Saturday, September 3, 2011

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (GMT) ~ Rolica (French First Position), 17 Aug 1808

Game: Commands & Colors Napoleonics (GMT)
Scenario: Rolica (French First Position), 17 Aug 1808 (Scenario #1)
Participants: Bob H and Myself
Time: Sun, Aug 28th, 3.30PM ~ 4.45PM

Finally, the CCN dice are here! Valley Games, makers of the excellent wooden CCA dice have released a similar set for use with this game.  I think the main reason I haven't come back to this game since last winter was the dice the game ships with. They are not for me. I can't remember checking the mail box everyday for a week like I did after I ordered these dice, I was very eager to play this title again. 

Bob and I have played CCA quite often (not so much this year though, Dominion has been filling that hole) in the past and have always enjoyed it. Thus I was able to talk Bob through the rules to this game fairly quickly. I took pains to point out all the cool features the designer has included here to expand the system (card driven blocks) to include the Napoleonic area now. Let me run down a few of these, first off each unit is unique. That is a departure from CCA where a Roman Heavy Infantry was mostly identical to its opponent (with some exceptions of course). There is now much more focus on ranged fire. Infantry can fire at two hexes while Rifle infantry units can shoot further. Your units also degrade as they take losses, something that wasn't the case in CCA. The cards are also much improved with all sorts of new things included. Lastly, terrain is much more important now, it both protects and can impact line of sight. 

At Set Up

We selected the first scenario with me taking the attacking British and Portuguese. I start with a larger force while Bob sets up on a nice hill in the middle of the map. There are two hill hexes on either side of the map that I will get a victory flag for while I occupy them. I have three artillery units (2 foot in the center and one horse on my left) while Bob only has one on the hill in his center. I have more infantry then Bob (9 to 7) but Bobs are French (+1 in melee) and mostly sitting on the hill to start off with.

"Bombard" clears off the French Artillery

So, having played this once before I knew that you had to be a little more careful then you do in CCA. If you move up with out cards to then continue or support your move, you can get mowed down if you don't have cards to shoot back. So I started out banging away with my artillery at his (on the hill), these were 1-dice shots (4 hex range). The closer you get to artillery the more dangerous it becomes so I wanted to take out his artillery before I started the infantry assault. Eventually I drew the Bombard card. Wow, what a great card this is (+2 dice [at least]) to your artillery shots. By the time I drew this we had been shooting at each other for several card plays with Bob getting the better of me. This card did the trick and I was able to knock out his artillery unit. 

The British move up on the Left

I then started to press on my left. Bob had some good cards and bushed me back with some good shooting. I was able to deploy my horse artillery up front with supporting infantry as well. I soon ran out of cards for my left and started to pull some for the right, where my Portuguese where stationed. I was able to get them all up there in musket range, bushing Bobs light cavalry back. 

I had pulled the "La Grande Maneuver" card in my initial hand and it had really surprised me. This a cool card allowing you to run up to 4 infantry units like four hexes. They are however not allowed to battle or shot at the end of this move. So, I couldn't control myself and played this to make a made dash out of the center with my British Infantry. I thought this was worth the risk as I had the Portuguese over there already and they had pushed the French back and even taken one of the VP locations already. 

The Portuguese push the French back on the Right

Of course this was a disaster, but it was wildly entertaining. Bob had two full strength units and one half strength one adjacent and on hill hexes. He opened up on me on his next turn and started to mow down my glorious red line. I shot back or melee's back, it was a blood bath on both sides. At one point Bob played the Elan card and only activated two units with it, whew. But, it was getting desperate, both of us knew that the end was new and were trying to finish off the other guy. Each one of us had a few 1-block units so we were focusing on trying to take these out. In this game of course, a 1-block unit is twice as vulnerable then in CCA because it can only shot with 1-dice (most of the time) and more importantly it can only melee with one. 

"La Grande Maneuver" sends the British Infantry onto the Hill...

We also say our first square formed int he game here. I had a 1-block unit that Bob charged with his light cav, I squared and he still took me out. It was over shortly after that as I watched all of my British units die, including the over. But, as expected it was a heck of a good time.

...where they all died!

I'm so glad we have the new dice now. I expect we will be playing this quite a bit now.

A close up of the excellent new CCN dice from Valley Games (Google them to order yours)

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