Carthage 2

May 24, 2013: Triumph and Shame in Carthage.

The site of most of the action this session: Sicily 

The Dreaded Helmet of Shame would make an appearance in this session 

Third bite of the apple. We resumed our campaign initiated last week. When we last left the story in 263 BC, Consular Army 1 had been wrecked in Sicily…

262 B.C.

Elections/Political Climate

Rome Consul: 319 – M.Atilius (3-6-E) (initiative rating {# activation chits} – campaign rating {roll equal to or less to do about anything in a turn} – battle rating {provides combat die roll modifier}).

Field Consul: 332 – N.Fabius (2-5-D). Fabius is assigned to the mess in Sicily.

Fleet 1 (our main fleet): 326 – L.Caecilius (2-6-C). At least he is a “C” leader.

There are 40 Roman leaders. The split is:

A = ZERO, B = 2 (Atilius and Duilius…rejoice when either appears…shower them with wine and party girls), C = 11marginals, D = 12 bums, E =15 stinking bums

The Roman pool of leaders will face off in Sicily against Hiero of Syracuse (“C”) and the following mix of Carthaginian leaders: A = ZERO, B = 4, C = 6, D = 7.

Berg’s leader ratings (initiative, campaign, battle, mortality, guile points) and a lot of flavor to the game. Part of that flavor is the Leader Tactical Ability Table. Prior to combat, each player rolls a die, cross references to their Battle rating and generates a number. Subtract the lower players’ die roll from the higher players’ die roll resulting in a DRM for the battle. Typically, a “C” leader will gain a DRM of +2 vs a “D” leader, but, could get a DRM of +7 or suffer a DRM of -4….a big, beautiful range.

Rome also selected 3 Practeors (a C, D, E) for their other minor fleets.

Carthage’s ruling family and political climate remained the same; Carthage is a stable place… at the moment.

Manpower: Rome builds port capacity at Tarentum and raises 2 additional legions. Carthage replaces 2 SPs.

LAM activations

Listed are the activations for a turn in order drawn

Hiero is a hero

1: Consul. Time for our wrecked army in Sicily to try another bold move. Fabius attempts to disengage from Heiro and his Carthaginian allied army. Heiro intercepts (leaders can intercept forces up to three hexes away – cool rule) the fleeing Fabius and promptly administers another arse whipping. Rome suffers another Major Defeat. After the battle, Fabius retains only 24 SPs (have lost about ½ since coming to Sicily), while the Syracuse army has 19 SPs. Fabius does manage to retreat west from Messana, so, maybe, he will be able to steal a march due to how the chits are pulled.

2. IP-5 Pass (that’s the Carthaginian leader IP-5)

3. IP-12 Pass

4. Siege….The Roman allied forces at Messana finally starve. Syracuse enters Messana and celebrates accordingly.

5. Proconsul: The Roman main fleet sails to Sicily, is blown off course and scatters.

6. Siege…no effect

7. Carthage Dumvir: Carthage again successfully raids Italy

8. Rome Dumvir: Pass

9. Consul. Fabius runs west to Drepanum. Why? Rome needs a port and a medium city in Sicily. With a medium city, Roman armies can “heal” (recover status) during the turn. Additionally, with a port, reinforcements can be easily added. Finally, every city and port in Sicily is important to victory. So, after a Roman war council, Rome decided if it could threaten Drepanum and Lilybauem (northwest Sicily), it would force Carthage to react out of Messana and Syracusae.

10. Proconsul: Fleet to Drepanum.

11. IP-8: First naval battle of the turn at Messana. Both sides lose a squadron, but Carthage emerges victorious.

The volcanic bite of a berg random events chart

12. Random Events: A dreaded 00 rolled…VOLCANO erupts! Mt.Vesuvius blows its top. Luckily, Rome has no significant forces in the area.

13. Praetor: Another fleet sails from Italy to Messana…and fails its CR (Continuation Roll). Rome utters a curse on the dice gods.

14. Siege. No effect

15. IP-8 Pass

16. IP-12. 2 SPs ordered to Sicily from Carthage.

17. Praetor: Again, Rome tries to engage the Carthaginian fleet at Messana. It fails.

18. Hiero of Syracuse finally gets an activation. After having intercepted Fabius just outside of Messana, Hiero decides to run back to Messana and help hold the key spot to prevent further Roman legions from gaining a toehold on Sicily.

19-21: Consul Activations. Rome Consul takes its Consular Army II, sieges and takes Massilia and then runs back to Rome….and notices a mountain is missing its top in the distance.

Turn Summary: Another very good turn for Carthage. The only bright spot was that Fabius did managed to get to the northwestern tip of Sicily and may be able to grab the two critical cities in that area.

Play Summary: More fun. Starting to get the feel of how to campaign. Some VERY interesting mechanics related to intercepting, intercepting the interceptor, when to attack/when not to.

261 B.C.

Rome Leaders: 

Rome Consul: 330 – Fabius comes back! A good break to have the 2-5-C back.

Field Consul: 327 – Furius shows his face. He is one ugly bum: 1-5-E. Given that he is supposed to manage the campaign in Sicily, Rome will have to come with a cunning plan to gain some traction in that part of the front.

Fleet (main Roman fleet): 302: Fulvius: 1-5-D The “D” isn’t so bad, but, the “1” is; won’t be able to move that fleet that much this turn.

Carthaginian Politics: Carthage’s ruling family and political climate remained the same; Carthage is a stable place… at the moment

Builds:

Rome: Builds the port capacity at Osita (+5 to 8). The Consular army at Rome gains 22 SPs.
Carthage: Increases its port capacity and generates 2 SPs.

LAM activations

1. Proconsul: Rome reinforces the fleet at Drepanum

2. Siege: no effect

3. Proconsul: Drepanum is placed under Roman siege

4. Duumvir Rome: Pass

5. Consul: Furius manages to accomplish something and takes the city of Drepanum. The army suffers heavy losses storming the city and only 15 factors remain of the Roman force in Sicily.

6. Proconsul: Now that Rome has taken Drepanum, it uses a proconsul to recover status for the army: the army, although one third of the original size is fully healed and ready for action.

7. Proconsul: Another Fleet sails from Italy to Sicily.

8. Consul: The BIG Consular Army at Rome requests permission of the Senate to leave and head towards Sicily. The Senate has other plans and denies the request. Roman players mutter more curses of the dice gods.

The Senate says “NO!”

9. IP-12: Pass

10. IP-12: Pass

11. IP-8: Carthage attempts a naval battle but fails to engage the enemy.

12. Duumvir Carthage: Carthage again raids Italy with a fleet

13. Proconsul: Rome attempts to attack the raiding fleet, but falls its continuation roll

14. Siege: No effect

15. Proconsul: Another fleet sails to Drepanum…Carthage misses an interception roll.

16. Consul: Movement to Messana

17. Proconsul: Pass

18. IP-5: Pass

19. Random Events: Sardina revolts! Carthage must divert 10+ SPs to Sardina. One Roman player shouts out, “THIS is our biggest victory after 20+ hours of play”. ☺

20. Hiero: Pass

21. IP-8: Carthage fleet reinforces at Messana.

260 B.C.

Rome Leaders: 

Two leaders, 320 Fulvius and 330 Fabius are prorogued to be admirals.

Valerius 339 becomes a proconsul to lead 2 legions residing in Rome.

Carthaginian Politics: Carthage’s ruling family stays the same. The political climate goes “INTERESTED”; Carthage gets a third army.

Builds:

Rome: Builds the port capacity at Osita (+5 to 13). Rome flubs their reinforcement roll. No SPs.
Carthage: Increases its port capacity and generates a few SPs.

Another turn of a wicked fun fight for Sicily

LAM activations

1. Proconsul: Valerius runs to Rhegium with 2 full legions.

2. IP-4: Pass

3. Praetor: Fuivius 320 sails another fleet to Drepenum.

4. Consul: Field Consul leaves Sicily. He places 12 SPs into garrison at Drepenum and takes the 3 remaining Cav SPs to Italy and back to Rome. PLAYER COMMENT: We couldn’t find anything in the rules restricting spitting out factors from a Roman Consular Army. That doesn’t make sense to us since it would to some very “gamey” tactics. Subsequently, we decided to restrict it to the IDS value of a city.

5. Proconsul: Valerius with his two legions crosses into Sicily. Hiero tries to intercept (and, if he had, it would have been a BAD day again for Rome), but, Hiero is occupied with other matters. Valerius then makes his CR and attempts to move. We thought that after a CR, Hiero would have another chance to intercept. However, looking at 6.53, if a leader can only attempt once per movement operation (unless the force moves out of range and then back into range). Regardless, Valerius takes his two legion (that evidently had the cloak of invincibility) and proceeds to siege Syracuse. Roman players smile at their good fortune.

6. Praetor: Fleet V runs to Syracuse

7. Siege Attrition: Both Rome and Syracuse lose a SP

8. IP-12: Carthage attacks the Consular Army II in Sicily and gains yet another Major Victory (DRM was a +6…DR was 6 for a +12). Carthage takes a mere 5% losses, while Rome suffers 20%. The Roman leader responsible for this debacle is directed to wear “THE HELMET OF SHAME”.

Roman Consul Sporting a Crown of Shame

PLAYER COMMENT: We’ve mentioned Berg’s funky BRT (Battle Results Table) previously. Very interesting table. One great feature is the “X” result. Essentially, a player rolls again if it encounters an “X” and equally dramatic results for the attacker or defender can result. For example, on a “0” the attacker loses 30%, while the defender suffers “5%” and on a “9”, the opposite occurs. It’s a great idea – to introduce that TOTALLY random crazy range of possible outcomes in ancient battles. One thing I would have liked to see was that the % loss indicated on a the chart is what is inflicted on the opponent (The Empire in Arms model) rather than suffered by a side. Regardless, it’s a very interesting BRT and hope to see other designers pick up on it.

9. Proconsul: The main Roman fleet sails to Lilybeaum.

The Carthaginian fleet would suffer three naval defeats and then a coup de grace delivered by the dice gods

10. IP-8. Carthage determines the time has come for the naval knockdown in Sicily. Carthage takes 12 squadrons and hits Rome’s 11 Squadrons. Rome ends up with a surprising Naval victory, with Carthage losing 3 Squads and Rome suffering only a loss of 1 Squad.

11. Proconsul: Attilius 313, admiral of the main Roman fleet now attempts to press the matter and tries to engage the just defeated Carthaginian fleet. He fails.

12. Siege: No effect

13. Consul: Truly miserable Cardicius 318 (1-4-E) {the only thing he does well is to die quickly – his mortality rating is the worst by far of any leader) takes just disgraced Consular II army and sieges Lilybaeum.

14. Consul: A consul raises 4 SPs.

15. Consul: Pass

16. IP-12: Carthage heals its arm in Messana.

17. IP-8: Carthage tried to flee with its remaining main fleet. However, the GREAT Atilius 313 again managed to intercept it. Atilius subsequently won his third victory of the turn (and at this point had inflicted 7 Squad losses on Carthage). Carthage declined to retreat, and we noticed that the winner could then retreat…how far? Doesn’t seem to be a limit, except what a player wants to accept in terms of naval movement distance effects .

We also noticed the Triumph rules (CR 5.47) have three conditions:

a. Wins a battle (8.51) or siege
b. Inflicts 10+SPs OR 5+Squadrons
c. Returns his army to Rome

We wondered if a naval battle would qualify as a battle – yes, we saw the rule cite on “battle”. And wondered, could a “fleet” be considered an army for these purposes? In CR2.2, fleets and armies are of course separate, but they’re both tracked on the “Army Display” sheets. What was the intent of Mr.Berg? Couldn’t really reach a resolution and decided to allow it as to not interfere with great drama in the making; if Atilius could make the die rolls, he could be a hero, if only for just one day.

Consequently, Atilius was able to successfully “retreat” all the way to port next to Rome (survived a wicked Naval Movement Distance Effects roll)….and then the rules indicate he is automatically moved by himself into Rome (Although does one actually need to do a Movement Operation, instead of using retreats to get to Rome?). Given Atilius loses during the turn, he would require permission of the Senate to be granted a Triumph. A drum roll begins….a die is rolled…..and Atilius is granted a Triumph. Rome rejoices!

Why let the rules interfere with good drama?

18. Consul: Pass

19. Proconsul: A fleet sails to Rhegium

20. Hiero: Moves towards Syracuse, but decides not to risk an engagement with the Roman army sieging his home city.

21. Random Events: It’s bad weather time in the Med. Stormy seas.

22. Proconsul: Another fleet sails to Rhegium

23. Carthage Duumvar: Another successful raid of Italy

24. Siege: No effect

25. IP-5: Pass

One item of note at the end of the turn: the remaining disgraced Carthaginian fleet tried to return to port. A big storm put the entire thing out of its misery. No better way to end a session of Carthage that witnessing an absolute disaster.

Session Comments: We had an absolute blast again. Between the numerous Roman debacles and well deserved shame, Roman innovative tactics utilized to gain a Triumph and the many random disasters that buffeted both sides, we had many a good laugh.

It was also had the usual talk shop with gamers stopping by to view the game in progress; some old friends, and a number of “WHAT is this?” budding/closet/occasional wargamers – potential recruits to BIG beefy titles. Additionally, we displayed, as usual, a few games on our hoping-to-be-played-soon-pile including Storm of Steel (been in our closets for years – and John had just scored the SoS Expansion, so, maybe our next beast to tackle) and Kingdom of Heaven (which we previously played, and, REALLY enjoyed)

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