Patch and I did our irregular ‘between bigger games’ set of Commands & Colors: Ancients last night, with the fastest scenario I’ve seen: Phyle 404 BC from Expansion #6. Set after the Pelopennsian War, Athenian exiles attack a Spartan camp in the middle of the night. The battle goes to four banners (I’ve never seen below five before), the Spartans only start with two cards, but draw their way up to four over two turns, while the Athenians get six. The Athenian line starts practically on top of the Spartans who begin scattered, and mostly in fortified camps, which, along with the five-block Spartan hoplite units, gives them some staying power, though their leader starts unattached.

I had the Athenians on the first go-round, and I started off with Inspired Center Leadership, and followed up with Leadership any Section to get much of my line in motion and assaulting Patch’s camps. I knocked out the MH supported by his leader in two attacks, and momentum advanced to try and pick off the leader, but only caused him to evade into a unit on the back row. I also drove him out of a camp with no damage on the first card, and attacked another camp with the second, reducing a unit to 1 block while taking two blocks myself, and enough banners to shatter my line. Patch had Ordered One to put his leader back in a camp, adjacent to my leader, and despite the similar odds attacks with him having an extra block, I tried pushing on him only to take a block and a banner to retreat to the rest of my line.

Patch Ordered Two Right to assault the left end of my line, only pushing back two units with no damage. I Ordered Two Right to finish off the one-block unit. Patch Ordered One to get back into a camp and did two damage to a unit in return for being pushed back out of the camp. I used a Coordinated Attack to mostly get at his right flank and reduced another of his MH to one block and pushed it back, but one of my units took three hits in return. Patch used an Order Three Right (only had two) to get the 1-block out of danger while eliminating my one-block unit.

I Ordered Two Right to get at his leader, but lost a unit and two blocks on another to battle backs while only doing two damage to him. Patch responded with another Order One (too many dead cards with only medium units in this scenario) to hit my weakened unit again, and send it back two hexes. I used Mounted Charge (finally drew one in these hoplite scenarios!) to send my entire remaining force forward and picked off his leader unit, and then the leader himself died on the loss check. 4-2


Patch led off the second round with Order Four Center in an assault that cost him three blocks across three units, and reduced my center unit to one block as he got driven back into my leader, while doing two blocks to another unit. Patch continued this with Order Two Center to knock out the leader’s unit and drive him out of the camps to the unit on the back row. He tried a Momentum combat with his leader, but only took two damage himself.

I used Coordinated Attack to bring up one of the MC in the corner and activate the leader’s new unit to knock out Patch’s reduced unit and form a small line, while hitting the left end of Patch’s line to do one block apiece. Patch used Mounted Charge (I had just drawn the other one!) to hit the entire line, wiping out one unit, and hitting the MC with three banners, which routed it off the board. Finally, he attacked my left-end MH in camp, first trading one block apiece, and then getting four hits to end the game. 1-4



All told, two games over Vassal took us fifty minutes to play; a normal scenario takes us about an hour per play. With only four banners needed things can collapse fast, though it dragged out a little in the first game as I had a hard time getting a decisive turn. Both times, the game ended with the appearance of Mounted Charge. The camps block one sword and/or one banner per combat, and they absorbed a good number of hits in the first game. I thought I was getting somewhere when I managed to bring in the MC that had been ignored in the first game, but three banners is just something that cavalry can’t take. Anyway, it is a very fast scenario that offers just enough hope to the disadvantaged Spartans to stay exciting.