Patch and I continued our tradition of a couple rounds of Commands & Colors: Ancients over the last couple weeks with the second Battle of Mantinea as updated in Expansion #6. The times are a-changing with both sides having some medium cavalry, and the Thebans having three units of heavy infantry (one of which is the special Sacred Band). The Heavies and two MC are further forward to set up a sudden Theban attack on the Spartan right flank.

I had the Thebans the first time, and started with Order Two Right to start bringing up my refused flank, while Patch started harassing me with Order Lights. I Move-Fire-Moved to bring my light infantry into range, but couldn’t do any damage. Patch Ordered Two Right to drive off a Light with one of his, and his MC hit one of mine, doing a block while taking two in return. I used Leadership Any Section to activate my left, and swarmed the weakened MC, killing it, and also engaged his Light (once adjacent, and once from cavalry momentum) doing two blocks to it, and in return a MC was chased off with a banner.

Patch Out Flanked to move up his allied MH, and drove off another MC with one loss. I Ordered Two Center to move up, and he Move-Fire-Moved to do one hit with each of his two Lights. I used Inspired Right Leadership to close up some of the MH, and moved my MC up to contact while my lights drove off his at range. Patch used Order Mounted to move up his left flank, and forced my MC to evade out of range, but only after it drove off his MC. I Counter Attacked to move up my left-center, and charged the MC back into the fray against his light inf, driving it into the baseline for a block. Patch Ordered Three Center to drive off my lights there, and I used Leadership Any Section to close up my center. Patch Ordered Four Right (with only three over there) to shuffle units, and picked off a second block on the Sacred Band with archery, while I Ordered Three Right to move more MH up and drove his Light off the board with my MC before he Ordered Two Center MH closer.

I used Line Command to move almost the entire army up, and engaged on my right-center. I picked off a couple blocks on the flanks with archery, and then eliminated two allied MH, drove off a Spartan MH with three losses (voluntary banner retreat; I could have followed up with leader momentum, but I’d be nearly surrounded), and did three blocks to his leader-led MH, which did one block in return. Patch countered with Mounted Charge, eliminated the Sacred Band, reduced the leader-lead Heavy to one block (which then retreated), did a block to a MH in the center and drove it back two hexes (three banners, reduced for support), and reduced two MH to one block each, while they did three blocks total in return.

I Counter Attacked again, activating the remnants of my line, and moving my MC behind his line. I picked on his reduced leader on the flank, and a First Strike only did a block to me, while I knocked out the unit, and used momentum to get the next unit in line. 6-1

For the second game, Patch started with Order Two Right to start moving up the refused flank, while I used a Coordinated Attack to pick on the flanks to no effect. Patch Ordered Three Right and did a block to my Light. Another Coordinated Attack moved more units up, and returned the favor with a hit on his Light. Patch Ordered Lights, and got three hits at range, reducing my exposed Light to one block, and doing a block to a Spartan MH. I Ordered Mediums to re-form my line further forward, Patch Ordered Two Right to drive my reduced Light to the baseline (two banners, which I was happy to take), and I Ordered Mediums again. The left flank drove one of his center Lights away, while the left MC did a block to one of his flanking Lights.

Patch Move-Fire-Moved to do a block to the left MC and two blocks to a MH. I Ordered Three Center to force his other center Light back, while he tried more ranged fire with Order Two Center, but didn’t get any hits this time. Inspired Left Leadership got me back in contact with two of his Lights, who evaded, but the reduced unit was eliminated with two hits anyway. Patch Ordered Three Right, and eliminated my MC with two banners. Ordering Lights didn’t do anything for me (other than get my 1-block Light off the baseline so it could evade again), and he used Inspired Right Leadership to bring his MHs into striking range.

I Ordered Three Center, forcing his Lights to evade, and break up his line, and did three blocks to a MH while taking one in return. Patch countered with Mounted Charge, coming into contact along my left-center, and engaging my MC with his on my right. The MC took a hit and forced his to retreat while he did two hits each to two Spartan MH, one of which was forced back two hexes by another three-banner hit, and one of my allied MH was reduced to a block. In return, I did two hits to one of his MH, and a First Strike eliminated a MH before it could hit a two-block led unit.

Leadership Any Section moved the remnants of that line up, and I eliminated two weakened MH while doing two to another and forcing it back a hex. Patch Double Timed his Heavies into action, eliminating two MH, while taking a block in return. I Double Timed fresh MH into the flank of his Heavies, doing a block to his MC and two blocks to a Heavy, while I took two blocks on an allied and a Spartan MH, both of which were forced back. Patch re-engaged with Order Heavies, eliminating two MH. I Ordered Mediums, killed the center Heavy, used momentum to try for a second unit, muffed the roll (four green circles, ‘And that’s a go!’), and took two hits and retreated. And my MC knocked out his. 6-5


The Spartans have a nice enough army that I hadn’t realized just how much smaller it is than the Theban army until late in the second game when I was wondering where everyone had gone. They really have a tough time in this scenario, with fewer units, and near-equal overall quality. The five-block Spartans are nice, but that just makes them about equal to the Heavies. The first game really came apart for the Spartans after a very effective Line Command, and I thought Patch had me in the second after he got the Heavies into my smashed up center. I had to take chances, and avoided the MC combat at first since it could so easily backfire.