Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 Hide
4 Posts

Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Simul-Siege! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Brian E
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
The last game of Hannibal I played was a while ago, but I will never forget how it ended.

I was Carthage. Both my opponent and I are experienced players. The game unfolded typically: midgame, Carthage had a modest edge, but Scipio possibly-to-be-named Africanus had just arrived in Rome with the extra troops. Carthage's starting holdings were intact, and Hannibal was in southern Italy with a full complement of troops and enough local control to not be in immediate danger. Yet, Scipio easily could turn the tide. The game could have gone either way and it appeared that much exciting play remained.

In the turn of Scipio's arrival, I picked up my hand of action cards. It was the worst hand I have ever been dealt in Hannibal - while I don't recall the specific cards, it's easy to imagine a hand filled with total garbage. Surely, my hand must have included "Hanno Counsels Carthage", "Hostile Tribes", "Tribal Resistance", "Spy in Enemy Camp", Rome's 1-card "Allied Auxiliaries" and similar wastes of time.

Worse, such a hand usually means your opponent is dealt a powerhouse. Indeed, Rome's hand was filled with powerful cards. This imbalance in hand quality proved to be decisive in the game's outcome...

Unsurprisingly, Rome began the turn by playing a "Campaign" card and moving Scipio to Africa with a full complement of 10 Roman troops.

I paused. Carthage had troops in Africa under Hanno, and my preference would have been to return Hannibal to Africa from a Carthaginian port in southern Italy so they could be led by Hannibal. Should I not wish to risk the sea move, striking Scipio with Hanno was another option, as Africa remained solidly blue. But in reality, I could do neither, because my hand contained no 3 cards that would allow either general to make such a move.

An alternative was for Hannibal to campaign in Italy, since even 1 cards can move Hannibal effectively. But with such a bad hand, the prospects for changing PC markers in Italy from red to blue were maximally poor, even if Hannibal's movements were entirely unmolested. Thus, Hannibal's movements would have been largely pointless - while Scipio's direct threat to Africa and Carthage went unchallenged. This seemed to be a losing strategy.

Shrugging my shoulders, I decided that the best move available to me in this bad situation was to move directly to Rome and to start besieging it.

In "a hundred games" I had never besieged Rome - the disadvantages of such a move, both direct and indirect, are usually daunting and there is (almost) always a better strategy available to Carthage. But, what else could I do? Alternative strategies were ruled out by the force of the poor cards in my hand.

So Hannibal moved to Rome. The residual Roman forces took shelter behind the walls, and Hannibal rolled on the siege table. The result, after -2 modification, yielded a siege point and also cost Carthage a troop. (I needed a 5 or a 6 to score a siege point, and I rolled a 5, but after the deal, maybe I was due for a bit of luck).

Rome didn't miss a beat, and played "Numidian Ally." (It turns out that he also had "Numidia Revolts").

Certainly, there was nothing I could do at that moment about the disloyalty of Numidia. Playing another garbage card, I besieged Rome and missed, but lost no troops.

At this point Rome paused and reassessed the situation. After thinking for a bit, he decided that he would move directly to Carthage, and besiege it. Hanno withdrew behind the walls, and Scipio scored a hit on Carthage.

*~*~* THE SIMUL-SIEGE HAD BEGUN! *~*~*

Hannibal rolled for the siege of Rome, and missed again.

Scipio rolled for the siege of Carthage, and hit again. Rome 2:1 Carthage (I'm American, but I've heard of Subbuteo, the European soccer boardgame where you flick the miniature soccer players around - maybe it's a bit like this).

Hannibal rolled for the siege of Rome, and hit. (And loudly proclaimed, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?")

Scipio rolled for the siege of Carthage, and missed.

Hannibal rolled for the siege of Rome, and HIT! Nearly falling over laughing, I picked up the Rome city marker, flipped it over, pointed at it, and said to my friend, "Hey, look! It says, 'Carthage WINS if they control Rome!'" My disgusted and disbelieving friend threw his cards across the room and jocosely vowed never to play the game again.

In postgame analysis, Rome commented that the whole purpose of Scipio's move to Africa was to force Hannibal to respond by leaving Italy for Carthage. From his good hand, Rome correctly inferred that my hand was poor, and he also correctly expected Hannibal to attempt the sea move with a light load so as to maximize the chance of actually getting there - only to find that Numidia then defected to Rome and that Hannibal was leading an inferior force with his back to the wall. Scipio would then have had the option of fighting Hannibal in Africa with an advantage and a Numidian base of operations, or further extending control in Africa, or returning to Italy and fighting Carthage's Italian army, now led by an inferior general, leaving Hannibal poorly located in Africa.

The flaw in Rome's prediction was the failure to realize that my hand might be not merely "garden-variety bad" but so extremely bad that, even though I wished to move precisely as Rome predicted and thus fall into the trap, I couldn't. The Carthaginian move to Rome and the siege roll were so unexpected that Rome ignored these events for a turn and simply continued to execute "Plan A" before pausing and re-assessing. That one impulse might have made the difference...

Side note: XOOXX v. XXO - I calculate that Carthage's chance of breaking Rome with 5 siege die rolls (with only the Carthage -1 and city -1 modifiers) is 21%. Rome's chance of breaking Carthage with 3 rolls (with only the city -1 modifier) is only 12.5%. Clearly, Carthage is at a disadvantage in any individual roll, but if Carthage gets a lot of rolls, the odds start to improve...
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
dave
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Excellent session. You found and took the probably one remaining path to victory. Brilliant. I'm glad this story had a happy ending. The couple times I've tried to siege Rome (mostly to stop the reinforcements), I always roll the casualty with no siege point--it's painful.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Gilberg
United States
Norman
Oklahoma
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
SumatraTiger wrote:

At this point Rome paused and reassessed the situation. After thinking for a bit, he decided that he would move directly to Carthage, and besiege it. Hanno withdrew behind the walls, and Scipio scored a hit on Carthage.


Why withdraw behind the walls? Make Scipio fight the battle and lose one siege attempt.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian E
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
I don't remember the rules - unfortunately my game is in storage at present so I can't go get them.

I recall that if you win a battle on a hostile walled city space, you can take a crack at it siegewise. This would have made it pointless for either of us to fight what would likely have been a losing defensive battle before either set of city walls.

But maybe I'm wrong? In any event - if we were wrong we were both equally wrong, as Rome could have done the same to me as you suggest I should have done to him, so any misunderstanding of the rules was mutual.
 
 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.