“The message reads thus.” Stated the reedy framed, tall, dark haired Council of Elders Orator. “I therefore prevail upon the Council of Elders to without delay raise more forces and send them at once to Massana to reinforce our new ally King Hieros. ” His deep clear voice echoed across the Elders.
Hannos message continues “Send ships forth to guard our possessions in Corsica and Southern Sardinia. Hiero now sends his fleet in haste through treacherous Winter Solstice weather back to Syracuse.”
The Council comprised of the wealthiest of men in the Punic Empire immediately broke into raucous noise. While the decision to force war upon Rome had been unanimous few were excited about the prospect of a protracted engagement. It was bad for business.
Gisgo looked on. Distaste in his eyes, and watchfulness over who the Barcids spoke with in the hub hub of discourse. “Mago would roll in his tomb if you saw all of you,” Roared Gisgo. “we are commercial men and warriors. Not women. Enough. The People’s Assembly voted with you to end this dishonest relationship with Rome. Now we must fight.”
Standing up, his loyalist followers and family gathered around him. “I leave at once to the west to gather forces to send to Hanno Hamilcar in Lilybaeum and [augury roll:95] deal with the festering Libyan’s revolt against Tacape and Gigithis.” Gisgo pausing for effect caught many of the members gaze and willed into them some spine.
“Order the fleets to support our Island holdings at once, for what none of you know is that Hieros entire fleet was dashed against his own coastline! So we now must protect our ally and our possessions. He now relies upon us. We have the slippery bastard where we want him.”
Racing through the entrance of the Council meeting area a messenger arrived, breathless and wet from sea spray that still clung to him. “Genua has fallen my Lord Councillors, and Massilia is under siege. Our Gaulish allies want to know when help will arrive?.”
The Elder Council broke into up roar again. Gisgo left. [Chit:Dumavir- Cartho]
Meanwhile Claudius the Proconsul travels to Tarentum, leaving a strong force in control of the port there. Satisfied that he has fulfilled his orders to reinforce Tarentum with several cohorts of men from the 1st Legion he leaves the province of Calabria and returns to Rhegium, watching and waiting for his opportunity to strike.
Peering across the straits he spies Massana in the distance before ominous clouds roll across darkening the sky and his mood.
Rome busies itself, first seeking to send Q.Lutalius to Massilia, but not being sure they vacillate and deny his first request to capture the township and secure the Northern reaches. However once approved [Consul chit 2] he moves rapidly to besiege the Port town.
With two reduced Legions ( 5 SP left in Genua), Lutalius digs in and looks for an opportunity to assault the city quickly and secure control of the Northern reaches.
It takes 2 assaults and 25% losses each time despite overwhelming odds before Massilia falls. Carthaginian help never arrives.
Lutalius surveys the Port and wonders if destroying over half of the IV Legion was worth it. The Second Consular army has sustained heavy losses but must be further weakened now via garrision duty across the Gaulish provinces.
When the next opportunity in the Summer allows Latalius to conquer Aque Septiae and also and the restive Ligurian states he will take it. Roman control spreads
It seems a Consuls work is never done.
Back in Massana, Hiero and Hanno confer once again. Hanno’s respect for Greek General has deepened over the last 6 months. Their armies have trained and worked together tirelessly.
“Farewell Hiero, I leave you with my best Numdian Infantry and ships guarding both your Ports, we must now return to Lilybaeum to prepare for the inevitable Roman response.”
“Yes, Yes, my apologies Hanno, I am distracted. It is going to take the better part of a year to rebuild our fleet to protect Syracuse, and the autumn breeze is upon us. Your help here has been most welcome”
[-1SP for attrition for Hanno upon return to Lilybaeum]
Chit Pull Sequence for 263 B.C.
Galacia – Liguria
Lutalius robe, sandals and saddle are mud spattered and worn. The heavy October rain combined with several swollen river crossing have drenched his men and equipment. Servants rush his side steadying the blown horse. Mulled wine is pressed into his hand. “Consul your bath awaits.”
“I am surprised this hovel has bathing facilities. Fetch us food and send me the Tribunes after I bath. I wanted detailed reports of our current force levels and locations sent to Rome.” Lutalius mused, no Triumph for me damn it, these cursed Gauls fight like hell. At least finally pacifying the Ligurian reaches will make some amends and prevent his recall to Rome in disgrace. Carthage will not recruit from here now.
A map of Latalius’s travels in four stages:
Hiero sets about a furious business. Now committed he orders the rebuilding of his fleet as a priority. Travelling quickly through the country he seeks and secures more Silicia recruits from Catana and Magara and returns once more to Massana at years end with a powerful force. His brief stay in Syracusae feeds the fire of the love for his land and his people. Rome must be stopped, and Carthage contained, he thinks. Knowing he is caught between two unstoppable forces now, regardless of his chosen side Hiero wonders how best to preserve his country and family.
East of Carthage
After sending forces ahead to Tacape and Gigithis, Gisgo stops for the winter in Thugga collecting a small force there for the coming struggle. The township is relatively fertile and supports his small cavalry force easily.
Fact – This title represents some very interesting interplay between the seemingly endless numbers of little systems. For instance, if the Hiero/Hanno cabal grab Massana turn 1, this is good right? Well sometimes.
This action has the effect of reducing the urgency of the Carthage political parties to raise armies, create additional armies or provide forces to make your army bigger. With two Consular full sized legions across the way, one wants a LOT of troops. The Punic overlord also will want to build forces rapidly so that he/she may plan invasion of the Mainland. So for instance rather than passing in a recent move I should have used manpower to raise a fleet!!! Damn!
Or if a cautious soul at the very least send an army of reinforcements to Corsica etal and reinforce it.
What would have happened if Massana had not fallen to Carthage? Well Carthage must maintain a siege of Massana or lose the Syracuse forces, thus tying up the leader and army…..hmmm.
Ok. How does this impact Rome. If Massana falls Rome has no presence on Sicily and there will of course be no units on the mainland. This drives the ability to raise new Legions down, and to a small extent hinders requests of the Senate to move around Italy proper. Not having a base in Massana also means that any attack on Carthage must first acquire a means to support itself via a port as no Naval transport is possible by Rome until the build a real Navy.
Fiction- Complexity is high. This game is not overly complex. Like many titles it is involved, rather than complex and could have used a more refined hand on the rules, and rules referencing as some elements despite best attempts are still unclear.
Here is something interesting that happened. Rome lost 50% of it infantry from the iv Legion. They considered disbanding. However as they had already been dropping forces off at various towns of various sizes, when a Legion is disbanded ALL the units from that Legion are disbanded! Those garrisoning are reduced down to the Internal Defense #…(its a long story), thus Genua which had 5 steps in it would be dropped down to 3, and other smaller towns that had 2 steps would drop to one. Undoing the work of the Consul from the earlier turn.
So Rome had consider its options. Keep a weakened Legion in the field and use it to fill raid targets and protect ports or have its past Chits played work partially undone? That combined with the aforementioned challenge in raising Legions as no Punic forces were Italy means Rome had tough choices to make.
I think once we get into the flow of the game this will be very interesting to assess all the choices present!