Back from root canal treatment and on with the narrative. A visit to the dentist is a lot like playing the Italians in Pax Brittanica. Not quite as painful as you were fearing, but seems to go on forever and when it's finally over you feel numb and in need of a stiff drink.
Turn 5 (260 BC)
Sempronius is prorogued for further heroics in the North, and survives Pluto's icy grasp. L. Caecilius is elected the new Roman Consul and given the Rhegium fleet. A. Atilus is the new Field Consul - a decent commander for once! Ser. Fulvius is Praetor in charge of V Legion and A. Manlius is Urban Praetor. There is no change to Carthage's status.
Neapolis is built to its maximum capacity of 100 galleys, and the Romans finally gain access to naval transports.
Seeing the opportunity, the Senate agree to the raising of a new Consular Army of 2 legions in Rhegium, and C. Atilius is elected Proconsul to command them.
Carthage expands the port capacity of the city of Carthage to the maximum of 220 galleys. No further fleets can be raised unless another major port is captured.
Hasdrubal is selected to be Admiral of the newly completed Drepanum fleet.
Leaving 3I as garison, Consul Atilius packs all 4 legions in Rhegium onto transports, and escorted by the Rome Consul's fleet he rows to make a landing on the coast North of Syracuse (hex 6319). The Carthaginian galleys are all still it port and fail their heavily modified interception rolls. The Romans are back! Atilius wastes no time, marching to Syracuse and placing the city under siege.
Hasdrubal sails the Drepanum fleet to engage the Consular fleet near Syracuse, but Caecilius evades into Syracuse's hex and the Carthaginian Admiral is unable to follow.
Siege attrition causes Syracuse to lose 1 militia. The Roman besiegers have no access to a friendly city for supply purposes so elect to forage the province. They only lose 3I, but devastate Eastern Sicily, making attrition much more severe from now on.
More siege attrition. The Syracusans lose another militia point, but the Romans suffer the loss of 7I as supply problems start to bite.
Hannibal Gisgo rows to challenge Caecilius' blockade, with 20 Quinquiremes against Rome's 10 triremes. Gisgo loses half his fleet, but sends the Romans to the bottom, with the loss of their Admiral. Rome now has no warfleet whatsoever.
Augury shows the Roman Consul has fallen ill. Not too surprising as he lies on the sea bottom off Syracuse.
The Corsican Duumvir again successfully raids Etruria.
Proconsul Atilius, commanding 2 of the legions outside Syracuse, attempts to reduce the potency of the defences but his two attempts fail. (A roll of 9 is needed thanks to Rome's -3 Siege Modifier).
Consul Atilius contemplates an assault, and given the perilous supply situation decides to go for it. 57I to a defense strength of 14 (2I x the city's defense strength of 7) gives 3:1 odds. Due to the presence of Gisgo's fleet supporting the city he need to roll a 6+ to take Syracuse and rolls an 8. The romans take 25% losses and the defenders 50%. The 1 surviving Syracusan Infantry is allowed to march out to garrison Enna, as there is no sack of the city. All leaders survive.
Proconsul Sempronius marches to Massilia, losing 2I to attrition. He demands the city's surrender, but the Spaniards defending the walls merely jeer. Astonished at such an insult, he Stops.
Hanno Hamilcaris marches to Syracuse and places it under siege with his 15I and 2C.
Hiero swiftly follows, leaving 2I to garrison Messana. He considers using treachery to retake his City, but the 2 Romans leaders each have a guile point making the chance of success remote. Instead he attempts to reduce the walls, making an impressive 5 attempts before Stopping. Unfortunately only 1 attempt succeeds, lowering the city defense from 7 to 6.
Hasdrubal rows to Drepanum before the winter storms arrive.
Praetor Fulvius gets permission to take the V Legion to Rhegium.
Siege attrition causes the besiegers of Syracuse to lose 2I. (They ARE able to supply themselves from nearby friendly cities.) The Romans suffer the loss of 18SPs, and decide to eat all the horses. There are now 33I left inside the walls.
Finally, Proconsul Sempronius decides that his Legions in Gaul would be better employed in Sicily. The Senate however, has a different view and rejects his request. Fed up that no one will pay attention to him, Sempronius Stops.
East Sicily fails to recover from devastation, and Sempronius loses 1I to inertia attrition.
TURN 6 (259 BC)
Both A. Atilus and Praetor Fulvius are prorogued. Gn. Cornelius (2-6-C) is the new Rome Consul and given command of Consular Army II besieged in Syracuse. Q. Valerius (2-6-D) is the new Field Consul and replaces Sempronius ouside Massilia with the Imperiun of Sicily. Proconsul Atilius is given Consular Army III in Syracuse. L. Valerius is the new Praetor Urbanus.
Carthage remains cautious, though with Romans now controlling Syracuse and present in Gaul there is a 50% chance of an increase in attitude each year.
Rome puts a fleet of 200 under construction at Ostia.
If Carthage can capture Syracuse before Rome can take another important city in Sicily they will automatically win.
Consul Valerius makes an epic march from Gaul, the length of Italy, to Rhegium where he Stops, losing 2I to attrition.
Proconsul Atilius attempts to repair the damage to Syracuse's walls,and fails.
Siege attrition cause the loss of 3I to each side.
Adherbasl rows his fleet to blockade the besieged port.
The Corsican Duumvir successfully raids Etruria again and returns to scatter just outside his home port.
Consul Valerius activates again and attempts to cross the straits to Messana, taking the V Legion to add to his own two. Carthaginian interceptions fail and Valerius immediately puts Messana under siege.
Siege attrition. Valerius loses 1I and the garrison of Messana nothing. The besiegers of Syracuse lose 2I, as do the Romans, leaving just 9I in the 4 Legion garrison. (This seems to contradict the numbers given in turn 5 - the 9I left is definitely correct and explains why the Consul in Syracuse hadn't attempted to sally out to break the siege).
More siege attrition. Valerius loses 3I and the garrison of Messana 1 Militia. There is no loss outside Syracuse, but the romans lose another 3I.
Hiero once more attempts to undermine the walls, but fails with 3 attempts.
The Consul chit is drawn, but Valerius has already taken his max 2 actions and there is not a lot the commander in Syracuse can do with the forces he has left. He just tries to rebuild the walls again, and fails.
Hanno attacks the city walls and with an impressive 7 attempts he lowers the city defense down to 4. This still leaves the defense strength at 24 against assault, and the besiegers only have 20I left. Also, Hanno wants to assault the city with Carthaginian forces alone, otherwise it won't count as controlled by Carthage for victory purposes. More Romans must die.
Proconsul Atilius rebuilds the walls back up to 6 again, and Hanno grinds his teeth.
Praetor Fulvius tries to undermine the walls of Messana in vain.
Consul Cornelius rebuilds Syracuse back to the max level of 7.
In frustration, Hanno leaves the siege to Hiero and marches to the relief of Messana. Valerius is amused at the size of the Carthaginian army (12I and 2C vs his own 46I and 12C) and prepare to acept battle. Hanno Stops however, perhaps unable to convince his men to attack at such odds. It is decided that the cowardly General be recalled to explain this failure to the City Fathers of Carthage, and to be hopefull replaced by a better commander. Hanno the Great is appointed - a General prectically indistinguishable from Hanno Hamilcaris except for the possession of 1 point of Guile.
The turn ends and E. Sicily remains devastated.
TURN 7 (258 BC)
Valerus and Fulvius are prorogued, as is Cornelius. There is no choice in proroguing Atilius, and he goes back into the pool. Cornelius is wounded in the Visit from Pluto phase, and unavailable for duty. M. Fabius (1-6-E) is the new Rome Consul and takes over the defences of Syracuse. L. Iunius (1-5-E) is elected field Consul and takes charge of the siege of Messana. Proconsul Valerius gets the new Ostia fleet, C. Sulpicious (2-6-C) is elected to the other Consular Army in Syracuse and Praetor Fulvius keeps command of V Legion outside Messana. I realise at this point there are 7 legions in Sicily, and only 6 are allowed by the rules. Fulvius will recross the straits to Rhegium at his ealiest opportunity.
Carthage, perhaps scenting victory, finally becomes interested in the war. A new army of Numidians (5I and 10 elite C) are raised in Carthage, with the impressive Carthalo (3-6-B) in command.
Rome constructs a fleet of 5 galleys at Rhegium, which are available immediately, and appoints P. Servilius (2-6-C) as Proconsular admiral. Rome feels the need for 2 fleets this turn, to try and help the 2 sieges in progress.
Siege attrition. Hiero takes no losses, and with no blockade to modifry the roll, Rome loses just 1I, wiping out the VII legion in Syracuse. The besiegers of Messana lose 3I, while the garrison is untouched.
Adherbal rows his fleet of 150 to Messana to assist the defenders and hopefully interscept any Roman fleet movements. He scatters on arrival, but is able to reform the fleet and take up station.
Hannibal Gisgo sails past Rhegium unmolested and takes up blockade positions at Syracuse.
Servilius and his 50 quinquiremes row out from Rhegium in pusuit. Gisgo evades down the coast, leaving Syracuse unblockaded.
Carthalo embarks his new army on transports and lands at Cephaloedium, some 80 miles East of Messana. He marches West along the coast road, losing no men to attition. Consul Iunius decides to try and defeat this newcomer before he can link up with Hanno's men and tries for an intercept at Mylae, 1 hex short of Messana. Unfortunately he's not up to the task. Carthalo arrives outside Messana and Stops. (Note that Hanno the Great is Overall Commander, despite being a worse General)
Praetor Fulvius, realising he is luck to have escaped Senate Censure, returns over the straits to Rhegium to bring Rome back doen to 6 Legions in Sicily. (I just realised while writing this up, that only 3 legions now remain inside Syracuse, so Fulvius could have stayed after all!)
Adherbal takes his fleet to attack Servilius. Servilius evades West along the coast, leaving Adherbal to blockade Syracuse once more.
Servilius activates and chases Gisgo another 2 hexes West without forcing an engagement.
Consul Iunius now attackes the combined Carthaginian armies outside Messana. Rome has 29I and 8C against 17I and 12C. Carthage get -1 for their better Generalship roll, -1 for elite cavalry, and -1 for cavalry superiority. A roll of 9 (-3) gives 10% losses to Rome and 15% to Carthage, an indecisive angagement. Carthage chooses not to retreat. All armies are disrupted and all commanders survive.
The Numidians revolt, and attempt to sieze Sicca Veneria without success.
Hiero no longer has the manpower to keep Syracuse under siege and marches North to engage Iunius' battered force. On arrival however he fails to make the attack.
Valerius brings the Ostia fleet South to drive away the Duumvirs outside Messana, but is scattered and unable to reform. There are now 7 leaders with forces in the Messana hex!
Hannibal Gisgo rows to Melita for the winter.
Siege attrition. Two militia are lost in Messana and Iunius loses 7I (both rolled 9s). Carthalo activates and attacks Iunius again, adding Hiero's forces (but not those of Hanno, who outranks him). Carthage has 12I and 15C vs 19I and 7C. Carthalo's generalship gives him a+7(!), +2 for cav superiority, +2 for elites and -2 for being disrupted. Unfortunately he can only roll a 0. Carthage loses 10%, Rome loses 20% and is forced to retreat South 1 hex. The Romans are now Disorganised and the siege is broken.
Carthalo gets his last activation and pursues Iunius. Iunius chooses not to evade, as there's only a slim chance of success, and +2 on the battle roll if he fails. The attack is with 3I and 7C against 15I and 6C. Odds give -3, Army efficiency -3, elites +1, and generalshio +6. After the roll Carthage loses 10% and the Romans 15%.
Hanno the Great recovers his army from Disruption and gets the next chit as well, marching to the gates of Syracuse, past the Roman army en route.
Valerius reforms his scattered fleet and returns to Ostia, as his is the last chit before winter.
The turn ends and E. Sicily remains devastated.