Just finished 2 sessions (solo) with the new scenarios in the reprint rulebook posted online. I played Metaurus, which features a heavily outnumbered Carthage on the left and 3 medium Carthaginian units way off on the right on one side of a stream. I'll try to be brief--all sides are from the perspective of the Roman player.
Game starts with a line command for the Romans. Might as well have stopped the game with that. Pretty much every single Roman unit moves 1 hex closer to the Carthaginians. Carthage tries to move the distant mediums over the river. The Roman left moves up with 2 leadership cards while the Carthaginians desperately screen with light units. The Carthaginians are completely smashed by the Roman left flank but even worse the evaded light units are pinned up against the back of the board as well waiting to go down. The Carthaginian elephants charge along with the remaining heavies and are eliminated. Finally, with the Carthaginians moving their mediums across the battlefield to try to stem the tide, the last lights are pinned against the edge of the board and eliminated with an I am Spartacus card. Game over...
Romans move first and use an inspired center leadership to move up towards the Carthage mediums in the center to move up. This is followed by a leadership anywhere that moves the left up. Carthage's only good cards move all the units across the river to try to get close to the Roman center/right flank. Romans have begun to close on the Carthage left flank with some Carthagian screens in the way. 3 Roman mediums and 2 heavies with 2 leaders then double time. Mediums charge forward and pound Carthage heavies and eliminate or force lights to evade to the edge of the map. Carthage plays heavy command card, Carthage eliminates 3 squads of mediums with their few remaining heavy blocks with the leader while elephants are massacred effortlessly by first striking Roman mediums. Finally, move 3 on the left has Roman heavies with leaders finished off Carthagian heavies. Carthage tries to use its mediums to engage Roman center/right flank (who they could not have defeated anyway) but Roman left flank and cavalry easily wipe out lights who are pinned to the edge of the map, preventing that hopeless test of strength.
Thoughts on Metaurus:
Not a good scenario, IMHO. I don't see any way for the Carthaginians to win this scenario. Carthaginian left flank is where their strong units are but they don't compare to the Roman massive block of mediums and heavies on the left/center. One early line card moves the entire Roman army way too close for the Carthaginians to win in my opinion. On top of that the Carthaginians light slingers start *horribly* both too close to the enemy and with no way to evade pinned up against their own units unless they are moved. A recipe for disaster. There is no point in trying to get the warrior and medium cav from across the river and I can't imagine the Romans ever moving their auxiliaries at all.
In short, both the Roman left and middle areas are stronger than their respective parts of the Carthage line and the three units on the right are not fast enough to ever get to battle for the Carthaginians. Without an amazing card deal there's no changing the outcome.
Many of the other maps are fun unbalanced--you try to squeek out more casualties using local force superiority. I don't think this one is nearly as good. I'd like to see the armies start one more hex away from each other *and* have the light units start in a position where they can evade the enemy. Carthage lights are just easy kills and using moves to move them is a waste of the few moves you have before your line is smashed to dust.
I managed a 6-7 win for the Carthaginians so, improbable as it is, it can be done. I'd say both sides played an average game but the Romans were perhaps over confident. Carthage was favoured with far better cards than the Romans and that made the difference. If the Romans had hung back and waited for a better draw they would have most likely carried the game.
Gist of what happened follows:
Rome started by moving the Lights up and effectively screening in Carthage Mediums for most of the game. Carthage rearranged Slinger unit and LCs so they would be less vulnerable to Rome's MCs charge. Rome got MCs ready to move up as Rome had cards for both sides and none in center.
Carthage made daring move across river with Warriors while Rome maneuvered Nero and Mediums as support for coming MC charge. Warriors charge Auxes on hill manage to take ground and damage both Auxes. Rome spends energy to save Auxes and ends up with 3 Auxes dead and 1 surviving Warrior unit mooning them.
Tired of this distraction Rome charges with MCs kills Slinger and runs off LCs. Carthage Double Times and surrounds 1 MC and kills it and manages to kill another evading MC weakened by the previous charge. Nero himself comes charging up with plenty Medium support and exacts retribution on the Heavy Double Timers killing one plus a Slinger who just happened to get in the way.
Finally 2 of Carthage Mediums get in on the action and in the resulting push and shove which is predictably going Rome's way, Nero and his Heavies get killed in one fell blow. Badaboom. Game over.
Yes, even tho the slingers can ignore 1 flag each battle
(when 2 adjacent friendlies back em up) the split army
loses many chances. Forest Ambush from the "Carthag right flank"
is a possible tactic.
Does anyone intend to play the final 12 scenarios of the
2nd edition (the second punic war scenarios) and
count their total victory balance?
I want to play like in Battle Cry where each subsequent battle
carries over from the last one. However, the rules do not
mention this as being a viable option, and frankly
the balance does not seem very promising for the Carthaginians overall.
Of course, Trebia and even more Lk. Trasimena favor Carthage.
But over the 12 battles it looks like Rome has a huge advantage...
I'll post more as I play them! :-)