I managed to get ahold of Hannibal: Rome vrs Carthage back in May for a more down to earth price here on the BGG Marketplace for $60. I punched out the pieces and read the rules, then my good friend John read the rules. We'd been wanting to get down to playing the game and finally today I called John up around 4:00 and we decided to give it a go.
I set up the game and reviewed the rules while John was on his way over. I've read the rules to many Avalon Hill games over the years and it seems like I always get something wrong in doing so. Not sure why that always seems to happen, but this case was no different. I missed the part where the rules instruct you to skip the reinforcements phase on the first turn. Well, the first game I was Carthage and John was Rome, and John promptly landed a naval invasion launched from Rome with a 10 unit force (which you can't do!) and defeated Hanno in Carthage.
Well a quick rereading of the rules and we set up the game and switched sides. I was now Rome and John was Carthage. John started off in 218 BC force marching Hannibal to Massilla and capturing the unprotected city. John's next card play saw Hannibal March across the Alps with the help of a guide so he suffered minimal (1) attrition in the crossing. I was faced with a powerful Carthaginian army under Hannibal with two elephants in Northern Italy!
Well, I decided to try to see if I could get John to slow down by attacking his rear areas. So I boated a general with about 5 CUs(combat units) with one of my campaign cards from Rome to the undefended city of Saguntum in Spain. Well, John proceeded to attack the force outside of the city of Rome, handily defeating it after several rounds of combat. The remaining force retreated to Capua and Hannibal besieged the 2CU garrison in Rome. Fortunately, Carthage is lousy at sieges so Hannibal instead lost another 1 strength CU in the siege. On my turn, I hit John with an epidemic event card so Hannibal ended up losing more of his besieging force. Hannibal then retreated to Bruttium in the South where the Carthaginian-friendly tribe was located.
The next turn saw my general in Saguntum march to New Carthage and defeat Hasdrubal there and successfully take the city. Suddenly, all of Spain was relatively undefended and John was denied two of his four reinforcements. Increased Roman influence in Idubeda North of Saguntum was giving Rome control of that province. John countered with a 1-2-3 punch of Syracuse joining Carthage, a Sicilian revolt, and treachery in Tarentum which pretty much gave Carthage total control of Southern Italy and Sicily. I hit John with a revolt in Western Numidia. I was getting more reinforcements than John, but John was winning in the political arena.
First thing in the next turn I hit John with a revolt of Eastern Numidia (the deck was reshuffled due to a Truce card). John shipped a force over from Carthage to Gades to shore up the Spanish front. John was in his worst shape at this point but managed to recover quiet nicely. With an Intercepted Message Event card John managed to grab the Hannibal Charmes Italy card which he used to strip me of my control of more Roman territory. Ugh! Then John managed to grab Neapolis which I hadn't gotten a chance to fortify. Suddenly, I was losing control of too much of Italy. Worse, with each turn, I was losing more control markers each Political phase due to my inability to gain political control markers in Spain and losing what I had in Italy.
Well, seeing that things weren't going my way, I sent P. Scipio to Utica in North Africa as it wasn't defended. Upon it's capture, P.Scipio then went to Carthage and laid siege to Hanno and 2cu's in Carthage. I had Carthage under siege the rest of the game. Fabias Maximus marched out of Rome with a force of 9 and engaged Hannibal's 6cu strength force. Miraculously, Fabias Maximus defeated Hannibal on the first card play - John didn't have a Frontal Assault battle card to match mine! John retreated Hannibal down to Apulia, and then moved him to Messana in Sicily. A Corsican/Sardinian revolt hurt Rome though at a time when each PC (political control) marker was becoming more and more critical.
I was thinking at this point that I was getting stronger all the time as I now had John outnumbered in strength in Italy, in Spain, and in Africa. I put Scipio Africanus and the 5cu's he comes with in Saguntum to try to win over there. John however was getting stronger politically all the time. John tried to move Hannibal twice from Sicily to Africa to aid the siege of Carthage (I was up to a 1) and rolled a 6 both times! I decided to try to see if I could bleed Hannibal of his strength and marched Nero down to Sicily with 10 cu's. Well Hannibal defeated Nero in spite of having only half the strength. If I hadn't tried to fight Hannibal I would have held on to two more provinces since my loss caused me to remove two markers. In the next political phase, Rome only had two provinces controlled to Carthages ELEVEN! I had 8 pc markers left to remove, so Rome ended up suing for peace in 218BC.