Monday, May 7, 2007


We pulled out Command & Colors: Ancients Thursday, this time using a scenario and units from the expansion which adds the Greeks and Eastern Kingdoms. The scenario chosen by Eric - I chose the game, and asked for a scenario involving Elephants - was the Battle of Raphia, a battle between two successor kingdoms of Alexander the Greats empire - Ptolemaic Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire. Again, we're in an area of history I have a sketchy knowledge of at best, so check out the links for more info on the history of the battle.

We played the scenario twice - switching sides in between - but both battles proceeded quite differently. In the first battle, the focus of the battle was the flanks - we both opened up with ranged weapons initially (archers and slingers), but the expected clash of the main lines of the opposing armies never happened, as the flanks were always too pressing for either of us to spend much effort on moving the heavy units in the center forward.

The elephants were, as expected, devastating, especially when sent against heavy units - an interesting element of using elephants is they roll dice according to what the unit they are attacking would roll. This leads you to send them up against heavy units when possible. I believe the logic of this is that light units are more maneuverable and would simply avoid contact with the elephants units, while tight formations of heavily armored troops were much more subject to disruption by a charging elephant. Elephants also re-roll sword hits, which can result in very strong attacks if the dice go well.

Elephants are also quite fragile, however - they only have two blocks per unit, so don't require many hits to eliminate. Perhaps more importantly, elephants rampage whenever forced to retreat - this means that they attack with two dice ALL adjacent units. This is great if they're right up against your enemies lines . . . not so good if they elephants are in the midst of your own lines!

IIRC, Eric won the first match with a score of 8-6 or so - it was close, whatever the exact values were.

So we flipped sides, and proceeded to go at it again - the second match being more "traditional", in that the bulk of the battle was the clash of the main lines in the center, with some fighting on the flanks. This was also a close game - the final score of 8-2 may not seem all that close, but at the time I managed to win, I had a total of six (6) units with a single block remaining. So had the dice gone slightly differently, the result could easily have been different in the second battle.

I am finding myself enjoying this game more and more with each play - a sure sign of a game with some staying power, at least for me. The addition of newer units (this was the first scenario I've played with elephants, for instance) didn't add too much to the complexity level. They did, however, increase the number of tactical decisions - elephants are definitely an interesting unit type to use, with devastating attacks but fragile units with the potential to rampage and damage your own side (or anyone in the way, really)!

I'm not sure what's on tap for this week - it's Eric's choice this time, and he hadn't yet decided as we were wrapping up - but I'm sure it will be something interesting, and I look forward to playing.

Until next week, then - happy gaming!

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