Monday, March 5, 2012

The rains in Spain fall mainly on the plains

This post won't be one of my longer ones. Events in real life have delayed this post a bit, and I don't really have a whole lot to say, in any case.

It was my choice, and I wanted to give the new Spanish Army expansion to Command and Colors: Napoleonics a run. We'd played C&C:N a few months ago, and I may have given it a bit of a short shift.

C&C:N might be the most complex of the entire series of games. The minor tweaks in unit capabilities between the armies lead to a very different play style for each army. The French need to charge in, British prefer to stand and shoot, and the Spanish, we've discovered, need to play with finesse.

The way the game changes how many combat dice you roll depending on how many blocks you have left, whether you moved or not, and whether you're in close combat give a number levers and dials that can be tweaked to modify unit performance. And Richard Borg has done a very good job moving around those levers and dials.

The Spanish army is best on its home turf: rough terrain. It can't stand up to the French toe to toe on open ground, so ducking in and around terrain is the way to go. The catch, of course, is surviving that ducking around terrain long enough to get a decent volley off before slinking back again.

The other tweak the Spanish expansion adds is Guerrilla warfare. This allows the Spanish player to disrupt French orders by turning in a chit. The French player gets a die roll: if it's swords, nothing happens, otherwise the French player effectively loses his turn. The card he was trying to play is discarded, and his turn is over. The Spanish player can be awarded Guerrilla chits during setup or when playing a Recon card. Instead of drawing two cards and discarding one, the Spanish player can draw one card and take a chit instead.

Don't forget to use these chits.

Had I remembered, I likely would have won our second battle when I played as the Spanish. Mike won the game with two consecutive cavalry charges at the end to finish things off. Stopping either of those likely would have tipped the game my way. It was that close.

If you liked CC:N, the Spanish expansion gives a nice tweak to the game. If you didn't, I don't know this will change your mind. It doesn't fundamentally change the game, but gives a third army with a very different style of play. I'm hoping the three upcoming expansions (Russian, Austrian, Prussian) will provide the same variances.

I'm going to have to get this to the table more. I'm liking it more every time I play.

Mike's choice after this (and the subject of my next post) is Breakthrough: Cambrai.

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