Monday, July 26, 2010

Commands & Colors: Ancients Features on "View from the Veranda" Podcast

I really enjoy the podcast Meeples and Miniatures, but especially, the View from the Veranda episodes, which are extended conversations between Neil Schuck, the host, and Henry Hyde from Battlegames Magazine. In episode 5 of View from the Veranda, they talk about Commands & Colors: Ancients in some detail. As miniatures people, they admire the quick playing of C&CA, yet enjoy the satisfying feel of the games.

I talked with Richard Borg at KublaCon at some length. He said that his goal of the Commands & Colors games is not to simulate the battle, but rather to simulate how descriptions of battles read in print. Look at this depiction of the battle of Zama from Wikipedia, which has a lot of "the center does this" or "the flanks troops do this other thing". It's easy to see this battle being played out with C&CA.

"At the outset of the battle, Hannibal unleashed his elephants and skirmishers against the Roman troops in order to break the cohesion of their lines and exploit the breaches that could be opened. The attack was confronted by the Roman skirmishers. In addition to this Scipio ordered the cavalry to blow loud horns to frighten the beasts which partly succeeded and several rampaging elephants turned towards the Carthaginian left wing and disordered it completely. Seizing this opportunity Masinissa led his Numidian cavalry and charged at the Carthaginian left wing, also composed of Numidian cavalry, and was unknowingly lured off the field. Meanwhile the rest of the elephants were carefully lured through the lanes and taken to the rear of the Roman army where they were dealt with. The plan of Scipio of neutralizing the threat of the elephants had worked. Scipio's troops then fell back into traditional Roman battle formation. Laelius, the commander of Roman left wing, charged against the Carthaginian right. The Carthaginian cavalry, acting on the instructions of Hannibal, allowed the Roman cavalry to chase them so as to lure them away from the battlefield so that they wouldn't attack the Carthaginian armies in the rear.

Scipio now marched with his center towards the Carthaginian center which was under the direct command of Hannibal. Hannibal moved forward with only two lines and the third line of veterans was kept in reserve. After a close contest the first line of Hannibal was pushed back by the Roman hastati. Hannibal ordered his second line to allow the first line in their ranks. The bulk of them managed to escape and to position themselves on the wings of the second line on Hannibal's instructions. Hannibal now charged with his second line. A furious struggle ensued and the Roman hastati were pushed back with heavy losses. Scipio reinforced the hastati with the second line principes."

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