Patch and I are continuing our between-larger-games sets of Commands & Colors: Ancients, and we are continuing our current tour through Alexander the Great’s career with Issus from Expansion 1. It’s a large battle, with both armies having more units than could fit in a single line, and going to eight banners. Alexander has a distinct edge in quality, and gets six cards to the Persian four. Hills on one side, coast on the other, but the Pinarus river is not only fordable down the entire length, it doesn’t even limit the number of dice rolled, so its only effect is to stop movement. Alexander adds a die to any unit he’s attached to, the Companions can ignore a banner and a sword, and the Immortals are medium infantry that can used ranged combat.

I had Alexander for the first round, and led off with Order Lights to bring a couple Auxilia up, and pepper the advanced Persian units with sling and bow fire, forcing a Persian LS to retreat, doing a block to a second one, and two blocks to a Med. Patch Counter Attacked to bring up Auxes on his left, and I used a Line Command to start engaging them in the hills, driving off the lead unit, and doing a block to another. Order Three Left brought the Auxes up again, and drove back one of mine, while we did a block to each other. I moved up a little, and another Order Three Left did one block to each of two units of my Auxes, while I did two to one of his, and he got solid control of the hills. Order Three Right brought my Heavies into contact, where they knocked out a weakened Auxilia, and I did a block to another for no damage.

Patch used Order Mediums to organize his center, while MCs moved on the flanks, doing a block to a LC for no damage. I Ordered Heavies to bring up a couple units in the center, send a Heavy to hit his MC, and the one from my right advanced to the river to engage an Aux, doing a block, and driving it off. Patch used Line Command to get his center past the Pinarus and engage my leading Heavy and wipe it out, but took three blocks in return. Darius used Momentum to hit the second Heavy, doing three blocks to it, and taking three in return. I used Mounted Charge to bring Alexander through a gap in my line and pick off a weakened Med, and then do a block and three banners to a second one on Momentum, another MC picked off the remnants of the Immortals, and drove Darius off to his HC; Momentum bagged the other Med from the assault, and drove off a leader to a LC.

Patch Counter Attacked again, reducing the right Heavies to one block for no loss, while my left Heavies took two hits and did a hit and two banners to reduce a MC to one block. Inspired Center Leadership started moving up some spare Mediums, while my MC did two blocks to an Aux while taking two, and I did a hit to the HC. Clash of Shields activated five units for Patch, which knocked out the right Heavy, an Aux, and a MC, as well as doing a block to a LB, and nearly forced an Aux off the board. I used Leadership to engage his right flank, driving off a LS and LC, and eliminating a weak Aux. Darken the Sky finished off an Aux, and did two blocks to a LB. I used Order Lights to re-dress the line a little, and knocked out an Aux as well as driving off the HC.

Order Four Left gave Patch several shots at the one unit left on my right (a one-block LB), but he couldn’t connect. Order Two Center sent Alexander over to the right, where he did a block to a MC for no damage, while a Med moved forward. Order Three Left finished off the LB, and did two blocks to the Companions, while they did one to a MC, which I then finished off with an Inspired Right Leadership. Order Two Center forced my Med back with ranged fire, but Double Time got my right in contact, and wiped out an evading LC. 8-6

For the second round, Patch led off with Order Four Center, and started forming a more solid line, while doing a block to a LS with ranged fire. I Ordered Three Left, and brought up units while doing a block to the center Heavy. Patch moved up a couple units, and then a Order Four Right eliminated a LC by forcing it off the board and my MC did a couple hits to a LB that was blocked from evading. Patch Out Flanked to bring up the wings and drive off my two cav units with a loss apiece, and followed that up with Darken the Sky which did two blocks each to to LS.

Line Command allowed me to get one of the LSes out of the way, and move up most everything else, driving back an Aux, and doing a block to a MC with ranged fire. Patch Ordered Lights, and mostly stood in place, doing three hits to one Med with fire from three units. Line Command got me into contact with much of his line, driving back his right flank Aux with a loss, but only after he’d done three blocks to an Aux of mine, and took out his center heavy at a cost of three hits on a Med; a Momentum attack did hits to a blocked Light, but he hit back for a block, while I got another Light for three blocks between an Aux and missile fire. Inspired Center Leadership let Patch rework his right and pick off an Aux and Med, while doing a block to an Aux in return for three on a Heavy; my forward Med took two blocks and three banners to retreat to the main line. A third Line Command allowed me to engage parts of his line again and pick off the Heavy and a Light, while driving back an Aux and another Light, one of my Auxes was driven back, and a Momentum against another Heavy did two damage in return for me taking three.

Order Two Center brought in Alexander who finished off a Medium, and eliminated Darius, doing two blocks to an Aux on momentum, then Craterus took out a Med, and finished off the Aux on Momentum. Coordinated Attack allowed some ranged combat, doing a block to a LB and the Companions, while I moved my HC into position for next turn. Inspired Left Leadership brought that flank into contact, and took out a LS and Med. 4-8


Both battles saw a lot of carnage and both sides trying to figure out what to do with smashed units. These are large well equipped armies, and eight banners gives lots of time to see them in action. Four cards is a heck of a handicap for the Persians, but they got strong cards both times to put up a stubborn fight. I was about to use a Mounted Charge card, who knows how much it would have done, but the HC had a good shot at Craterus, and then Momentum into the Companions and Alexander.

And there’s some interesting wrinkles here too. I had to give up on the Macedonian right flank the first game because I couldn’t afford to be fighting uphill. The initial deployments take a little working with to get a real line going, which was what my first few turns as the Persians was all about.