Patch and I’s latest between-games set of Commands & Colors: Ancients continues through the career of Alexander the Great. This time the Battle of Jaxartes River from Expansion #1 was up. It’s unusual in several respects: First, the Scythian force is all cavalry, and almost all LC/LBC, with one MC mixed in. Second, Alexander has two heavy war machines, which took some reading up. It’s a river crossing scenario, and while the Macedonians have more and heavier units, the setup is heavily weighted towards their side of the board. As is usual, the Companions can ignore a banner and a sword hit, and Alexander adds a die to combat.

I had Alexander for the first play, and we started with ranged combat, which worked for Patch as a pair of banners chased one of my LC off the board, and then he got a hit on the Companions. I started deploying the center by moving up the Heavies, and Patch used Double Time to order one unit for ranged combat with no effect. I Ordered Three Left, and moved up a little, while getting a hit on a LC, and drove it back to his baseline, along with another one. Patch ordered one with Line Command to get a hit, and I Counterattacked to move the Heavies into the river and reshuffle almost everyone else. Ranged fire did two hits to a LC, a hit to another, and drove a third back to the base line. The Heavies did two hits to the MC, which did two to one Heavy in battle back.

Patch used Mounted Charge to swarm my crossing in the center, and did two hits to an Aux and a hit to the weak Heavy, but took a hit on a LC and lost the MC in return. I Counterattacked again to put my remaining cavalry into the river, driving off a weak LBC and doing two hits to the only unit still at the river on Patch’s left, but took another hit to the Companions in turn. Patch Ordered Three Center to pull back a weak LC, get Satraces up to a better LC, and try to pick off the weak Heavy, but merely took a hit himself. I used Order Mediums to get my MC out of the river and knock out two one-block units. Patch Ordered Three Center again, and this time picked off the Heavy, but lost a block when he tried to use Momentum as a follow up on the Aux. I Ordered Two Center to advance the remaining Heavy and the MC, which each picked off a one-block unit. 5-2

The second game started about the same as the first. My first play was Out Flanked, which chased a Macedonian LC off the board, did two hits to the Companions, and did a hit on the other flank. Patch used Coordinated Attack to drive off a LC and do a block to my MC (both with fire from the HWMs), while moving up a Heavy. I Ordered Light, and managed to chase off the LC on the other flank.

Patch used Line Command to move two units into the river, while shuffling the others. He did a block each to two LBC, and one LC, and did a second block to the MC, taking two blocks to a Light in return. I Rallied, getting my MC and the neighboring LC back to full strength, and I did another block to the Light, who evaded a second attack so I couldn’t finish them off. Patch Ordered Three Right to shuffle Alexander to an Aux, and retire the Companions behind his lines. I used Order Three Left to do a block to a HWM and drive it to the baseline, and do a block to some Slingers. Patch moved in with Order Lights, and did a hit and banner to a LBC, and then did two hits to the MC on an evade (would have knocked out the unit if I’d tried to stick to the river).

I Ordered Two Center to try to establish a line, and Patch Ordered Lights to knock out a LBC in that line, and do a block to a LC. I Ordered Two Right to do a block to a LB, and Patch had Inspired Center Leadership to get across the river, but didn’t do more than force a LC to evade. Leadership any Section let me move the line up a little, but I could only do one block to an Aux with ranged fire, and didn’t dare face Alex in close combat. Patch Double-Timed into my line, which eliminated two units from under Satraces, and forced off a LC. I Ordered Two Center to move the LC up a little, and send Satraces to join it, while Patch Move-Fire-Moved to eliminate a LC (three hits on three rolls), and do a hit to a LBC, while moving up a bit. I Ordered Three Right to force a Light to retreat, but that was it. Patch Ordered Heavies, and the HWM each forced a LBC to retreat, one of the losing a block. I Ordered Two Left to dash units back up to the river, hoping to get at the weaker units there, and did a block to a Slinger unit. Patch Ordered Two Center to get a Heavy in contact with a LBC at the board edge and eliminated it. 2-5


Its a fun, fast moving battle, but it’s horribly lopsided. Once the Macedonians can get into action, there’s just not much all that light cavalry can do. The Scythians also have problems with a lot of dead cards. In the first game, I suffered from having a lot of ‘Order Two’ cards, and mostly was able to get going with a couple of Counter Attacks that were far more useful for me than Patch. Almost worse is the fact that the Scythians only have one leader, which adds to the ‘dead card’ problem. If the Sythians can survive the river crossing a bit better, the hills should help some, but with how broken up they are, the Macedonians should be able to just cut off units.