With my vacation underway, Bruce popped over for an afternoon of gaming. I pulled out Commands and Colors Napoleonics and we played the Corunna scenario. This was a historic British victory in a fighting retreat. The French have it tough attacking across fordable streams into hills and towns.
Game one saw the French rush cavalry up the British right flank, crush it and then start to romp on behind the British lines (ack!).
But the british managed to hold off a frontal assault as well as hole up in a town on the river, thereby stalling a French attack on the left. Eventually, the French just ran out of gas and were forced into a gallant cavalry charge up a hill against guns and it was a tight 6-5 British win.
Game 2 developed differently with the French threatening the British right flank but making steady progress on the British left (including drifting part of the centre that way). Lousy British cards plus some dumb-ass luck saw a decisive French win (I don't recall the score but it was lopsided).
Bruce then kindly subjected himself to a game of Risk(!). This is variant from a couple of years back that I got on sale and is designed for two players (Balance of Power is the subtitle). Basically there are objectives and a neutral third power to break-up the usual Risk-for-two slogfest.
Some rules issues aside (doesn't say how you win, for example...), there are some nice ideas wrapped up in the usual Risk rules that advantages the attacker. Not sure I'd bother with this again unless Jessica wants to try it. The pieces are hard to pick up (despite lots of handling to drive some of the command mechanics) and the overall narrative of the the war (set in modern times) doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Tough to make a good variant when you are stuck with a game engine from the 1950s.