I really like one of the newest installments in the Commands & Colors world – Medieval. And with the recent announcement from GMT that expansions (!) are underway, I am ever more excited! In the meantime, also due to the forced lockdown, I play mainly online. Recently, and idea struck me – if you look at the 2nd and 3rd scenario in Rule-book, it is obvious that you can combine them in one battle!
Review - Commands Colors Medieval Belisarius Campaign C&C: Medieval vs Ancients Comparison – Part 1 – Major Changes C&C: Medieval vs Ancients Comparison – Part 2 – Minor Changes C&C: Medieval vs Ancients Comparison – Part 3 – Comparative Plays
What I am talking about are Base Game scenarios:
Seems like a great material for the EPIC game! But how to do it, not having enough boards / units nor a good knowledge of VASSAL? Reach to your boardgames friend. And that I did – I approached Giulio, one of my friends from C&C community and asked if he can create an EPIC board for me using Vassal for exactly this purpose. He was very helpful and created 25×11 play-mat on which I was able to combine those two scenarios.
The rules which I decided to be used will be similar to EPIC Ancients. I was playing with Marcin / stormwalker so it was very easy for us to use the regular medieval deck as an EPIC one. Before looking what came out of this, couple of words about the battle itself (that is really fascinating read!).
Attila had a pretext for invading Gaul. Honoria, the older sister of the Western Roman Emperor, appealed directly to Attila to escape an arranged marriage. Attila eagerly accepted the ‘proposal’ and demanded a dowry of half the Western Empire. The Emperor refused and ordered Aetius, a very capable soldier and diplomat, to build a coalition army to meet the expected invasion.
His Roman units and their Gallic auxiliaries formed less than half of the army. The remainder were Alans and Visigoths who reluctantly joined because their fear of the Huns was greater than their hatred of the Romans. Attila’s army contained even more nationalities, but the superb Hun horsemen were the largest component.
On the day of battle, both commanders formed their armies into three divisions as was customary. Attila’s right flank consisted of an ad hoc collection of subject nationalities – primarily Franks, Gepids and Burgundians with no overall commander. The Gepids were most numerous but had lost heavily covering Attila’s retreat from Orleans. The Ostrogoths made up Attila’s left wing. In the center were the fearsome Huns.
Attila expected his Huns to face the Romans, but Aetius had other plans. He had received rumors of possible Alan perfidy, and placed that contingent in the center, bolstered by the Romans on the left and the Visigoths on the right.
Attila first tried to outflank Aetius by attacking the Romans with Huns from his center, but the attack failed. Tellingly, the Germanic right wing held back. Attila then launched his main attack against the Alans in the center, but they resisted fiercely before being overwhelmed. The Huns pursued the Alan remnants, ignoring the untouched Romans on their flank. Aetius promptly attacked the Hun’s exposed flank while sending part of his wing to push back the wavering Gepids. At the same time the Visigoths routed the Ostrogoths on the other flank and were attacking the Hun’s left flank and rear. Attila knew his army would be destroyed if he held his ground, so he ordered a rapid retreat to his wagon laager camp.
The Session Report
In our game we decided that I will lead Romans confederation while Marcin was in charge of Hun’s alliance. The disposition of the forces resembled what historical sources were providing:
- Roman side – ethnic Romans on the left (surprise for Huns!), Alans in the center, Visigoths on the right
- Hunnic side – Ostrogoths on the left (facing their deadly enemy and cousins – Visigoths), Huns in the Center and compositions of Franks & Gepids on the right.
The detailed session report is done in a form of animation – I suggest you click on image and open it in the new window or here:
Key developments of our game:
- My Romans (these were actually Alans) started a range attack in the center, using Darken the Sky. They quickly dispatched one enemy Auxilia and were readying themselves for another salvo when the Hunic charge struck them.
- My center held but with some losses; to take pressure off, Visigioths (my right) attacked the Ostrogoths (Marcin’s left). That attack was plagued by misfortunes and bad rolls, culminating in two dead Roman leaders!
- Marcin counter-attacked my failed assault and situation become dire for me – I was losing 4–9.
- But I did not despaired. I coordinated a three-prong attack, using two Foot Onslaughts and Mounted Charge. What an epic attack it was – Romans scored 7 Victory Banners (seven!!!) in one turn, So far I think this is my best result ever. That of course turned the score to 11–9!
- Still, after that tremendous feat the Imperial forces were exposed and exhausted, thus Marcin easily scored 5 banners in one turn finishing the game in the end – 14–13 for Huns!
What a close and exciting game it was! And the come-back of Romans, scoring 7 VPs in one turn was a spectacular performance! Pity, it was quickly followed up by Huns getting 5 VPs in one go ending the game.
The EPIC Catalaunian Plains definitely will be one of the more interesting and exciting games of medieval period using this system. The battle is very close, balanced and victory is really hard to come by. I hope that in official expansions to C&C Medieval (already officially announced by GMT!) we will find that type of scenario.