1st Punic War 264 B.C. turn 1 [reboot]

264 B.C. Spring.

Kristos the Emissary from Syracuse had ridden hard for several days. Yet if he was weary he showed no signs of it as he knelt before Hiero. Kristos could not see Hiero’s face as shadows were cast across it from the throne room perched above their beloved city.

“My Liege I bring word from Hanno. The Carthaginians will fall upon the Mammertine scum within one waning of the moon.” He paused, squaring his broad shoulders, a look of uncertainty clouded his face, brow furrowing he continued with a cautiousness born of a diplomat. “They also demand that we launch the assault from the sea and surprise the force there while simultaneously blocking the Romans from interfering  with our quinqueremes.” Kristos paused.

The chuckle, bubbled, then grew bouncing off of the granite columns, echoing down the stairs to be caught in the sea breeze sweeping across the cliff faced balcony. “So the merchants do indeed have balls the size of a raging bull.” Said Hiero.

Rising he strolled thru one of the many arches that encased the lofty court room out onto the sunlit balcony. Archimedes, and the poet Theocritus appeared to be the only relaxed parties reclining on white cushions,watching Hieros. The rest of Hiero’s courtiers and generals looked around anxiously, watching the leaders ruby red robe flutter with the crisp spring air.

“From the sea hmm…..from the sea”

One of his generals stood. “My Lord, must we take their coin? Surely it would be better to take Massana back ourselves?

Hiero turned towards his man, and calmly countered. “Normally yes I would agree Spirocratius. Yet we cannot risk open war with Rome….for now. The pigs that took our Greek brethren’s township must be removed without us fighting the Romans, at least not  until we know just how serious the Punic general Hanno is about taking on the Roman problem. He may have handed us our answer.”

Smiling Archimedes chimed in “Hiero you have the calculating mind of Pyhrrus!  I see your plan! We blockade the port and monitor the straits allowing the Punic warriors of Carthage to assault the city while we merely encircle it. Carthage will bear the fall out! If Rome then comes to the aid of the brigands in Massana  we can gracefully retire, allowing them to ‘save the city'”

“Yes, exactly.” Said Hiero.

“Now how will the Carthaginians get to us so quickly? The Southern waters are treacherous [Augury] so I assume by foot.” Striding quickly now, Heiro pointed into the bustling harbor with one long strong sinewy arm. “Gather the troops, prepare transports. We sail for Massana!”

Massana a month later:

The bulk of the available Syracusae army was gathered at the gates of Massana. Elite Cavalry lined up in row upon row, spears tips reflecting the coastal light. Most of the foot soldiers were amused by the rather small contingent of various tribal ‘natives’ preparing to storm the walls. Was this the force that would defeat Rome? Midnight black Numidian’s, Iberians with spears and wicker shields, long haired Gauls  and other motley types? This was mighty Carthage?

Off the coast the Carthaginian navy added weight to the presence of Syracuse’s own smaller navy. No Romans could be seen on the horizon.

Hanno , ordered his men forward at a steady pace. Hieros advisors had provided him with information to enable a gate party to enter the city unseen. His frontal assault would draw the already weakened hungry, besieged brigands to the walls. His hidden force could then open the gates. It would end quickly.

[1.5:1 assault +3 DRM, Cart:-1SP  Mammertine: -2SP]

The brigands [1SP] retreat from the walls into the citadel, fighting now both the citizens and the Carthaginians in hand to hand combat.

Soon after they realize all is lost and surrender due to lack of provisions. They are slaughtered to a man. No quarter is given. [Siege Attrition]

Hanno reins in the carnage and does not allow the city to be sacked. Hieros men re take their township, and serious celebrations begin!

Later on the battlements the two leaders confer.

” Hiero with your forces here and my Navy we can forestall the growing Roman menace. Not even they can launch enough Legions nor reinforce them to retake Messana or threaten your city Syracusae. ”

“I believe we chose wisely in aligning with you. Let it be known that Eastern Sicilia will not fall to Roman hands easily.” Hiero paused, turning to face Hanno, placing his delicate but strangely powerful hand on the shorter mans armoured shoulder. “However know this Hanno of Carthage. We are partners in this now. Not your vassal. We will not leave Eastern Silicia. We will not pay tribute, nor will we send our men to be commanded by you. We will grant you right of passage and support in any conflict on my lands. Nothing more”


Hanno’s eyes glittered in momentary anger, ignoring the hand on his shoulder he stepped in close. “Hear me well too Sicilian. I agree with your terms. The Council of 100 may have other ideas. Know that those are the last terms you shall lay to Carthage. Ever. Betray us and I will bring the full force of my families might upon you.” Stepping back Hanno laughs, slaps Hiero on the arm, then in a loud voice  “A toast. To men of will, full of destiny.” Draining his goblet of wine. ” I like you Hiero. We shall be friends”

“Allies and friends, I’ll drink to that Hanno,  I will drink to that.” Is the quiet reflective reply.

Mid Summer. Rome.

Men clad in toga and sandals with oiled hair and clean shaven faces furrowed in worry or barely concealed greed darted back and forth across the Senate floor.

Messengers came and went. Snatches of conversations could be heard;

“Most of their damn Navy bottles up the port!”

“That bastard Hiero is to blame”

Syracusae cannot be assailed, it is impregnable!

“We can do nothing, we have no fleets to support our armies once in Sicilia.”

“Why has Claudius not crossed from Rhegium!?”

“Syracusae and Carthage combined are a threat!”

“Our destiny lies in Syracuse!”

“Hiero will come to our side, we can trust him”

Bickering continued late into the evening until the Praetor Urbanis, called order to the proceedings.

Above the raucous voices, two lines of thought could be understood. First that it was not Rome’s problem what happened in Sicily, and contrastingly second that a ripened fruit should always be plucked!

“The vote is for us to not cross the straits with Claudius. The risk of interception and subsequent land battle is too great for our Consular Army in Rhegium. We bide our time”

The Praetor continued “Instead strike North. Permission is granted for the Consular Army to strike camp from Etruria and take control of Genoa in the Liguria Friniates. Fail us not Fulvius!”

[Success, -3SP for attrition and just 1 SP on the assault Genoa falls]

Winter, Rome.

Elections in this year are bid furiously by the privileged. Each seeking to find glory and favor against their new enemies. Campus Meritus is taken by M. Otacilius, Q. Lutatius replaces Fluvius at the Consular Army II now encamped in Genoa. Claudius is called home to organize and grow one of the fleets. The Second Fleet role falls to Cornelius. Aurelius [one of the better leaders] seeks election to Praetor Urbanus and wins.

263 B.C.

Spring February, Carthage.

The Carthaginians prevail upon the Numdians, Libyans and Mauritanians to boost their ranks, gold flows. [20 Infantry steps and 10 cav] . [Edit note that Cartho forces replenishment is limited loss replacement under Cautious mode Politically].

The Magonids consolidate power and note that Rome failed to take action. The Magonids become cautious {political climate roll], or is it complacent? The Romans did not even raise a single Legion!

Confident in success they receive Hannos plan for their next adventure against Rome. Some toast his boldness. Older wiser council members fear for the worst.

Hanno is emboldened sure that the Romans are asleep at the Ox cart.


Game notes.

We reset the game [previous post regarding turn 1] as a several minor mistakes compounded the effects of the first few errors. This is a serious challenge to game play. Small mistakes may have long reach consequences.

In our first attempt the Carthaginians actually took Massana in a direct assault, but we also used one too many Siege Attrition markers and Han. Gisgo was used to move forces in Carthage proper versus the Naval role he is allocated to.

Too many Hanno, Gisgo and Hannibals. Hence this turn replay and re casting of the story!

Surely the chit pulls from the first turn would not be repeated!

Our First Attempts chit pulls:

Or..not. In an embarrassing turn of good luck I pulled these chits:

The Reboot Chit pulls:

Now normally one might be fearful of an entire Roman move with no ability to respond. But here the Romans are hamstrung in the early game. Thus Hiero moves by sea, blocks the Port, makes continuation and lays siege.

Siege attrition knocks off just one step{making Massana just 3 steps], then Hanno Hannibal brings strong contingent down from Lilybauem.  Ensuring enough is left behind to thwart a Roman preemptive strike.

A bold assault @ 1.5:1 with +’s on the attack for Port influence etc knocks 2 steps off and the final Attrition marker makes the city fall prior to the Consul chit being pulled (not pictured above). Rome has little reason to attempt the crossing with Syracuse and Carthage now occupying the city of Massana.

In a Lidell Hartesque move Rome moves to take Genoa and this exposes some weakness in the play of Carthage’s Dumavir chit. Reinforcement up there with fleet support might have helped.

Rome fails to raise Legions, pulls shitty leaders, par for the course. On to 263 B.C. !!!

Hey!! At least say something! ;)