Well, the gang got together for an afternoon of wargaming this Sunday. Patch, Mark and Jason came over for Commands & Colors: Ancients. It’s a short game, and we all managed 4 playings of it each.

The general format for the afternoon was for us to pair off (thankfully there were two sets available as both Mark and Jason have it), play a battle, swap sides and play again, and then swap opponents and do the same thing with a different battle. As victory is determined by ‘banners’ (victory points) awarded for unit eliminations, the total number banners from winning and loosing games can be added up for everyone to see who did the best.

First was the Battle of Akragas, in 406 BC between Syracuse and Carthage. It’s a fairly simple and light battle, and made a good introduction to the system for me (and, I hope, Patch). I had a good shot at winning my first game against Jason, as the Syracusans my right flank was heavily engaged at the beginning with the rest of the battle developing more slowly. I took a random leader casualty (effectively, boxcars) which handed Jason an extra banner. Without that I may have managed a win. Score: 4-5.

The second game didn’t go nearly as well. In part, my cards were not nearly as friendly as the first game, but I get a feeling I just don’t know how to handle Carthaginian troops. Score: 3-5.

For the second round we swapped partners, so I was facing Mark, and Jason was facing Patch, and we were fighting the Battle of Zama. This is a much bigger fight, and has a couple of the more complicated troop types, but still has no terrain. In the first go-round, I had the Carthaginians, who I still had trouble getting the most out of. I think I got more use out of my elephants than anyone else, but that’s not saying a lot. I was also fairly happy with the two units of warriors I had, but they got unsupported and died quickly, after chasing a Roman general all the way back to the rear, but not quite being able to kill him. Score 4-8.

The last round, as the Romans against Mark started off very well. I generally controlled things against the elephants, managed to keep from having too many problems with an overpacked line, and got off two line advance maneuvers in a row. That allows you to move any and all foot units that are in a single continuous line. In my case that was all my infantry. Mark was quickly getting pressed up against his own back line where retreats cause casualties. Despite this good start, and a very good early exchange, I just couldn’t capitalize on it, and Mark kept knocking out units with better rolls than I could get. When a pair of attacks that should have taken out one of his units instead merely took out 3/4s of two of my units, I just couldn’t find anything to do for a bit. I eventually recovered from my personal morale failure, and we ended up trading blows at 7-7 to try and get the final banner for the win. I got just lucky enough. Score 8-7.

This gave me 19 banners for the day and an overall 3rd place directly between Mark (20) and Patch (18). Patch had beaten Mark both times in the first pair, but went down 8-4 twice against Jason, who won every battle, and scored 26 banners for the day.

We talked over several possibilities for next month over lunch, but right now it looks like we’re going to do Onward Christian Soldiers four-player.