Flanks

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11 years 4 months ago #486 by DavidW
Flanks was created by DavidW
After a few games, I am puzzled by the apparent lack of any reference to units’ flanks and rear.

It seems odd that units attacked in the flank or rear fight just as well as to their front.
Also, units can move around with impunity. Units, except loose order light units, in ancient armies were relatively inflexible and vulnerable to flank or rear attacks.

Although only a newbie to the system, the lack of flank/rear rules annoys me – it seems to be the one oversight in the rules. So, I am considering the following House Rule”. Any comments would be appreciated.

1. At all times, units must face the vertex of a hex; the two hexsides adjacent to that vertex are the unit's Front; the hex faces to the left and right of the unit are the unit's Flanks and those opposite the unit's Front are the unit's rear.

2. A unit may only move into a new hex through it frontal arc.

3. An ordered unit may change facing by either remaining stationery and expending one MP for each vertex the unit turns to the left or the right or for each new hex entered, the unit may change one vertex left or right at no additional cost. For example, a Heavy Infantry unit may remain in the same hex and rotate to the left or right by one vertex for one MP. Alternatively, the unit could move through one of its Front hexsides and rotate to the left or right by one vertex for one MP. Exception: A unit may not change facing if it is in the frontal arc of more than one enemy unit in adjacent hexes. It is, effectively, pinned in place.

4. Units only have LoS fire from its front arc except Light units (except Auxilia), which have 360o LoS. Units can only shoot in LoS (as per main rules).

5. A unit can only contact an enemy unit that it can see at the start of it's movement; not the "Move" sub phase but at the instance when the particular unit is to be moved. A unit can only contact, and hence Battle an enemy unit, through one of its Front hexsides.

6. A unit contacting an enemy’s Flank gains one CC dice and two CC dice when contacting an enemy's rear. A unit contacted in a Flank or Rear cannot Battle Back.

7. Immediately after a round of Battle is resolved (i.e. “Battle” and “Battle Back”) a unit contacted in its flank or rear can turn to face the enemy it just fought unless it is also contact by another enemy unit.

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11 years 4 months ago #487 by dagorman
Replied by dagorman on topic Re:Flanks
Your initial comments are correct units should have a facing and many of the formations used in ancient warfare once hit in the side or rear just crumbled.

The only rule similar to this is in the first expansion of Roman tactical flexibility where an unsupported Greek heavy infantry only battles back with 3 dice against a heavy or medium Roman infantry.

I personally think the support rules simulate the flank attacks quite well as unsupported units are likley to retreat and not get to battle back.
Also giving such large bonuses to hitting units in the flanks might result in ahistoric plays and endless flank marches leaving the centre devoid of units instead of the usual clash of battle lines the period is famous for.

I would be interested to hear how a playtest of those rules turned out

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11 years 4 months ago #489 by alecrespi
Replied by alecrespi on topic Re:Flanks
Hi DavidW, and welcome!
Your notes are correct, but I agree with dagorman when he say
dagorman wrote:

I personally think the support rules simulate the flank attacks quite well as unsupported units are likley to retreat and not get to battle back.


After some plays you will see how hard the life of a "lone unit" could become ... unsupported in the edge of the board :woohoo:
Some cavalry charging behind them (blocking evasion or flee path) could be as fatal as your "rear attack variant", but wothout the need to cheat original gameplay and without movingo too much from historical battles.

Said that (that's only my opinion) I'll surely be interested in hearing your final comments after playtest, maybe we will discover a completely new gameplay.
B)

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11 years 4 months ago #490 by DavidW
Replied by DavidW on topic Re:Flanks
Guys

thanks for the feedback.

After a few more games, I am moving toward the conclusion that "unsupported" may indeed be sufficent penalty. But, I still like the idea of facings - it just feels wrong that a unit can attack frontally and then in the next enemy turn be attacked, and more importabtly Battle Back, in the rear without penalty.

A bit more play testing required :(

Thanks
David W

PS: I am finding C&CA pretty additive:)

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11 years 4 months ago #492 by myrm
Replied by myrm on topic Re:Flanks
While Im not hugely familiar with ancients rules sets most that I am familiar with really only put heavy penalties on units that are hit in the rear or side when already engaged from the front, for general purposes. When not engaged units are often quite flexible (Phalanx pikemen seem to be the exception in most rules either directly or indirectly) from turn to turn as to where they face. So at that level I have no problem with a unit being able to face different units on different turns if that is the only thing they face.

So, lets look at where we probably agree that flanking or rear hits are an issue and thats when the unit is already busy fighting one unit.

If someone is hitting you in the flank and you have two units supporting to your rear it probably represents a solid mass forming up. That would for me not be an issue that indicated flank vulnerability and would prevent say a wedge (we operate in hexes rather than the square/rectangle more commonly used in DBx etc). If the wedge fails the front unit being thrown back will lose units from not being able to retreat and getting crushed - so downsides exist.

The end of a line where you hit in the flank and have only one unit supporting you by contact. This is a problem. The ability to ignore a flag result on a die cannot be underestimated in this game. Loss of that because you are the end unit is a big issue. Send in a cavalry unit, or warriors who force a unit to retreat and the next unit along is vulnerable, or the other unit can be further chased away. Hitting the flank and folding it is a VERY efficient way of rolling up a battle line.

Rear attacks...There is a significant penalty to being attacked in the rear...one of your potential retreat spots just went. If the other hex is filled with friendly or enemy troops each flag is translated directly to damage - one damage per retreat move hex required. That can wipe out cavalry in one flag if the positioning is right, Warriors will lose their special abilities, heavy units get depleted, an extra result on the dice becomes damage. Its like a free leader, or even better. Even restrictions on retreat path can cause further problems if you have another unit ready to battle. Add to that advance and battle attacking units and your troops are in trouble.

Add to this that the commander must make decisions as to whether to risk fragmenting their line to pull off an action card to its best use or maintain that line and be less efficient and the very threat of a flank attack becomes an issue. Fragment the line and line command cards and Leader plus adjacent connected cards become much less powerful.

Im borderline paranoid about any unit that gets behind me in this game because I find it the most efficient way to wrap up a battle line of my opponents....

I would say the effects of flank and rear attacks are not as in your face as modifiers to hit - note that the presence of extremely brilliant leaders of the calibre of Caesar and Alexander are worth only one dice in Battle and adding extra dice is an issue- but rear attacks in the right way can generate extra damage, and certainly even if not giving extra damage from flags the effects of a flank or rear attack are quite profound in their effect - a fragmented army is often a struggling army in C&C.

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11 years 4 months ago #494 by DavidW
Replied by DavidW on topic Re:Flanks
Some of the points you raised I have already discovered, however, your email does illutrate some of the subtly in C&CA I had not yet appreciated. I am inclined to park my thoughts on flanks until I have played a few more games.

BTW, your point regarding disjointed lines and command cards is well made - and reflects the depths of the system.

thank you
David W

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11 years 3 months ago #505 by broadsword
Replied by broadsword on topic Re:Flanks
David

What you have experienced is very, very common with new players. I am SO GLAD you didn't post that over at BGG, or Kevin Duke would have taken you to task in a big way (he's mellowing with age, and our help though, and he's actually not a nasty guy, just short on patience sometimes :blush: )

It takes about 5-10 games of CC:A before you "get" it, before you figure out how the design is working. A great many things are very unusual at first, but after a great many plays, you begin to see how things like flanks are portrayed in the game. One weakness in games with "flanking" rules that are more explicit, is that they seem to degenerate into turning engagements, not unlike jet fighter combat, with each side trying to turn hard enough to get onto the other's tail, so to speak.

From what I've read, this sort of thing didn't happen until well into the battle, and for each successful flank attack, I can find you a flank attack that failed after the defender rapidly reformed to meet the new threat. The Romans and Alexander's phalanxes were both very good at this. At Gaugamela the Macedonian phalanx pulled a totally unexpected 180 degree turn, and marched back to secure their baggage train from plunder.

This game achieves flanking in an implicit way. You drive off the Light Infantry covering his flanks, and then hit the end of his line. With luck (ie your troops actually do their jobs as advertised) you will set up a cascading series of bad retreats for the enemy, steadily rolling up his line like a cheap carpet. It doesn't work every time, but when it does, it is nothing short of spectacular, often resulting in an outright win a couple of turns later.

And all this with only one little rule - support. This design is not to be taken literally.
B)

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11 years 3 months ago #506 by DavidW
Replied by DavidW on topic Re:Flanks
Broadsword

Thanks for your reply.

Indeed I have found after a few more games that, in general, all my concerns reagrding flanks are unfounded. Although I remain unconvinced regarding the flexibility of units - however, that is not a major issue, cause as you point out the tactical situation will generally dictate units will be in "battlelines" and unsupported units make good targets. I am sure further play will proive me wrong!B)

BTW, every list has at least one gentleman such as you refer to. They are generally sad individuals who use the web to demean others for asking questions and exploring alternatives. Their opinions are of little relevance or import to me.

People have to appreciate that not everyone can devote sufficent time to expoloring new games/rules. Having access to discussion groups like this is an excellent way to broaden your network and learn from the experience of others. I am glad to say that this list is proving most useful.

thanks

David W

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11 years 3 months ago - 11 years 3 months ago #507 by myrm
Replied by myrm on topic Re:Flanks
Flexibility of units. Most units can show a lot of flexibility - for some its only once. Thats not unreasonable as a reaction for any unit. However, it is what it often means for the unit thereafter that really makes the game, to me anyway.

Let me wave an example at you. Heavy infantry moves 1 per activation....to get these into battle they need to be activating together or else you run out of chances to activate. One such unit that has stepped sideways to be flexible is suddenly alone and either you waste a turn getting it back in line, or they get left behind the advancing heavy battleline, playing little part in the battle beyond being a target for light troops, cavalry and missile troops to chew up for an easy banner. Suddenly that 'In this turn I can do anything flexibility' has become a positive liability.

Again, the rules let you do all sorts of things. Act against the units inclination and you can get short term benefits, followed by a possible long term failure. Further those failures generally require your opponent to act to capitalise on your mistaken action, so those heavies are not at risk unless the opponent chooses to press in this example. We fall back into a set of rules that allow all sorts of actions and don't always do things by using 'in your face' specific barriers, bonuses and penalties but some sets of consequences are engineered in a very fundamental way.

I like a system that essentially gives you the rope to hang yourself, but only if your opponent also chooses to tug the loose end. To me it promotes good play on both sides, you must play well to avoid vulnerability, they must notice to benefit from your mistakes.
Last edit: 11 years 3 months ago by myrm.

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11 years 3 months ago #509 by DavidW
Replied by DavidW on topic Re:Flanks
Hi

"...the rope to hang yourself..."

Very well said - I have managed to embrass myself :blush: several times by assuming I could use a particular card next turn only to be obliged to do otherwise in reponse to an unforeseen move by my opponent.

Experience is a wonderful teacher.

Thanks

David W

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