Saturday, October 29, 2011

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (GMT) ~ Talavera, 28 July 1809

Game: Commands & Colors Napoleonics (GMT)
Scenario: Talavera (French attack on British ), 28 July 1809

Participants: HeavyD and Myself
Time: Fri, Oct 21st, 7.00PM - 9.00PM

CCN is fast becoming a favorite here in our little gaming group. Tonight HeavyD and I selected the next scenario in the book, "Talavera (French attack on British), 28 July 1809". This one is huge, the biggest we have yet played. First off its a race to seven Victory Banners, the largest we've yet played in this system. The scenario features a huge swarm of Frenchmen trying to cross a brook and dislodge the British who are behind it in the hills. The brook covers about 2/3s of the map, the side of the map without the brook sees both sides deploying their Cavalry there. As we are still climbing the learning curve with this new system, our last couple of playings featuring large attacking forces have met with disaster generally for the attacker.  We are slowing cluing in to the fact the the attacking force in this series (as opposed to CCA) simply has to have several cards back to back that will activate the attacking forces consecutively to have a chance. This takes some getting used to as the attacker was so heavily favored in CCA. We diced for sides and I got the British. 

Set Up
Cavalry, a good time

We start the game with some artillery duels, I am in no mode to do anything at this point but tweak my line and plink away at HeavyD with my guns. The first interesting thing that happened was that HeavyD played a "Flank Attack", activating 2 units on each wing. On my right he moved up some artillery and one line unit, on the left he advanced his Cavalry into striking distance. I was more concerned with the Artillery unit and failed to see the danger my own Cavalry was in. I elected to play a card to activate my right and fire on his advancing units.

"Caught!"...HeavyD catches my Cavalry off guard.

Then HeavyD lays down a "Cavalry Charge" and lunges towards my Cavalry with his. His two light Cavalry units come storming in and I expect the worst, but amazingly he rolls very poorly (starting a very hot and cold dice night for both of us). Both of his Lights attack my front Light units and when the sabers are sheathed I have only lost one block and so has he. I was expecting to lose one or perhaps two units as in this game Cavalry can advance into a cleared hex, move another hex and then attack again. I luckily have a card that allows me to activate a bunch of units on my left. Here I am again set up to potentially wipe him out, but my attacks are very bloody to both of us. I take out one unit and force the other to retire, its cost me four blocks of my lights though, with each unit down to one block each. Amazingly though, HeavyD is not done, he throws down another "Cavalry Charge" and this time his Heavy is able to support his other Light unit. I lose my two 1-block Lights and my Guards Heavy is left with one block, HeavyD's losses are light. I am able to cut down his Heavy's soon after with Musket and Artillery fire, his Light unit is driven off. 

The British Cavalry strikes back
The French Heavy hitters come in and clean up

Action in the Center

The French close in
With both of us having spent our Cavalry in some exciting action, neither one of us is left with an advantage. We are nearly out of Cavalry and both have a couple of VBs to show for it. HeavyD begins to advance on the Center, as he must. My right is a tough nut with Artillery in a fortified location as well as my Light Rifle unit and another Light Infantry unit. I have the good fortune to draw the Bombard cards close together and put them to good use as he slowly closes the gap in the center. 

The French assault pushes the British back

Things heat up as he lays down an "Assault Center" followed by the "La Grande Manoeuvre" cards. This allows his units to get up close to the brook but not to enter it (where he is forced to stop the turn he enters...its the only effect of the brook via special rule). I am caught without any real good cards to deal with this and am forced to shot at him from the flanks or with fewer units that could have. Thus he has his chance and moves three units into the brook for some melee, where his French Infantry has the upper hand. He is able to exploit this and push me back while also overrunning one of my Artillery units. It costs him though as the units he now has over the brook are very low on blocks. My fire eventually drives his assault back into the brook but not before he's taken some Victory Banners (VBs) from me. At this point he is at 5 and I have 3. 

Things get very costly in the Center for HeavyD
Banner hunting in the hills

Over the next couple of turns I am able to make fire attacks on his forward units in the center and I am able to eliminate a couple more so that now I am at six and with him holding five. I am running out of blocks with my forward units in both the Center and my Right. Things are getting tight as he starts to assemble for another push in the Center. He then charges in with two Line units and catches one of my depleted line units in Melee and destroys it. Now we are both holding 6 Victory banners, the next player who gets one will get the win. We dance around for a turn or two until I am able to do a combined fire and melee attack and grab the last block for the win. 

The Last Banner falls

We were both pretty happy with this game. For the first time in the series we had some exciting Cav on Cav action with both of us getting to use our Heavy Cavalry to good effect. The French defiantly have the upper hand in the Cavalry department, but my Lights gave as good as they got. I for one felt really engaged by this scenario, I mean that it was much more challenging and I think made me approach the game as more then a big fun dice fest, we were both trying to get every last advantage out of the terrain and our units strengths and weaknesses. This is sort of a first for me and this series. CCA has certainly never made me this tense, fighting for every last little trick to get a win. Also, I have to say that we are both gaining a much better understanding of how to pull off at least a competent attack in the game...Certainly something we will be doing once again in the near future.

The map at game end


  1. I continue to follow with interest your playing of the game. I owned Battle Cry and have played Mem44 but this looks like it has more to it.

    Looking at the final positions, could not HeavyD have dropped back some of his weakened units and bring up his fresh units that are left in the rear? I found the best way to play Battle Cry was to attack then retreat the first boys whilst at the same time bringing up replacements so as to still fight the same guys. Obviously you need the cards to do this though.
    Good report as always

  2. Ian,

    HeavyD did just that...however it proved difficult to get the attacking units out safely before I could finish them off.

    I really like this game...I have only played Battle Cry once long ago, but have played a lot of the Ancients version (CCA) and this one seems a little deeper, more engaging. An excellent way to kill a couple hours.

  3. Nice job again! Thanks for doing these, it brings the game alive.