Saturday, March 26, 2016

Rematch! Battle of Pharsalus 48BCE

In quite an unusual circumstance, I managed to get a second FtF gaming session in during the month of March.  Perhaps my version of March Madness?

On the table for this evenings activities was the same battle Kevin and I fought earlier in the month (see Battle of Pharsalus) using Command & Colors and 6mm armies.  Since Caesar took honors in both of the earlier battles, I wanted to give Pharsalus another go to see if Pompey could manage a victory.  Caesar seemed unbeatable in our first meeting.  On the Commands & Colors: Ancients website, recorded games show Caesar winning the battle about 75% of the time.  Could the battle's conclusion be that predestined?
CCA Battle Layout
With SoA's Battle Day fast approaching on 02APR2016, replaying the battle in anticipation of reading great BatReps from that event seemed motivation enough.  When Kevin arrived loaded with pizzas, we set to work on both the food and game.    
Battle deployments:
Pompey (top) vs Caesar (bottom)
To recap the game situation, Caesar is outnumbered by Pompey's forces but the Great Man holds the advantage in punch.  Add in Caesar's personal attributes and the Caesarian army is a tough nut to crack.  In game terms, all medium and heavy infantry operate under the Julian Legion rules.  That is, MI and HI can throw pila at a two hex range while either stationary or moving one hex.  These same units may move two hexes without battling.  This expansion provides MI and HI much more flexibility on the battlefield and allows the big boys to get into action much more quickly.  In earlier Punic Wars battles, we found getting the HI who often were deployed deep in the third line difficult to get into action.  Not the case under the Julian rules!
The plan for the evening was to fight the battle twice with each of us taking the command of Pompey to see if we could construct a victory.  In Game 1, I took command of the Pompeian Army and while the outcome was close, Pompey lost to Caesar 7 banners to 5.  My downfall seemed to hinge on the strong Pompeian medium cavalry wing's failure to break the Caesarian right.  Caesar's archers and cavalry on his right wing were overcome with some units being pushed from the battlefield.  Caesar, himself, was threatened but a vicious counterattack halted any Pompeian aspirations for success on that flank.  In the final stages of the battle, Caesar's heavy infantry marched up the center and laid waste to Pompey's lighter forces.  Game 1 goes to Caesar.
Death of Caesar
In Game 2, Kevin commanded Pompey while I took on the role of Caesar.  Starting with a Line Command, Caesar advanced his entire battle line towards Pompey's awaiting troops.  With success on both wings, Caesar looked ready to repeat his success in Game 1.  Rather than launching the Pompeian cavalry wing into the Caesarians to begin the battle, Pompey reserved his cavalry arm.  When Caesar made a deep penetration into the Pompeian line, Pompey launched a savage counterattack including the playing of a First Strike card.  The Gods were in Pompey's favor this day.  With fantastic dice rolls, first Sulla and his HI were destroyed in hand-to-hand combat and Caesar and his heavy infantry were weakened.  Reinforcing these successes, Pompey struck with all four of his medium cavalry.  In repeated cavalry charges, Caesar's heavy infantry were destroyed and Caesar was left unprotected.  Caesar was unable to escape and was cut down by Pompey's horse.  With banners 6:5 in favor of Pompey, Pompey managed to pick off one bowmen to seal the victory.  Pompey wins and gets to keep his head!

Congratulations to Kevin for besting me in both games (and thanks for the pizza!). 

25 comments:

  1. A fine looking game Jonathan. Perhaps you'll have your revenge next time.

    Christopher

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    1. Perhaps I will get revenge next time. Kevin played two good games and earned both victories.

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  2. WoooW what a small stuff! Looks great!

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    1. Small, for sure but great for gaming on the kitchen table.

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  3. Great stuff Jonathan really enjoyed the battle and the minis look fantastic

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  4. The game looked good Jonathan, tough going.

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    1. Paul! Two two hard-fought games. Unfortunately, I came out looking at the wrong side of victory. But, the winner bought pizza!

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  5. Nice! Can't go wrong with a bit of C&CA! Sounds like a good hard fight, too. A game from each side and totaling the score is a top way to play.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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    1. Aaron, CCA is one of my favorite systems, no doubt. Contests are usually quite close and great fun. Good idea about switching sides and then totaling banners won. I will do that next time.

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  6. Great report, and shows what I like about c&c: It ain't over until it's over.

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    1. The games always offer many decisions points and they are fun too!

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  7. Excellent report Jonathan - CCA games are always fun! I'm keen to try the Pharsalus scenario as a boardgame.

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    1. Thank you, Mike! Always fun, for sure. What boardgame are you considering for Pharsalus?

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  8. If I understood much of Latin I'd switch around the traditional Gladiator's salute. "We who area about to die salute you!", but that's far more subtlety that I am capable of. I do, however, salute two games in a night, 2 gaming days in a month, and winner brings the pizza!

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    1. The CCA games move along fairly quickly. We can often get a game in within one hour. After the two games of CCA, we adjourned to watch our beloved Gonzaga Bulldogs fall to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. For me, three losses in one night. Ouch!

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  9. Looks like a great game Jonathan!

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  10. It's obvious your army wasn't :o) fed before battle, your opponent's army was treated with pizza and you had left overs! ;oP Perhaps your army will perform "decisively" during your next encounter (game) against your opponent by feeding it cheese burgers, french fries and milkshakes :o)

    Great game Jon! and I too love C&C Ancients game system.

    cheers,

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    1. If fed cheeseburgers, french fries, and milkshakes, my army will likely give me indigestion!

      Appreciate the visit, Phil! Say, may have another game on the schedule for this weekend. Perhaps Impetvs using Italian Wars figures?

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    2. Impetvs Italian Wars game would be great to read about and see the colorful figures/units! :o)

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  11. Lovely, and proof again that small is beautiful. You, Sidney and Tamsin's posts about small armies has me thinking. I'm just not sure I can paint 6mm!

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    1. Monty! Great to see you dropping by and leaving a comment, my friend!

      You can paint 6s, no sweat!

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  12. It just occured to me, that we managed to play this scenario twice more on SoA's Battle Day it self. That makes Caesar 5: Pompeii 1. I think the additional command cards also gives Caesar a sizable advantage as he can choose from more cards and activates more units with several of them.

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    1. Yes, we did join in on the grand SoA Battle Day with two games of Pharsalus. In our CCA games, count stands at Caesar 5 vs Pompey 1.

      The 6:4 cards do give Caesar more flexibility and his preponderance of Heavy Infantry are tough to stand toe-to-toe with using a mix of HI and MI.

      Your dismantling of Pompey 7:0 was an unbelievable victory. Well done to you!

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