Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Commands & Colors: Ancients (GMT) ~ "Cirta - 203 BC"

Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients (GMT)
Scenario: Cirta - 203BC
Participants: Joe "YJ" C, Myself
Time: Friday, Mar 18th ~ 6.30PM - 8.30PM

Since its release several years ago, the CCA (aka "Big Boy Blocks") system has become a favorite. If I were to list my top five favorite games, CCA would easily make the list. This game for me scratches a different itch then say ASL or something like U43. It's fast, exciting, ascetically pleasing and always entertaining. Yet despite it's lite-ness there is a enough depth to make it interesting. It's also a bit of a silly dice game, but in this case it works very well. Each scenario usually takes an hour, plus 15-20 minutes getting it set up. We usually play two scenario's on the nights that we play it.

HeavyD and I have played through the entire first two games and are into the 2nd expansion (there are three). The scenarios for me are mostly not something I remember or even think much about afterwords...its what happens while we're playing that stays with me. Recently we played our first game of CCN, the Napoleonic game by the same designer, the esteemed Mr. Richard Borg. CCN is also a fantastic game, taking the system Mr. Borg uses here and nicely alters it to handle the changing nature of Napoleonic warfare.

Prior to play
So last Friday's game with YJ was a scenario that we pulled out of the C3i magazine and one that neither of us had played. We rolled for sides and I got the Romans. YJ got the Numidian side. The scenario is on the smaller side with no terrain. The Romans have three Medium Infantry units in the center with three Light skirmishers in front of them. The right flank has three Light cavalry units and a leader. My left flank is where my panzer division sits, here I have three Medium Cavalry units accompanied by a leader.

Opening skirmishing on the Right

YJ's Numidians are a larger, but much lighter force. He has one Medium Infantry and four Auxilia units in the center covered by three Light Infantry skirmishers. His right has four Light Cavalry units and a leader while his left has another four Light Cavalry units sans the leader. The Romans have 6 command cards while the Numidians only have 4. The first player to five victory blocks ("treats" in local parlance) is the winner, thus this is really a short and quick battle, not a lot of room for 2nd and thirds chances.

Well, that didn't quite work out as I had planned!

My opening hand was heavy on light forces cards, with a couple of line and center orders in it. I decided to try and burn through some of the light cards to see if I could get some nice cards that would allow my medium cavalry units a couple turns of sustained activations. My thinking was that I could win the game on my left with a few good cards. After some opening ranged fire, I pulled back my LC on the right even with my center. I had pulled a couple cards now where I felt like I could move my left into striking range, take the ranged fire and then move in for the kill.

YJ counter-attacks on my right

YJ's was mostly sitting back and reacting at this point. Where I in his shoes with only four cards and nearly all my troops light, I would be doing the same. My initial move on my left went ok. YJ mostly withdrew when I engaged in melee, but after the initial withdrawals he was out of board space and vulnerable to retreats taking out units. After this initial clash on the left, YJ counter attacked and took out two of my three units, one to ranged fire and another to melee. I was suddenly left with one MC on the left, but I had I think at this point three treats.
The Roman Center double times into Battle

YJ countered this by advancing in the middle and on the left. I reunited my leader with my remaining MC and went in for the kill (not getting it of course with some bad rolling). I had been sitting on a pair of cards that would allow me to rapidly engage with my Medium infantry in the center. After YJ moved up with his force, I was able to quickly get me main line of infantry engages with his. The fight in the center didn't last long and soon I had the needed 5 treats.

Victory!
Both of us were itching to get back to Rift (new PC MMORPG, aka WOW version 2.0) so we decided to call it a night.

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