COMMANDS & COLORS – EXPANSION #6
This expansion covers the Spartan Army at the heights of its power and glory. This is the period from approximately 666 B.C. to 331 B.C. The Spartans were unique in that their entire society was built around the military. A Spartan boy was taken from his parents at an early age and reared in the rigors of military training and survival in order to make him a better soldier for the city-state. This military education led to the Spartans being called upon to ally themselves with either side, in any quarrel, between the city-states of Greece. This begins with the defeat of Sparta, by Argos, at the battle of Hysaie. At this encounter, the Spartans were exposed to a new theory of warfare, the Hoplite. They took the knowledge to heart and developed the Hoplite concept to a high order, signaling the ascendancy of Spartan arms. This dominance continued through the Persian and Peloponnesian wars and finally ebbed with the ascendancy of the Macedonians.
What’s in the Box?
The box contains some 241 blocks, mostly in an Orange color. The Orange blocks represent the Spartan Army. There are also additional Tan (Eastern Empires); Blue (Greek Army units); Silver (Spartan Heavy Infantry, the Silver Shields); and Bronze (Spartan Hoplite Infantry). In the Orange blocks are also Hoplites, but they are of the Greek States allied with Sparta. A 36-page Rule and Scenario book, Reference charts and the necessary labels for the blocks. Two sheets of Terrain Overlays, mostly City Walls and Gates are included to provide additional variations in the battlefield. As with other C & C expansions ownership of the base game ( for gameboard, Command Card deck and Combat dice is necessary). You also need to own C & C Expansion #1 – Greeks versus the Eastern Kingdoms to provide the enemy forces for the 26 Scenarios included with the game. If you are familiar with the mechanics of previous game expansions, you will have no problem with incorporating The Spartans into your game experience.
The primary new unit in this expansion is the Hoplite Infantry. The Hoplite was a citizen-soldier rich enough to procure his own armor and weapons. The Hoplite fought in a Phalanx, in other words in a formation of like equipped soldiers side by side. They were equipped with a shield which covered a good portion of their body. When placed side by side these shields formed a solid wall of bronze interspersed with spears which formed a rather formidable “hedgehog”. All the Hoplite Infantry in this game are Medium Infantry, and fight battles as such, with the exception of the Silver Shields. When the Hoplite Rule is in effect in a scenario, Hoplite Infantry may be moved when a Mounted Charge, or “Order Mounted” Command card is played at the beginning of a turn. When ordered in such circumstances, the Hoplites may battle in place or move one hex and fight. Additionally, in Close Combat they fight with one additional Combat Die.
In this Classical Period there are several units designated as “Special Units”. They include the Spartan Bronze Hoplite Infantry, Persian Immortals, the Greek Silver Shields and the Greek Companion Cavalry. The most prominent being the Spartan Bronze Hoplites and the Greek Silver Shields. These are represented by unique game blocks to distinguish them from other units. The Spartan Bronze Hoplites are represented by bronze colored blocks; they consist of five blocks per unit instead of the usual four.
The unit plays like normal Medium Infantry, the fifth block signifies the overall staying power of the formation in the course of battle. The Silver Shields are represented by a unit on silver colored blocks and are to be retrofitted into Expansion #1. These “Special Units” can be designated using one of the black Special Unit blocks or by this use of their “special” colors.
In Section 8, there are instructions for incorporating the units from this expansion into the battles of Expansion #1, including the Special Units. This is done to increase the realism of the battles of the previous game.
This expansion extends the scope of Commands & Colors Ancients back into the history of the Greek City-States. The player will find these battles as absorbing as those in the previous games which focused on the Roman conquests of the ancient world. This game system allows the inclusion of any of the ancient cultures into its environs and I expect to see further expansions in the future with additional cultures represented and the battles they fought for their existence and expansion. As in past reviews I cannot heap sufficient praise on this system and its possibilities. Happy Gaming!
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