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Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage» Forums » Strategy

Subject: The Newbies Checklist rss

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Andy Ravenscroft
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The Newbie’s Checklist

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Some hard won lessons from a first outing with Hannibal

Whenever you plan to do anything with a general, check his special power first.
In my first game Hanno went over and made all sorts of trouble in Sicily, something that had a significant impact on the outcome of the game. Hanno is not allowed to leave Africa.

Don’t forget Scipio Africanus.
I know, I know, but he’s out of the game for so long, it’s easy to overlook him in your first game. The game turn marker is just big enough to cover up his name on the game turn track and if your Carthaginian opponent is quick to move the marker and you’re a newbie Roman you might miss it until the next turn…

Watch out for Hannibal in battle.
He’s very slippery, and losing the initiative can be very costly to the Romans in the early turns. He’ll take the initiative more often than not, and he can dance around most Roman generals until S.Africanus shows up (see above).

Watch out for the Roman CU regeneration
The Roman ability to regenerate kicks in later in the game and gets a huge boost when S. Africanus shows up. If you’re Hannibal, don’t be seduced into thinking you can get away with repeated attrition. It’ll hurt you sooner than it hurts the Romans.

Losing battles hurts.
The attrition part isn’t too bad, but you can get spanked on a retreat. On the influence front, although it doesn't hurt quite as much early in the game the loss of PC’s is felt more severely in battleground provinces as the game goes on.

Don't get stuck in a city under siege.
Once the 3rd siege point is achieved, you will all die. If you are stuck, sortie before you run out of time, but better not to get caught in a hole in the first place. If you sortie, remember that although you can retreat back into the city walls, you can’t withdraw there. When the enemy arrives, consider instead withdrawing to an adjacent space rather than within the city. The enemy will still have to siege the city if they want to control it and you may have an opportunity to do battle to relieve the siege.

Don't push too far into an area with enemy influence.
It’s tempting to do so if you’re Hannibal (Traitor in Tarentum, anyone?) but you can’t retreat into an area with enemy PC. Leave yourself an escape route.

Never hit the beach against a large force unless you have a path of retreat.
Opening a second front in Spain or Africa is very valuable to the Romans, but you can’t retreat by sea or on to enemy PC’s. Be as sure as you can be that you’ll win and have enough time to build up at least one converted PC space to retreat to.

Sometimes your strategy card hand will suck.
In my first game, the Romans couldn’t do anything on the last turn since all the generals were 3 points to activate and there were no 3-point strategy cards in the Roman hand. It probably wouldn’t have affected the outcome, but imagine this happening at a critical point earlier in the game.


Edited for PC/CU confusion.
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brian
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gobbeg wrote:
Don’t forget Scipio Africanus.
I know, I know, but he’s out of the game for so long, it’s easy to overlook him in your first game. The game turn marker is just big enough to cover up his name on the game turn track and if your Carthaginian opponent is quick to move the marker and you’re a newbie Roman you might miss it until the next turn…

I leave him ON the turn track. You can't miss him that way. (Unless you forget to advance the turn marker.)
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John-Paul Pizzica
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As a newbie to Hannibal as well, thanks for the good tips. My wife and I are gearing up for our first game tonight (the first attempt at a game had us both sitting at the table, eyes glazed over). Hopefully we can learn from your mistakes!
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Andy Ravenscroft
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Quote:
I leave him ON the turn track.

Nice. Wish I'd thought of that.

John-Paul: good luck with the game. It's really a lot of fun. If you run into any other good Newbie Checklist items as you play be sure to let us know.
 
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Charles F.
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These are reasonable newbie tips. Yet once you've "got" the game, then you might be willing to take - in SOME cases - risks the above advice recommends you not to take.

But that's the next level. Cautious conservative play following the above rules makes all the sense in the world for newbies.
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Darin Stephenson
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gobbeg wrote:

Never hit the beach against a large force unless you have a path of retreat.


Yes...P. Scipio learned this lesson the hard way...twice...in my last game. You'd think that once he had come back from Hispania as the only survivor, they would have talked him out of going again...
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Aram Schvey
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Quote:
In my first game, the Romans couldn’t do anything on the last turn since all the generals were 3 points to activate and there were no 3-point strategy cards in the Roman hand. It probably wouldn’t have affected the outcome, but imagine this happening at a critical point earlier in the game.


Good point, but that gives rise to another piece of advice. As the Romans, it's wise to select a proconsul who has a 1 or 2 strategy rating, just to make sure you can activate the armies you need to. Nothing's worse than having a bunch of 1 cards as the Romans and having only 2 or 3 strategy generals.
 
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Alexandre Gadoua
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Something newbies often forget to do (I just started to do it) is to use cards to convert(if a CU is on it)/conquer new enemy PC's.

Never forget, down the road, owning PC's means owning provinces.
Furthermore, when you disrupt the enemies PC's, you often force your opponent to change his tactics.
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Fred W. Manzo
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I'd also suggest that if you have nothing pressing to do, fill up empty spaces with your Political Control makers. Especially, fill up those spaces that will not be automatically emptied due to isolation at the end of a turn. PC makers are like having a savings account. You may need to draw it down when things turn bad.
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Ken
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There's one I'd suggest adding:

If you aren't placing PCs a fair amount of the time - you're doing something wrong.

Remember, this game isn't about winning or losing fights - it's about controlling provinces. You can win every battle you engage in and lose the game by a mile. Particularly in the early game, Carthage needs to build their base of support for the Italian invasion, Rome needs to grab turf so that the province differential at the end of the turn isn't atrocious. Forget to place PC markers strategically and you will lose the game.
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Chris Montgomery
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perfalbion wrote:
There's one I'd suggest adding:

If you aren't placing PCs a fair amount of the time - you're doing something wrong.

Remember, this game isn't about winning or losing fights - it's about controlling provinces. You can win every battle you engage in and lose the game by a mile. Particularly in the early game, Carthage needs to build their base of support for the Italian invasion, Rome needs to grab turf so that the province differential at the end of the turn isn't atrocious. Forget to place PC markers strategically and you will lose the game.


It's getting a little beyond the "newbie" level, but by placing "PC markers strategically" is meant that as the Romans suffer PC casualties (which they will take out of the neutral areas near Massilia), you, as Carthage, can snatch up those spaces and cut them off from ports so that the Roman player can't place any PCs that are in supply--eventually, he'll have to take them from his provinces. He will also be unable to build a "bank" of PCs. The only remedy for a Roman player who's losing 2-3 PCs a turn is to send an army to Massilia to flip them back, wasting precious Ops.

While the same strategy can work for the Romans against Carthage, it is not always a winning strategy for Rome. Carthage's strength lies in Hannibal and the various strategy cards that give Carthage a fighting chance (Syracuse, Corsica, Sicily, I Have Come to Italy, etc.). While Carthage doesn't necessarily have as many provinces, they do have lots of spaces in those provinces--e.g. 5 or 6 PCs in several provinces, where Rome has a couple provinces with only 4 PCs and 1 that has only 2!

Chris Montgomery

PS--I am NOT an experienced player. I've played about 15 games, and lost all but 2 of them. Wargameroom has some of the best players in the world (I do not jest, here), and while you will learn a lot, you will get bruises in the process.
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