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Commands & Colors: Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: Retreat flags - ignore/accept rss

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Scott Ryan
Australia
Footscray
Victoria
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This is probably more observation than anything else, but I had a curious combat situation crop up last night in a game (Pharsalus 48 BC) and wondered if others have come across this also and what they think about it.

2x HI (one with leader attached) attacked a 4-block light bow pinned against its own units (no retreat/evade paths).

The idea was to do some damage with the leaderless HI first, then finish off the LB with the HI + leader, advance and then bonus combat a weakened unit behind the LB, thus hopefully producing 2x banners instead of one.

The first HI threw 1x hit and 2x flags. Rather than ignore 1x flag as the LB was entitled to do (bolster morale), it chose to accept the second flag, which caused it to die. This meant that the HI + Ldr now had nothing to attack and so was denied its advance and bonus combat potential.

Now, the rules are pretty clear on this:

Note that disregarding a flag result is purely a matter of choice. The owning player may decide he wishes to accept a flag result (which could take the unit out of danger). If more than one flag result can be ignored, the owning player can choose to ignore one (or more) and accept one (or more), but, if he accepts a flag result, he must retreat the full amount that each flag would normally cause.

I’ve had numerous instances as mentioned in the rule above, where a unit accepts a flag to retreat it out of danger. But never (until last night) where a unit deliberately dies through retreat to prevent a follow up attack on other units nearby.

From a rules point-of-view, it's allowable, but thematically-speaking, to my layman’s eyes, the latter seems counter-intuitive. In the first case, a unit, disrupted and scared witless, beats a hasty retreat in act of self-preservation. Makes perfect sense. In the second instance though, a unit, disrupted and scared witless, beats a hasty retreat as form of self-sacrifice for the betterment to those around him?!

As said, it seems a curious anomaly from purely a theme point-of-view. Welcome any thoughts on the matter.

Oh, and ultimately, it made no difference – Caesar belted Pompey 7-3, who was last seen scurrying back to camp, about to embark for Egypt …

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Dan Cavaliere
United States
Littleton
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Scott,

If I had cards and units to follow up with I may take the same retreat to deny more dice being rolled on me.

I would have to consider what units I would have to follow up with but it could be a viable move.

I'd especially consider it with something like I Am Spartacus in hand or Clash of Shields for the following turns).
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Dave Gorman
Ireland
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Smart call by your opponent I know in memoir the Japanese infantry must ignore flags not may

On thematic wise I would see it as the skirmishers running through the supporting infantry and being disorganized losing formation and not returning to the fight instead of been voluntarily slaughtered.

Blocks represent more than just unit strength (morale discipline stamina organization etc)
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Mark McG
Australia
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that is an interesting option. I also see it as gamey, but as you say, within the rules as written.

Not sure I see any alternative though.. unless you force units that have no retreat path to ignore all flags that they can.
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Tyler Morgan
United States
Mission Viejo
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I think it's a perfectly valid move, and a good one in that situation.


It's been stated that each block doesn't literally mean 1/4th of the unit. The blocks more closely represent morale and commitment to the fight. If you look at your situation from this view point, choosing to accept the retreats shows the unit breaking rank and retreating - every man for himself leaving the battlefield. Much easier to retreat through your other units when your on your own. The heroic choice would be to stand and fight further.
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Scott Ryan
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dagorman86 wrote:
Smart call by your opponent

Well, the "opponent" was me, so "he" kinda knew what I had in mind. whistle



dagorman86 wrote:
On thematic wise I would see it as the skirmishers runner through the supporting infantry and being disorganized losing formation and not returning to the fight instead of been voluntarily slaughtered.

Blocks represent more than just unit strength (morale discipline stamina organization etc)

Yep. I can buy that. Nice thematic reframe.

Thank you.
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Scott Ryan
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Minedog3 wrote:

Not sure I see any alternative though.. unless you force units that have no retreat path to ignore all flags that they can.

Yes, that's an option I thought of too. It's a pretty infrequent occurrence anyhows. The beauty of C&C:A is its minimalist rules requiring very few exceptions. I imagine they'd be loathe to add this in given the rarity of this situation.

Actually, the explanations theme-wise offered by Dave and Tyler here are pretty cogent. Seen in the context of unit morale breakdown, disorganisation and unwillingness to fight (where they filter back through their own lines), accepting the extra flag at the unit's expense - apart from affording a local tactical benefit by denying your opponent a follow up attack - to me does now make thematic sense.
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Scott Ryan
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TLR6843 wrote:
I think it's a perfectly valid move, and a good one in that situation.


It's been stated that each block doesn't literally mean 1/4th of the unit. The blocks more closely represent morale and commitment to the fight. If you look at your situation from this view point, choosing to accept the retreats shows the unit breaking rank and retreating - every man for himself leaving the battlefield. Much easier to retreat through your other units when your on your own. The heroic choice would be to stand and fight further.

Yep. Like Dave above, you've explained that well.

Makes perfect sense.

Appreciate your thoughts.
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Canada
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Minedog3 wrote:
that is an interesting option. I also see it as gamey, but as you say, within the rules as written.

Not sure I see any alternative though.. unless you force units that have no retreat path to ignore all flags that they can.

Is it any less gamey than starting with the leaderless unit hoping to finish with the leader attached unit as described by the OP?

Flags may be ignored at the discretion of the owning player. This shouldn't be seen as any more gamey than anything else such as placing an evade capable unit one hex forward purposely rather than the full two hexes forward. This "short changing" of the evade will sometimes lead the attacker to spend more cards.

Is it gamey for an isolated leader attached unit to accept a flag result forcing a move away?

I find these situations to be perfectly acceptable and within the spirit of the rules. Mind you, I'm not privy to the designer's intent.

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Robin Reeve
Switzerland
St-Légier
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I would have attempted Evade with the LB, rather than see what the five dice full fledged attack of the HI would score...
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Mark McG
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it was pinned up against friendly units to the rear, no evade option
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Scott Ryan
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Stayed wrote:
Minedog3 wrote:
that is an interesting option. I also see it as gamey, but as you say, within the rules as written.

Not sure I see any alternative though.. unless you force units that have no retreat path to ignore all flags that they can.

Is it any less gamey than starting with the leaderless unit hoping to finish with the leader attached unit as described by the OP?

Flags may be ignored at the discretion of the owning player. This shouldn't be seen as any more gamey than anything else such as placing an evade capable unit one hex forward purposely rather than the full two hexes forward. This "short changing" of the evade will sometimes lead the attacker to spend more cards.

Is it gamey for an isolated leader attached unit to accept a flag result forcing a move away?

I find these situations to be perfectly acceptable and within the spirit of the rules. Mind you, I'm not privy to the designer's intent.


One situation I've found to be a bit "gamey" (to use the term) is when a player, on the threshold of victory, chases round a 1-block unit in search of the final banner, whilst ignoring the main battle elsewhere on the board. In this situation, it sometimes feels like the player is playing the "game" as per victory conditions (letter of the law), rather than what I imagine in "historical reality" (spirit/theme of the situation) a commander might actually do at this stage in the battle i.e. deal with the more serious threat of full/part-strength enemy units in his other section/s.

On one level, both game-wise and thematically speaking, it might be seen as every army has a tipping point, the player has earned this by gaining so many banners and seriously weakening other units, and this final block is the proverbial "straw that breaks the camel's back". On another though, it seems incongruous (and anti-climactic) at times that the loss of, say, a single LI block far-removed from the main force, causes the rest of a damaged but still relatively intact army to fall over and give up. Not to mention the oddness of a commander's single-minded focus in eliminating this block to the exclusion of his remaining army.

It doesn't happen very often, but on the odd occasion it has, it does remind that every game has a certain level of artifice, and despite the designer's best intent, rules can't always provide total thematic/historical congruity for every situation that crops up.

For the most part though with C&C:A, I find the rules and game-play evince theme and historical flavour quite beautifully.

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Russell InGA
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barmyfongyphipps wrote:
...chasing one block units...

It's a game with a set of fixed victory conditions. You operate within the rules and the victory conditions.
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Canada
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barmyfongyphipps wrote:
One situation I've found to be a bit "gamey" (to use the term) is when a player, on the threshold of victory, chases round a 1-block unit in search of the final banner, whilst ignoring the main battle elsewhere on the board...

...the oddness of a commander's single-minded focus in eliminating this block to the exclusion of his remaining army.

...it does remind that every game has a certain level of artifice, and despite the designer's best intent, rules can't always provide total thematic/historical congruity for every situation that crops up.

For the most part though with C&C:A, I find the rules and game-play evince theme and historical flavour quite beautifully.
I agree with Mark's post and yours that, at times, situations arise that remind us that it is game.

I'm simply reminding players that given a choice we'd prefer playing with someone with a nuanced understanding of the game.

I don't begrudge an opponent for taking an unit off the line to the detriment of his position. And, I don't begrudge him for chasing that last banner down as described in your post.

I agree that this can be jarring but given the choice, the preference would be to have every session decided by a single banner even if sometimes that final banner is gained mechanically if not thematically.

It's a testament of the community that the game welcomes players with a deep understanding of the period and others who simply have a deep understanding of the game.
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