Patch and I returned to Commands & Colors: Ancients Tuesday night, with the Battle of Mycale, from Expansion #6. It’s a very unusual scenario, with a river running straight through the center row of the board, with hills on one end, and seacoast on the other. The Greeks have a substantially heavier army (mostly Hoplites), but with lots of bow infantry on the Persian side. If the Greeks can get into the Persian camps, they get VPs and can convert Persian Auxes to Greek ones. Getting to the camps is a little more difficult….

I had the Persians for the first round, and Patch lead off with Order Mediums and then Mounted Charge to get his main Hoplite line into the river with a one die bonus. I had hit him with archery in between, and got a couple blocks on one unit, and Patch’s dice weren’t as good as mine, so while he got two blocks off a Light Bow and an Aux, and a block off another, I reduced one MH to one block and it retreated, while another lost a block.

I moved up and got another of his units to retreat behind the river, but Patch charged back in with fresh units, I decided to retreat an Aux, and he momentum advanced across to reduce an Aux to one block, but my Med on the river line got two blocks on a battle back. I then used Inspired Center Leadership (with a leader on the dividing line…) to activate that entire flank and push his leader/MH back into the river, while reducing another unit to one block.

Patch came across again, and got four hits with one attack to wipe out a Med, and Tigranes had to flee to a LB that was in one of the camps. The momentum attack wiped out the one-block Aux, and he knocked a LB down to one block as it evaded. I used Out Flanked to try and shift my line together, but Patch Counter Attacked, and brought the Spartan Hoplites into the river on the other flank to begin attrition there. Line Command shifted everything towards his bridgehead, and I knocked out both units across the river, forcing his leader to flee. Patch hit Mardontes twice, and got his Meds down to one block, but he returned the favor on the first attack, and knocked out the one-block unit from the second attack.

I Rallied and rolled mostly Heavies (there aren’t any heavy units in this scenario) and one Medium. I gave Mardontes a second block, put him into the river, and attacked the surviving unit from the previous turn to wipe him out. I then momentum attacked across the river to knock out another 1-block left over. 5-2

Mycale 1

For the second round I Double Timed one group of Mediums into the river the first turn. I wiped out a Bow unit that attempted to hold the line, but took two losses myself. We traded more losses for a couple turns until I Double Timed the second group into the river, but couldn’t do more than trade a block with him. An Order Medium reshuffled my line, and got better results, finishing off an Aux, weakening a Bow, and forcing the one on the extreme flank away from the river. A Move-Fire-Move ended with me mostly behind the river again, and all but one of my Allied MH units down to two blocks or less.

I Rallied and again rolled one Medium (the rest was swords and banners). My flank got a block, advanced, and lost it again for no damage to Patch. He then Ordered Mediums to bring the Medium reserves up to the river line and wiped out two MHs, reduced another, and reduced the only intact one to two blocks for a cost of two blocks on one battle back. Out Flanked got the weakened Med and moved the Spartans up slightly. Patch Counter Attacked to get another MH and knocked two others behind the river.

Despite my luck at rolling for orders so far, I went with I Am Spartacus and got one Light, one Medium and a wildcard. I moved up the entire left flank and got across the river while wiping out a Light and nearly getting an Aux. Patch pushed forward on his left to wipe out a fourth MH but only got three banners on a momentum attack. (That really should have been the game, four dice vs a 1-block unit.) I Ordered One [Heavy] to finish off his Aux on the left. 5-4

Mycale 2

Afterword: Both games were very close affairs, despite the score on the first one. Most of my line was feeling very vulnerable in the first game, and Patch nearly got into one of the camps, and I couldn’t afford him getting an extra unit (much less losing one). Worse, my hand had started good, but had nothing but junk left by the end. And Patch really should have had the second game.

It’s a very interesting scenario. Comments on the CC:A fan site say it’s a punishing situation for the Greeks, and they’re right. Their units are technically better, but the Persians have the range of all the bows, and the river reduces most of the fighting to two dice each.