Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Battle of Telamon 225BC - Part 2

I went over to Friendless' house on Tuesday evening for some more Commands & Colors: Ancients gaming.

We had previously played the Battle of Telamon 225BC from C&C Ancients: Expansion Pack #2: Rome and the Barbarians where I had commanded the Gauls to an 8 to 5 banner victory over the Romans. This was going to be a rematch where I would play the Romans and Friendless would play the Gauls. I helped Friendless set up the board when I arrived and so the battle commenced.

The Battle of Telamon (225BC)

Historical Background (From the scenario booklet)

Aenorestes and Concolitanus retreated northwards, pursued by Aemilius Papus with about 30,000 troops. It looked like the Gauls would escape with their booty. Then fortune smiled on Rome. The consul Atilius Regulus was returning from suppressing a rebellion in Sardinia with his army of 25,000 men. He landed at Pisae and was moving south along the same coastal road that the Gauls had chosen for their retreat. Upon learning from his scouts that a Gallic army was approaching, Regulus ordered his legions into fighting order while he advanced at full speed with his cavalry and light infantry to occupy a key hill before the enemy arrived. The Gauls at once sent their own cavalry, chariots, and some light-armed troops to dispute the possession of the hill. When Papus arrived from the south, he also sent his cavalry to the hill, and advanced with his legions. At first the battle was confined to the hill and both armies watched the fighting unfold. Regulus fell, but the Roman cavalry, after a stubborn struggle, gained the hill. Meanwhile, Aenorestes and Concolitanus formed two battle lines back-to-back as the Roman infantry converged on the Gauls from north and south. There was a dreadful din as the whole Gallic army shouted war cries and the Roman light infantry hurled javelins. The Gallic host rushed wildly on their enemy in a rage, but the Roman maniples held their ground. Finally, the Roman cavalry charged down the hill and the Gallic infantry were cut to pieces.

The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.

War Council

Gallic Army
• Leaders: Kings Aneroestes and Concolitanus
• 5 Command Cards

Roman Army
• Leaders: Atilius Regulus and Aemilius Papus
• 6 Command Cards
• Move First

8 Banners

Special Rules

  • Hill control was crucial to this battle. At the end of each player turn, check for hill control.
    a. If one side has more units occupying hill hexes than the other side, that player gains two Victory Banners. That player keeps the two Victory Banners until:
    1) The other player has more units on hill hexes at the end of a player turn (current player with the two hill Victory Banners loses them; the other player gains two Hill Victory Banners), or
    2) Both players have the same number of units occupying hill hexes, or no units occupying hill hexes (current player with the two hill Victory Banners loses them; the other player does not receive them)
    b. Hill hexes must be occupied to count toward control. If a unit leaves a hill hex vacant for any reason, that hex does not count toward control.
    c. It is possible for control to shift several times during a battle, having a major effect on each side’s Victory Banner totals each time control shifts.
  • The River on the left of the battlefield is the sea and is impassable.
  • Important Note: Each army must retreat and/or evade toward its side of the battlefield. The Gallic Army and Regulus’ Roman army have the potential to block each other’s retreat/evade routes.
  • Barbarian Chariot rules are in effect.
  • Optional set-up. The Roman Army was still organized along pre-Marian guidelines. If the Roman player desires, he may use the gray Roman blocks from the basic game when placing his units.

Image from ccancients.net
Click for a larger image.

Game 2: I commanded the Romans (red blocks), while Friendless commanded the Gauls (green blocks). This proved to be a very interesting scenario from our last play, due mainly to the fact that the Gauls were surrounded both to the south and north and also that control of the hills contributed to the victory conditions.

I had studied the map and troop dispositions prior to the game. My first priority as the Romans was to gain control of the hills on my right flank. I commenced the battle by playing a Mounted Charge card, sending Regulus and two Medium Cavalry units from the north to attack and block the retreat of Concolitanus and his Medium Cavalry. From the south I sent forward the Roman leader and his two Medium Cavalry to attack Concolitanus' Medium Cavalry and Barbarian Light Chariots. My attacks destroyed Concolitanus' Medium Cavalry unit but the Gallic general was able to survive the attack and evade alone over the hills towards his side of the board. I also wiped out one unit of Barbarian Light Chariots and sent another retreating back to the edge of the board with only a single block remaining. Banner check – Ozvortex 2, Friendless 0.

Friendless then played an Order Medium Troops card. He attacked my troops in the south on my left and centre with a wild charge of four Warrior units and one Medium Cavalry unit. His attacks were lethal and a Roman Light Infantry unit and Medium Cavalry unit fell under the onslaught. Banner check – Ozvortex 2, Friendless 2.

I responded with a Double Time card. My second priority was to advance my southern force to put pressure on the Gauls to retreat towards my waiting northern troops. I sent forward two units of Auxilia, a unit of Medium Infantry and a unit of Heavy Infantry commanded by Papus. I was able to position one of my Auxilia units behind a Warrior unit to prevent its retreat. In my second turn two Gallic Warrior units were decimated. Banner check – Ozvortex 4, Friendless 2.

Friendless then goes on the attack in the centre. He plays Inspired Centre Leadership. He attacks with an Auxilia unit, the Gallic chieftain Aneroestes commanding a Warrior unit, a Medium Cavalry unit and a Light Infantry unit. Aneroestes attack is overwhelming and he eradicates a unit of Roman Medium Infantry. He momentum advances and conducts a bonus attack on Papus and his Heavy Infantry. The Roman infantry survive the attack and battle back inflicting enough damage to destroy Aneroestes' Warriors. The Gallic Medium Cavalry, seeing Papus' weakened Heavy Infantry, then charge and overrun them. Banner check – Ozvortex 5, Friendless 4.

Things are looking a little dire for my Roman troops. I have an unattached leader and a couple of damaged units within striking distance from the Gauls. I have to do something this turn to put myself in a position to claim 8 victory banners. I know that I only have to send a single unit onto the hills to receive the bonus 2 victory banners. That would take effect at the end of my turn leaving me at 7 victory banners - 1 short of victory. To win the game on this turn I would have to destroy one unit of Gauls and take the hills.

I look at my available cards. Out of six cards only one can achieve what I want to achieve. I play Order Two Units Right. I send forward Regulus and his Medium Cavalry to attack a lone block of Gallic Barbarian Light Chariots on the board edge. My second order goes to another Roman Medium Cavalry unit which enters a hill hex.

Regulus and his Medium Cavalry attack and destroy the Barbarian Light Chariot. I then momentum advance Regulus to attack the Gallic chieftain Concolitanus who was sitting alone in a hex. He falls to a Roman blade. I claim two victory banners for killing the two enemy units. My turn ends and as I am in sole control of the hills the hill victory banners are awarded to me, sending me over the required number of victory banners to win the game. Banner check – Ozvortex 8, Friendless 4.

Victory is mine!

This was a much shorter playing of this scenario than our last game. This game only went for 5 turns which took about 50 minutes. Our last game took 18 turns and went for over twice as long. I'd achieved victory after playing nine cards in the first game but it only took three cards in the rematch. Overall a very satisfying win and I was pleased that my battle plan had worked as intended.

The placement of forces at the end of the battle. Viewed from the Roman side.

When Friendless and I next meet he will teach me how to play Conflict of Heroes.

We had enough time for a second game. Friendless brought out Africa, a Reiner Knizia-designed game of exploration in, you guessed it, Africa!

This was a light strategy game using some interesting scoring mechanisms. I really enjoyed it and hope to play it again. Final scores were me 88 and Friendless 84.

The Africa board at the end of the game.

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