After Patch and I finished up in Budapest, it was time for another between-games bout of Commands & Colors: Ancients. Up this time was the Battle of Cynoscephalae from Expansion #1. Somewhat unexpectedly, the Romans have a unit of elephants, and a mix of Medium and Heavies, largely back near their baseline, while the Macedonians have a string of light units in a line of hills, with a number of Heavies further back. Both sides get five cards, and we used an optional scenario rule where unsupported Macedonian Heavies only get three dice in battle back, to represent the ability of manipular legions to get around the flanks of a phalanx.

Patch had the Romans first, and Ordered Three Center to get that in motion, while I Ordered Heavies to start getting them into play. Patch then used Line Command, which moved almost everyone, and started getting him into the hills. This put him into range for a few shots, and he managed to pick a block off a LS. I used Double Time to get some Heavies into his line, however hills limited what could be done, and I did three blocks to an Aux, two to a Med, and took five blocks in return across three units.

Patch Ordered Mediums, and tried hitting a damaged Heavy, but only took a block and banner in return. He did a block to an intact heavy, but took two and a banner on his Med in turn. I used Move-Fire-Move to get better positions in the hills, and got lucky with two hits on an Aux, and three on a Light (two from a blocked retreat). Order Three Center let Patch take out an intact Heavy, but an Aux took three blocks and retreated in the process, and then momentum let him take out another Heavy. Order Three Right let me start bringing up my MC over there (I thought they’d get to Philip V, who had just lost his Heavy, but miscounted). Patch pulled out a unit and shifted another with Order Two Left, and I used Order Two Center to push the remaining Heavy forward, and join Philip V to it, knocking out a Med, and bringing another to one block which retreated to the baseline.

Inspired Center Leadership (…with only two units) knocked out my Heavy, and Philip V managed to survive retreating through a Light to one of my Lights, who lost three blocks on the next attack. Order Lights let me rearrange much of what was left, but did nothing to Patch. He then closed the gap with Mounted Charge, and did three blocks across two units, taking two blocks on a MC. I drove that unit off with Out Flanked, and then Patch moved in on my last remaining intact line with Inspired Right Leadership, forcing a Heavy to retreat. Line Command let me reorganize that flank, and knocked out a Med on the hills, taking a block on an Aux  in return, and trading three blocks on one of my Heavies for two on an Aux. Order Four Right let him wipe out the weak Heavy with his Elephants (who’d been a while moving up), and do three blocks to a Heavy, while I did one to a Med in return. I tried a Clash of Shields, doing one hit to the Elephants, but taking two in return, and doing two blocks to his Heavy, but losing mine in the process. Patch then finished off the Heavy with his Elephants to end the game. 2-6

I started the second game with Order Four Right, and Patch used Move-Fire-Move to take control of the hills, and do a hit on a Light. Order Two Left let me drive off an Aux, and get a MC on the hill and then do a block to a Light. Patch Ordered Lights, did a block to a Heavy and forced a Med to retreat. Order Two Left let me push a little further, doing a hit to an evading Light, and forcing a retreat and hit on another Light. Patch Ordered Three Center to do another ranged hit to my weakened Heavy, while starting one of his Heavies forward. I Double-Timed my center, getting close, but not really into contact, though I forced another Light to retreat.

Patch Ordered Lights again, which allowed him to start assembling a real line, and did a block to a Light, who then forced his Aux to retreat. Two Center put my Mediums into contact with his units on the center hill, one of which evaded, and the other took a banner. Order Heavies didn’t cause any action, but Patch was getting a nice force in position on my right. With no leaders on the right, I used Inspired Leadership Right as a ‘or one unit’ card to move up a MC, and Patch Ordered Two Right to drive off my other MC there, and do a block to an Aux. Double Time let me move a Heavy onto the center hill to help my Mediums, and getting two hits on one of his Heavies, while the others went right, driving a light to the baseline, and occupying a corner of that hill.

Patch Ordered Four Center, bringing three Heavies to bear on my Heavy, forcing it to retreat twice, and doing three banners in four battles (including momentum), while doing five blocks to two units. I went for Clash of Shields, which only activated two Mediums (on hills) doing one hit each to two units, forcing a Heavy to retreat, while my other Med retreated. Patch Ordered Three Center, forced a Med to retreat, but took a block and retreat on a Heavy that assaulted another Medium. I called out I Am Spartacus, to order three lights, and traded one block each on an Aux and Heavy.

Patch used Line Command to order about half his army, causing three units to retreat, and costing me two blocks, and I Counter Attacked with the bulk of my army, finishing off a weak Heavy at the cost of a block, and driving off a Aux with two losses. Order Lights didn’t do much than cost me two blocks, on units that were already a bit ragged. Mounted Charge let me go after a couple of 1-block Heavies, getting both of them (with Philip V evading to the baseline). However, I also lost a MC to battle back from a Aux I did one block to. Patch Ordered Three Center to get Philip to his MC, and did a block to one of my MC.

Rally gave me two blocks back on a Heavy, and one on an Aux, and managed to knock out a 1-block Aux of Patch’s, and then do a block plus two-hex retreat on a Heavy with momentum. Patch Ordered Three Left to get his remaining Heavies in action, and knocked out my Heavy there, however, I caused the first unit to retreat, and then a First Strike took out two blocks of the second Heavy before it could finish me off. I used Double Time to get my middle Mediums towards the action, and chased a Light to Patch’s base line. Order Mediums was restricted to Patch’s two MC, and we did two blocks to each other’s MCs. Counter Attack let me do a broad offensive, largely against units back on the base line. Two attempts by Mediums on a Light did nothing but retreat a Medium two hexes, but then I picked off a two-block Heavy, and momentum did nothing but cost me three blocks on a Medium, who retreated back onto the hill. My last attempt did nothing at all.

Move-Fire-Move put Patch in motion, and he picked off a one-block MC. I Ordered Two Right to do two blocks to a Light on the baseline, taking a hit on each unit. Coordinated Attack picked off one of my Aux, but an attack on my one-block Med did nothing, and I did two blocks on battle back. I Ordered Lights, and finally got that Light. 6-4


The second fight dragged out a while, with the first banner not being scored until nearly an hour in. Also, if I hadn’t missed some relatively easy combats at the end, it would have been 6-2, like the first game.

Part of what lengthened the second game was all the retreats. I rolled a fair number of banners, and the opening setup isn’t very cohesive, so there just wasn’t much support available most of the time. Also, neither of us had great hands.

The hills in the center really dominate the thinking in this scenario, since anyone on them generally has an advantage, and it’s terrain where the lighter units can hold their own pretty well. That and the setup make it unusual, but it will tend to go long as