Mick Weitz
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A Tale of Two Cities…The First Punic War, Part I

Following is a session report of a game of Carthage, which centers upon the colossal struggle of the First Punic War between Rome and Carthage. The game is divided into yearly turns, starting in the year 264 B.C.E. Without going into too much detail, the majority of action is dictated by what Leader Activation Markers (heretofore known as LAMS) are drawn blindly from a cup. Very good leaders have multiple LAMS, allowing them to act several times during the course of a year. There are also some non-leader LAMs, which when drawn, cause a corresponding event. These include 3 Siege Attrition LAMS (when drawn, both besiegers and besieged in all siege situations on the map may suffer casualties), and the Augury LAM (essentially a random event table-roll the dice and see what random event occurs).

Leaders do all the work. Many actions are available to them, including moving, fighting, sailing, and placing cities under siege. After each action, a leader must make a roll to see if he can Continue or if he is Finished for that turn (or until his next LAM is drawn). Some actions result in an automatic Finish.

Brief historical overview-When the Sicilian town of Messana, ruled by the nefarious Mammertines, is attacked by Hiero, leader of Syracuse, the Romans intervene in order to prevent Carthaginian hegemony over the crucial chokepoint island of Sicily. Rome has just recently conquered all of continental Italy South of the Po River, and perhaps even subconsciously, is looking towards her first overseas expansions.

Carthage is concerned about the growing power of Rome, but is more interested in maintaining the status quo- which is commercial/maritime Carthaginian supremacy in the Western Mediterranean.






Year 264 B.C.E.

The game starts at the middle phase of a normal turn. Carthage gets to choose which LAM they will play, out of a reduced number of LAMS for the first turn only. Carthage chooses Hiero.

LAM: Hiero- Hiero moves out of Syracuse and stops at the town of Catana, picking up three strength points of Sicilian infantry. Continue. Hiero then moves up the coast to Messana. Continue. Finally, Hiero places Messana under siege. Automatic Finish.

LAM: Carth Duumvir- (A Duumvir is a generic term for small fry naval commanders on both sides. These guys can only command one or two squadrons of galleys. Many are available) Fleets 3 and 4 sail to the Sicilian town of Lilybaeum. Fleet 6 sails to the island of Lipara, while Fleet 5 sails north to the Sardinian town of Olbia, where he is scattered and Finished.

LAM: Consul (Claudius)- Hoping for the best, Claudius takes Consular Army I, consisting of the I and II Legions, across the strait of Messana. The Carthaginian Duumvir in command of Fleet 7 must have been dozing, as he fails his intercept attempt (his historical counterpart was crucified for doing the same thing). Much as Claudius would like to continue, he fails his roll and is Finished.

LAM: Roman Duumvir- Fleet II sails from Tarentum to Rhegium, picks up Fleet I, and sails across the strait to Messana. There they engage Carth Fleet 7 in combat. Seeing the puny Roman triremes, and perhaps wishing to redeem himself for the earlier failure to stop the crossing of the Roman army, the Carthaginian Duumvir decides to accept battle. Alas, it was a bad decision, as the Roman commander sends the Carthaginian squadron to the bottom of the sea. Rome controls the straits of Messana.

LAM: Augury- The augury tells of a “cheap Senate.” The effect being, Rome has less access to reinforcements due to a stingy Senate. A marker stating such is placed near Rome. They will have an extra -2 to their manpower roll next time recruitment is attempted.

LAM: Siege Attrition- The only siege consists of Messana. Rome’s control of the harbor makes life easier for Consular Army I, and they only suffer three Strength Points in loses. Nevertheless, the Roman commander Claudius decides to deprive his Mammertine hosts of food first (3 Mammertine SPs lost). Syracuse loses 2 SPs of infantry on the outside of the walls.

LAM: Consul (Claudius)- Claudius, feeling good about his easy crossover into Sicily, decides to “nip this thing in the bud,” and marches out of Messana to attack Hiero’s besieging army. Hiero cannot attempt to avoid, so instead devises a bold attack plan. Claudius, perhaps out of his element, fails to formulate any such plan. Consular Army I is crushed (-3 DR modifier) and suffers the loss of 7 infantry SPs and 2 cavalry while Syracuse loses only 1 infantry SP. The Roman army retreats back into Messana, in a Useless state, while the mildly Disrupted Syracusans continue their siege. Claudius is Finished.

LAM: Siege Attrition- Again the control of the sea saves the Romans from too much grief. The sole siege loss goes to the last remaining Mammertine SP. Syracuse also loses a single SP to attrition.

LAM: Hanno Hamilcar- Finally the Carthaginians get into the picture! Hanno leads his small army of mercenaries from Lilybaeum to Messana to assist his ally Hiero. Continue. He then attempts Siege Reduction on the walls of Messana, but fails. Continue. Not discouraged, Hiero tries again, and successfully lowers the value of Messana’s defenses by 1. Continue. Third time’s a charm, but not for Hanno. A further Siege Reduction fails, and Hanno is Finished.

LAM: Hannibal Gisgo- The only Carthaginian Admiral, Gisgo decides to show the Roman countryside who’s boss, and sails to Bruttium from his base in Lipara with the intent of Raiding the coast. However, after arrival, he fails his continuation roll and is Finished.

Thus ends the LAM segment of the turn. At this point, all fleets not in port must return hence in order to avoid winter storms. None are lost at sea, though this is often a very real possibility. Armies recover one step on their After Battle Status, so Consular Army I in Messana is now Disorganized, while Hanno’s army is back to normal. Thus ends the year 264 B.C.E.







Year 263 B.C.E.


At the beginning of each turn (barring the first), the intrepid Roman player must hold elections to fill the important offices in his military command. Essentially, these “elections” consist of drawing names from a cup (perhaps we should give that a try, eh?). The Romans also have the option to keep, or Prorogue, certain leaders. In this case, Rome Prorogues Claudius, who becomes a Proconsul and maintains his command of Consular Army I in Sicily. The other elections are:

Rome Consul- C. Sulpicious (2,6,C) is given command of Fleet II (2 triremes in Messana’s harbor).
Field Consul- C. Sulpicious (1,5,E) And you thought the Carthaginians had similar names? Apparently this Sulpicious is the retarded little brother of the Rome Consul (nepotism anyone?). By the way, the higher the numbers, the better. However, the letters work like the grading system, wherein A is excellent and E is terrible. This Sulpicious is given command of Consular Army II is Etruria and given Imperium in Sicily (Imperium is where you have permission to command).

Next up is the Carthaginian political phase, which is pretty easy, just a couple of die rolls. Two families are always vying for power in Carthage, the Magonids and the Barcids. The Magonids start in power, and retain it for the year 263. The Carthaginian Senate is always in one of 4 states: Cautious, Interested, Alert, and Aggressive. They begin the game Cautious, and remain that way for the year 263.

Next up is the Force Increase Determination phase, where both sides attempt to recruit soldiers or build galleys. Rome, despite the “cheap” Senate, is able to raise two new legions, thus creating Consular Army III in Rhegium. A Proconsul is immediately elected to lead this army- C. Duilius (2,7,B)!!! This is by far the best Roman general in the game! Also, Ostia’s port capacity is raised by 5 to 10 galleys (the number that may be “based” from that location).

Carthage, with a Cautious political climate and having taken no losses last turn, can not raise troops, so instead builds a massive fleet of 18 squadrons in Carthage itself. These will take all year to build and not be ready until early 262. On to the Operations phase.

LAM: Hannibal Gisgo- Commander of Fleet 1 moves from Lipara to Messana with the intention of stopping supplies from getting to the besieged. However, his force arrives Scattered, and his failed Continuation leaves him Finished.

LAM: Consul (Sulpicious) Move Consular Army II to Rhegium. Continue. Cross Strait of Messana. Continue. The Carthaginians decide not to intercept with Hanno’s small army. Sulpicious moves from Messana to Lilybaeum, and is Finished.

LAM: Consul (Sulpicious)- Note: This is an error, Sulpicious has a Campaign rating of 1, so he can do only 1 action per turn, despite the 3 Consul LAMs (two must be used by his brother, Sulpicious, who has a campaign rating of 2). Place Lilybaeum under Siege, automatic Finish.

LAM: Siege Attrition- Loses in Lilybaeum are 4 Roman SPs, and 0 Carth. (note-here you see what having control of your port does for you again. It’s hard to put the hurt on a force that has supply by sea). Loses in Messana are Carth/Syracuse 5 SPs, Rome 7 SPs.

LAM: Consul- Pass. The only Roman consul who could use this was in command of the tiny fleet in Messana. Hanging out and guarding the harbor seemed the most important thing to do. He should have done some training, but oh well.

LAM: Pro Consul- (A. Claudius) Because the Roman player discovered too late that only 2 consular armies may be in a single province outside Italy at a time, the brilliant commander C. Duilius had to go elsewhere. Instead, Claudius went to work repairing the walls of Messana, and had success (IDS raised back to 4). Continue. He then ordered a Sally against the besiegers which resulted in a 2bp loss to both sides. Automatic Finish.

LAM: Pro Consul- (C. Duilius) Duilius moves Consular Army III to N. Etruria. Continue. He then asks for Senate Permission to leave his assigned province, which is duly granted to so able a commander(with help from a little Guile). Automatic Continue. He then moves to Genua. Continue. At Genua he demands an immediate surrender from the hapless Gallic garrison, who promptly comply with so splendid an officer. Pleased with his success, Duilius fails his continuation roll and is Finished.

LAM: Hanno Hamilcar- Hanno continues hammering away at the walls of Messana, frustrated that his earlier demolition work was undone. He attempts Siege Reduction, fails, but Continues. He tries again, fails again, and in a fit of petulance, is Finished.

LAM: Siege Attrition- Lilybaeum loses are Rome, 2bps. Carthage 0 bps (small garrisons with sea supply are very hard to starve out!) At Messana Rome loses 3 bps whilst Carthage/Syracuse loses only 1bp.

LAM: Pro Consul (Claudius) Claudius, having no repair work to attend to, laughs at poor Hanno’s primitive battering rams, and decides to go burn some. His Sally attempt results in a single BP loss for each side, and he is automatically Finished.

LAM: Pro Consul (C. Duilius) Flush with success at Genua, Duilius moves to Massillia with the intention of replicating his prior exploits. However, he must have underestimated the rough terrain, for when he arrived at the sea side Carthaginian allies city, he was Finished.

LAM: Augury- Sardinian Revolt! This is bad for the Carthaginians, as they are forced to send 10 infantry SPs and 1 cavalry to Caralis in southern Sardinia until this result is rolled again (if that ever happens). Carthage digs deep, snatching a few garrisons here and there and weakening the army of Hanno outside of Messana (Gisgo’s precious “home army” in Carthage is immune to such deprivations, as Carthaginian citizen units will never leave Africa).

LAM: Siege Attrition- In Lilybaeum Rome loses 3 SPs, Carthage 0 (seeing a pattern here?). At Messana, Rome loses 1 SP while Carthage/Syracuse lose 2.

LAM: Carthage Duumvir- Fleet 3 moves from Lilybaeum to Drepanum. Fleet 2 goes from Carthage to Panormus, Continue, and from Panormus to Messana. There it is intercepted by Rome Consul Sulpicious’ fightin’ Fleet II. Once more the quinqueremes of Carthage give battle to the obsolete triremes of Rome, this time at even odds of 2 squadrons (20 galleys) each. Amazingly, the Romans soundly beat the Punics, sending 1 squadron to the bottom. The other retreats to Panormus (I assume that unnamed Duumvir was disemboweled accordingly). Rome’s Fleet II now has the highest crew rating of 4. Finally, Fleet 5 sails from Olbia to Aleria, and is Finished.

LAM: Gisgo- Gisgo, who heads the Carthaginian “home army” has very little to do, so decides to Pass.

LAM: Hiero- Hiero, with his excellent Guile rating, decides to get tricky. Seeing the ineffectiveness of standard siege warfare, he attempts treachery at Messana. Despite his guile, he fails at the attempt, and is Finished.

LAM: Hanno Hamilcar- Hanno, also fed up with the Messana siege, and believing it to be in Hiero’s capable hands, heads with his army to Lilybaeum. The recent fleet movement and forthcoming grand fleet being build in Carthage cannot have a Roman naval base at the entry point from Africa. Continue. Attack Roman besiegers. Roman forces under Field Consul Sulpicious see the small size of Hanno’s army and contemptuously give battle. The result is a Major Victory for Carthage as the inept (battle rating E) Roman general flubs his battle plans. Consular Army II loses 6 infantry and 2 cavalry and retreats 3 hexes into central Sicily in a Useless state. Hanno’s Army 1 loses only 3 infantry and is Disrupted. Much as Hanno would like to pounce upon his wounded foe, he fails to continue and is Finished. The siege of Lilybaeum is over.

LAM: Han Gisgo- Our intrepid Carthaginian admiral moves Fleet 1 from the island of Lipara to the coast of Bruttium. Continue. He then attempts to Raid the undefended coasts, but his attempt Fails. Continue. Han moves to a fresh hex in southern Bruttium, but is unable to Raid again as he fails his continuation and is Finished.

That’s the end of operations. All fleets safely returned to port for winter. Hanno’s army recovers to normal, while the hapless Sulpicious has his force improved from Useless to simply Disorganized. Thus ends the year 263 B.C.E.

Stay tuned for more!!
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Bill Lawson
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Re: A Tale of Two Cities: Years 264-263 of the First Punic War!
Thanks for the report. I have been thinking about this game and waiting for its next sequel on the 2nd Punic War.
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Mick Weitz
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Re: A Tale of Two Cities: Years 264-263 of the First Punic War!
Hi Bill! Word on the street is that the next game in the "Ancient World" series will be called "The Glory That Was Greece" and center on late Classical through Hellenistic warfare around the Aegean. The 4th is rumored to be called "Thunderbolt" (rough translation of Hannibal Barca's family name) and will cover the 2nd Punic War.

Good Gaming~! Mick


PS- I can't wait for all of these games. I'm a big fan of the era and the system. RB better not give up on this, or I will hunt him down!
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Colin Hunter
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Re: A Tale of Two Cities: Years 264-263 of the First Punic War!
I just bought this in the GMT sale. I'm looking forward to playing it. Thanks for the report.
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Richard Berg
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Re: A Tale of Two Cities: Years 264-263 of the First Punic War!
"Hi Bill! Word on the street is that the next game in the "Ancient World" series will be called "The Glory That Was Greece" and center on late Classical through Hellenistic warfare around the Aegean. The 4th is rumored to be called "Thunderbolt" (rough translation of Hannibal Barca's family name) and will cover the 2nd Punic War."

That''s about right . . . I[ve been a bit slow on the uptake of the series, but I've been putting myself in the mood . . . . problem with GREECE is that too many of the possible scenarios are too small . . .and, at this time, the Pelo War scenario is a bit overworked in the hobby.

And doing a map of greece is a pain in the coastline . . .

RHB
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Neil Helmer
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Re: A Tale of Two Cities: Years 264-263 of the First Punic War!
Richard,

have had Carthage for a few weeks, and have been enjoying the smaller scenarios immensely. Looking forward to setting up the Punic War. Please keep up the great work - cannot wait for Greece and 2nd Punic War volumes. And i hope everyone who has before will continue to post these excellent session reports!

Thanks all!
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Mike Duffy
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I can't imagine ancient Greece at a Europa scale would be much fun. What would that be - 20 one hex cities? Ever think of changing the scale a bit? Or covering Phillip/Alexander first?

You're right, the Pelo war is being done to death right now, but other wars are quite untouched at this scale - the Persian invasions, Phillip vs everybody, the Macedonian wars vs Rome, etc. These seem better fitted to the Ancient World system than 1 hex Athens vs 1 hex Sparta
(GO ATHENIANS, GO ATHENIANS, GO TEAM GO!!!!!!!!)
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[q="BROG
That''s about right . . . I[ve been a bit slow on the uptake of the series, but I've been putting myself in the mood . . . . problem with GREECE is that too many of the possible scenarios are too small . . .and, at this time, the Pelo War scenario is a bit overworked in the hobby.

And doing a map of greece is a pain in the coastline . . .

RHB[/q]
 
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Risto Marjomaa
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Personally I would suggest that you look at the 3rd century and not the 5th. There should be several good scenarios from the death of Alexander onwards until the Roman-Macedonian wars of early 2nd century. The scale and structure of these wars would fit the game system of Ancient World Series much better than the citizen wars of earlier centuries. There would be sizable states and federations fighting each other, not cities. And there would be kings, warlords and what not, not magistrates that change every other year.

Also, taking along the First and Second Macedonian war (at least) you could profit from the Roman component of the game. Romans would again be on one side and no new rules would be needed for them. To think of it, you could even have a scenario of Pyrrhus' campaigns in Greece. That way old markers and rules from RRR could also be put to new use.

Sorry for intervening like this. I know there are other things to consider in making games than historical suitability. The Peloponnesian wars are, of course, more known to the public. But I could not resist commenting on this. I would even be happy to help you with background material, should you be interested.

Risto!
 
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Jose Fernandez
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Archilochus wrote:
Hi Bill! Word on the street is that the next game in the "Ancient World" series will be called "The Glory That Was Greece" and center on late Classical through Hellenistic warfare around the Aegean. The 4th is rumored to be called "Thunderbolt" (rough translation of Hannibal Barca's family name) and will cover the 2nd Punic War.

Good Gaming~! Mick


PS- I can't wait for all of these games. I'm a big fan of the era and the system. RB better not give up on this, or I will hunt him down!


Neither can I. 'Thunderbolt' is the highest on my game expectatives. Are there any news about it?
 
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James Lowry
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isildur wrote:
Neither can I. 'Thunderbolt' is the highest on my game expectatives. Are there any news about it?

The current word is that The Glory That Was Greece is being pushed into shape for playtest, and will include an alternate system/game/whatever (I'm obviously not clear on that point) on the rise of the Greek city states. Supporting that will be a smaller-scale map of Greece that will be backprinted to the normal AW map that will cover from the south edge of Macedonia to Crete, taking in Greece, Ionia, and a fair chunk of Asia Minor along the way (apparently an oversized map).

Volume IV looks to be The Republic in Decline, and will feature the Social War of Gaius Marius and Cornelius Sulla, and will just use the Italy map.

For a chance to play with Marius I'm willing to be patient with the 2nd Punic War. (Not to mention I don't have a table that would fit all the maps for it! blush )
 
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