Russ Massey
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
To conclude the session report I'd better start by confessing to getting the number of turns wrong. I thought I'd played 10 turns, but from my notes it turns out to be 8. I know I'd meant to play 10, but growing toothache as the game went on (and I thoroughly recommend intense concentration as a counter to pain), the need for an emergency dental appointment and then the return to the house of an active 1 year-old all combined to cut into the time allocated.

Turn 8 (257 BC)

Since Syracuse is not currently under siege the II Consul Army under Fabius is disbanded (all 3SPs remaining). This leaves just 2I in the III Army as garrison, and the Roman hopes to get reinforcements into the city before it can fall.

No Roman magistrates are prorogued this year. L. Iunius, the lousy Field Consul from last year, must have a lot of friends in the Senate, as he is elected as this year's Rome Consul. However, no one trusts him to raise any new legions and he is allocated command of the 50 galleys of II Fleet in Rhegium. L. Valerius is the new Field Consul, at (1-4-E) probably the worst commander that the Romans possess. He is elected to command the disrupted I Army South of Messana. C. Sulpicius (2-6-C) is Proconsular Admiral of the Ostia Fleet. C. Fundanius (1-5-E) gains Proconsular command of the Syracuse garrison (still technically a Consular command since the 2I left are each from different legions). The Praetor leading V Legion in Rhegium is C. Aurelius (2-6-C), and finally C. Sempronius (2-5-D) is the new Urban Praetor.

The Carthaginian Elders revert to their habitual cautious state, necessitating the disbandment of one of the Sicilian armies. I really want to keep Carthalo, so first roll for Hanno the Great. With a 2 on the die he is recalled. The mercenary Gauls and Iberians in his army go home and are removed, while the remaining 6 Libyan infantry are placed as garrison in the small city of Megara. Hopefully Carthalo, now Carthaginian Overall Commander, can pick them up and add them to his army during the turn.

Carthalo lost 6SPs from his army last turn, and so Carthage can attempt to gain reinforcements to make up the losses. This is something I should have been doing for Carthage throughout the game (when not raising new fleets at any rate), as otherwise the Carthaginian armies tend to gradually vapourise through the trickle of attrition and battle losses. A roll on the manpower table gives 6 Gallic I as reinforcements, and since a major port in Sicily is Carthaginian controlled they can be placed straight into Carthalo's army. This gives the General enough Infantry (with Hiero) to besiege Syracuse.

With a roll of 1 he Senate refuse to raise any more Legions! Have they decided to give up on Sicily entirely, or is it a justified lack of faith in thei ability of this year's commanders? Things look grim.

Sulpicius rows the Ostia fleet to support his comrades in Syracuse, but an untimely squall blows the fleet off course and it is scattered in hex 6422. The Admiral fails to continue.

Hasdrubal now leads his 120 galleys to Syracuse to begin this year's blockade, but he scatters in the city's hex and Stops. Blustery weather off the Sicilian coast this Spring!

Carthalo now activates and attacks Valerius, who is in the same hex. Valerius is caught with his toga down (roll of 9 for evasion) and watches helplesly as his disrupted 13I and 6C are attacked by 9I and 6C. The overall modifier works out at +2 for the Carthaginians, but a poor roll of 3 results in a draw, with 20% losses to each force. Failure to secure a victory means that Carthalo is unable to roll for continuation. Since neither side in the battle had 20SPs or more there is no disorganisation to the forces.

Carthalo draws the second of his 3 activation chits straight away. This time he successfully coordinates his attack with Hiero, who moves onto the battlefield from Messana to give a total Carthaginian force of 15I and 11C vs the Roman 10I and 5C. This time the modifier is a healthy +7, and Carthalo rolls a 7 for 14 and an 'Unpredictable Result'! The die is rolled again ignoring all previous modifiers and with just a +2 from the table, and +1 from Carthalo's Guile point, since this result (unlike in a normal battle) allows Guile to be used as a modifier. A roll of 5 gives a 5/15 result. A Carthaginian victory, but could have been much better - Valerius must have done something unusual to disconcert the Carthaginian commander. Carthage loses 1I and 1C. The Romans lose 2I and 1C and retreat to Tauromenium, Disorganised. There are no additional losses to cavalry pursuit. The victors are Disrupted and Carthalo fails to continue.

Sulpicius reforms his scattered galleys and returns to Syracuse to contest the control of the harbour.

Hannibal the Rhodian takes the fleet from Carthage to Syracuse to engage the Roman Admiral and a battle takes place. Sulpicius is the better commander, but his fleet are not corvus-equipped as he felt it too risky given the distance from Ostia (the corvus unbalances galleys, and increases the chances of losses to bad weather). Hannibal has 180 galleys with crew level 4 vs 200 Roman galleys at crew level 0. Carthage ends up rolling a D10+2 for losses and Rome a D10+3. Hannibal loses 33%+ of his Fleet and Sulpicius 10%. Sulpicius is a natural seaman! The Rhodian loses 60 galleys and retreats along the coast, and Rome loses 20 and raises crew ability to 1.

Consul Valerius attempts to gain the safety of Syracuse's walls to allow his battered force time to recover. His first hex of movement takes him 2 hexes away from Carthalo's force and with a river between them. The Disrupted Carthaginian force has a 30% chance to intercept, but blows it. The Consul has escaped!

Outside Syracuse, Hasdrubal reforms his scattered Fleet and attacks Sulpicius with 120 Galleys (crew 4) vs 180 (crew 1). This time the Admirals are evenly matched, and both end up taking 10% (20 galleys) losses in a drawn engagement.

All siege attrition counters have been drawn by this time, so Syracuse looks unlikely to fall this year unless by treachery.

Hiero activates and moves up to Syracuse' walls, picking up an extra 3SP from garrisons en route.

Adherbal takes his fleet from Lilybaeum to have yet another go at Sulpicius, but the winds turn against him and he is left scattered along the Syracusan coast.

Northern Etruria is once again raided by a Carthaginian Duumvir-led fleet.

Praetor Aurelius embarks his Legion on transports to attempt a bold landing near Drepanum on the West coast of Sicily. The 2 Duumvir fleets in Messana can attempt to intercept as he passes adjacent, each with a 30% chance of success. One of them makes it, but Aurelius avoids the pursuit and makes a successful landing, placing Drepanum under siege.

Carthalo picks up the 6 Libyan infantry in Megara, but Stops and is unable to join Hiero.

Adherbal reforms and attackes Sulpicius with 150 galleys (crew 3) against 160 galleys (crew 1). This time Carthage finally have a better Admiral, allowing their full tactical ability in naval warfare to be used. Carthage is rolling D10-1 for losses, while poor Sulpicius is rolling D10+7. The result is not pretty. Adherbal loses 10 galleys while the Roman loses 60 and retreats.

The Numidians once again revolt and hurl themselves vainly at the walls of Sicca Venerium.

Iunius finally activates and rows his 50 galleys against the Duumvir that tried and failed to intercept the Roman transports. The enemy successfully evades back into Messana harbour.

Turn Ends

Well, that's all I had time for, but I have to say I haven't enjoyed a solo play through of a game as much as this one for years. As you see, I made quite a few errors as I played, and probably even more that I haven't noticed, but the game system works so well that it's hard to make a big enough error to invalidate everything. Still, probably better to throughly read both rulebooks BEFORE actually starting the scenario.

What would I do differently? Well, although the Romans do have unlimited manpower they can only apply it overseas to a maximum of 6 legions. My original idea of constant attacks against Carthage to wear down their manpower reserves might work in the very long term, but in the short term Rome needs to build some fleets to contest Carthage's naval domination from the very start, and not wait until all the harbours are built up like I did. Going for Syracuse was a mistake, as that meant that Carthage could take it from Rome for an auto victory without having to worry about losing Hiero as an ally.

I feel that Rome should probably use it's advantage in potential commanders to make multiple threats, placing several cities under siege at once. Carthage is unlikely to have more than one army on Sicily for the first few turns, and Hanno can only deal with one, or perhaps two Roman forces at most. So what if he defeats them - just disband and rebuild another couple of legions to attack somewhere else.

I think Carthage actually did OK. I should have kept Hanno's army topped up with reinforcements, but unless attitude improves from cautious (and if it does it's only because the Romans are doing quite well already) Carthage doesn't have the armies to get fancy. Just build fleets and go for the naval domination option until you see a chance to take Syracuse away from your (usual) ally.

Although the rules are fairly tricky to learn, by turn 5 I think I'd finally cracked the sequence of play and what options were available, and from then on it was a joy to make plans that that were rendered useless by the pull of the wrong chit or the boneheaded decisions of some lardy-arse politician miles away from the action. I really can't wait for this system to be applied to other campaigns, and I intend to pick up the reprint of Rise of the Roman Republic as soon as it's available.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Benn
United Kingdom
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: 1st Punic War Scenario - First Eight (sic) Turns Solo -
Great Session Report Russ

I love this period and was meaning to pick up a copy of this before ASL started taking all my wargaming money. The only thing that puts me off is I've heard that all the short scenarios like the mercenary war are hideously unbalanced, while the main campaign game is 20+ hours. Not that I mind playing a 20+ hours game, but it does tend to scare off the less hardcore....

Do you prefer this to Hannibal?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Massey
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Re: 1st Punic War Scenario - First Eight (sic) Turns Solo -
Crom Cruach wrote:
Great Session Report Russ

I love this period and was meaning to pick up a copy of this before ASL started taking all my wargaming money. The only thing that puts me off is I've heard that all the short scenarios like the mercenary war are hideously unbalanced, while the main campaign game is 20+ hours. Not that I mind playing a 20+ hours game, but it does tend to scare off the less hardcore....

Do you prefer this to Hannibal?


As to the shorter scenarios, I haven't had a chance to try them out yet. I agree that most people seem to think that Agathocles diesn't stand much chance of winning, but the Mercs Revolt scenario seems to get a lot of play and often comes down to the final activation from everything I've read.

As to Hannibal - It's a great game and can be played in 4 hours, so it all depends on what my opponent would be up for. It's certainly easier to pick up and play Hannibal after 6 months without reading the rules again than it would be for Carthage.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.