Caesar Alesia Replay : Mobile Bay, Day 2

I lost 109 combat factors - this included almost half of my cav and one archer. The Gauls lost 613 factors. This is not necessarily as crushing as it sounds. I have not done real thorough analysis of this but my "gut" instinct tells me that all else being equal the game is tilted to the Roman favor the second day if they have inflicted a greater than 4 to 1 attrition ratio on the Gauls.

I believe the best places for the Gaul main effort this second day are:
  1. A repeat in the Zone VII area. This would be my preference depending on what position the Romans are in to contain the Alesia force on the interior. I'd wait a couple of turns however and if the Romans stayed too strong go elsewhere. If this is supported by an early attack elsewhere then there is an opportunity to deceive the Roman that the Zone VI/VII army is busy moving somewhere else.
  2. Zone III/IV combo. This could open turn 4 and be heavily reinforced turn 5. This will be supported by an attack at the Zone II/III seam. That seam with a river is now a tempting Gallic target. Both my forts there were destroyed 1st day so it could now become a very ugly seal off point.
  3. Zone X. I've lost some forts there. It can have a very heavy attack open as early as turn 4. In fact a supporting attack can be launched at the Zone IX/VIII chokepoint seam as early as turn 3. Further, almost all Roman reinforcements would have to flow through the Zone VIII area as Zone I is bare. This makes a run at Zone I -- despite the fact that first turn on board the Gauls cannot reach the outer works -- a viable supporting attack as well.

Whichever one of the above becomes the Gaul main attack at least one of the other options will be a supporting one. In this game however "supporting" is a misleading term. The secondary or supporting attack can be the game winning attack if it manages to secure that escape route for Vercingetorix.

In my set-up I have attempted to counter all three of the above and take risks elsewhere. My defense in VII is designed to make a VII opening very unpalatable. If he does it he should be heavily repulsed in VII but able to develop a strong flank attack to either side. I'll have to scramble to either flank of VII but should be able to make it a fight. The Alesia force is considerably weakened and I am going to take some risks against it as well. My missile units are mostly in the east. They will expand around the perimeter or focus on VII depending on his first move.

The endgame of Day one convinces me, (hopefully accurately) of my Roman hedgehog idea. Once 3-high stacks and ALL the missile units are gathered in a tight perimeter -- Gallic losses are bound to become severe. The Romans can even be surrounded (as a force, not individual stacks) and survive this. Personally I think Hank attacked at VII two turns too many at the end of the first day. I did intentionally make some death traps to invite continued Gallic combat -- (leaving the hex between the two Zone VII forts vacant at the end of Roman 12 was just such a "come on I dare ya"). I make no claims about whether this worked or I was lucky. However I think that odds-wise it was far more likely that: scattering retreats that left Gauls vulnerable to follow on Roman 2 to 1 auto victories would occur, than that the right combination of DR1s to kill tightly congested Romans would occur. The former is what occured in turn 13 which was the most successful turn for us Romans with 132 Gallic factors dying.

This game continues to fascinate me despite 20 years of play for many reasons -- some of which are -- the chances of success/failure are not always what they seem and can be very difficult to predict. The interplay of the rules with the normally bloodless, but still potentially destructive, CRT has much to do with this. If I can cut off a retreat at low odds I might get that 1 in 6 chance of defender retreat and kill some enemy -- but I probably won't. If I can get those high odds I might get that 1 in 6 chance of a defender eliminated -- but I probably won't. The desire and temptation to try leads to tension and suspense -- certainly a sought after design quality.

In working on my Day 2 set up I found a Off Board Gaul graphic essential:
I(0) - II(50) - III(49) - IV(2) - V(2) - VI(81) - VII(274) - VIII(12) - IX(0) - X(72)

The numbers in parenthesis indicate the number of Gallic strength points in each zone. The chart is asymmetrical on purpose. Zone I looks further away because on the board Gauls from Zone I are too far away for infantry to reach the outer works on their first turn of entry. This easy to scratch out chart was instrumental in helping me visualize where Gallic forces could be in the ensuing turns. This gave me some criteria for my set up.

NOTES Turn 2

Hmmmm. there is a 4th very real possibility above and beyond the three Gallic options I mentioned above. That would be to apply the same strategy as the first day. Hank attacked the first day in the area furthest away from the initial concentration of Gauls. The Roman banking on the fact that the Gauls need to get the attack moving as time is on the Roman side, are always under the temptation to leave the area furthest away from the gauls initial concentration not very well defended. Also Hank of course can start moving out, either north or south and decide to stretch all the way to the opposite end of the board -- meaning Zone II in the case of the second day in this game. The fortless river seam between Zone II and III makes this all the more attractive. Further the current garrisons in I and IV -- are too light to provide an immediate well as the fact that the defenses in Zone II lacks depth. Frankly I would RATHER he attack in IV,V, VIII, IX, X and not either VI,VII or II,III. So I will gradually adjust to make VI/VII and II/III strong in order to make attacking them less attractive. That will be a bit difficult with II as it is far from my current concentrations. Actaully this is just a lsight modification of the 2nd option I mentioned above.


No gauls yet but that is not really a surprise. I'm going to double back a bit with some forces -- to include my leaders. Overall I still think VI/VII is a good attack. My current dispositions certainly encourage a Gallic attack in the west. Only Hank knows if that is the direction he is going.


He's on board. It's the II/III option. That fortless river seam at II/III proved too tempting. Overall however I don't think this is as vulnerable as it looks. Frankly the more I look at the calculus of the forces the more I am convinced that it is now "my game to lose". The attrition ratio from Day 1 was, I think too much for the Gauls to handle. I am keeping a close on board/off board count, about 1/3 of his off board force is 9 units of 2-13 cavalry so the 28 or so units off board are not as formidable as they appear at first glance. I think I can denude much of IV. Maintain a fairly forward defense in III and slide over forces from VI to VII to VIII to IX to X to I to II clockwise around the perimeter. He's suffered enough retreats that, except for the central fort, I think I can keep him on some outer works. I'm going to make one risky 3 to 1 attack that better not roll a 6. The problem with his attack at II is that it will take a lot of time for him to develop any flanking pinch to the north or south. He has to rely on the joint pressure of the frontal strike through II and the Alesia force. My problem is that far too many of my missiles and all my leaders are about as far away as they could be.

I have to be a little careful about moving away from IV as Vercingetorix is able to move next turn either onto the trench OR the northern river.

End Game

Ultimately Hank makes good progress at the very center of his Zone II drive but cannot develop the shoulders. As my missile units start to arrive I am able to actually counterattack the Alesia force and push Vercingetorix away from the relieving army. This effectively ends the game as Vercingetorix will be unable to attempt to find a second route out.

This game continues to be a rewarding palying experience. The uncertainty created by the off board movement and unusual victory conditions makes it very unique. There were many moments back in the first day especially when the outcome definitely hung in the balance. Hank and I have been clobbering each other in Caesar Alesia for a while now -- it remains one of the most exciting of the "oldies".

Day 2

Above the Fields