Commands Colors Medieval session reports – Solochon 586 AD – The Boardgames Chronicle

It was some time since we last played with Marcin the Commands Color Medieval. So after a pause it was very refreshing to come back to this installment of C&C series. Of course, as with other games with this mechanics we play for fun but also for historical appeal. Usually that means mini-campaigns of chronologically or geographically connected scenarios. That was the case this time as we decided for a pretty interesting, 2-battles Solochon (586 AD). Especially the second set-up is a complete novelty. Enjoy!


Other C&C Medieval materials:
- Medieval vs Ancients Comparison
- Belisarius Campaign
- EPIC Catalaunian Fields
- Review of C&C Medieval

1. Solachon 586 AD (Main Battle)

Historical Background

After another failure to negotiate peace, Kardarigan led the Sassanid army into Mesopotamia. Philippicus, newly assigned commander of the Persian front, marched his Byzantine army to intercept. Both armies were almost entirely mounted, and both commanders were eager to fight. When the armies made contact they both quickly went for battle.

The Byzantines had a crucial advantage. They controlled the Arzamon River, the only major source of water in the area. Kardarigan brought his water in a caravan of camels, but just before the battle he had it dumped out to inspire his men to win or die. As soon as he had secured his camp, Kardarigan attacked the Byzantines who were waiting on the high ground.

The Byzantine right wing pushed the Persian left back in disorder, and many soldiers drifted away to loot the enemy camp. Philippicus could not afford having a wing dissolve to plunder the enemy camp. He gave his distinctive helmet to one of his bodyguards and sent him to Vitalius, the right-wing commander. The ruse worked, for when the soldiers saw the helmet, they returned to order.

They would be needed shortly because a crisis was brewing in the center. Philippicus had his cataphracted cavalry dismount and shield the more lightly armed infantry, but they were barely holding against a very heavy Sassanid attack. The reformed Byzantine right now struck the attacking Sassanids in flank while a strong Byzantine attack on the left broke the Sassanid right wing. The Sassanid army fearing encirclement, fled with the Byzantine army in hot pursuit. For the retreating Sassanids, the worst was yet to come as far more perished in the desert from lack of water than had died in battle.

Session Report

Again, as always, we rolled for sides in campaign – so one player will lead the same side through all scenarios. Marcin took Byzantine forces (purple blocks(while I led Sassanid army)tan block). Historically my side did not give a good performance – my plan was to do better!

Initial force deployment – strong cavalry wings, with enemies within immediate striking distance (click to enlarge)
After initial exchange of range fire I charged and even killed one unit but was quickly repulsed by Clash of Shields.
Than it was Marcin attacking and pretty much mauling my cavalry. But he took losses in the process…
…which would be decisive when I attacked the Heavy Cataphracts! The luck gave me also a leader!
A climatic end of our game – my Medium Cavalry uphill Mounted Charge – with epic roll of 3 flags to end the game!
The end of battle – what an a-historical carnage! Everything decided on one wing, with such a pressure from Persians that center and left of Byzantine army did not have time to react!

2. Solachon 586 AD (Kardarigan’s Stand)

Historical Background

As his army dissolved into a mass of fugitives, Kardarigan and the only remaining soldiers still in formation found refuge on a nearby hilltop. The Byzantines located them and began launching desultory attacks against them, content to let heat and thirst destroy the Sassanids. They were not aware that Kardarigan himself was there and finally abandoned the effort. Kardarigan and his intrepid band escaped after holding out against repeated attacks for four days.

We have a very interesting rule here – putting a lot of time pressure on Roman forces. The Byzantine player does not draw a new Command card at the end of his turn, unless a Scout Command card is played. He/she starts with 11 cards and that is all they have. The Sassanid player wins, if the Byzantine player has not won by the end of the turn he plays his last Command card.

Session Report
Set-up of the second scenario; Sassanid forces hidden on hills with huge mounted Roman army in hot pursuit (click to enlarge)
Here they come – my range fire did not inflicted too many causalities on attackers as Marcin wisely closed on my light quickly.
Attacking uphill is never easy but my lines started to crumble…
So it was possibly a good idea to charge downhill! What a bloody turn – 3 banners for me, 1 for Byzantines and their leader gone!
The end of the game was so much anti-climatic. I played leadership card, chosen the Darken the Skies and killed two almost full-strength units.
That was closer than the result shows. The hills were almost overrun – the end was unfortunately anti-climatic but very effective for Persians!

Summary

That was really great fun to come back to Medieval. Inspired actions – and inspired tokens allowing for ignoring of the flag or adding a dice – creates completely different dynamics in comparison to other titles in the series. On top of this the second game had such a unique and interesting rules. However, in the end game ended pretty a-historically – banner count was as follows:

  • Marcin (Byzantine) 4 Michal (Sassanid) 10

More reports soon – stay tuned!

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