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.
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|
|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|
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|