Carthage 1

The further adventures of Herr Dr. and his play of Carthage this is an 8 part series, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did. Reproduced with Herr Dr.s kind  permission.

May 17, 2013: Back to Carthage.

Held our boot camp last week for this interesting and beefy wargame. Thought we would try to run thru the campaign game a Friday session at a time.

264 B.C.

Setting up

Listed are the activations for a turn in order drawn

1. Hiero opens with a siege of Messana

2. Carthage draws a Dumivar chit. Two fleets (III and IV) attempt raids and fail

3. Random event chit appears…a 97 rolled…a Libyan revolt results; no biggie.

4. Hanno Haml (IP-12) picks up forces in west Sicily and runs to Messana

5. Siege chit…. Carthaginian forces sieging Messana lose a SP as do the poor besieged

6. Dumivar Rome….naval battle of two 1 pt fleets…both sink. Rome takes its remaining fleet (and last naval SP) and attempts a raid. Naval disaster results; Rome now has no ships on the board.

7. Siege chit…. Carthaginian forces sieging Messana lose a SP as do the poor besieged

8. Hans Gisgo: Pass

9. Rome Consul: Consul Army 1 crosses the straights and marches to relieve siege of Messana. Leader fails continuation roll.

10. Rome Consul: Consul Army 2 runs up north to liberate a few armies and shield against any barbarian intrusions.

Turn Summary: Naval sparing…nothing conclusive. Showdown in Messana doesn’t occur but stage set for 263 B.C.

Game Comments: Getting the hang of how things move. Didn’t even bother to reread the rules for the session, although two of the players did. Really like the flow of the movement (land and naval); move units (no movement allowance), but pay for associated attrition and attempt continuation rolls. Random events can really toss a spanner into the works; didn’t this turn. Turn took us about 1 hour to complete.

263 B.C.

Rome Leaders: 313 (Atilius) takes command of Consular 1 Army and 331 (Fabius) takes command of Consular 2 Army. 339 (Valerius) become the commander of the garrison at Rome.

Comment: Getting Atilius to lead the assault on Messana was a coup: he is one of the top leaders from Rome. Roman leadership is pleased. One thing the Roman side mucked up was in not recruiting enough leaders to manage its 3 fleets that would arrive this turn (the 4th fleet, at Tarentum, Rome built the max {over 5 ships} so it would arrive the following turn).

Carthagian Politics: No change in ruling family. Orientation is Cautious.

Builds: Both Rome and Carthage decide to build fleets.

Comment: It took us a LONG time to understand how many fleets and ships we could build. Rules VERY opaque for us on this point. FINALLY, determine Carthage could build 1 Fleet and the number of ships built was a function of the port capacity of where it is built (essentially, player decides how many ships up to max of port capacity – trade-offs in going over 5 ships or going less). Rome rolls a die to determine its number of fleets…rolls a “9” and builds four fleets (Tarentum, Ostia, Neapolis, Rhegium).

LAM activations

1. Rome Dumivar: Fleets sail…naval battle at Messana. Roman fleet remains and sails into port.

2. Carthage: First battle of Messana. Rome has 43 SPs…DRM (Die Roll Modifiers) of -1 for Ldr, -1 for Carthage Sub ldr, -1 Carthage elites, +2 for Fleets … combat result is 15/15 – each side takes 15% losses….a push

3. Random events. Rome is slapped silly by dice gods: a “50”…consul gets ill (Rome loses its “A” ranked leader at Messana (Attilius) and is replaced by a total blanking bum – an “E” ranked leader). Rome groans, as its plans to liberate Messana, take a BIG turn towards potential disaster.

4. Carthage Dumivar: Carthage pulls off a successful raid (which means Rome will have a -2 on its Manpower roll) and another mutually destruction of fleets at Messana

5. IP-5 Grisgo: Pass

6. Hiero: The army of Syracuse runs out of Messana (Rome fails its intercept roll) to attempt to pick up some troops in Sicily. However, Hiero flubs his continuation roll and is stuck at Syracuse. Rome shouts for glee, now that the Carthaginian and Syracuse army has been divided. If only Rome can get the chance to assault & defeat each army in turn…

7. Proconsul: A Roman proconsul takes its small fleet and sails into Messana.

8. Consul: Consular Army 2, in Northern Italy, initiates the siege of Genoa

9. IP-8: Carthage fleet sails to Carthage.

10. Proconsul: Pass

11. IP-12: OC (Overall Commander) orders a SP to Sicily

12. IP-8: Pass

13. Siege Attrition: Messana: Rome loses 1 SP and is now down to 1 SP. At Genoa, all enemy forces starve to death and Roman forces enter the city.

14. Siege Attrition: Messana: No effect.

15. IP-12: Pass

16. Consul: 2nd Battle of Messana. Some discussion in Roman camp about whether to attack. One consul cautioned patience, the other nutcase favored rolling the dice in a reckless attack. The DRMs were as follows: +2 Cav, +2 Odds, -3 Disorganized, -3 leader….for a net -2. Combat roll resulted in Rome suffering 20% losses, a Major Defeat and the shame of having a “Useless” counter placed upon it. Carthage took 10% losses and smiled. Valerius (the bum Roman leader rated as an “E”) retreated to Tauromenium. After the combat, Rome had 27 SPs and Carthage had 16 SPs.

Essentially, the nutcase consul was going for a Vegas; about a 40% chance of non-horrible result and potentially some very positive results. The idea was to press the attack (attrition, we think, favors Rome) and get lucky. And, Rome had cavalry superiority, which meant if Rome did get lucky, it might get a BIG cav pursuit.

The downside, which occurred, meant the Consular Army 1 would be wrecked for a few turns (with a poor organizational state) – and will likely be disbanded. Essentially, if an army is even disrupted, it suffers a significant penalty on attack. Each turn, a force improves its state by one ( normal, disrupted, disorganized, useless) – or it can take an activation in a med/large city, sit there and nurse its wounds – and improve the state one pip. So, Rome would be stuffed in Sicily until new forces would arrive.

Session Comments: We had a blast again.

Wrote the position down (easy to do, and, we had copied all displays so we just wrote the strengths/etc. on those charts so that we can continue soon. It was also great as gamers stopped by to ask what we were planning and take the opportunity to hopefully rope in a few wargamers. One thing we usually do is to bring copies of other recently arrived games and lay them out on other tables at The Source. Below are a few of those games (the new S&T Vietnam game, Ici c’est la France! The Algerian War of Independence 1954-62 , La Bataille Moscowa, Liberty Roads, Imperium Romanum II).

New acqisitions

La Bat!

Game Comments: VERY positive at this point. VERY.

Components? They’re fine. Map is nice – although we will be going to Kinko’s to expand the size of it.

As previously indicated in last session, this game cries out for bits. Need something cool for to signify the consular armies. Will get cracking on that.

Need a play aid that shows where all the damm tables are (42 tables scattered on charts provided with the game…and, probably need a few more – some streamlined things for the political rules, a play sequence, etc…will see if there is anything here on BGG)

Rules? Yes, some of the rules continue to be loose (Messana Roman friendly occupied and besieged – no leader, Roman Consular Army occupied Messana {but, evidently outside the city}…it is 2x the sieging force, but, the siege keeps active? And, if the Roman Consular Army attacks the sieger, can friendly besieged force join in? Can Roman Consular Army move into the friendly siege city and drop SPs off? Many questions related to a friendly force coming to the add of friendly besieged force). We really didn’t find the Roman political rules to be that maddening, but, maybe it is because we are still not playing correctly. The thing that really drove us mad was the rules for building fleets (it’s even cited in the index – how to build them – but the rules are very unclear on how many ships can be built).

Strategy Comments: We don’t really know what we’re doing yet. Last week and this week, Rome has went to sicily with two legions and had it’s butt kicked. First run thru they lost the entire army. This time, it’s beat up and licking its wounds. Probably need to come with 4 legions – not 2. Interesting naval options; both building fleets/ships and moving them. Both Carthage and Roman have went after Messana; either get a fleet in port or in position to intercept anything. Each has tried raids. No action yet in Corsica or Sardinia; but we can see why those will become important.

In examining the victory conditions, there’s the auto victories

1. Rome takes Carthage, Carthage takes one large or two medium cities in Italy

2. one side controls Corsica+Sardinia+Sicily {all med/large cities in Sicily+Melita(6725)+Lipara(5616)}

3. naval victory (control and a squadron in every major/sec port in Sicily & Mare Africum (port in South Sardinia, Carthage and Utica)

Assuming no auto victory, VPs for control of geography (basically everything between Italy and Carthage. Essentially, it looks like Sicily – the the sea around it – determines the winner.

Game Play? Fantastic so far. The system produces great story and provides strategy gamers which many interesting choices (and trade-offs). Can’t wait to continue our campaign.

Related, had a fellow gamer (BGG handle Uncle_Duke) walk up to the table. Good guy, asked what we were playing and what strategy games we would recommend (he even wants to take the plunge into WiF. I recommended a good heavy strategic game starter point as Paths of Glory. Why not start with the masterpiece?). Turns out he is primarily a WWII tactical gamer – he’s even an ASL player. Anyways, one good comment he made was that the one strategic level wargame he had played, Third Reich, is the reason he can never play Axis and Allies again. That, once you’ve tasted prime beef, why eat cheap hamburger?

Same way I feel about Berg’s Carthage; it’s going to be difficult in the future to play any strategic level ancients game without this level of beef (a heavy integrated political, military and economic game).

Hey!! At least say something! ;)