Punic Wars era of Rome. He kind of caught on to my plot after mentioning that & spotting my Cheshire Cat grin. "Wait! What? I'm learning stuff for school while playing the game?"
This is exactly why I'm picking this up, this week at my FLGS, instead of Battle Lore!
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Kevin Duke
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This is like the 'owners' manual' for CCA.

http://www.amazon.com/Warfare-Classical-World-Encyclopedia-C...




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David Groves
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I always find the elephants can be a saviour or a curse depending on the luck of the dice. They can plough through an enemy position but they do offer up two easy VP for the enemy.

I've found that the trick is to screen them from missiles until they can charge into a high value targets, such as heavy or medium infantry where more dice are used in combat. They also get re-rolls on X and can bonus attack on retreats. They often die (unless very lucky) as soon as they are in amongst enemy troops but again, if you are lucky you may get a couple of tramples before they finally roll over.

Keep the battle repots coming, I love 'em.

Dave
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Chris Laudermilk
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Yeah, I'm learning about elephants. I found the strategy guide over in the other forum and read that. Yep, between the two games with them I've done all the wrong things. shake Now to try and use them properly.

I also printed up the consolidated rules file. I've already found several areas we were missing in the rules (re-roll swords forever, the bonus on retreat, what they get to ignore, etc).

For as simple as the rules are, there's still nuances it takes a few plays to get down, and the strategy takes a while. It's been interesting noting our process there, and these reports help me reflect on that.

I'm really happy with the progress my son had made there. He's getting the strategy aspect of these wargames much better as we continue to play. I don't hold back, so he knows his victories are legitimate ones and he enjoys them all the more ("yay! I beat dad!").
 
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Todd Rewoldt
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claudermilk wrote:
Yeah, I'm learning about elephants. I found the strategy guide over in the other forum and read that. Yep, between the two games with them I've done all the wrong things. shake Now to try and use them properly.
For what it is worth, I think the way to use them "properly" in terms of historical context according to what little I do know about classical warfare, is exactly how most new to the game do use them: rush them out front as soon as possible. However, to be more effective in the game, they are usually better suited to hold back and wait to attack already weakened units or soft spots in lines, and, yes, reserve the attacks almost exclusively for Heavy Infantry, though an unsupported Medium Infantry can be a wise target as well.

Oh, and as long as I'm chiming in, timing that ambush and picking a wise place (i.e. limiting the risk of battle backs and subsequent Roman turns turning the ambush into a death trap for Mago) is usually key to the Carthaginian victory. Go for the low hanging fruit with that one, don't give Sempronius a chance at a puncher's win.

I've also been reading your session reports, and while playing both sides is certainly fun, I would recommend you and your son continuing to play through as the same side through the core game, and, if you get to them, then carry that on to the expansions as well. A friend of mine and I did that with BattleLore and the French v English/goblin v dwarf aspect of the game - at first organically, as you have, but then carried it through intentionally, going on 9 years now. Gives an added emotional attachment to ones "side"

Keep having fun!
 
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toddrew wrote:

For what it is worth, I think the way to use them "properly" in terms of historical context according to what little I do know about classical warfare, is exactly how most new to the game do use them: rush them out front as soon as possible.
And, if you note from the classical sources, elephants used in that manner were a mixed bag best, generally more effective against the cavalry/light infantry poor phalanx armies than against the later Roman legions. By the time the Romans and others had gotten used to elephants in by the end of Punic wars, it seems they often did as harm than good to those employing them in the traditional manner.
 
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Chris Laudermilk
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Yeah, we've caught on that elephants are a definite mixed blessing. They have the potential to ravage the enemy's lines...but almost as much potential to do the same to your own. It's kind of like sending a guy out with a jar of nitroglycerin to chuck at the enemy lines. Hopefully he'll blow a whole bunch of them up, likely he'll just blow himself up--and you pray he doesn't go off before he's clear of your own lines.
 
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Gary Logs
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Kind of a similar topic to the elephants handling, I'm going to throw this one into the crowd...

I remember a first game play of some scenario where I ran my chariots around the flanks behind the line of the Carthaginians. Seemed like a big picture tactical advantage since they were in the enemy rear, it was actually very visual to me with a Ben Hur type cheer effect. Until they were attacked and had no path of retreat since they were behind the enemy line. I learned: don't do that anymore.
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David Groves
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ncree wrote:
Kind of a similar topic to the elephants handling, I'm going to throw this one into the crowd...

I remember a first game play of some scenario where I ran my chariots around the flanks behind the line of the Carthaginians. Seemed like a big picture tactical advantage since they were in the enemy rear, it was actually very visual to me with a Ben Hur type cheer effect. Until they were attacked and had no path of retreat since they were behind the enemy line. I learned: don't do that anymore.
Which is what normally happens to your poor old elephants as soon as they penetrate deep into enemy lines with a bonus attack
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ncree wrote:
Kind of a similar topic to the elephants handling, I'm going to throw this one into the crowd...

I remember a first game play of some scenario where I ran my chariots around the flanks behind the line of the Carthaginians. Seemed like a big picture tactical advantage since they were in the enemy rear, it was actually very visual to me with a Ben Hur type cheer effect. Until they were attacked and had no path of retreat since they were behind the enemy line. I learned: don't do that anymore.
There was a reason chariots mostly disappeared from ancient western warfare not long after the time of that scenario . . .
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