Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion #6 actually has two scenarios based on Thermopylae, and Patch and I played the second one tonight, as our between-ASL game. This one is much more unusual than the first, with impassible hills occupying much of the center, and the battle broken into two very distinct parts in the two flank areas. This makes center cards nearly useless, and the Greeks have an extremely low number of units, with the Persians being crammed into their starting space (watch out for banners!).

I had the Persians the first time, and started by moving up my right-side force with an eye towards breaking the Greek units there and eventually exiting units off the Greek board edge for extra banners. Patch Out Flanked me to hit both sides for heavy losses, wiping out one archer unit with a combination of hits and retreat losses. Mardonius Inspired my left to move up my mediums and pull out an archer that was down to one block. I lost five blocks to his four, but pushed one unit back, and if I could maneuver, I had better reserves on that side.

Patch reshuffled a 1-block MH out of the way and wiped out what was left of my Warriors, and then used a Line Command on the other flank to move everyone into contact to wipe out both archer units on that flank, at the cost of weakening the leader’s unit. I burned an Inspired Center to move one unit up and finish it off, after which he engaged my Aux on that side and drove it back to the base line with one block left.

I moved up on the other side, and finished off the weakened Spartan MH, but lost two Meds to a Counter Attack right afterward. 2-6

Thermopylae Overview 1

Patch led the second game with archery concentrated on Leonidas’ position, and knocked out three blocks in three attacks. I consolidated the left a little, and then moved up with an Order Medium. I was still moving up on the left, but on the right, I knocked out one archery unit, and reduced the other two to one block apiece, and used a banner on battle back to get Leonidas back behind the wall.

Patch Out Flanked me to shoot up the advancing line on the left, and pin a Spartan MH behind the remnants of the archers on the right. I Out Flanked him to wipe out the archers and move into contact on the left, and greatly weaken his archers at the cost of a couple blocks. He Ordered Four Left to drive back the Spartan MHs with light casualties.

I countered with I Am Spartacus, and rolled… five banners and a Med. Patch was right, it was a heck of an omen.

I ordered the led MH on the left, hoping to finish off both archer units with Momentum, and instead killed one block and lost the unit; the leader evading back to the Aux on that flank. Patch Line Commanded his left into contact with the Spartans and knocked out Leonidas’ unit (after a First Strike that did three blocks) and reduced another to two blocks. I Ordered Medium (down to two units) to finish off an archer and the Medium that Leonidas had weakened.

Patch Ordered Medium to knock out the remaining MH on my left, finish off a Spartan MH, and reduce the last one to one block. I Ordered Right to try and get a Med, but only did one damage before forcing it to retreat two hexes. Patch then advanced and finished it off, sending Leonidas fleeing with no troops left.

Patch hadn’t noticed the Persian exit provision (and I was too busy to really think about it), so we spared a little as I tried to get my last unit up to kill one of his. Eventually, he hit me with his Warriors, and reduced me to one block, while I did two blocks and a banner. With one unit and a hill behind them, they were trapped and killed. 6-5

Thermopylae Overview 2

The first battle was especially bloody and fast, with hardly any attacks not costing both sides at least one block. Patch really should have got the second round, with a Cav in easy range of my board edge. Still, that would be 5-6; a real close battle, and either way he wins the pair on banners. The Persians have power in this scenario, but the packed setup really makes it hard not to lose a good number of units, it pays to be aggressive as both sides.