What are the options with Carthage for Rome and for the Punic wannabes in turn one of 264 B.C.?
Victory conditions revolve around Sicily in one shape or another, and the alliance with Hiero is important.
If that is true then Massana is important to you as well. For without it under siege or under Carthage control Syracuse becomes a Roman Allie.
Thus both sides have a vested interest in this single hex in the opening turns. A lot of decisions are going to be made this turn that have shaping influence upon the next handful of turns and possibly the game result in total.
Carthage can elect any chit to start the War off.
We chose Heiro to move via naval transport to Massana. This requires a roll for continuation and a roll to survive naval scatter but the ability to put Carthage allied ships into Massana sea space will aid the Siege immensely thus worth the risk.
The alternative was move Hannibal Gisgo to Massana, or activate Hamilcar and move him from Lilybaeum, which is another option that has value. However here is the down side:
1. No navy in the hex.
2. Invites Rome to attack at strong odds due to lack of Carthaginian Cav (just 2 Iberians v 8 Roman Cav).
3. His chance of continuation to start the Siege are lower than Hiero.
a. move Rome Consul into Massana hex across the straits before it can be Naval intercepted.
b. wait and see what evolves by combining the two armies of Rome.
c. damn the torpedoes and move the CA across regardless of interception efforts and hope for better continuation rolls than their intercept rolls.
A defeat in battle of Hiero reverts him to Romes side.
This attack would have looked like so:
20 Inf. V 36 Inf.
7 Elite Cav V 8 Cav
The Tactical Leadership roll is modified to the benefit of Rome by +2 and -2 for Hiero (I guess he sucked). Rome has a D rated leader assuming a 5 is rolled he goes to a 7, whereas Hiero is a C dropping to a 3, meaning that on ‘average’ there would be no +/- for Leadership. 1:1 odds also no DRM, and none for Cavalry benefits. Hiero’s elite Cav knock the DRM down -1 for Rome. So a net -1 DRM for Rome, on a 5 result it would end up a 15% loss for both sides and leave disrupt both sides.
Now because this attack would have occurred in the turn that the Romans crossed the straits they suffer an additional -3 DRM in any attacks they make and a +3 when attacked in this turn. Clearly not a good option to attack.
The 5 die roll (lets assume that is net) result has follow on consequences in several ways assuming the attack occurred. Both sides end up disrupted or disorganized subject to the result.
First consequence if this attack proceeds is that since Hamilcar is yet to move, any attack by him will earn a (+2 for Roman disruption,Cav superiority and Elite Cav bonus +2,+3 for strait crossing as well) +7 on the attack (assuming he does not use Syracuse’s men) as Rome is now disrupted from the attack.
Second Syracuse would earn negative row shifts on the next two Siege Attrition markers if they were attacked increasing losses!
So both sides place themselves in greater risk if the attack goes through.
While Syracuse could choose to avoid a potential Roman attack they really only face 3 chances in 10 of a result forcing a retreat , whereas a lot can go wrong for Rome, more so if in the turn of a strait crossing.
Therefore the Romans should sit in the hex and await reinforcement, and be ready to add troops to Massana if needed.
This choice of sitting is not without consequences. With this crossing by just staying out of the city, they do now invite Syracuse to intercept!
From the above we can see that a strong attack is possible by Syracuse as well as the risk of forcing a retreat either into the city thereby increasing the Siege Attrition losses, our out of the hex all together.
Syracuse plays it safe and elects not to intercept and awaits Carthages forces where they shall assess attacking or besieging.
Next chit The Punic Admiral elects to move to Rhegium and prop in the port hex to prevent entry into Massana by Roman fleets!
Carthage Army #1 moves to Massana. They can place Massana under siege as they succeed in their continuation roll, OR attack the Legions?
If the attack is pursued it looks something like this:
36/8 v 20/7 + 16/2 or a 1:1 attack with the following DRMs +1 for Cav superiority +1 for Elite Cav +3 for Landing +3 for Carthage Army efficiency, then the Leadership tactical DRM of C v D on the table above. This is a huge attack benefit.
Even so the Carthage player has to mind his goal of Massana versus denting a Consular Army. If the Romans take a beating there is a chance they retreat into Massana ruining a quick capture in turn 2 if the chits fall right. The downside is the other Consular Army has not moved. If it arrives in Massana their could be real trouble! That however would require 3 successful rolls on the Campaign rating. A major victory for Carthage also makes the troop raising easier for the Romans in the next strategic phase, another reason not to attack
Finally IF Carthage does not siege this turn or missed a continuation roll the Syracuse force reverts to Rome side! So it is key to drop the siege hammer.
I elect for Carthage to not attack the Consular Army and hope for early chit pulls turn two and a favourable last Siege Attrition marker roll next up!
Siege Attrition is indeed the next chit and the Mammertines only lose 1 SP. The Field Consuls army makes it to Rhegium but ends its turn there, failing to continue.