Over the past few weeks I have pondered how the Romans can gain an upper hand. Much relies on a “all in” last ditch must have Massana at all costs to avoid the Naval Auto Victory or Land Victory type of effort. Regardless of leader quality, the state of the Legions if Massana falls then even seemingly more drastic measures must be taken. For if the Romans do not take a Port city on the Coast of Sicily by 260 BC then soon thereafter victory will be Carthages!
Several things will/could prevent this from happening. The ability to raise Legions, the ability to leave Rome or the Italian mainland, the fall of LAMs and the fall of Siege Attrition markers. Blasting away 2, 4 or even 8 Legions is not something that Rome can afford NOT to do. The latest modifications to the VC have swung the pendulum in favor of Carthage IF Massana Falls. If not, well then you got a different beastie to play out.
On to the turn.
Politics Phase etc
In a final and hilarious (to me ) twist of fate the Roman player starts out attempting to prorogue his best leader. Who must under go the dread visit from Pluto, his leader has a mortality rating of 8. So only a 9 will be a problem and Rome has not thrown a 9 for 4 turns.
At first we think he is dead, but realize that he is just wounded and thus excluded from play this turn. The hits keep coming for the Romans this game. Dulius is thus wounded.
Romans revert back to their election cycle and pull an unprecedented seven 1 initiative rated leaders.
Meanwhile Carthage must roll to see if armies are disbanded. Hamilcar the Barcid rolls an 8 and stays in replacement of Bostar. Hanno Hamilcar rolls 4 as does Gisgo. Across the table Rome raises two legions and places that Consular Army in Rhegium.
Finally 13 new squadrons are built most in Carthage the rest in Lilybaeum (5).
Carthage Army #1 leaves Massana and heads to Lilybaeum, then by Naval Transport to Caralis. Leaving Sicily in the hands of Carthage’s other army. Siege attrition reduces the besieger of Drapernum by one and has no effect upon the city. [Note Rome is not putting fleets in the Port hex to negate Siege Port benefits].
Ultimately they choose to stand. This is a raw 1:1 attack with several DRMS. Carthage does not fair well in the DRM run, with a -3 for the new army efficiency, in fact the Carthage Leadership was hoping the Romans would run. their 18 Infantry and 6 Cav choose to fight it out.
Romes E rated leader rolls well but this still give Cartho a +3 for his B rated leader, which negates the efficiency deficit. Net after cavalry bonus and other elements is a +3 to the die roll. The Romans suffer a retreat and another major loss in this game with 20% losses to 10% for the winner. Pursuit and Butchery leaven another 5%. Rome is reduced to 14 SP and 5 Cav SP. CAIII retreats into the Segasta hex, it is now rated useless. Hamilcar is disrupted.
The Proconsul for CAII moves from Massana to Agrigentum to lay siege. Siege attritions reduces CAII by 3 sp and none for the besieged. Hannibal Barca moves 3 fleets to Massana.
We spend a long, long time reviewing political and military control of provinces and Sicily (a special case). The Proconsul moves forces into Segesta reducing his status to disorganized.
The Romans at Agrigentum lose 3 more SP in siege attrition.
Augury # 92 does nothing. Rome fleets fiddle about with naval movement in lots of 9 mps. This is a good tactic but relies on too many rolls for continuation. Hamilcar does similar by moving into Drapernum proper. He then move to Agrigentum to attempt the relief of that city. Hiero relaxes in Syracuse raising forces for the coming clashes.
Consular Army #1 crosses over into Corsica and quickly grabs military control of the entire province. Thwarting a Land based Auto Victory effort, they wrap up by laying siege to Aleria.
In a final cruel twist the Rome consul travels ‘alone’ to Agrigentum, but ends up stuck in Massana…unable to get there due to failing continuation rolls…
but somehow I believe he is ‘placed’ upon his army not moved. [EDIT indeed it is]