Battle Report: Battle of Marathon – 490 BC

Jobby plays a solo game of Commands and Colors: Ancients. Here’s a report of the battle.

A Day Off in Lockdown

During some annual leave during lockdown I decided to play a battle from my recently acquired first expansion for Commands and Colors: Ancients. Being a runner, it seemed only natural for me to try Marathon as my first battle from the set.

A quick note about how I play C&C:A solo. I play as both sides and just play as well as I can for them both. However, I don’t look at the card drawn at the end of the turn. This does allow for some surprises during battle!


Start of the Battle of Marathon. Blocks representing Persian and Greek units line up against each other.
The troops line up at the start of the battle. Artaphernes and his cavalry are caught on the wrong side of the river!

I’ll let the pictures tell the story but here’s some general notes. The description in the scenario book suggests that historically the Greeks centre was crushed but their heavy flanks made up for this. In my play, the Greek barely saw any cards for the flanks so had problems utilising them! Those heavy infantry didn’t see nearly as much action as they should have.

The Greeks tried to bring the fight to the Persians on my tabletop by advancing their weak centre infantry into the enemy. The Persians, though, saw several Line Command cards enabling them to fight back with all of their main line of soldiers, including on the flanks.

The Persian leaders got heavily involved in combat but due to the lack of flank cards mentioned earlier, the Greek leaders didn’t really advance much. Although at one point Callimachus (Persian) did get too close to Datis’ heavy infantry and saw his unit destroyed. The Persian leader fled behind the rest of his troops and hid for the remainder of the battle1

The battle ended with the Greek centre line almost wiped out. This just goes to show that sometimes, if you haven’t got the cards you will struggle. I do think I slipped up on a few of the moves with the Greeks, though. Advancing their weak centre straight away was probably a bit silly and I should have tried to line them up nearer the leaders and wait for the Persians to advance. Honestly, I think I felt intimidated by the Persian bowmen.

Conversely, once some of the Persian cavalry broke through into the centre of combat, they could really use their speed and hitting power to terrorise the Greek infantry. It used up a chunk of ordering power as the cavalry has to cross a river to get into the action and a hole has to be made in the Persian line to let them through. Once out I think they decided the battle.

Close up of Greek heavy infantry corning Persian light bows between their comrades and the hills.
On the left flank, the Greek heavy infantry corner Persian light bowman between their fellows and the hills.

The corner of the board with Charlie the cat sleeping on it!
Desperate measures are made to protect the Greek rear from Charlie’s swishing tail!

Close up view of the action in the centre of the board. The Persian leader is is in middle fighting Greek infantry.
Artaphenes charges through the Persian’s centre and takes the Greek auxillia by surprise!

Close up of the Persian leader's blocks with Greek infantry blocks laying on their sides nearby.
Disaster! Greek light infantry have challenged Artaphernes and been destroyed by his unit’s counter-attack.

Close up of a Greek leader's block next to a Persian leader block. The Persian blocks around the leader are all on their side.
Callimachus and his men destroy Datis’ unit forcing the Persian leader to flee.

The end of the Battle of Marathon. Only a few Greek units remain and the Persians control most of the board.
The end of the battle. The Greeks have crumbled. No one is running anywhere.

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