My brother Mike came over on Friday night and we did battle in Commands & Colors: Napoleonics once again. Like last time, Mike took the redcoats while I took the forces of the Emperor in the Battle of Salamanca (French right). I again enlisted the help of Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, who through some zany time machine plot I still refuse to go into, was now three months old and giving me strategy tips. You may remember that last time I won by s sizable margin; I was looking to repeat. Here’s the layout of the map at the start:
With one game under our belts relatively recently, we had to look up no rules and cruised right along. My plan was to simply wait behind the hills in front of my lines and use timely bayonet charges to rip the British to shreds. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way in the end. Mike got a great starting hand with a lot of center activation cards and began advancing his line. (Apologies for the cell phone pics that follow)
However, the action began in earnest on the right, where my impetuous French cavalry mixed it up with British artillery. This did not go well:
“Let’s just quit while we still can,” General Josie suggested. “I need to get to bed anyway.” “Nev-ar!” I retorted in my worst French accent, and ordered more units.
The British continued to exert pressure on the French right, bringing up heavy and light cavalry to mix it up. I was forced to form square, but to no avail. Meanwhile, British riflemen had taken the town in the center of the map and were peppering my infantry at the same time:
While the center lines traded potshots, I finally got some cards to activate the French left and drove back a strong force that was advancing toward the hills. I gently reminded Mike of how combined arms attacks work when I rolled eight dice in one attack:
As Mike brought more crack troops up on the left and the right, I began shifting forces away from my center to reinforce those flanks. However, the cards were against me. We were both losing units at a quick clip, and were tied at 5 banners apiece.
The tension in the air increased dramatically as we both realized the game was nearing its end. Mike made what I thought was a dumb move, manoeuvring a unit of Guards Grenadiers into a river on the French left within easy range of my cannons. At the same time, I didn’t actually have the cards to destroy it, and when the redcoats swarmed my last block of artillery, it was all over.
And with that, the British won, 6-5. In truth, I learned quite a bit in this scenario. First, as I only had been given one unit of cavalry, I should have done a better job of protecting it. It had far more value as a potential threat, and its presence throughout the scenario would have made Mike think twice about advancing infantry on my right. However, once I got them beat up, he had no reason to hold back from sending cavalry across the river. This forced my infantry on that side to form square and eventually get destroyed by musket fire.
Also, I’m starting to see a pattern in how our games develop. Usually we are reluctant to get involved in the center of the map because it comes down to who has the better dice rolls and cards; in short, it gets really bloody and chaotic in the center unless you’re cautious about it. This reluctance means most of the action gets driven to the flanks, where we often have fewer units and thus more room to manoeuvre. Once those flanks are decimated, the game is almost over and we’re more inclined to activate units in the center. (This, by the way, is not something I think I would have ever caught on to if I didn’t blog about these sessions…maybe all this writing is actually making me a better player?) Anyway, I need to think about this a little bit more and see if this realization can be somehow turned to my advantage in the future.
Now that summer school is over and I have a little bit more time off, expect new sessions reports soon!