This time I have something special for all the Commands & Colors fans. But I think history buffs will also be excited. You see, I played all the official CCA scenarios and recently usually come back only to EPIC format engagements. Still, their number is limited and I decided to create one of my own.

The idea was to choose a balanced battle, featuring large numbers of heavy infantry – preferably of superior quality. I decided to go for the Illerda (49 BC) – one of the closest and most brutal battles of the Roman Civil War between Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey. As a basis I used regular format set-up and transposed this into EPIC version, making sure that number of blocks and units reflect what is available in the game.

The effect was amazing – a beautiful set-up, very interesting battle and so exciting, close and balanced session. Let me invite you to picture-rich session report!

PS. As always, you can click on each picture to see the details.


Some of my articles regarding C&C system:
Commands and Colors games – my 3 favorite
[REVIEW] Commands Colors Ancients
Strategy Article – Skirmishing and Evasion
Strategy Article – Breaking The Line, Holding The Line

Illerda (49 BC)

Historical background

After driving Gnaeus Pompey from Italy, Julius Caesar moved against Pompey’s forces in Spain. Caesar had sent Gaius Fabius ahead to secure the passes over the Pyrenees and at the Sicoris River. Fabius succeeded, and his opponent, Pompey’s lieutenant Afranius, was forced to retire southward. Caesar followed Afranius and camped about a half mile from his enemy and the town of Ilerda.

Between the enemy camp and town there was a hillock, which appeared to Caesar as the best strategic position in the area. However, Afranius saw what Caesar intended and managed to gain the hill first, leaving Caesar’s army in an awkward position. To relieve this situation, Caesar led his legions forward, but after some initial success they pressed their attack too far. The enemy effectively showered them with missiles from higher ground. Caesar’s veterans were in a difficult position.

They were taking unnecessary losses where they stood, but would take as many losses withdrawing. Caesar ordered forward his cavalry, which relived the pressure and gave his legions the opportunity to withdraw. The battle ended in a stalemate as both sides pulled back. A three-month campaign followed, in which Caesar masterfully outmaneuvered Afranius, forcing the Pompeian army of seven veteran legions in Spain to surrender without fighting another major battle.

Set-up
The forces disposition allows for flexible division of the armies, with each player managing one group of troops. In our case I played with Kuba while Marcin with Wiktor (click to enlarge the picture).
Set-up of the “camps” wing: as Kuba and Wiktor are still learning CCA, they were playing as subordinate Commanders, each having decent portion of forces and defending respective camps.
On the other hand, me and Marcin were in command of the whole front plus directly manned center and flank with Illerda town (top, right)!
Session report
Most of the action in the first part of the game took place on Kuba’s/Wiktor’s wing. Above we see fierce attack’s of Pompey’s (Kuba) cavalry on exposed flanks of Caesar (Wiktor) troops. They unfortunately were vastly unsuccessful.
However, when Wiktor managed to concentrate his troops (plus get some reinforcements from center) he smashed with devastating effect against Kuba, getting 3 VPs in one go!
My and Kuba forces (Pompeian) reached its low mark when after another attack the whole legion and leader were killed. We truly thought there is no turning back for us and that the final disaster is near…
But then Caesar cavalry got overconfident! They tried to storm Illerda, sustaining significant losses in the process.
Exactly at the same moment on the other wing the battered remnants of Kuba’s forces using “Clash of Shields” card pushed back Wiktor’s wing.
One more attempt by Caesar troops (Wiktor) to crush the reinforcements which I brought from the center ended in disaster. In the end we started to get some luck!
And then – finally! – I rushed from hills in the center and obliterated the remnants of WIktor’s legions.
If you add to this the masterfully planned counter-attack on the exposed cavalry which attacked Illerda, you will get most astonishing result – a minimal but still victory for Pompey (Michal + Kuba)
Conclusion
Last look at the map – the battlefield was witness to true carnage on both sides, very close game and enormously interesting session.
Close-up on Wiktor/Kuba wing with marked main areas of fighting. After initial cavalry charges the struggle moved to the edge of hills where most banners were scored.
Close-up on center and Illerda. Much less action – especially after Pompeian forces occupied hills. Still, last two banners were scored here by me and Kuba!

Summary

That was one of the best EPIC Command & Colors experiences I ever had! The Illerda scenario proved to be balanced, with great units (elite legions plus Caesar), interesting tactical situation (hills in the center, camps on flank) and very close game. While results is slightly ahistorical, it is not so far from what really happened as the battle was very close.

That experiment proved that transposing regular CCA scenarios to EPIC format can give great results and fantastic gameplay. I will definitely create fan-made scenario based on this and post to the https://www.commandsandcolors.net/ancients/.

More session reports to come!