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Hands in the Sea» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Carthage changing history rss

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Derek Long
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I have played this game three times so far (so just scratching the surface). It is a wonderful game and these games were all back to back because we were so taken by it.

All three games went to Rome. The first saw a quickly increasing vp gap after Rome took an early grip on eastern sicily and northern corsica-sardinia. The second saw Rome develop its cities rapidly while keeping a vp lead. The third was a prestige win for Rome. I think we have a handle on the ways the roman war engine can be started and driven. But we seem to be struggling to get carthage up and running. In a face off, carthage is short on strong forces. It starts with a problem finding good vp sources and holding them. We are beginning to think that the key might lie in the fleet, which could significantly slow roman progress, but only if it can stay ahead of the Romans - so should it confront roman fleets aggressively, or pillage in agile raiding?

Any hints to help carthage change history?
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Ed Stat
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I too have played HitS 3 times. I am thoroughly enjoying it also; there is plenty of depth to explore here. So far, I've seen 2 Roman victories and one to Carthage. The Carthage victory was based around:

1)Cavalry raiding in Sicily (prevents Roman VPs at campaign ends and gains VPs for sacking towns).

2)Pillaging Sicily and Italy while holding the pillage strategy card.

3)Expanding in Corsica/Sardinia (for campaign end VPs)

It needed some luck though, as the Romans were unlucky with naval disaster/storms at sea, which prevented them from interfering with Cartage's pillaging and Corsica/Sardinia settlements for some time.

I think you can get the cavalry raid thing going whilst Rome takes time to capture Syracuse.

But these are just early thoughts and against only one opponent. I'm sure that more will come to light as we continue to examine this marvellous game. In particular, we have yet to see much use of some of the strategy cards and no bribery at all, so our strategy and tactics are clearly still immature.

Happy to continue this discussion in due course

Cheers
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Mick Mickelsen
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Just played my first face to face game last night and won as Carthage. Carthage built up its navy and kept Corsica/Sardinia out of supply. Those islands became "blue states." On Sicily it fortified. Although Carthage was always at a disadvantage militarily on land, it always had more money, more cities, and harassed the Romans with raids and pillages. It was our first game and maybe I just got lucky. My opponent rarely thinned his deck and I suspected ultimately that was the key to his undoing.
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Derek Long
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@7downup: Interesting. I think we had got to the point of deciding raiding and pillaging was Carthage's best path, but haven't figured out what to do about deck size, yet. A deck focused on cavalry and sea actions would obviously help the guerilla tactics, but can you afford to thin it and trigger campaign ends more frequently?

@mickmick: we decided Rome really benefits from deck thinning, pushing legions through the deck faster (recruit a couple of legions and the war machine is brutally efficient). The magistrate is useful to start this up, cutting costs of legions by 50%. Then colonists can either switch to naval building, or else to development, according to preference. Cycling the deck quickly only seems to help the Romans. Mobility seems to be more of a brake on their activities. They need the right cards in the deck to target their next conquest. So far we haven't got the carthaginian pillaging engine working hard enough to starve roman resources at all. The strategy card that improves pillaging seemed to offer some chance, but we couldn't cycle ship cards fast enough.
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Judd Vance
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Carthage should jump to an early VP lead or they aren't doing it right.

Remember Carthage's inherent advantages:

1) Easier to expand quickly. Carthage is already on Corsica/Sardinia. Rome has to put together 3 cards to do so. Rome has to conquer Syracuse. Carthage can just cruise into Agrigentum.

2) They start with a fleet. If Rome settles Aleria, you move your fleet up to that sea zone. That puts them out of supply. Rome doesn't score VPs for it. That forces Rome to build up ships instead of developments.

3) Carthage has lots of ship cards. Pillage the crap out of Rome to keep them poor. If you move your fleet to Sicily and you see Rome use the Messana card to settle Tyndaris, then you pillage Messana. Don't underestimate the sting of losing VPs due to pillaging. Also, if the pillage strategy card comes out, snag it. When Rome starts shoving legions into his reserve, pillage him if doing so will keep his money level too low to retrieve his reserves.

4) Carthage has high money cards: Carthage = 4 silver. Lilybaeum & Agrigentum = 3 silver.

5) Carthage starts with the merchant card. That is another way to make money and churn the deck. If the Trade strategy card is out there at the beginning, snatch it up and really crank out the money and churn the deck.

6) Carthage's units are cheaper to acquire.

7) Carthage has an advantage in cavalry. If you draft the neutral cavalry, it makes the advantage that much greater.

8) Carthage is really good at attacking in the open. Their cavalry advantage will always make the Roman player fear losing a battle. The elephants can be particularly nasty. The Libyan spearman give 2 swords on the attack. The Celtic Allies strategy card is a Carthage-only card.

9) Carthage SHOULD be able to settle Thermae and Agrigentum first. Hippana and Heraclea are behind the front lines, meaning they can settle them later and they are fairly protected from raiding. Carthage probably has a small advantage in settling Camarina first. If so, that makes all of Rome's VP-generating Sicily locations (Thermae, Enna, Syracuse) susceptible to raiding.

10) Carthage has an easier time ending the game (use up the developments). If he develops his own locations along with Agrigentum and Aleria (if he can get there first), it is game over. If he jumps out to the early lead, he can play defense and win this way.

11) Carthage starts with 6 silver and Rome starts with 5. Those numbers were not random. They are there for a reason.

If Carthage is really aggressive, he can force Rome to play defense and exert his will on the Roman player. That was how Dan always beat me: he always had me reacting to him (no matter which side he took).
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Kurt Keckley
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airjudden wrote:

2) They start with a fleet. If Rome settles Aleria,


I think Aleria is a Roman death trap. With experience, the Roman player will avoid it.
 
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Derek Long
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p38_Lightning wrote:
airjudden wrote:

2) They start with a fleet. If Rome settles Aleria,


I think Aleria is a Roman death trap. With experience, the Roman player will avoid it.


Wow! Really? Rome can take it first turn (albeit 3 cards). It is 2 vp per turn and a toe hold in sardinia/corsica. The only way to put it out of supply is for carthage to park its fleet in sardinian waters, which means it is not bothering Rome in using the sea to attack along the siciliana coast. It takes a while for crathage to advance up the coast to attack aleria. And Rome can choose to park its fleet alongside carthage if it really wants a scrap over it. Worst case seems to be loss of a town cube and a prestige in exchange for 2 VPs for a turn of occupation - equal value. With other costs being 3 cards versus fleet tied up. And presume on carthage to handle it in Tur 2 or else see the VPs mount. Am I missing something?
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Judd Vance
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Keep this in mind: you can raid it from Oristano with 2 cavalry.

Or Carthage can settle Olbia on the first turn and then raid it with 1 cavalry, or outright attack it, and if the fleet is there, Rome will not be able to reinforce it (apart from the seamanship strategy card). If Carthage chooses to pillage Aleria, the Aleria card is dead and cannot block it. Only the trireme and fortification cards can block a pillage.

But yeah, if Rome avoids it, they probably lose because Carthage will run up and develop all of their areas and end the game before Rome can close the VP lead that Carthage should jump out to.

If Carthage goes after Aleria, they may very well force Rome to focus on the naval aspect or if they do that, Rome may counter-punch them in Sicily.
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Mick Mickelsen
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Mindful that I have only played the game once, my big picture impression is Rome can't afford to give up entirely on Corsica/Sardinia (and remember with Aleria Carthage can threaten Italy/Rome itself), yet to be competitive in that relative backwater, Rome has to stay in the naval arms race, slowing down its ambitions in Sicily.
 
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Judd Vance
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I forgot to mention the Carthage magistrates third power is another advantage.

Don't think Rome doesn't have plenty of advantages of their own. Since this thread was questioning Carthage's ability to win I mention those. Rome has plenty of advantages of their own. Those advantages are probably a little easier to spot for the wargamer who was ready to fight.
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Derek Long
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airjudden wrote:
I forgot to mention the Carthage magistrates third power is another advantage.

Don't think Rome doesn't have plenty of advantages of their own. Since this thread was questioning Carthage's ability to win I mention those. Rome has plenty of advantages of their own. Those advantages are probably a little easier to spot for the wargamer who was ready to fight.


Yes, we had spotted the magistrate as a significant element in carthage strategy - particularly early on when money is tighter. We noticed the subtlety that blocking bribes or raids requires the blocking card in your hand - your reserve can only be recalled on your own turn.

Thanks for the pointers - we are keen to have another bout. Just to be clear, I had no doubt that the game is balanced - we were just looking for some hints!

One of the other things we noted is that fast deck churn works well for Rome, not for carthage. So Rome is happy to spend 3 cards on an action. Carthage needs to time things like the merchant quite carefully.
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Ingólfur Valsson
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Derek Long wrote:

One of the other things we noted is that fast deck churn works well for Rome, not for carthage. So Rome is happy to spend 3 cards on an action. Carthage needs to time things like the merchant quite carefully.


I don't get this it all. If Carthage goes to expand early, capturing more VP locations than Rome initially, wouldn't Carthage want to cycle through the deck quickly to gain the most VP while having the advantage?
 
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Frank Hastings
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airjudden wrote:
Carthage should jump to an early VP lead or they aren't doing it right.

Remember Carthage's inherent advantages:

11) Carthage starts with 6 silver and Rome starts with 5. Those numbers were not random. They are there for a reason.


Can you elaborate on why these numbers are not random? My first game as Carthage did not go so well but I suspect I carried to much AFAOS baggage into the game.
 
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Brad Miller
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frankhastings wrote:
airjudden wrote:
Carthage should jump to an early VP lead or they aren't doing it right.

Remember Carthage's inherent advantages:

11) Carthage starts with 6 silver and Rome starts with 5. Those numbers were not random. They are there for a reason.


Can you elaborate on why these numbers are not random? My first game as Carthage did not go so well but I suspect I carried to much AFAOS baggage into the game.


There must be an "important card" or card combo that one can buy with 6 that cannot be bought with 5?

EDIT: or a card costing three you can double pay for to put on your deck...?
 
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Steve Carey
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Derek Long wrote:
All three games went to Rome. The first saw a quickly increasing vp gap after Rome took an early grip on eastern sicily and northern corsica-sardinia. The second saw Rome develop its cities rapidly while keeping a vp lead.


This is exactly what happened in our first play last night. The Roman player seized the momentum and kept me (as Carthage) on the defensive for the first half of the game, almost winning an Automatic Victory.

Carthage made a comeback in the later portion of the game, but it was too little/too late (Rome 56/Carthage 50).

Derek Long wrote:
The third was a prestige win for Rome.


I don't follow here - 8 Prestige is not an AV condition, just an end game trigger.

In our session, Carthage ended the game with 8 Prestige while Rome only had 1! We thought this odd (Rome actually wanted to end the game ASAP with such a big lead), but figured that while Carthage was out winning the battles, Rome was winning the hearts/minds of the territories it occupied.
 
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Steve Carey
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mickmick wrote:
On Sicily it fortified.


With the Siege Warfare strategy card (fortifying is a free action), this is what the Roman player did to secure Sicily.

With only 5 fortifications in the game, is building forts to deny them to an opponent a valid tactic?

(I should mention that we really enjoyed the game!)
 
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