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Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage» Forums » General

Subject: How does this hold up today? rss

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John W
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Compared to other 2-player games today of similar weight/category, how does this game hold up? I have Twilight Struggle and enjoy it, and I have other head-to-head wargame-ish titles like 1775: Rebellion and Polis: Fight for the Hegemony. Would playing this game show its age or is it a time-transcending classic type of thing?
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Roi Espino
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I would say it doesnt show any signs of age. Its still one of The best cdgs ever designed.

My only caveat to you would be that is a small step ahead on complexity from The Games you quoted.
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Josh Street
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Agreed. Hannibal's mechanics are copied by other games and the shifting leadership of the Romans remains a relatively unique mechanic. I've played it several times this year in preference to several newer war games.
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Christian Letourneau
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The fact that the game, which dates back to 1996 and only got a few changes in it's second ed. rules, is still in the top 10 (9) of wargames on BGG and top 70 (69) overall is evidence that it is still very much relevant today.

It's mechanics are still being copied today (it was the first CDG to use the cards as both ops and events). I would say that the only mechanic which the game uses that has not really been repeated since is the battle cards mechanic, which other games in the genre have moved from to a more traditional dice resolution. The only notable exception would be 1989 which uses a similar mechanic and is only a few years old. The designer of that game acknowledged having adopted that mechanic because he liked it so much in WtP and HRvC.

Personally, I love the battle cards so for me, the game is still very relevant and "modern" in its approach. I would argue that it is still so even if you don't like the battle cards mechanic.

It is considered by many as the best game in the genre, depending on if you consider Twilight Struggle to be a wargame, which is an entirely different debate and one that has been done to death and is not worth getting into here.

In any case, you would not go wrong giving this game a try or even buying it if you can find it for a reasonable price (or if you don't care about paying top dollar for a copy).
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John Smales
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I bought the Avalon Hill version in '96 and updated with the reprint. Great contest for two players. Haven't played in a several years, but I have many memories of some really close games. One of my all time favorites.
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Ryan Kieffer

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I love it, my favorite two player game ever.

As for balance, I believe it's about as perfectly balanced as any game can be. There's an online community at Wargameroom.com that has a yearly league for which I've compiled stats. Over 1000 games played in the league since 2005, and the balance is 48.5% Rome and 51.5% Carthage. In the regular season Carthage has the advantage at 52% to 48%, but that is actually flipped in the playoffs (though a much smaller sample size), with Rome winning 52% then.

Even if one side seems to accumulate a large advantage early, it's possible to slowly make your way back as the side who's behind. I've seen come from behind wins frequently.

Honestly, I can't say enough about this game, in my mind it has a perfect blend of game components. The decisions of how to use your cards optimally are fantastic. How do I respond to my opponent while also trying to put pressure on him so he has to respond to me? I also enjoy the battle cards, though I know some are not as enamored as I am of those. I always feel that may be because some of them don't understand that it's not as straightforward as simply playing the battle cards. It's the choices of, "Do I need to try to withdraw, do I try for the Double Envelopement win, do I just need to win so I'm willing to use Probes" etc.
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Jim Lee

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Excellent comments, Ryan. Excellent.

I think the battle cards are great even if they add time to the game. A battle with a clever, experienced opponent is thrilling for the reasons you mentioned. And the occasional play of strategy cards that have battle ramifications (e.g., spy in the enemy camp and Maharbal's Cavalry) can turn a battle for or against you in moments when you least expect it.

Then, as you noted, the well-timed use of strategy cards and strategic decisions that amount, simultaneously, to gains for you and losses or threats for your opponent are challenging calculations to make. Then there's the various capabilities of the generals of both sides and how to optimize those.

So great! Drama at both levels. The game simply never gets old. Shoot, I just learned after having the game several years, that you can actually move a large Carthaginian army to Rome without rolling on the naval table if you have the Truce card in effect. surprise There are so many cool card combinations that are situationally dependent, it's fun to keep learning them.

As one poster here said, “I can’t say enough about the game.”
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Marcus
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Duguayduguay wrote:
The fact that the game, which dates back to 1996 and only got a few changes in it's second ed. rules, is still in the top 10 (9) of wargames on BGG and top 70 (69) overall is evidence that it is still very much relevant today.
...


Were the changes only to the 2nd edition rules, or were there other changes to the game (map, leader ratings, cards)?
 
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Roi Espino
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Just a few minor rules changes. The map is updated with more modern graphics but nothing more.

And personally I have the AH version and some things in the old design are better for my taste.
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Christian Letourneau
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monstrooper wrote:
Duguayduguay wrote:
The fact that the game, which dates back to 1996 and only got a few changes in it's second ed. rules, is still in the top 10 (9) of wargames on BGG and top 70 (69) overall is evidence that it is still very much relevant today.
...


Were the changes only to the 2nd edition rules, or were there other changes to the game (map, leader ratings, cards)?


As Roi said. No changes to the map, cards or units. The most important of those minor changes is that Carthage no longer loses the game if Hannibal dies, which was the case before...
 
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Jason Godinho
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I just played a game of this over the weekend against my son. We have the Valley Games 2nd Edition and it was a blast. It was a lengthy affair with son as Rome and myself as Carthage.

Hannibal died early in the 3rd round through an unfortunate battle and extreme bad luck. Although his death hurt, Carthage was doing quite well and in position to win but in the second to last turn Carthage was besieged and Rome tasted victory.

My son beat me but that final battle at Carthage had his heart pounding and it was very intense. The game told a great story and was so tense that we commented on how well this game has stood the test of time.

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Jim Lee

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Yes, Jason, my boys and I have had some epic games. My son once laid siege to Rome in desperation without the siege train and was successful (not typical). He did this while I had Marcellus one point away from successfully toppling Carthage by siege. Ton of fun.
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Juan Siso
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One of the best CDG ever made: just playing these days using Vassal and it plays just like any modern game. Better than most indeed.
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Jim F
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One of the few games I would be just as happy to play today as the first time I played it. I didn't like the updated version and have two copies of the AH edition - just in case. Outstanding design.
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Blue Jackal
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Given you cited Twilight Struggle: I kept Hannibal, got rid of Twilight Struggle. TS is a solid game, but if I had to pick a 1v1 game, it'd be Hannibal.
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Tobi Wagner
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For me also Hannibal is the Game that gets on the table most often by far!

It's tense and everytime different and easily playable in one evening if both players know the rules.

there are some variants out there to bring even more diversity to it.

great!
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Max Bogatov
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Gunderian007 wrote:

Btw the sequel to TS is fantastic and different.
Sorry, what game do you mean as "sequel to TS"? Labyrinth or 1989?
 
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Josh Street
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makvlad wrote:
Gunderian007 wrote:

Btw the sequel to TS is fantastic and different.
Sorry, what game do you mean as "sequel to TS"? Labyrinth or 1989?


Or 1960?
 
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John Culp
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rjstreet wrote:
makvlad wrote:
Gunderian007 wrote:

Btw the sequel to TS is fantastic and different.
Sorry, what game do you mean as "sequel to TS"? Labyrinth or 1989?


Or 1960?

Or Imperial Struggle?
 
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Per Sylvan
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HRvC is one of the very best 2 player game ever designed!
 
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Ryan Kieffer

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GA Jim wrote:
Excellent comments, Ryan. Excellent.

I think the battle cards are great even if they add time to the game. A battle with a clever, experienced opponent is thrilling for the reasons you mentioned. And the occasional play of strategy cards that have battle ramifications (e.g., spy in the enemy camp and Maharbal's Cavalry) can turn a battle for or against you in moments when you least expect it.

Then, as you noted, the well-timed use of strategy cards and strategic decisions that amount, simultaneously, to gains for you and losses or threats for your opponent are challenging calculations to make. Then there's the various capabilities of the generals of both sides and how to optimize those.

So great! Drama at both levels. The game simply never gets old. Shoot, I just learned after having the game several years, that you can actually move a large Carthaginian army to Rome without rolling on the naval table if you have the Truce card in effect. surprise There are so many cool card combinations that are situationally dependent, it's fun to keep learning them.

As one poster here said, “I can’t say enough about the game.”


Your points are excellent!

I did want to check with you on the Truce example you cited though, as I don't think that's correct. You can't move to Rome during a Truce because it is Roman controlled and you can't move into the opponent's areas during a Truce. You could however sail to a port in Italy (or any port for that matter) that you control without rolling the sea dice. I've seen this method used to reinforce Hannibal, allow him to flee Italy, or even launch a 10 stack army under Hasdrubal into Southern Italy to open up a 2nd front.
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Jim Lee

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Yes, Ryan. I was aware of the restriction to use the Truce card without naval die roll (need to control destination space). I was just citing (without detail) the option of moving that way. Very cool. Did not know that was available till reading it on BGG.
 
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