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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Beneventum Bloodbath rss

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Chris Laudermilk
United States
Orange County
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We played the 2nd Battle of Beneventum and yet again, my son picks the Romans. This one starts out balanced, but with 3 banners, he will pick up a 2 card advantage.

We start off with the traditional light screen dance. Hmm...he's learning. Some plinking at each other, but no silly charge with isolated lights vs a semi-formed line. With our 4-card hands, we are both challenged to come up with meaningful moves out of our limited options.

The focus falls on my left flank/his right flank. It seems our hands have plenty of commands there. I manage to work my line up and screen the elephant--I'll save him for later. My son carefully forms a line and advances. We end up in a good struggle on that end of the battle field, both ending up bloodied. I end up with 2 banners out of that preliminary fight, killing off his one cavalry units in a single swipe. He is also left with badly mauled warriors and lights. However, my own cavalry with Mago attached, and the heavy infantry are in no better shape. I now need to be careful how I commit troops on that flank.



I am able to spring a Reinforce on him and get some heavy and medium blocks back on each flank--my son is not amused. Again, we spend a few turns dancing as we maneuver troops. I manage to get my army formed up into a nice line, the better to go with the Line Command I now have stashed. My son does the same--instead of blindly charging in, he is forming up his troops as well.

He throws a Double Time and moves part of his line up to engage my light screen. That's ok, they have openings left to evade into, and that moves him into range. devil So...I evade away to his annoyance with the loss of only a single block. I then spring my Line Advance and move up to fully engage our centers. Let the bloodbath commence!

To start, my son springs a First Strike on my warriors leading off the fight on the right-center. Well played. He does score a single hit--which reduces my offensive capability. My warriors respond with three hits. I'll take that trade.



We then move down the line and the carnage piles up. I end up completely ruining his nice line, throwing enough flags to force a couple of retreats. I carefully choose my momentum advances, mainly concentrating on trying to punch the center of his line and encircle the heavies led by Gracchus. I am partly successful, but those Romans stand strong. I am holding a several banner advantage, and it's looking bleak for Rome.



He responds by punching back with those heavies and does significant damage. My banner advantage is evaporating rapidly, along with my center. At this point play is slowing down as we both must carefully consider our moves. We are running out of both units and desirable cards.



I choose this moment to bring my elephant forward. It has the most potential to cause major damage, and he has a tempting knot of troops on my left flank. It just will take two commands to get there. I am guessing he is running out of commands on that flank, and I have several. it turns out I'm probably correct as I am able to charge the elephant into a pretty good position. It runs right up to his heavy infantry with Gracchus, and some medium infantry to possibly rampage through.



My son's eyes got bigger as I kept re-rolling swords. In the end, the elephants took out 3 of the blocks and sent the battered Romans scurrying back to their base line. Unfortunately, my son did have enough command options to order his medium infantry to strike back, and killed the elephants in one shot--preventing a glorious rampaging retreat. Bummer, there goes another banner--but at least the heavies are badly mauled and out of the fight.



Now it's really difficult. Our armies are both scattered, and half our units are one hit away from elimination. We again dance, trying to position a group of units to make a decisive final strike. Banners stand at 6-6, and it's well past bedtime (crap, I'm busted). Sudden death overtime! I send in a wounded unit of warriors to try and finish off some medium infantry. I knock them down to one block and score a retreat. I take a chance and momentum advance, then take my bonus combat to strike at the light infantry to their left. No dice. Damn. My son plays an order lights, and tries to hit back at the warriors...nothing!

I only have some order center and order left, so move my left flank up and try to distract him. He's stuck with order two center, and has to respond. Again, more dancing and inconclusive close combat.

We are now three turns each being essentially one good combat roll from victory. I cannot get my warriors out of peril, and my son is able to move his mauled medium infantry up. It's a big gamble, but with 4 dice, his chances are good that he will get the one hit needed. He rolls, and Hanno's last warrior falls. Victory to Rome!



Postmortem
It became apparent early on that my son did indeed internalize the lessons of the last two battles. He was much more careful in ordering his units, and took some time to consider his moves. He chose against just running up and attacking at times, and instead moved to get into a stronger position.

This more careful consideration of his moves made for a really good battle, which ended up going about twice as long as I anticipated--though I got in far less trouble from SWMBO than I thought I would--so far; we blew about 45 minutes past bedtime. I'll have to watch our start time more closely now.

It was very entertaining and gratifying to step outside the immediate play and observe that we both had to slow down our play and really think through the next move. My son was paying much better attention to the overall board, what his options were, and the possible repercussions of a move. That made for a really close game, and allowed him to come back from some bad luck on his part and good luck on mine when our centers really got into it. One of the main things was he really paid attention to getting his troops in line and trying to keep them there, or at least keep them in groups that were supported to some extent.

This was our tightest game so far, and the most enjoyable to us both.
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David Groves
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A really great battle report with tense moments for you both. As far as Commands and Colors games go for me this is the closest one to Chess that has been produced.

You are both right to weigh up each move carefully since any mistakes made in deployment can prove to be catastrophic. I find that the other C&C games can be a bit more forgiving when mistakes are made.

Please keep the reports coming, I like 'em.

Dave
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Dave Daffin
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Ledbury
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One thing for sure, your son will remember this game play forever - the day you let him stop up 45 minutes past his bedtime...... Great memories are made from moments like this.
 
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Matt G
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David Groves wrote:
A really great battle report with tense moments for you both. As far as Commands and Colors games go for me this is the closest one to Chess that has been produced.

You are both right to weigh up each move carefully since any mistakes made in deployment can prove to be catastrophic. I find that the other C&C games can be a bit more forgiving when mistakes are made.

Please keep the reports coming, I like 'em.

Dave


I have not found forgiveness to be an attribute of Napoleonics. One bad step and whole flanks evaporate under a cloud of smoke and a hail of musket fire. devil
 
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