To pick up on the post previous to yours, there is the notion of counterattack in this game. So you place a two-block MI out by itself "on the flank" and it is nothing but a strafing target for medium cavalry. Place that same two-block MI in a line, supported by HI to the left and right, and now you face dilemma. There is just enough rope to hang yourself, if you bust loose at the MI with medium cavalry say, you can kill the MI, BUT you have no chance to disengage the cavalry, since momentum advance is into the opponent's hex, then 1 hex move. Leaving you often still adjacent to his supporting HI's, or worse, behind his lines with nowhere to go!
His counterattack has you evading at 5 dice! - he's got a good chance of rolling a symbol or two. And suddenly your cavalry charge didn't seem like such a good idea after all.
The "flank" MI is almost perfect as a target. If he survives, and hits back with 4 dice, you can evade pretty much anywhere.
Flank attacks get rewarded in subtle ways, which is as it was in history. Not perfect, and sometimes they failed, but nobody could afford to neglect their flanks.
For those who feel that flanks are still not super-duper represented in the game, I raise several possiblities.
First off, I believe Joe Bisio had quite a workable "flanking" rule - Outflanked status. A unit was outflanked if "surrounded" by hostile units, or hexes adjacent to hostile units. I felt this was a little too abstract, as a unit could be outflanked, and not be adjacent to more than one enemy unit. Basically outfalnked units battle back with far fewer Battle Dice, and also didn't hit on helmets even if stacked with a leader.
I propose a slight modification to Joe's rule:
A unit is said to be outflanked if it is adajcent to THREE OR MORE enemy units AND those enemy units are NOT all adjacent to each other.
A quick glance at the map will show armies having a "kink" in the line will be more vulnerable. I'd also propose that outflanked units only battle back with fewer Battle Dice, but still hit on all helmets as usual. This provides incentive to keep your lines intact, and "well-shaped".
Another option is simply to magnify the effects of support. So if you allow supported units to also ignore one symbol hit in Close Combat, you create a further, far more powerful incentive to keep your lines/groups intact. Losing that ability is significant, and also encourages the enemy to hit your "flanks' too. A word of caution - you will possibly seriously unbalance some battles, like Gaugamela, as the larger side will automatically outflank you always. You'd need to use these rules judiciously, if at all.
Perhaps the weakest option is simply to declare units Battle Back against retreat hexes with fewer battle dice (say two fewer?) but I don't know if that will simply cause massive and irresponsible cavalry raiding.
By the way there is already facing in this game, with a "forward' direction, so these rules aren't entirely heretical. I speak of course of the detailed facing rules for ramparts!
I applaud your willingness to read responses and think about them.
Since the game's beginning, it has been a matter of astonishing regularity that the people asking "where are the flank bonuses/penalties" are always, always the people who have not played the game very much.
Which includes the Biseo variant cited elsewhere, which appeared very shortly after the game first appeared.
My favorite/biggest groaner read something like, "I just got the game and am almost finished with the rules. Here are my fixes for the lack of flank bonuses." Mercifully, I don't remember who posted that, but it's way down there on BGG screen 33 or something. There have been postings where folks- on game 1-- found the lack of flank bonuses utterly disqualified the game from being possibly any good.
I realize we're gamers and we EXPECT there to be things we can feel in control of... like flank bonuses. But, as the others have posted, the game works very well as is. There are some seamless elements that just WORK, without gamer manipulation, which I greatly appreciate (and realize I probably haven't identified all of them, even after 3 years of playing).
Welcome to the club! The more you play, the more you like it!
Thanks for the gracious and informative response. I very seldom use 'flanking' rules except in one or two of my own in-house designed scenarios, or in the ones in the Joe Bisio file that have a great many more units than is typically seen in a standard CC:A scenario. In those cases my modified version of his flanking rule just helps speed the game up a bit. Some of his scenarios feel absolutely brilliant (I highly recommend his Zama scenario by the way) and others are downright boring - totally unbalanced or in some cases unwieldy.
However he is providing first rate descriptions and the scenarios in many cases mirror the battles described exceptionally well. I find myself often marvelling at how some of his battles really bring out the atmosphere in ways more in-depth than many "official" scenarios do. On the other hand they usually require more investment in rules exceptions than I am prepared to accept. All in the mood I'm in at the instant of play...