After starting narrative run throughs twice now I guess the gas is out of that fire for readers, so I will instead continue my attempt to give you a concise rundown on this turns game play and embellish where I just cannot contain myself! So onwards with Turn 2.
At the outset we update Army and Naval eefficienciesfor both side in the Strategic Phase. Then proceed to Roman Elections. Suffice to say that 5 out of 6 elected officials are E rated with one B rated Leader [#310] who is able to be placed in charge of a Consular army as Proconsul. The others were #304 for Rome consul, #328 for the other, Proconsul, Field Consul #334, Fleet admiral – #338 and then #331 for the Urbanis.
Two Legions are raised by Rome, this gives them 3 full Consular Armies or 6 Legions total, the max possible I think. Notable is that only 4 at any one time will be eligible to be in Sicily. This will matter later in the turn and the next turn (262 B.C.).
Carthage ignores troop raising of 2-3 minor step losses but still maxs out Port capacity for the Port of Carthage. Some further clarification was required here to settle just how many fleets can be raised by Carthage (literally the total of the Major Ports, not the total of Port Capacity of all…just MAJOR ports. That is a big difference.).
LAM Phase (chit pulls)
ProConsul (PC) is first up. This chap can only command one Consular Army (CA) at a time and currently leads #I. Which is in Massana OUTISDE the walls with CA#II.
We can imagine the better leader chaffing at not being given command of both armies to crush the Carthage and Sicilian enemy, while the Politically superior but wildly inferior Overall Commander scoffs at the need for both armies to deal with the ‘rabble’ of forces.
With 2 Legions arrayed in battle formation and enough cavalry to keep it all pretty even this looks to be a deadly fight of two relative equals. Lets drop in on the battle details.
Rome has 42 combat strength points (SP) 8 Cav and 34 Infantry. V 34 total SP from a combined Carthage & Sicilian force (7 cav and 27 Infantry), there will be no Cavalry superiority DRM as both are equally opposed.
The Roman leader is indeed superior to the leadership rating of Hanno and even Hiero. B rated versus C rated. What is the potential impact? The Leadership ratings are one area where you can have a disproportionate effect upon the outcome. In this case if the B rated leader rolled high – say a 9 and the C rated leader rolled low say a 0, the delta of those two numbers becomes a DRM in favor of the high roller, in this case +6!
However, conversely the negative impact is not as high if the Carthaginian Leader Hanno rolls high and the Roman (Duilius) rolls low, it would be a -4 to the roll. So the better leadership rating nicely mitigates a massive disaster. Sadly the Romans do indeed roll a zero and the Carthage a 9!
The forces are arrayed for battle, we can imagine the walls of Massana buttressing the attackers Right Flank and the Siege works the Left Flank of the Punic army. The strong spring sea breeze cools both sides as the anxiously await hostilities beginning.Trumpets blare, the Numidian drums begin to beat. On the far right of the Punic Army sits Hiero, his Elite Cavalry fully geared up, heavily armoured for the time and long cavalry spears are catching the light of the sun. The shore prevents them from having much of an opportunity for flanking, but the sand dunes and outcroppings may provide an opportunity to do some evil to the Roman auxiliary Cavalry.
The forces are matched 1:1 for a 0 modifier, -4 for leadership, then another -1 for the proficiency of the Carthage army versus the Roman army who are not Veterans. That is -5 to a d10 dial roll. The final modifier is -1 for Syracuse’s Elite Cav. Net total of -6 to the die roll.
So why is the Roman player attacking with such crappy odds you might ask? He really has to in order to try and a. weaken the Punic force, b. prevent an assault of the city, and/or c. dislodge the enemy from the walls and secure the Syracuse alliance. Thus now committed he is in a bit of a pickle with a-6 DRM.
Libyan, Numidian, Gallic, infantry roar and charge forward en mass, while the Greek style Hoplites of Syracuse march forward. It is a bloody affair, hacking chopping, slashing combat. The heavily armoured Romans press back the lighter Carthaginians on the Left but struggle with the more disciplined Hoplites on the right.
The roman cavalry is driven off and the Elite cavalry wheels and hits the flank of the cohorts, disrupting and breaking down the legions formation. Broken they do however retreat in good order.
The Romans suffer a major defeat rolling a net 1. They retreat into Massana and carry the CA#II with them. The result is 15% losses for Rome and 5% for the Punic Army, but due to the size of the DRM’s the losses for Carthage are reduced by 5% thus zero and a mandatory retreat was called for by the Romans result.
Now with 2 CA’s stuck in the city what Carthage really needs is one or more of the Siege attrition markers to be pulled so that the armies can be weakened for ‘free’.
The Carthage Duumvir is pulled next and the squadrons descend upon Massana, and reinforce the coastal ports of Sicily. The Romans consider attempting to intercept the approaching Quineremes but after some consideration realize that it would be a suicide attack, and they have had enough of that for one year (though killing off a E rated leader is always a good thing!).
Knowing the danger of having 2 CA’s in Massana for Siege attrition the next chit pulled allows for the Consul to attempt a move, trying to take CA#II out and into Sicily. Hiero and Hanno realize the danger of a roaming Roman runaway rogue army…and elect to intercept the force. They roll a 3 which is under the campaign rating of Hanno of 5 and we head into another battle in the same hex.
34 v 34 again as this is the fresh Legion, the Romans though are tagged disorganized, this will not bode well. Carthage assesses that the worst that the leadership ratings of E v C can do is a -2 to Carthage. They end up lucky with a net +4 and while the die roll is poor the battle is a swirling minor victory 15%/20% losses. Rome and Carthage are both disrupted inz the hex neither side retreating. That ends Romes move.
Thankful Rome got one army out of the Siege. There is at this point some confusion over the DRMs and more importantly the ABCD rows. Do they apply to Siege attrition? We elected that no, that would be too large a loss for one Siege marker, given there are three in the cup. So the net loss for Rome per Siege Attrition marker is going to be 8 SP as they are maxed out. Note that earlier on Carthage moved a fleet into the ocean hex of Massana Port, this negates the benefit for Siege attrition to Rome and swings the result to a +3 penalty on the die roll. Carthage rolls for attrition and rolls a zero…hahahahahahahahahaha… Oh I love this game.
0 , ZERO, zip, Nada points lost.
Hanno Hamilcar smells blood, as he activates next. But rather than the risky and non conclusive Siege Assault he elects to reduce Massanas walls. Rebuilding later IF Carthage takes the city will be hard but knocking the multiplier effect of the Internal Defense strength (IDS) is critical. The attempt is successful. A pen lid flies across the table for the 2nd perhaps third time today. I attempt not to laugh, but fail miserably.
Now we make an error, but fortune smiles on the good and true. The Pro Consul of the CAIII attempts to cross the straits but fails to obtain permission. As we realized later that move is not possible due to the maximum Legions allowed in Sicily.
In the 262 B.C. turn Rome will need to decide whether to reinforce the weakened Legions, or disband and replace and which leaders to appoint where. He has a lot of complex choices to make. It would be nice to have a choices and their impacts flow chart for the Roman player as the politics and the consequences of the choices made are significant.
The Carthage Admiral activates and seeks a sure fire Raid, to help offset the army raising bonus that Rome will receive for the Major Defeat(+2), the raid is successful after being scattered, and regrouping, the forces raid and earn a negative (-2) DRM for the Roman troop raising phase in the coming turn.
Siege Attrition chit and another 8 SP drop off, the Punic Army drops 2 SP. Hiero passes in his chit. A non event Augury occurs and then the army of Hanno reduces the walls down to One! The Final Siege Attrition occurs and another 8 SP drop off with just 1 loss for Carthage. While the loss disparity is significant it must be remembered that Carthage does not have a limitless supply of forces, so each SP is a bitter blow to be lost.
In the final phases of the turn the Inertia attrition strikes forces in Massana and outside Massana, but has no effect (Carthage should have devastated the region!).
CA #I has 21 SP and CAII has 39. CAIII is at full strength across the strait.
Not sure what to say here, in the 2nd turn it is worth while for the Carthaginian player to go later in the turn than earlier, reducing the Roman ability to respond. From that perspective the chits have now fallen my way two turns in a row.,
The only thing better would have been a siege attrition immediately after Romes retreat into the fortress of Massana. To say die rolls were going my way and against Rome would be an understatement! That said Rome was attempting several aggressive moves forced by the situation:
Sitting in the hex with my forces he could have allowed the siege to continue unrestrained and risk the result of a direct assault, but that was a low margin opportunity. So he had to try and force Carthage off the siege and hope to then convert Hiero to Rome.
Due to the chit pull, he could not obtain a 2:1 attack using both Consular Armies, a savage blow, but he did have his best leader….until the Leadership rolls screwed him. This forced a retreat either AWAY from the siege hex or INTO the besieged city….it had to be into the city, otherwise an assault would likely make Massana fall with just 4 strength currently in it. So with units stuck in the city under siege the next activation he obtains he HAD to move some units out of Massana to reduce the unit totals in the City to avoid the Siege Attrition marker popping up. As he would lose 24 or more strength points.
Attempting to leave gave Hanno another bite at Legionary Armies, but not too much damage was done. All in all a bad run for Rome. The good news is next turn they can assess politically and militarily what to do and will be back to full strength.
Chit Pulls for the turn: