Dan Becker
United States
Austin
Texas
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This session report is based upon a tournament game and play-by-play analysis of two other tournament games for this scenario. This scenario is the first round game for Vassal CCA Mini Tournament 11 of Slaves versus Romans.

One area in which all the Commands and Colors: Ancients games excel is in the variety and inventiveness of the scenarios. This scenario is no exception. Here we have a central fortress wall partially guarding 4 fortified camps. There are impassable hills blocking most of the left and right flanks. The Romans are in the center, but their layout is quite strange. Two of the camps have a lone leader. The Slaves get a victory banner for any camp they occupy at the beginning of their turn.

Here is another twist to this scenario. One half of the slave army is pinned against its own board edge AND within 2 hex range of the Roman pilums and javelins on the wall. The other half of the slave army is predominantly crazed warriors and medium infantry, and they are located behind the Roman line. Yes, overnight Spartacus has slipped half his army behind the Roman line encircling the defenders.

Unfortunately as Romans I was crushed 5 banners to 2. The Slaves moved first and immediately destroyed a leader and momentum advanced to occupy a camp. The bonus combat also caused big damage. My feeble attempts to eject them wounded them, but the wounded were replaced with more screaming warriors next turn. After a few more feeble swipes, the Romans were annihilated.

It is interesting that the other 2 games ended with a 5-4 and a 4-5 score for the Slaves. I see that if the Romans can hold off on the first turn, they can do well for the rest of the game by firing at the pinned Slaves on the north-most board edge. This is a fun scenario, but it will have widely varying results based on the first card draw.

There are a couple of gotchas and questions in this scenario which should be noticed:
- There are some questions on the wall terrain. Is it rampart, scalable city walls, or fortified city walls? We agreed that it is a rampart. The latter two are not mentioned until Exp 3. However, it would be helpful for future editions to explicity mention.
- Retreat direction. Make sure you know that Slaves retreat north and Romans retreat south. Unlike many other scenarios, you don't always retreat to the nearest board edge. This also introduces many fun and easy path blocking instances.
- Camp victory banners. Make sure you remember the "beginning of slave turn" condition for occupying camps. It does not happen immediately, and it gives the Romans a chance to eject the rebellious ones.
- Lone leader attack. Recall that attacking a lone leader means that the attacker rolls normal dice and looks for a leader symbol. (Some confuse lone leader attack with leader check and only roll 1 die. Incorrect.) Should your lone leader survive the 4 dice onslaught, remember that he must escape, which in this scenario is likely to be through enemies. Thus there will be additional full-strength attacks on him if he escapes through enemy hexes.

Anyhow. This is a fun, quick scenario with a bit of luck and surprise on the very first turn.
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Andrea Tosti
Italy
Foligno
Umbria
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Hi Dan, nice session report !
Unfortunately I've replicated your result in this battle, for the same Mini-Tournament, and lost 2 - 5 with the Romans.

As you already pointed out, the Roman has still some options, however.

In my battle, after the same disastrous start (one leader lost, the other useless because forced to evade far from his units, 0 - 3 partial score if I remember well) a confused melee ensued within the camp hexes with attacks and counterattacks until Spartacus played a dreadful "Clash of Shields" with which he scored the 4th banner (1 - 4 ). Luckily at that moment I had a "Counterattack" card in my hand and 5 units adjacent to enemy! But anyway dice were not my friends: the unit with Spartacus, with barely 1 block left, not only survived a 6-dice attack but also took 2 banners that allowed my opponent to retreat it far from a second possible attack, though leaving a Roman camp hex, whereas in the other 3 attacks I could get only another banner, not being able to push another Slaves' unit from a second camp that got the final banner to Spartacus at the start of his next turn.

That said, I can only confirm that C&CA offers again, with this expansion, a large array of diverse and challenging scenarios, with all the options and outcomes always widely open IMO.

athos surprise

PS: make sure to fix in your head the side you have to retreat or evade while playing as Roman, since it's a very difficult task here! I was not used at all in being attacked from behind from the very beginning of a scenario blush
 
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