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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Most balanced scenario? rss

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Andrew Gross
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Which scenario gives the most equal chances for each side to win?
 
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Alan Ferrency
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In retrospect, I don't remember the Commands and Colors: Ancients rules mentioning this. However, one option to compensate for unbalanced scenarios is to swap sides, and play both sides. Whoever gets the most VP over the course of both games wins.

This is standard operating procedure in Memoir '44 and Battle Cry, other very similar games.

Sorry I couldn't answer your question instead of dodging it, but we've only played the first 2 scenarios. Out of those two, the second one is the only one where we experienced an ahistorical result
 
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Benjamin Kindt
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I was about to ask this question as well. A few of the scenarios look totally lopsided... to balance them you'd change so much as to almost make them a totally different battle.

Zama looks pretty balanced; and now it sounds like #2 is a possibility. Hopefully others will give both sides at least a chance of winning.

To me the play two games, swapping sides method is a little boring...
 
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Alan Ferrency
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Here is another comment regarding the balance of forces in these scenarios:

The number of troops you have on the board can be a lot less important than what you do with them, and which cards you have at your disposal.

The reason for this is because, even though your opponent may have twice as many troops as you, you're both only playing one card per turn. Assuming you have cards you can use, this means both sides are taking relatively small actions each turn, and in the end, the same number of actions. Even cards which affect large number of troops generally only affect as many troops as you have cards on your side.

Contrast this with a game such as Ancients, where each turn all troops can be ordered. This exaggerates the difference in forces, instead of minimizing it.

With this in mind, one very important aspect of controlling your troops is making sure that you have as many useful cards as possible. Assuming you're not going to stack the deck, here are some suggestions on how to do this:

- Keep your troops in blocks, so leadership cards (and other cards which affect connected blocks of troops) are more effective
- Take advantage of hexes on the border between sections, which can be commanded by multiple cards
- Keep troops in left, right, and center sections so all section cards are useful
- Keep a variety of troops on the table, if you had them to start with: some red/green/blue, and some foot/mounted. Troops you have a lot of are more expendable.

Clearly you need to balance these versus the specific scenario's goals. Rolling well helps a lot, too


With all of this in mind, here's a suggestion on how to "balance" a scenario without taking away half of the troops on one side: Give one side more or fewer command cards to compensate for their troop count. More cards means more options, which is more important, since each player plays only one card each turn.


If you are scared off by the "unbalanced" scenarios due to past experiences in other wargames (other than Memoir '44 and Battle Cry, at least), don't be! Just give them a try. It may not be as bad as you think.

And my apologies to those of you who have heard all this before... I was talking to someone else.
 
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bob machala
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Believe it or not, we found after two playings Cannae to be
a good balanced scenario, fun too. two carthage victories 7-6
and 7-5, both went down to the wire.
 
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Richard Irving
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robjoma2004 wrote:
Believe it or not, we found after two playings Cannae to be a good balanced scenario, fun too. two carthage victories 7-6
and 7-5, both went down to the wire.


I'd say the Cannae scenario is balanced. It think the main reason for it: Most players are not as brilliant as Hannibal, nor as imcompetent as Varro. (This brings up an interesting point about wargames in general--how do you simulate brilliant/poor generalship?)

Even given the discrepancy in card holdings, the forces are balanced enough that it is unlikely you generate the historical result.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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rri1 wrote:
This brings up an interesting point about wargames in general--how do you simulate brilliant/poor generalship?


It's clear how they simulated it in Lake Trasimenus. The bulk of the Roman starting forces are strung out along the edge with no prospect of retreat, and the Roman player starts with only 2 cards while Hannibal has 6. The Carthaginian player doesn't have to be a genius to recreate that victory.
 
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Peter Haslehurst
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Quote:
This brings up an interesting point about wargames in general--how do you simulate brilliant/poor generalship?


I've never had any problem at all with the second one....

blush
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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I would say:

-The second scenario
-Cannae

I actually played both of these in one evening:

I lost with the second scenario (I played Carthago). eventhough I had the cards to move my right flank, the Romans destroyed my center and left before I could penetrate his left flank.

We then played Cannae. As the romans I was victorious by routing the Carthagian left flank, moving my center forward and holding the left. It was such a thril in both games!

History was changed as in both sides the 'wrong' party was victorious. Isn't changing history fun!!

IMHO both are fun and quite balanced.
 
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Kevin Duke
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I've found the first scenario to be pretty close as well. I hear people say Syracuse has an advantage, but from what I've seen, it's less than 60-40

While the "play both sides" thing sounds lame, the game plays quickly enough and with enough excitement that it is not a problem. Also, the unbalanced scenarios are a nice place to bring in a new player.

Some of the scenarios LOOK badly lopsided-- when you consider 3 leaders vs 1 and 6 cards vs 4, that looks like a shoo-in. But so much about this game is deceptively simple. To look at it, both Zama and Cannae look like the historical loser doesn't have much chance- but that is not what people are experiencing.

Play it out and see.

And if you don't want to try the "both ways" routine, due to time or attention span, then a very easy tactic is to 'bid" for sides. One surprise to me is that all the scenarios have both sides seeking the same number of banners for victory. If you and your partner are so certain one side is a lock to win, then "bid" banners to play that side. How many banners will you give up to be the Roman/Carthaginian at the lopsided fight?
1? 2? 3? When the "weaker" looking side starts out with a banner or 3 head start, you might find the battle gets a lot tighter than you expected. (And for scientific reasons, if the side with the "gift" banners at start does win, keep on playing and see how it would come out if the two sides started even.)

Have fun.
 
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