The kid sits in my seat while the wolf that suckled Romulus and Remus looks on. Arnold searches for Alps.
Arnold Horshack came to visit today for another game of C&C: Ancients. I've got the expansion but still hadn't used the elephants in the base game, so I insisted we play a scenario with elephants. The last scenario in the rule book, Zama, looked good to me - the Carthaginians have 3 elephant units and the Romans have none at all. The thought of infantry facing elephants just got me excited.
In the first game, I played the Romans - the guys without elephants. Reading over the rules this morning I realised that a cavalry unit forced to retreat when it was almost at its own back line would be in severe trouble, so rather than focus on the elephants I directed Laelius to charge down the left flank with the medium cavalry. My cavalry were fairly successful on both flanks, and I took a handy lead in victory banners. However the Carthaginian infantry pursued my wounded cavalry and Arnold caught up.
I had certainly distracted him from his elephants, but I hadn't made much progress organising my troops, so were not really prepared when the elephants charged. Arnold directed them against the medium infantry because elephants get as many dice in close combat as their opponents would, and medium infantry have 4 dice. It wasn't pretty. Elephants also reroll swords as additional attack dice, and get armour overruns (or whatever it's called, armour overrun is fairly accurate) and a bonus attack when they overrun. One elephant attack cost me 7 medium infantry. Ouch! But then on the battle back one of the elephant units stampeded another elephant... that was pretty funny. I managed to survive the elephant attack only losing one banner (but many other units), and with some good hits on battle backs and so on came within a banner of victory. When Arnold's line advanced, I won the game on a battle back 8 banners to 6.
After a break for Arena Maximus, chicken sandwiches and the third Ashes test, we played the reverse scenario. I decided I would send the elephants in as early as possible with the hope of breaking his line and then using my line advance and Card of +2 Bashing I would take easy banners against unsupported units. But no, not MY stupid elephants. Whereas Arnold's elephants included oliphants and Stampy Simpson, my elephants included Dumbo and his baby sister. They were big fat baby girlie loser elephants. Not cold-blooded mass murderers like Arnold had. My elephant attack was repulsed without claiming a banner. In fact Arnold had 4 banners before I had any. I think the difference was that when Arnold had the elephants they attacked me, but when my elephants got into range Arnold charged them and attacked them. They mostly ran away with out stomping, trampling. stampeding or trumpeting. Off to the elephant graveyard with nary a whimper.
Fortunately I'd done a reasonable job defending against Arnold's cavalry attacks, and gained a couple of banners. I had to use my line advance card to reassemble the forces after they stumbled over the blubbery carcasses of the "Terrors of the Alps". I wanted another line advance card so I could hit him hard, but I couldn't find one. Arnold did advance the line, and finished me off, 8 banners to 4.
We agreed that this is a great game. I don't know what ancient warfare was really like, but they did so much of it it must have been nearly as much fun as this game. The elephants are a hoot - you never know who they're going to kill next (if anyone). The expansion has camels, and although I'm sure they won't be as good as elephants maybe I'll get away with spitting at my opponent.
By the way, we're REALLY looking forward to BattleLore. The same system, in a fantasy setting, slightly stream-lined, should be AWESOME. The kid hasn't played Memoir for ages, and totally ignores Ancients, but I reckon he'll be hooked by the miniatures. Arnold and also the Evil Count are getting BattleLore for Christmas, so I'll have several educated opponents very soon. It's gonna be GREAT. It's gonna cost me a MINT. I can't wait.