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The Line Command card in C&C ancients states:

Order a group of foot units. The group must be in adjacent linked hexes (which may span two or three sections). Each unit may move no more than one hex and then engage in Ranged Fire or Close Combat if eligible.

Units may Momentum Advance after successful Close Combat and may be eligible for bonus Close Combat. If you do not have any foot units, order 1 unit of your choice.

My question is what counts as adjacent linked hexes for the purpose of the card?

Does it allow to order units adjacent to the first unit ordered? Eg like in the picture below:

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Or does it allow to order all foot units across the whole battlefield as long as they are all connected by hex? Eg like this

enter image description here

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The group of foot units ordered by Line Command can be any size as long as each unit is adjacent to another foot unit included in the group.

This means both of your examples are valid selections for Line Command.

To quote C&C ancients' rules editor Kevin Duke on boardgamegeek:

... Line command card means what it says entirely literally.
If every block in your army is adjacent some other block in your army, they ALL can be activated.

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    And this makes Line Command a very powerful order if you manage to keep all of your foot units adjacent to each other, which was a common tactic during ancients battles. Specially if you reserve it until you are going to clash with the enemy line. This game design decision does not force you to keep your army like the ancients did, but if you do you will maximise the output of the playing cards.
    – mcabreb
    Oct 6, 2022 at 13:47

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