As it was an Even numbered game, I got to choose the terrain tiles and the armies. I went for Russia and Spain and a very busy set of terrain.
And I promise you the five cards I’ve selected as Russia were the wrong five cards. Anyway, you can see that Annie opted to start on the side without the lakes and for some reason I was glad to have them on my side. Note to self, don’t set up a terrain where your opponent can cramp your entire right flank. Annie started up with four in her back row—although to be honest she may have changed it after she took the picture although maybe not.
Already I’m not taking my own advice as I have two units with no support on my right side and Annie has taken all the good terrain in the center. If I had been thinking positionally, I wouldn’t have let this happen.
I have managed to push Annie out of the center and I’m feeling pretty good, but this is a weak position. I have no coherent line—sitting ducks all around. Annie has a very strong link of her units and she also is up in material on me. Keep in mind, Russia is a “stronger” army than the Spanish. Ugh. To be honest, I was feeling very confident at the time.
I’ve sort of managed to put a line together here but Annie has basically broken my right flank. I need to make a kill here and quick.
Wrong kill. Annie has pushed into my territory and I have cowardly retreated.
I’ve actually clawed my way here into what I think is an alright position. I got some wounded units and a chance to break my cavalry on my right flank…
I’ve managed to surround one of her units. Looks like that lake is paying off after all!
While I take another unit, Annie pushes into my territory.
And now a weird artsy pic! I have an inkling to move my 1st cav back to make a triple attack on Annie’s infantry deep in my territory.
Annie survives what was probably a committed attack, in fact, she gets out of the way and then surrounds my unit. Keep in mind, nightfall is coming, and coming fast.
Nightfall. Spain wins 8-6. I was FUMING. Why the hell was I trying to coordinate an attack that far back in my territory? Annie has broken me and I thought I loved the Russians. Well, we move on.
Game two. Annie chooses Austria and the Ottomans. I choose Austria because I have a lot of experience with them and I owe it to Annie to play “up” in the armies to give her more chances to “break” me.
I put all five O’Reillys into my hand again. Hoping to draw an attack by Annie to dump the artillery card and then counter attack with the other four to dispatch an early unit. That is sort of how it went, but Annie actually had a brilliant opening here that didn’t pay off by one or two pips on the dice.
Ok, so there are some in-between pictures missing here, but this is what happened: Annie has two Reg Cav, an Ali Pasha’s cav, a leader card with command of 2 and a committed attack in her hand. I plant my O’Reilly in the forest and she unleashes a two unit attack that I was totally unsuspecting. Keep in mind where that Ali Pasha’s cavalry started. Anyway, I use my artillery card as defense, and narrowly avoid a 4x thanks to the forest and some crummy luck for Annie. I retreat, she misses the pursuit.
I use a unit card to regroup, and surround her poor Ali Pasha. My left over three unit cards are good enough on the next turn to off the unit. Perhaps Annie should have given her unit a way out. Like I said before, live, die, and learn.
Man, these iPhone photos really vary in quality, do they not? Strange. Anyway, We trade some more units and Annie has mysteriously not developed her two 8 strength infantry letting her cavalry hop all over the place.
You can see here that one of Annie’s units is frighteningly close to being surrounded. And that may or may not be what happened. There is a theme that Annie takes more pictures in games that she wins, turns out, but I imagine that I surrounded her cav:
My goal here is to basically hold the line and wait until I can take out Annie’s weak 5 strength remaining cavalry.
Annie has bled her cavalry dry. Nightfall is coming quick, as I think for the first time I am through my deck sooner than Annie is. With all of her cav gone, I easily gobble up territory uncontested and take the victory:
10-3 I think that is? Russia was to me what the Ottoman were to Annie—what we thought were matches made in stylistic heaven. She is shaken up and I know that she is going to be aggressive in our third match. I choose: Russia v. Ottoman. Annie, irritated with her Turks takes the Russians into her hand and I, hopefully, plan to use the Ottomans in a much different way than Annie: set traps, surround, hold back a little bit.
If I could take the patience I have when playing “down” in armies to when I have an advantage I would probably fare much better. But, I digress, here is our third game.
I think Annie made a mistake here choosing that side as terrain as I was definitely thinking she would turn this around. This set up severely weakens what should be Annie’s two strongest squares, the two central ones are completely surrounded by hills. I am licking my chops. I actually prepare my hand with withdraw cards and I can’t remember what else. Probably some unit cards of my strongest cav.
Ah yes, I had a few Ali Pasha myself. I have no idea how I got rid of the black sea cossacks, but I did thrust with Ali Pasha to try to pick off a back unit as well—Annie always always has defensive cards to thwart my moves.
Bloody early goings. I am drawing my Janissairies at precisely the right time.
Brutal. Annie is in a tough spot here and I have three units surrounding her 1st Cav.
I put the hurt on and take the Attrition victory.
1) Use withdraw cards not only to avoid attack but also to draw units into traps. This is probably painfully obvious to most people but with the Ottomans it works so well. Withdraw, Committed Attack, Regroup can be a deadly 1-2-3.
2) Really assess the terrain. If you are first player, you need to consider the possibility from starting at every edge. Are you playing the Ottoman? Then go for more terrain. They can hop all over the place and post in strong positions. Annie admits she likes open “mano e mano” fields which are good for bloodbaths, not so good for tactics.
3) HOLD YOUR LINE. God, I should have learned this by now.
4) Cycle your deck. Cycle your deck. Cycle your deck. That 3rd Infantry is never going to do anything. Park him in a town and forget about it.