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Subject: Retreat, Evasion, and Victory Banners rss

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We are new to C&CA - and are making plenty of healthy mistakes as we get to grip with our understanding of the rules, and recollecting specific rules at the appropriate times.

We are still unsure about possible occasions for which victory banners are granted. This is the base game.

We understand that a victory banner is achieved
1) whenever an enemy unit is eliminated (last man removed) in battle
2) whenever an enemy leader is eliminated in battle

However, we are unsure about
3) when an enemy unit retreats off the map (guess yes)
4) when an enemy unit evades off the map (guess no)
5) when an (attached) enemy leader retreats off the map (guess yes)
6) when an enemy leader evades off the map (guess no)

Also, may I command a unit off the map without triggering the loss of a victory banner? (guess yes)

Apart from specific scenarios (which can trigger ad hoc victory banners) are there any other times when a victory banner can be achieved?
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Beau Bailey
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westbrookgamer wrote:

However, we are unsure about
3) when an enemy unit retreats off the map (guess yes)
4) when an enemy unit evades off the map (guess no)
5) when an (attached) enemy leader retreats off the map (guess yes)
6) when an enemy leader evades off the map (guess no)

Also, may I command a unit off the map without triggering the loss of a victory banner? (guess yes)

Apart from specific scenarios (which can trigger ad hoc victory banners) are there any other times when a victory banner can be achieved?


3. Units cannot retreat off the map, they lose a block for each space they cannot retreat. If they are eliminated in this way, you would get a banner.

4. You cannot evade off the map. Units must have at least one hex to move to when they evade.

5. Enemy leaders cannot retreat off the map with a unit, see my answer to number 3.

6. An evading leader moving off the map is not worth a banner.

You may not move units off the map unless the scenario specifies that you can. There are only a handful, so it does not come up often. Other than that, you only get banners for eliminating units or leaders.

Hope you are having fun playing the game.
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Concerning 3-5), units cannot retreat nor evade off the map. If they are forced to retreat off the map, they lose one block per hex that they cannot retreat.

Concerning 6), a leader can evade off the map, and it doesn't count as a banner.

Units cannot be "moved" off the map, except when specified on the scenario special rules, which BTW doesn't happen in the 15 base game scenarios.

Ah, and concerning 1), a unit is eliminated when you remove the last block, but this means that the unit morale broke and the men remaining routed, not that the "last man" was removed. Nothing to do with your banner problem, but it may help you understand other things in the game!

EDIT: My writing in English is not fast enough...
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Kevin Duke
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Quote:
Also, may I command a unit off the map without triggering the loss of a victory banner? (guess yes)


I suspect you would like to be able to do this in order to remove "almost dead" units and not lose the banner. Unfortunately, that is not the case. While it is certainly possible (and desirable) to pull weakened units out of the front line to try and protect them, they can't run entirely off the board. Running them down, in fact, is one of the best things cavalry is good for, especially if you don't have any cavalry of your own.

There are a number of things in CCA that may seem counter-intuitive at first grasp-- like no obvious bonuses for attacking a unit's flanks-- but if you hang in there, you will find the game is very satisfying in the long run. When your familiarity with the mechanics picks up, you may find--as I have-- that as soon as that last banner is won, both players are saying, "Let's do it again."
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Beau, Miguel, Kevin,
Thanks a lot for your swift responses!
The explanations seem fair, but in terms of reality, my concern would be that this would lead towards chasing units off the board, or slaughtering them, whereas in real life, a unit would be routed as a means of preserving forces for a later battle. To me it feels like a cheap win to just force off retreating units, and avoid a strong centre.

We have played about ten Akragas. I have been Carthaginian, while Em has played the Syracusan force. A typical game goes: Syr moves as many H forward, and constructs a defensive group with LB,and A anticipating (inevitable) HCH attacks. Carth indeed attacks with HCH on both wings, pushing a M/H infantry wedge on his Left., and preparing a ranged attack with the A forces in the centre.

If the HCH are in range, Syr. defends using ranged attacks against 1 or both HCH (having only 2 pieces makes HCH quite vulnerable to ranged attack), otherwise Syr. presses on the central attack, generally veering to make mincemeat of the Carth A.

If the HCH have survived the ranged defence, they swiftly decimate the Syr. flanks and often the game is over by the following turn. Otherwise, the game becomes more central, and tends to be a diceroll between the two sides, with a slight favour given to the Syr. H.

It's fun - really fun - and of course all of the above depends very much on which command cards are available - but the early HCH victories always seem a bit weak - no leaders met - and often several units haven't even moved much.

That's why we were wondering about evasion off the board - it's not really sensible in real life (or in history) for a brace of HCH to chase a single light bowman off the battlefield and consider it worthy of a victory banner...
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westbrookgamer wrote:

That's why we were wondering about evasion off the board - it's not really sensible in real life (or in history) for a brace of HCH to chase a single light bowman off the battlefield and consider it worthy of a victory banner...


I think you missed the end of Miguel's response above. The blocks are more a representation of the morale or cohesion of a unit, rather than actual casualties. If I remember correctly, units at this time would have been effectively eliminated if they took 20% casualties as their morale would be destroyed and they would withdraw.

Looking at the blocks as morale, it makes more sense that the chariots would try to crush an already reeling unit. This also explains why units attack at full strength even when missing blocks.
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kduke wrote:
like no obvious bonuses for attacking a unit's flanks

As I understand it, the bonus is that a flank is a unit which is not supported - so there is a greater chance of retreat. I guess one mustn't think about which way a unit is facing - once again something crucially relevant to e.g. hoplite forces.
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badweasel wrote:
I think you missed the end of Miguel's response above.
No, no I read and digested every word avidly, and with great enthusiasm
Don't take anything I say here as a criticism of the game - we are instant fans. We bought Battlelore a couple of years ago (the C&CA sticker-task put me off), and we liked that a lot but we much prefer C&CA. (We are using the Battlelore board though - the C&CA basegame 'board' sucks - but the Expansions 1,2,3 are in the post as I write).

badweasel wrote:
If I remember correctly, units at this time would have been effectively eliminated if they took 20% casualties as their morale would be destroyed and they would withdraw.

Well, I only did a couple of years of study for this period, but IIRC the morale of troops depended very much on the nature of the training that was undertaken, whether or not the troops in question were mercenaries, and also morale regarding supplies and potential rewards. For instance, (for me) it appears foolish of Himlico to have attacked the Daphneaus support which was made up of fresh hoplites who had great faith in Hermocrates (in that he had at the least ensured home burials for his soldiers in the past). Also, there was this Greek problem of conspiracy. As I understand it, The siege of Akragas ended up being very much a propaganda victory - depending more for both sides on morale linked to the supply ships than anything else.

Of course, I am not expecting anything like that from a game that can be played with dice, cards and blocks on a bare hex ground in about an hour!
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westbrookgamer wrote:
badweasel wrote:
I think you missed the end of Miguel's response above.
No, no I read and digested every word avidly, and with great enthusiasm
Don't take anything I say here as a criticism of the game - we are instant fans. We bought Battlelore a couple of years ago (the C&CA sticker-task put me off), and we liked that a lot but we much prefer C&CA. (We are using the Battlelore board though - the C&CA basegame 'board' sucks - but the Expansions 1,2,3 are in the post as I write).



I agree with you. C&C:A is by far superior to Battlelore. I did not even know that I had problems with Battlelore until I played C&C:A.
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Steve Duke
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In terms of 'reality', I think a player learns as much about what ancient warfare was really like by playing CCA as you'd learn about WW2 from reading "Sgt Rock" comic books. There are many things that are counter intuitive or just don't plain mesh with reality.

But as a game, it is a wonderful balance of a lot of different things and is fun--the main point of any game, and the replay value is tremendous.
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westbrookgamer wrote:
in real life, a unit would be routed as a means of preserving forces for a later battle.
Not in ancients warfare.
In fact, most casualties occured after an army panicked : the fugitives were hunted down and slaughtered.
Heavy infantry (e.g. hoplites) would drop all their gear (armor, shield) to run faster. There was no way for them to return to the battlefield.
The only way to be able to come back later would be an organized and ordered retreat.
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sduke wrote:
In terms of 'reality', I think a player learns as much about what ancient warfare was really like by playing CCA as you'd learn about WW2 from reading "Sgt Rock" comic books. There are many things that are counter intuitive or just don't plain mesh with reality.
I would not be as affirmative as you are.
CCA leads to a "design for effect" that is quite a good expression of antique warfare.
It achieves the same goal as more sophisticated games on the same theme.

What seems "counterintuitive" or "unrealistic" is a permanent debate with all wargames.
Everyone has his own idea about what "reality" is, and so everyone will have some thoughts that a given mechanic is not "realistic".

In fact, if you play CCA a lot, you will discover that it is much less "gamey" as it may seem.

Now, sure it is a game.
In fact, no absolute simulation exists.
Even professional flight "simulators" don't replace piloting a real plane...
But CCA is a fine approximation of antique warfare, with much more depth than one could imagine at first sight.
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I've been a fan of ancient-period battle games for so many years that trying to express that time period in Roman numerals falls way short of my knowledge base.

When I first started playing C&C-Ancients, I kinda had the same impression. "Attractive, well-produced Euro game that's kinda cute." I kept thinking "Where are the flanking rules? Where is the extra die roll modifier for elite Spanish-Carthaginian cavalry that just cleaned out a Tapas bar?, Where is the leader bonus for his standard that had been kissed by the Vestal Virgins?, etc."

[Wake up call! You're in 'Borg' land, not in 'Berg' land. If you have any idea what is the difference between the two, you know what I mean.]

Well,that stuff was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found a truly FUN game with a relatively shallow learning curve. Now, at the end of three hours, I will have played four games and come away with a feeling of being TIRED from combat. Ancient combat stuff. Enough to keep me from watching Gladiator, 300, or the director's cut of Alexander (which doesn't suck as much as the original) for the next week.

My advice is to look at a C&C-Ancients session like "Who won? How'd they win? What maneuver won them the battle? Which battle between units was decisive? Did you go to sleep with visions of one Roman light infantry hex slaying one Carthaginian elephant hex from two hexes away?"

Have fun with the game - even an ancient fan of ancient wargames can.
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Stosser44 wrote:
Well,that stuff was nowhere to be found.
About flanking attacks, the system does simulate it by boosting morale of units having two adjacent other units. So, being at the end of a row makes a unit more vulnerable to retreat.
If that retreat is blocked, then destruction is often at the end of the story...
Now, about special capacities of units, there are special rules in some scenarios (e.g. Sacred Band, Silver Shields, Macedonian companions, etc.) or in the main rules (Alexander or Caesar's influence, marian and julian legions).
Of course, a wargame will be different from another - see the scores of "Bulge" wargames - and the desingers' choices will vary.
CCA is clearly a fun game, but I don't see it as far from a good approximation of ancient combat as, say, M44 from WW2 combat or Battle Cry from CW combat.
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To each his own and eye of the beholder, etc. I think several of us are in agreement about the major points of this discussion.

I feel like the 'flavor' of CCA in terms of historical 'realistic' value is on the same level as Mem or Battlecry, possibly a little more.

I've got more than 200 games of CCA under my belt and nowhere near that in the other two, so something must keep drawing me back.

Certainly, there is a 'taste' of ancients with this one, but whatever 'realism' the game has is secondary to a very good game engine that works over and over, with no two results the same.

There are certainly many other games that are more historical, or that have more basis in reality in terms of tactics of the time and what happens in real battle. Some of these things are elegantly and simply dealt with in CCA, others are just discarded.

I dont see the 'fun' level as high in most of those, nor the ability as has been mentioned here to replay so quickly and fill a 4 hour span with at least 3 different games.

And equally, this is a 'simple' game that is not simplistic. The levels of strategy and thought are remarkable in a game as simple as this one. Unlike a few other games that I've played this much and been burned out on, even years later, with no desire to return, CCA keeps me coming back as I keep finding subtle nuances to explore.
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Steve,
I think we agree a lot.
Comparing with M44 and BC, I would say the three section map fits ancients battles much better than modern warfare.
The diversity of units helps to get a much better approximation of the real battles than in the two other games.
For an example, in M44, an Allied tank unit has the same power as a German one (whilst one knows that there needed 5 Shermans to kill one Panther).
Mechanics like battle back and evade do add some "simultaneity" that the other systems don't have : in the latter, you can charge with a one block unit, hoping to kill a 3-4 block unit, if you have other attack cards and the opponent has none... In CCA you won't run that sort of risk, as battle back will put you in real danger.
I believe that the details that CCA has and that the other systems don't have do give it its attractiveness.
And it manages to lead to the same interesting results as, say, much more complicated games like the GBoH series - which I did play, but which I abandonned, because of the ugly marker clutter.
BTW, I am used to rather complex wargames, as my principal wargame is ASL...
What I can say is that, whatever the complexity of a wargame, people will find "reality arguments" which lead them to refuse any connexion between the game and real events.
In the absolute, they are right : no game, nor computer, can simulate real life perfectly - and a game needs abstractions to simply be playable.
However, if one understands those abstractions (or alledged "omissions") within a global "design for effect" aim, one can consider that a given game can be quite a good approximation of the real life situations from which it is inspired.
On that level, I find that CCA does a much better job than other, more complex, wargames on the same theme.
Now, as you say, to each one his own, YMMV, etc. cool
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Robin wrote:
However, if one understands those abstractions (or alledged "omissions") within a global "design for effect" aim, one can consider that a given game can be quite a good approximation of the real life situations from which it is inspired.
On that level, I find that CCA does a much better job than other, more complex, wargames on the same theme.


I am not an ancients battle historian on practically any level, but it is interesting to me to take a look at the positional diagrams for ancients battles (on say a wiki page for a particular battle) and compare the flow of those diagrams to the positions the blocks took during the C&C game. Often they coincide, for what that is worth.
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I find Robin's remarks most interesting in several ways. I first started thinking of Squad Leader in relation to CCA after CCA had been out about six months and I realized I was playing it more than anything else and enjoyed it in increasing levels, which was how I felt about SL (back in the purple box days). I had not played another game, to the exclusion of most others, to the degree I was playing CCA since SL.

While I did not make the ramp-up to ASL (I was part of the playtest group for Cross o I, Crescendo, GI, and the first iteration of ASL... finding my enjoyment declining with each iteration), I understand where Robin is coming from, I think, in looking for games that balance that "realism vs fun decision making" scale. Where CCA may tip more heavily on the fun decision making side, it probably suits my declining attention span for reams of details.

Ditto Robin's perceptions about the iterations of Commands and Colors. We were sort of stunned by Battle Cry-- a lot of fun but so many... abstractions (for hard core wargamers), but the fun just didn't last with us. The card interaction was interesting but we just didn't get that "let's play another" feeling after the 2nd or 3rd game (like we do with CCA). I've really only done M44 a bit and the scale/weapons systems etc. just felt too funky for the 3 section/command card thing. Like Robin says, YMMV and I don't knock anyone who enjoys M44. Or Battlelore for that matter. I like some of the elements and, being famously bad in my circles at throwing dice, being able to get something "good" for bad throws was an interesting angle. I also coveted some of BL's parts-- like comparing their map with the original CCA (and finding ways of getting the map on Ebay before Epic came out a lot cheaper. Dang!).

But CCA has the legs that keep me coming back. It may be more abstraction than simulation, but it continues to give me just the right level of hard choices and satisfying decisions to make.

I'm glad to see the system continue and to see people continue to join. I just noticed GMT has announced 2nd edition has sold out and they're planning on a reprint this summer. That's a fine thing to here.


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Kevin

Well said. Heck I had no idea of your pedigree, mate! I first dicovered SL in 1985, and by 1986 was hooked on CoI. I never found CoD that much fun though, and thought it took CoI in another direction, so I fell away after a lack of base scenarios. Once AH stopped making SL, it became hard to find opponents.

With CCA, opponents just get created, by virute of the attractiveness of the game, (pretty blocks with guys with spears on them!) the depth of decision making, and the relative ease of teaching it to newbies.

Besides, it's mega-engaging, and the more you play it (like Chess) the more you see how it reflects ancient warfare.

(I never fully appreaciated the lack of a pawn retreat move in Chess till I played CCA).
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westbrookgamer wrote:

We understand that a victory banner is achieved
1) whenever an enemy unit is eliminated (last man removed) in battle
2) whenever an enemy leader is eliminated in battle

However, we are unsure about
3) when an enemy unit retreats off the map (guess yes)


After few games I have discovered similar issue, but I have to disagree with others for now.

From rulebook "4. Object of the game": A VB is gained when the last block of unit is _eliminated_. I'm not sure that _every_ case with last block removal can be treated as elemination.

From "10. Ranged Fire" - "6. Score Hits on units" (as example): You gain VB for last block removed. Then follows Retreat step which does not mention VB ever (including description piece when unit fails to retreat).


 
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