With “Came Tumbling After” winding up fast, Patch and I played the ‘Middle Gate‘ scenario from CC:A Expansion #6 over the last couple of Tuesdays. This is the ‘famous part’ of the battle, and features a special rule for three Persian units suddenly coming in behind the Spartan forces (through the pass) with the use of an appropriate Command card. Spartans have a great Hoplite-heavy army (mostly 5-block Spartan hoplites, with some allied hoplites on one wing) lined up on a rampart, against a mixed Persian army with bows, auxiliaries, Immortals (medium infantry with archery like an aux), cavalry, warriors and heavy chariots. The Persians can gain banners by occupying the ramparts and a camp behind the wall. It’s also a long scenario, going to ten banners.

I had the Persians the first time, who go first, but only have four cards to the Spartan’s six. I started with Line Command to start a missile bombardment with the forward line and got lucky enough to reduce one Spartan MH from 5 blocks to 2. After taking one more loss, Patch cycled that unit out of the line as I moved my cavalry up on that flank. Patch then came out in the center to eliminate one of my Auxes. I moved up the warriors and knocked out a Spartan MH at the cost of two blocks on another Aux. The warriors died right after that, but only after taking another three blocks with them.

The lines separated for a little bit after that, until I tried hitting his other flank, and got thrown back with heavy losses. I plugged the Immortals into the center of my line, which had opened up, and Patch rearranged his left flank, putting a 1-block Hoplite into the camp.

I finally had a Leadership any Section card, and sent my troops though the pass to knock out the MH and take the camp. Over the next couple turns, I drove off his left flank, and took down two hexes of rampart before things stabilized. I used another Line Command to re-engage the center and traded units. Patch reorganized and took out a unit of Immortals before I finally used an Order Mediums to re-engage and knock out a couple weakened units. 10-7

Thermopylae Middle 1

For round two, Patch attempted to lead off with archery, but I had Mounted Charge, and used it to try and sweep up his lighter units, planning to retire back to the ramparts as best I could afterwards. For the loss of three blocks, I killed two Auxilia, and drove two more off with losses, leaving a single Aux left on the Persian front line, which I drove off with losses on the next turn.

Patch came through the pass at that point on a Leadership any Section, but couldn’t knock me out of the camp on the first turn, and didn’t have the cards to follow it up quickly. I eventually pulled Demophilus back and took out the Immortals in that force, and got Hydarnes as well. Patch Ordered Mediums to counterattack there and in the center, and nearly killed the MH Leonidas was with, but lost more of his flanking force and nearly his warriors for his trouble.

I moved forward in the center again, and mopped up the warriors and an Aux, and Patch Double Timed the Immortals into the breech. He caused losses, and pushed me back, but lost another Aux in the process. I used Order Mounted to re-work my line a bit, pulling out a 2-block unit while going after the Immortals. I took heavy losses to two units, while almost getting his MC, and finishing off some weakened Immortals. Patch tried attacking that part of the line, and knocked a Spartan Hoplite down to one block, but lost his MC to a battle back after failing to kill a (different) 1-block Hoplite. 10-0

Thermopylae Middle 2

The second game featured really friendly dice. The first game was a long slog (2 hours on Vassal, as opposed to our usual 1 hour/game) that had me down 0-4 before I managed to get any banners at all, and I only won because of the bonus points for the camp and ramparts. The second one was a shorter game where nothing could go wrong for me. I knew I didn’t want to just sit and trade archery with him for the beginning of the game. The walls don’t help with that, and he can trade out wounded Aux for Immortals and then engage me at the wall when I’m down several blocks. So I charged, and never pulled more than a couple wounded units back.