After finishing off “Happy Valley“, Patch and I went for our usual round of Commands & Colors: Ancients on July 22 and 29. Up this time was the Battle of Heraclea from Expansion #1, the first of two battles that made Pyrrhus of Epirus exclaim ‘one more victory such as this and I am undone!’

The Roman army (the first time it’s come up since we started going through them in order) is a bit tougher, but is back on the baseline. Epirus’ army isn’t poor though, and has plenty of light bows on one flank, and elephants on the other. An interesting special rule is that Roman infantry can’t ignore banners from elephants. If there’s a banner result, they will be retreating.

I had Pyrrhus first, and led off with Order Lights to move up the LB, and picked off one medium block. Patch engaged them with Order Two Right, and I evaded, and hit back with Order Four Left, and drove them off again with one block loss. Inspired Right Leadership brought his MC into contact, while the rest of the flank moved forward, but he just lost another block. Order Three Center reestablished my line, and got Patch’s Light down to one block.

Patch used Order Mediums to get both flanks in motion, though all the action was on his right, where he drove a LB back to hills on the baseline, and did two blocks to an Aux… who then got three triangles to wipe out the damaged Medium. I moved up my center, and Patch used Order Three Right to reduce a LB to one block, do a block to an Aux, which forced a Light back on a banner. Darken the Sky reduced a MC to one block, and did a block to a Heavy. Line Command only put one unit in contact, but he finished off an Aux, and then did three blocks to another before retreating.

I Ordered Two Right to bring up the elephants, and Patch used Inspired Center Leadership to smash in to the forward part of my line, finishing off the Aux, and wiping out a Med. Mounted Charge sent my Elephants towards his center, and my cavalry against his, knocking out a MC, reducing another to one block, and forcing the third to evade while I lost one block. Order Mediums activated a MC on each flank, while his center pushed forward. He finally drove off my LB, and and knocked out a heavy (taking two blocks in the process), eliminated an Elephant, and drove off a MC, but failed a momentum attack, causing him to take two hits and retreat.

Order Heavies allowed my smashed center to engage his strung out forces, knocking out two Mediums and Cassius, forcing another to retreat with two losses, while the remaining Elephant caused a block and two retreats to an Aux. Patch Ordered Three Left, trying to pick off my Elephants with smashed units, and did a block to them with archery, but his one-block MCs couldn’t get a hit, and the Elephants did on battle back. 7-6

Patch led off the second game by moving some of his Heavies up, and we went a couple turns after that trying to get our armies in shape, ending with me using a Line Command to get forward. Patch Out Flanked me to reduce two MC for no losses, and did a hit on a Heavy with archery. I Ordered Mounted, but only drove off one MC in return for taking a block. Patch Ordered Four Right, and knocked out two MC, and forced the last one back to the baseline with one block.

I Ordered Mediums, and moved the remnant MC out of the way, while forcing two LB to evade. Patch Ordered Two Center, doing a block to a Med, while I did a block back to an Aux (on a double banner into his line). Leadership any Section moved up my right, and I knocked out an Aux, taking a hit in the process. Patch Ordered Four Center to do six blocks across three units, taking five blocks in return. I Counterattacked, knocking out two Heavies, but losing one in return. Patch Ordered Three Center, knocking out three Mediums, and taking two blocks in return. I Counterattacked again, and did three blocks to a Heavy, who retreated out of range of my second attack. Patch Ordered Three Center again, and knocked out another Heavy. 3-7


The first play was very… Pyrrhic, with both armies thoroughly smashed. Patch had done fairly well, but just couldn’t bring it to a close. The second game, my hand was very uncooperative. I started with cards that would all be good a couple turns in, but I needed to deploy a bit first or lose about half of it.

The Romans have what it takes to win this battle, but they are in a hard position, and managing to fight while working out of it is rough. Even with Patch’s fairly convincing win as Pyrrhus, he’d nearly run out of heavier units, and more action on the flanks instead of the center may have caused a very different result.