Thursday, January 13, 2011

Battle 2: Battle Cry

I own a considerable number of board games of all varieties and I am the father of three children, my lovely 18 year old daughter and my handsome twin 11 year old sons. I am always trying to engage my sons in my hobby and its mostly hit or miss. But Christian has kind of grown fond of the game Battle Cry from Avalon Hill/WotC. We played it once before and he's asked several times since then and I do not know why I put it off so much. I like the C&C game design and I like ACW and I like playing games with my sons... so why did I put it off?
Stolen from Wikipedia by Kurtz and Allison

Questions of fatherly oddities aside, we sat down last night to engage this game again. This is my number 2 battle of the 52 I'm aiming for this year and I think it is a good battle to add. Battle Cry is a really good game, and pretty easy to grasp but not always easy to do well in. Christian and I played scenario number two, Pea Ridge where a larger force of Confederates engage a smaller force of the Union. Historically the Union defeated the Confederates so we were going to see if we could replicate that. Christian played the Union and I played the CSA.

The opening was a pretty equal exchange of fire as we both played several 'probe' cards and the center and my left (his right) flank saw several maneuvers towards each other and exchange of casualties. There was no defining moment and the numerous woods spaces were used for good cover.

The middle of the battle was fairly bloody for the Union. I drew several good command cards and pressed my forces in the center and eventually eliminated all the union there except an infantry regiment that held up in a farm. Christian should have moved his left flank (my right) forces to support the farm and kept them in there as reducing the number of dice you roll by 2 to attack them requires you to get pretty close, but instead he moved them out in the late game. By the end of the mid game saw his forces separated from one another on the flanks with two Union cavalry units in between and two bodies of infantry each with an artillery unit in support to face each flank. he was out numbered at this point about 3 to 1.

The end game was brutal and fast but Christian didn't get upset and he fought to the end. I again drew several really good cards and used my cavalry to move around to the rear of his forces. The last unit he had standing was on my right flank and it was a single model artillery unit which was eventually defeated by my cavalry.

We did not recreate the historical outcome but I would put that mostly to the fact I have twenty years of generalship on my son. I did not play to beat him but I did play to challenge him and not treat him like an inferior opponent. When he asked advice I gave it but there were several instances where I wanted to say something but held back. I believe we learn though our mistakes and rather than bother him with unsolicited advice I let him play his game. He never got upset even when his brother was trying to chide him and we shook hands like good gamers afterward. I've got to say it was one of the best war gaming experiences I've had in years.

Hopefully next up will be some Uncharted Seas. I've got FIVE painted fleets and I've been trying to get the boys interested. also, I'll try to take some picture of that battle!

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