Mike R
United States
Downers Grove
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My C&C:A buddy Randy came over yesterday morning, and we checked to see which Epic scenarios we hadn't played yet. Only three, it turned out. So we picked Cannae and set up the blocks, me taking the Carthaginians and Randy the Romans.

The starting positions look fairly equal. Carthage are strong on the flanks, with eight (count 'em, eight!) heavy infantry split into two phalanxes, headed by Hannibal on the left, and Hanno on the right. Hannibal is supported by two each of heavy and medium cavalry, while Hanno has to make do with support from five units of light cav. Both squadrons of cavalry were led by leaders, so it was an officer-rich battleline. Both phalanxes had a deuce of slingers acting as a screen. Compared with the flanks, the Carthage centre was relatively light - a line of four warriors, two medium infantry and four auxilia.

Opposing them were a strong force of Romans. With Varrus in command, there were four heavy infantry units spaced across the centre rear, with a large number (nine) of medium infantry in front of them. Both flanks had 6 units of auxilia and two of medium cavalry, with a spread out screen of light infantry across the entire front. There were four Roman commanders present, so command wasn't a problem on this side either.

Cannae starting position - Romans in red & purple, Carthage in tan and brown (and one green).

Apart from the relative strengths of the units, the real difference was in command. Varrus wasn't a good commander, and this is reflected with the command cards - Carthage have 9 while Rome only 6.

The game started cautiously with the Carthage infantry on the right moving up, and a volley of stones from the slingers. A double-green from one luck shot took two blocks off a Roman light. On the Roman turn, they sent two units of medium cav (led by Varrus) ahead on their right. A little impetuous, perhaps. They eiminated one unit of slingers and wounded a unit of med cav. The Carthage counter attack was just as effective, and they destroyed a unit of Roman cavalry in short order. Rather than retreat, Varrus attacked again and destroyed another unit, this time medium cavalry, before being surrounded and his cavalry cut down around him. He was able to evade back toward his lines, but couldn't quite reach safety. Before he could join another unit, a squad of medium cavalry galloped out of the Carthaginian lines and cut him down. Carthage up 3-2.

While the battle was being played out between Varrus and Hasdrubal, the Roman centre was advancing. A large force of medium infantry led by Paullus and Servilus marched forward, eager to join battle, with the heavy infantry close behind. The Carthaginian centre didn't wait for them though - the centre was reorganised, with numerous units moving away from the advancing Romans towards the relative safety of the flanks. Not all units retreated though - the Celtic warrior levies charged forward and hurled themselves on the Romans, buying time so the auxilia could get away. They fought well - although they died to a man, they took down an equal number of Roman infantry before they died. 7-6 to Carthage.

Meanwhile, the Carthaginian right continued their advance. With a glut of cards for that side, I was able to move the four heavies forward every turn. Before too long, they made contact with the Roman auxilia, and with no Roman leader present, the auxilia were annhilated. Unable to evade, five units of auxilia were destroyed. In return, two units of heavy infantry fell. Carthage now had a decided edge, 12-8.

With the battle almost lost, Rome pressed forward in the middle with her remaining forces, and sent her medium cavalry in a suicidal charge against the phalanx on their left. Poor rolling in the centre (too many flags and not enough hits) meant the Carthage units could escape back to their baseline, denying the Romans a followup attack. No banners available there, and none from the cavalry charge either - they bounced off the heavy infantry, being destroyed in the battle back. Final score 13-8 to Carthage.

Cannae, final position

At 9-8 the battle was evenly poised, but my gambit of sacrificing the warrior units in the centre paid off. Good rolling meant they dealt out a lot of damage before they died, and with the auxilia and mediums moving to the flanks it meant that after the warriors were eliminated, the Roman infantry were left stranded with no targets nearby. Meanwhile Hanno could press forward for easy flags.

All in all a fun battle. Apart from an initial cavalry exchange on the Carthage left, there was little activity over there - the death of Varrus meant Randy was reluctant to advance, while I for my part had almost no cards for that sector the entire battle. So Hannibal was a spectator, watching Hanno and his phalanx advance on the Romans and carve them up.
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