Colin Hunter
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Preamble (very self indulgent feel free to skip)

Recently I have been thinking about a wonderful session report I read about this game, from a former member of BGG, bestbandis. However sadly he has now left this site and we no longer have access to his contributions. About 1-2 years ago, something like that, he did a session report (I think, could have been a review) of Command & Colors, which was very good, in fact it was superb.

At the time I owned Command and Colors: Ancients and had played quite a bit (before I logged plays). I didn't really like C&C:A and had pretty much discarded it to the I will play if some one else wants to pile. That session report made me challenge that view and helped to see Command and Colors for what it is. It took me playing online to really understand, but Aaron (besbandis) set the seeds and for that I am thankful. Sadly since he is no longer on this site he may never know. I also have a tinge of guilt since he sent me a geekmail before he left, which I never responded too, I definitely feel sorry for that too. Anyway enough over sentimental crap.

One last thing, there is already an excellent and I mean excellent review, by another grog here
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/329333
Frankly most reviews of this game are made obsolete by this.



Overview
Firstly the obvious stuff.

Command & Colors: Ancients (C&C:A) is light tactical level simulation of various ancient era battles, in the main game the focus is on the Punic wars, although there are several other scenarios as well. That means a great number of battles focus on the struggle between two of the great meditereanian powers of the era Rome and Carthage,

Like most tactical systems C&C:A allows you to fight various battles of the era including such famous battles as Cannae and Zama, as well as a plethora of other battles. There are also plenty more battles included online, in C3I magazines and in any of the expansions.

Combat units are represented by two sided block (so not hidden), which basically function like counters.

The game normally runs between 30-90 minutes depending on your speed of play and the scenario.

You can buy it online for just and I mean just under $40.

Components
The components are pretty standard GMT fare. The base game comes with a cardboard map, although a mounted map is available in one of the expansions and I believe you can order it separately if you want from GMT. The units are blocks with stickers on them, which you must stick on your self, it takes a while. The dice are plastic cubes that you have to put stickers on each side. See Below


I'm usually not to concerned by the components, I think the dice are rather poor, but you can buy replacement dice, like these from valley games


I'd also recommend picking up a piece of Plexiglas to put over the board or getting the mounted board. Plexiglas is probably the easiest as it is useful to play other wargames.

System - skip this if you know how to play

For those that don't know, the system in C&C:A is very similar to that used in the other games by Richard Borg, Memoir '44,BattleLore and Battle Cry.

The game has two fundamental aspects, the board on which units manoeuvre and a hand of cards, which are used to move/order those units on the board. The core of the game for me is understanding both board and card position in order to accurately assess your decisions. The person who can do this the best gives themselves the best chance of winning.

The board is a hex grid and is broken down into three sections: the left flank, centre and right flank. Each card will generally either allow you to move and battle with units in one (or more) sections or a card will allow you to activate a certain type of unit. There are also a handful of special cards, which allow you to rally damaged units, activate entire block of infantry or possibly give some other effect like moving units quickly or a first strike capability.

Here is the board - in the photo both mounted board and the one that comes with the base game (cardboard). Notice the lines that divide each section (zoom in)


In your turn you simply play a single card and the move and fight with the units that are activated on a card, see example below of some cards



Units so activated may move and battle. Units may fire ranged weapons if they have them (generally speaking light units) or engage in melee if they are adjacent to the enemy. Units move differing numbers of hexes depending on what type they are. Cavalry being fast, but also light units can move farther than heavy.

C&C:A, unlike the other games of the system also has leaders. Leaders are helpful for command and control as some cards allow you to activate a leader and several adjacent hexes (in fact these are often powerful cards). Leaders also give several combat advantages as well, which I will get into.

Here is a picture of some different units, notice the leader in between the heavy infantry and light cavalry.


Units have varying abilities and generally few units are just worse than others, they tend to all have various trade offs, although heavy infantry and cavalry tend to be very dominating units, but light units have a lot versatility and can evade heavier units. Units begin with various number of steps, 4 for infantry, 3 for cavalry and two for chariots and elephants. Infantry also tend to battle with more dice than their cavalry counter parts. This makes infantry tough, but slow moving. Which seems to make sense given the dominance of infantry in this era.

Combat is very simple. Units simply roll the number of dice depending on type and try to roll the colour/symbol of the unit they are attack (either light, medium or heavy). This gives a basic chance of 1 in 6. In melee most units hit on swords, making it 1 in 3. If a leader is adjacent or in the same hex in melee than leader symbols also hit, upping your odds to 1 in 2. There is also a flag result which generates a retreat. Step losses are taken by removing blocks. Failing to retreat deals extra step losses so surrounding a unit effectively gives you and extra chance to deal step losses, since failed retreats are converted to losses. Units which survive the initial strike and don't retreat may battle back. The result is a system the is resolved quickly.

Units which have a leader with them may ignore one flag result. Units which have two friendly units adjacent to them also ignore a flag (such as being in a line). This helps encourage sensible formations, with units supporting each other, as ignoring a retreat result is often very important, in order to battle back. Also units which cannot retreat (from taking flag results) take extra losses, so ignoring flags is pretty good.

Units may advance after combat and some may battle again, mainly cavalry, but also units with leaders and warrior (barbarian) infantry. This helps to accentuate the differences between units. Warriors for example have a great ability to shock and break through the enemy, but once they take a step loss, they fight less effectively, than their medium infantry counterparts. Cavalry, while not as powerful in terms of the number of dice they roll in combat, are extremely useful at breaking up already weakened enemy and can potentially destroy several units at a time.

Light units may fire missile weapons, which are useful at wearing down the enemy, they are fast and also can evade heavier units. This allows the light units to function as skirmishers as they did historically. This is different to light units say in battle lore.

Winning the game is done by completely eliminating a certain number of units, general between five and eight, depending on the scenario.

Thoughts on the Game
One of the main reasons I wanted to review C&C:A is that I wanted to look at some of the criticism and issues arising from the game. I think all to often these questions arise from the wargame community as much as anywhere. Let me state straight up that I am a serious fan of heavier games, even that cover the same era like SPQR (Deluxe Edition). However I think that often C&C:A is misunderstood. In fact I was a primary offender in many ways and it took me to play this online to finally "get" the game.

The thing that makes C&C:A is the combination of interesting board positions and the card management side of the game. Firstly the added chrome really does add some depth, the unit interactions are more complex than other games in the system. In particular the evasion rules add an extra dimension, deciding when to evade and when not to evade can be very crucial to success. So despite the reasonably small scale the fact that all the units interact in different ways, puts it a step (in terms of depth) above the other games in the series.

Where the real tension though comes from figuring out what your opponent has in hand and how you build your had. A common complaint that I hear is that it is annoying not to be able to advance on a flank if you run out of cards. While you can never fully prevent this a canny player can take significant steps to stop this.

For me the beginning of the game is all about collecting the right set of cards in order to enact a battle plan. I choose my plan based on the position of my forces and the composition of them. Having supremacy in light troops for example makes skirmishing a powerful strategy. Knocking down your opponents strong infantry or cavalry with skirmishers, forces your opponent to act and often when they haven't built a hand capable of sustaining the attack. Clever use of skirmishers will force your opponent to attack and leave them vulnerable to your own counter attack, as you use up your skirmish cards, you can save your powerful counter attack cards (like line command, clash of shields, double time or even just leader activations). For me C&C:A is about communication every thing you do communicates something about your hand and your forces to your opponent, being able to read this and act on it is crucial to victory.

There is serious subtlety in terms of how this unspoken communication takes place, picking up hints one what your opponent might have (given what you have drawn, what has been played and how they manouevre their troops) is where the game is for me. You can also feint and try to convince you are mustering for an attack in an area you are not, there is a lot to think about. I always try and weigh up the chances of my opponent having particular cards, are they leaving valuable blocks open? (they may have first strike)Is it a ruse? Are they keeping in line (line command), are they rearranging their leaders (leader cards)? Are they diverting troops? Each gambit has a counter and understanding when and how to decide what cards to keep (to use in combination turn after turn) is crucial.

However by giving up time to formulate a strategy, you can often give up the initiative and loose something there, so understanding when to strike and when to wait and bide your time is an important skill. Often new players will attack prematurely and give you a scare, but generally speaking if you can hold on, keep your powerful cards for your counter attack than you will be able to come back. I've come back from as much 4 or 5 blocks down. Marginal efficiency is often enough to win battles.

I know this isn't probably news to many decent players, but I think there is a lot of subtlety in how you play your cards and I generally feel that those who complain about card luck are usually prematurely attacking or simply letting the game be dictated by their opponent as opposed to taking the initiative for themselves.

In my limited experience I haven't found that bad hands are excessively deterministic. There are a couple exceptions, the first strike card is a very powerful card. I generally feel it is a little unfair. It can be easy to tell when your opponent has it and you can force them to play it on less than ideal units, but it is still very powerful. I'd also say not getting any special cards can make things hard, you generally want to get at least one or two useful cards to build a hand around. Without them things get hard, but generally card luck seems overstated.

Now one of the other common criticism is the luck of the dice in this game. I have no argument against this. I've played people, who frankly out played me and I won because I had considerably better dice. It happens, it is why I like CRTs better than bucket of dice systems (if the CRT is clever). However often it doesn't matter, if you play better than your opponent, it is unlikely to matter, but still it is a very fair criticism. One defense against the luck of combat is you roll enough dice for it to "even out", my main response to this, is often it isn't that one player rolls worse than the other, it is that one rolls badly at a crucial and decisive time, while they roll well when it doesn't matter (such as over killing a unit).

Many of the other criticism of the game stem from the historical side of it. The game only partly encourages line formation (while other games like the Great Battles of History, strongly encourage it), the lack of troop quality or real differences between armies is rather simplistic, it doesn't have proper flanking rules, it misses many of the historic metaphors of the period and there are many others. Frankly I would agree with many of these complaint, but it doesn't matter. C&C:A is a light game, it does a good job at simulating what it can given its very limited complexity and ease of play. I don't look to it for simulation value, it just doesn't provide it, except perhaps at the larger scale. The fact is it isn't a deeply historical rendition of ancient warfare, but it is a much deeper game than people give it credit (in a purely game sense). I cannot honestly try and refute many of the arguments put forward.

One of the last issues is scenario balance. I am still playing through all of the scenarios, but generally speaking I find that most of scenarios can be won by either side. Some though can be quite imbalanced. I think having some asymmetry is a good thing, it makes it interesting to play, but at times some of the scenarios can seem a bit lopsided or at the very least scripted (since once side may only have 1 viable strategy to try and win with). Regardless overall there are plenty of fun scenarios to play and you can always play both sides given how short the game is.

Game set up ready for play


Conclusion

As you may be able to tell, despite my love of heavy wargames, I like this game. For me the interaction between players is where it is at. It can be extremely satisfying to see your plans come to fruition, even when you loose, to play through the back and forth between players. Understanding what your opponent is telling you and working out how to respond is a lot of fun.

Compared to the other games in the series, I think it is generally accepted that this is the best and I would concur. Although I would say this, while I think C&C:A is better game wise than battle lore (it makes battle lore obsolete for me, although theme and components aren't important for me), I think Memoir 44 has its place as an more accessible version of C&C:A, as a wargamer obvious neither are really complex, but I can see for new players M44 really having its place.

For me I play this as a game, not really for anything more or less. It is that purity of simplicity that lets you focus more on the game aspect. If you want something deeper and more engrossing than obviously the great battles of history is the way to go, but it you want something light that doesn't take hours to play and can be played by a non-wargamer, I think you can't go past this game, surprisingly deep (game wise) for such an easy and quick playing game. I don't think this for everyone, but if you were like me and simply discarded it as a luck fest, I hope people will reconsider a little. It was definitely Bestbandis who opened my eyes and made me play some more, I hope I do the game he likes justice.
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Cindy Nowak
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Excellent review!
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Robert Wilson
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Nice review !
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Craig Stosser
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Good review, written with insightful style.
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Ian Wakeham
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Colin,

Excellent, thoughtful review. I keep debating whether to trade up from Memoir '44 to C&C:A and I think you've just persuaded me.

However, I hope you don't mind me hijacking this thread, but here's the review I think you're referring to from bestbandis which I managed to retrieve from http://www.archive.org. For the full thread just copy the following url into the WayBackMachine box: boardgamegeek.com/thread/223205, press the Take Me Back button and select one of the links.

bestbandis wrote:
Just when you thought we didn't need another C&C:A review...

Anyone who follows the Commands and Colors forum threads may already know that I am a fan of this game. I have rattled on about this and that, defended it here and there, encouraged people to try it, and added my tuppence to discussions on various aspects of the game, its play, and its variants.

Why then write a review? There are plenty here already, and by people of far more import in the gaming universe than me: so what is the point?

Basically, this game fascinates me.

I have thought fairly deeply about it over a long period of time. I have played close to a hundred matches, toyed with variants, and to my great good fortune participated in tournaments which have given me the opportunity to closely observe the play of many different opponents, some of whom I would class as masters of the game.

So what am I going to say that is different from what has been said before, and how am I going to keep this out of the realms of fan-boyism?

As a first step I’d like to look at some of the game’s flaws, and at one or two of the things that are sometimes - and in my view erroneously - perceived as flaws.

The scoring system is faulty.

As Garysax noted in his review, the scoring system can lead to a “prey on the weak” situation. In order to get the required number of banners it is often tempting to go for the “easiest kills”, which usually means attacking auxilia with heavy or medium infantry, or cutting off retreat routes for cavalry or light infantry and slamming into them with a powerful unit.

This is not a problem as far as the game goes, but it is a problem as far as trying to give a sense of history goes. Historically, the usual tactic was to engage the main body of the enemy infantry in an attempt to inflict as close to a catastrophic defeat on the foe as one could manage.

To compound this, there is no distinction in the victory conditions between destroying a unit of light infantry and destroying a unit of heavy infantry. Both count the same, even though historically the heavy infantry were far more valuable than the light.

How does one get around this? The simplest solution is to not worry about the historical aspects and just treat it as a game. This, however, is not always entirely satisfactory if one wants to be able to maintain the suspension of disbelief.

In practice, I have found that most games are decided by the clash of infantry, but the chance of dissatisfaction is there, and is usually more marked in the larger scenarios. Nevertheless, the preliminary skirmishing does not usually lead to a victory unless one is prepared to get to grips with the main enemy line at some stage. It is also perhaps appropriate to bear in mind that ancient armies did not usually fight to the last man, despite what happened at Thermopylae. Things usually turned to rout and pursuit fairly soon after the issue had been decided.

As an aside, it can be a disadvantage in the endgame if one has gained most of one’s banners from the weaker units. It is sound play to win the battle first and worry about winning the game later.

In summary, the scoring system can be legitimately criticized, but I do not see it as a game-breaker. If you have noticed a trend towards bloodless victories, add an extra banner or two to the victory conditions, play scenarios where this situation does not arise, or - better yet - give your opponent a sound thrashing through the heavies and force a rethink of strategy.

The game is not historical enough.

This one has exercised a few people, and there are a few ways in which the game falls short. Comments include: a player will not learn anything of much significance about the historical battles through C&C; the game does not effectively model command and control; the troop-types are too generic; there are not enough modifiers; battles do not usually play out as they did historically; the game is too light, etc.

All of these criticisms can be backed up by valid points, but they can often be deflected with valid points, also. C&C:A can be thought to suffer in terms of historicity by comparison to heavier games such as the Great Battles of History series. That is partly true, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a complicated system does not necessarily make for better history. It might get you closer to the historical result, but in order to do so certain biases have to be built into the game, and for this period there are some rather large gaps in the historical record, which means that the more detailed one wishes to be the more guesswork one has to employ.

I do not wish to condemn attempts to add appropriate complexity, but would like to say that while such-and-such a tactical system might seem to model the Roman legion brilliantly, we are still mostly walking about with our eyes half shut.

C&C:A is not attempting to function as a working model of ancient combat. It is a game and it makes no pretence to be otherwise. It’s just one of those things we have to take or leave. Some people will not find this to be a problem, others will. Still, in my view there is no need for fans of the system to have to nurse an inferiority complex on this account.

The game is too reliant on luck.

This is a comment which comes about now and again. There is some merit to it as games occasionally are decided by luck, but this is rarer than one might think. Skill is the major factor, and I say that after playing many games against many opponents of different levels of experience and ability.

No move is taken in isolation; everything hinges on what has gone before and what one knows or anticipates will come in the future. The clearly better player will win 80-90% of the time, in my experience. Between nearly equal opponents luck will have more of a say, but the better player will still win more often than not.

My advice would be to study the rules, plan some tactics, and play more games.



Well, with some of the more commonly mentioned flaws addressed, it’s time to move on to why I find the game so fascinating.

Tactics.

This game is very deep. The rules are simple, but so are those of chess. When everything is put together in combination, the possibilities are endless. Different players have distinct styles, and it is a great challenge to find a method to counter those individual styles and the way that those styles naturally develop with time and experience.

As a case in point, one tournament I came up against BGG user Zatopek in a best of three series using Don Clarke’s Scenario X system. Zatopek’s army was highly manoeuverable, composed mainly of light troops and camelry, with some auxilia for bulk. Opposing it I had 2MI, 3MC, 1LI and 6 auxilia. I knew that my MI would never get into contact against his army. He would stand back, pick me off with his shooting and wait for an opportune moment to bring his camelry into play for the decisive blow.

I lost the first game, and spent a long time thinking about how best to counter these tactics. I hit upon an unusual method, which took him by surprise. He was flustered for a time but my auxilia could not land the killing blow. Finally he let fly his camels and took the win.

As a kid I was brought up a chess player. I loved the game but was prone to lapses in concentration at vital moments, and had given up playing seriously. After this series with Zatopek a light switched on in my head: this game also repays study and thought. To that point I had been in the “great fun but it’s not really a serious game” camp. After this I started to see just how great this game could be.

Competition.

The thing that has turned C&C:A into a grail game for me has been playing in the tournaments organized by the tireless Bill Bennett . The game takes on a new life in a competitive environment. When a game means something it forces a different approach, raises the stakes, and increases the tension. When competitive play is matched with the theme and game value of C&C:A it makes for a compelling formula. I find something missing now when playing a ‘friendly’; I really need that competition to bring out the best in the game and in me as a player.

There have also been a number of innovations brought about through Bill’s yahoo group. As mentioned, Don Clarke has put together the Scenario X game generation system in which players choose armies, select their units from the army list, and have at it. It is brilliant and lends itself well to tournament play. Each army has its own character, and when that is combined with the styles of the various players it makes for some enthralling games. I cannot recommend it enough.

Another innovation organized by Bill is the posting of VASSAL logfiles on the yahoo group. This makes it possible to review games played and increases the knowledge base of the entire community. It is an excellent learning tool.

Conclusion.

Mainly, I hope that I have achieved my earlier stated objectives of saying something different and of avoiding the fan-boy trap.

If you are reading this you have probably already made up your mind about C&C:A, and may well have already played it. If you have played it and are ambivalent, I would urge you to give the game some more time and thought before letting its perceived flaws put you off.
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Colin Hunter
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Cool thank you. thumbsup
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Tom Grant
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Great review. Insights gained from repeated play is the most helpful kind of information. So, too, is a thoughtful discussion of which mechanics work or not, and why.

I think your pithy comparison of "buckets of dice" and CRTs is a must-read. I wish someone would put it on a plaque somewhere here on BGG, where you read a lot of condescending posts about old school wargames. The classic CRT may be old, but it has persisted because, in many situations, it works as well, if not better, than the alternatives.
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Richard Irving
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Minor nit picky point:

Quote:
C&C:A, unlike the other games of the system also has leaders.

Battle Cry, the first released game of the C&C system has leaders, though they are handled more simply than in C&C;A.
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Colin Hunter
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rri1 wrote:
Minor nit picky point:

Quote:
C&C:A, unlike the other games of the system also has leaders.

Battle Cry, the first released game of the C&C system has leaders, though they are handled more simply than in C&C;A.
Thanks I had forgotten that, it is a good point
 
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Ian Wakeham
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After a bit more digging I managed to find a great session report from bestbandis on http://www.archive.org - use the url boardgamegeek.com/thread/261705 in the WayBackMachine.

bestbandis wrote:
Two weeks with Dad.

I was fortunate enough to head back to New Zealand with the family for a couple of weeks last month. Before leaving I decided to throw in the C&C cards, dice, a laminated QRS and a few blocks; for I had a cunning plan.

To fill you in a bit, the old man's a chess player. We used to play a lot in spells when I was younger and still had dreams of being a better player than he was. Unfortunately, I have only ever beaten him in one game, and that was a fluke.

Second night in with wife and daughter settled down for the evening I casually mentioned 'this game that I play a bit'. We had a small discussion ending with an "If you've got a bit of spare wood lying around I could do up a board."

Next day I found what I was looking for and did do up a board, using offset squares rather than hexagons. I was sitting outside under the covered table marking it in when Dad got home from work. He was curious, so we cracked open a couple of bottles of beer and I explained how the game worked. "So there are three sections, eh?" he said.

Naturally it became necessary to demonstrate this novel concept.

The board was not the only area which required improvisation. I had only brought a few blocks with me, my idea being to use one block to represent a unit, rotating it to indicate when it had taken hits.

I set up a re-imagined version of Cannae to start things off. I called it Cannae but the Romans were given more mediums than usual and both sides started off with 5 cards. Dad was interested in the history, so we talked about that as the game went on. Dad won 7-5. Good start.

Another game was suggested, and we played again after dinner. This time I set up a ScenarioX style battle, again with the Romans given the better force balance. Dad started to pick up how to use light infantry. "You should see how this bloke from Italy uses lights," I said. Dad won again, 6-4. He saw how MI were superior to Aux in close combat. "How does evade work again?" he asked.

There was call for one more before bed. This time I went for Castulo, but without the terrain. "I still don't understand how leaders work," he said, so we went over that again. We both agreed that they were pretty useful. "How you use leaders might decide the game then," says Dad, and we both agree on that too. Dad wins again. 3-0 to him after the first day's play. Pretty good.

"By the way," I say after packing up. "Remember that Italian guy I was telling you about? Well, I play in these online tournaments. I'll show you a couple of websites."

Next morning when I got up for coffee the first scenario booklet from GMT had been printed out. "Found one that looks interesting," says Dad. "Let's try that out tonight."

The 'interesting one' turned out to be Bagradas, which I'd not played before. We set up and I explained how it was common for people to play the game twice, once from each side and total the banners to see who won. "Should we try that out, then?" came the reply.

This was the first time that elephants had hit the table. Dad had great success with the elephants.

My old chess scars were starting to reappear. I was getting a bit worn around the edges. There would be no helpful tips this game.

I started cautiously, waiting for a chance to get the elephants into contact. He advanced; I waited too long. After some outrageous swings of fortune and two vicious Double Time cards, Dad lost by one banner. I had won the battle but lost the war. Still, my luck had changed. "The good thing about this game", I said, "is that you'll start thinking about it at odd times."

Next morning when I got up for coffee the living rules had been downloaded from the GMT website. So had the remainder of the scenarios. "This one looks interesting," says Dad. "You know, I was thinking about that second game last night. I really should've won that. I think I played the wrong card." I agreed that it was quite possible.

That night we played the first scenario. One game a-piece and banners dead even. "This game would be quite good with figures," says Dad. "Like that Field Command game you've got. Imagine a whole board full of them. Would look pretty good, eh?" I said that I did indeed play it with figures. "I'd like to get some of them," he said.

I was away up in Wellington for the next few nights. When I got back we played again, and this continued almost every night for the rest of the holiday. We played Trasimene, Castulo, Zama, and others. Dad would find a battle he was interested in and we'd play it at night.

Towards the end he started to lose his initial confidence, and would hang back when he should have attacked a bit more. "You keep getting good cards," he'd say, "but I keep getting these blinkin' useless things!" Every day he would talk about the game we'd played the night before, and he would even talk about the game to people who had no interest in it.

As is the way of things time ran out and we had to return to Japan. They were sad to see their 8 month old granddaughter leave, and we were sad to go.

Still, Dad now has the VASSAL module on his computer, a deck of battered C&C cards, the first edition dice, and a cake-stained, forest-and-hill marked board. I think we'll be playing this again.
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T. Nomad
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Great review, Colin. You've definitely piqued my interest (again, after Manoeuvre and España 1936). I look forward to some punic punishment at your hands when I get back to Auckland!
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Scott Blakely
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Hi all,

Can someone point me to the Bill Bennett Yahoo group. I would like to sign up and check out the posted VASSAl logs mentioned above.

Thanks.
 
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M@tthijs
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Thanks for the review. Last Sunday I played my 1st game and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I like it more than my M'44 copy.

What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.

But in all, I like the greater variety in troop types and how they interact.
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Michal K
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_Kael_ wrote:
Thanks for the review. Last Sunday I played my 1st game and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I like it more than my M'44 copy.

What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.

But in all, I like the greater variety in troop types and how they interact.


They got lucky. Believe me, it happens very rarely...Just play couple of more games, trying to charge wth MC against hoplites...
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mk20336 wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
Thanks for the review. Last Sunday I played my 1st game and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I like it more than my M'44 copy.

What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.

But in all, I like the greater variety in troop types and how they interact.


They got lucky. Believe me, it happens very rarely...Just play couple of more games, trying to charge wth MC against hoplites...
I'll take your word for it. Still, in this game it would not matter if they charged front, flank or rear.

That said, it is was high on my wishlist. I just bought it. I do like the whole.

Edit: typos by 'smart'phone corrected. Edit2: game bought
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Miguel (working on TENNISmind...)
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Caen
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_Kael_ wrote:
mk20336 wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.
They got lucky. Believe me, it happens very rarely...Just play couple of more games, trying to charge wth MC against hoplites...
I'll take your word for it. Still, in this game it would not matter if they charged front, flank or read.

It happens very rarely if you charge SUPPORTED infantry. That is one of the most common mistakes I've seen in beginners, either they charge head on a supported infantry unit (because they've seen it in movies) and they are sweepped out in my battle back, either they leave unsupported infantry at range of my MC/HC, that sweeps out their flank (Mounted Charge or not).

If you face cavalry you have to be able to stand on your hex...
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_Kael_ wrote:
mk20336 wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
Thanks for the review. Last Sunday I played my 1st game and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I like it more than my M'44 copy.

What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.

But in all, I like the greater variety in troop types and how they interact.


They got lucky. Believe me, it happens very rarely...Just play couple of more games, trying to charge wth MC against hoplites...
I'll take your word for it. Still, in this game it would not matter if they charged front, flank or rear.

That said, it is was high on my wishlist. I just bought it. I do like the whole.

Edit: typos by 'smart'phone corrected. Edit2: game bought


This game is about "combat effects" if you will, not the minute details of small unit maneuvers. You can even see that in the Legion vs Hoplite special rule, where it assumes the legionaries flank the unsupported hoplite, regardless of the relative position of the physical playing pieces. So, if your cavalry catch a single, unsupported hoplite unit by itself, you should just assume the cavalry unit has flanked the hoplite.

If the cavalry attacks a supported hoplite unit (representing hoplites in their traditional supported line) . . . well, I would hope you are not too attached to that cavalry.
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NimitsTexan wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
mk20336 wrote:
_Kael_ wrote:
Thanks for the review. Last Sunday I played my 1st game and I liked it a lot more than I expected. I like it more than my M'44 copy.

What I did dislike (I played the Greek expansion) was the medium cavalry frontally charging my heavy unit of hoplites, aka Wall of Spears, smashing them without a loss.

But in all, I like the greater variety in troop types and how they interact.


They got lucky. Believe me, it happens very rarely...Just play couple of more games, trying to charge wth MC against hoplites...
I'll take your word for it. Still, in this game it would not matter if they charged front, flank or rear.

That said, it is was high on my wishlist. I just bought it. I do like the whole.

Edit: typos by 'smart'phone corrected. Edit2: game bought


This game is about "combat effects" if you will, not the minute details of small unit maneuvers. You can even see that in the Legion vs Hoplite special rule, where it assumes the legionaries flank the unsupported hoplite, regardless of the relative position of the physical playing pieces. So, if your cavalry catch a single, unsupported hoplite unit by itself, you should just assume the cavalry unit has flanked the hoplite.

If the cavalry attacks a supported hoplite unit (representing hoplites in their traditional supported line) . . . well, I would hope you are not too attached to that cavalry.
Thanks. That's the conclusion I reached, too - about how to 'interpret' a frontal assault.

It was in the final part of the battle (sorry, don't remember which one). Persia started with 2 medium cavalry on the other side of the river, the Greeks didn't have any. The entire center on both sides was light troops. My left was mountains, my right was sea.

At the end I had only 4 units on my left flank, 2 groups of two. One of which contained my heavy infantry. His cavalry charged and did massive damage, without the possibility of counterattack. In my turn. I could play "2 on each flank", (pincer?) and my final attacks gave me a 6-5 win.

We had a great time.
 
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Fair enough. Though keep in mind in CCA terms, a full Phalanx "wall" would be a minimum of three contiguous units. Two or less are still "isolated" phalanxes.

Sometimes the dice do roll improbably in favor of one side or the other . . . Just like we know there were isolated times during the 19th century when squares did collapse against cavalry charges, I am sure there were times (probably mostly lost to history along with a multitude of other tactical details about most ancient battles) when the hoplite wall did not work as intended against cavalry.
 
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StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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NimitsTexan wrote:
Fair enough. Though keep in mind in CCA terms, a full Phalanx "wall" would be a minimum of three contiguous units. Two or less are still "isolated" phalanxes.

Sometimes the dice do roll improbably in favor of one side or the other . . . Just like we know there were isolated times during the 19th century when squares did collapse against cavalry charges, I am sure there were times (probably mostly lost to history along with a multitude of other tactical details about most ancient battles) when the hoplite wall did not work as intended against cavalry.


Until drones can be sent back in time to record events ( whistle ) we can only imagine the unknown tactical successes and failures.
 
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