Hannibal AAR – Turns 11-20

January 18, 2011

Carthage Turn Eleven:

I advise the senate to reinforce Africa, given the Roman presence on our soil. That gets me an African infantry (1-2) and two African cavalry units (2-1). This is where the comedy of errors begins. Reasoning that I wanted to move a unit in to besiege Utica, I activate Syphax and his Numidians, and move them towards Utica. I forgot, of course, that the Roman general there could intercept, which places my numerically inferior and poorly led Numidians against a superior Roman force. I then, inexplicably, refuse to withdraw into camp. This is the battle that results:

The Last Thing Syphax Ever Sees

Syphax is crushed in one round, and dies a horrible death. No problem, I thought, as I can just send Himilco with my units in Carthage. Rome plays an Elephants Rampage card, which forces them to rout. Then this happens:

Battle Lines Are Drawn

Himilco Gets Hit Hard in Round One

And in Round Two

At This Point, Himilco Runs Away

At This Point, Himilco Runs Away

At Least He Traded Pursuit Casualties

After these ugly losses, I go to end of turn, hoping that Hannibal can recruit in Gaul. He cannot flee to Spain, because I elected to upgrade African defenses. He gets no recruits, and I draw a Reinforce Hannibal card, which allows me to recruit two units. That should be useful soon.

Rome Turn Eleven

Rome begins its turn by using an Italian Desertion card on Hannibal, wiping out two of his Italian units. I respond by playing my new Reinforce Hannibal card, picking up two Gallic units.

Gallic Reinforcements

Claudius moves to Gaul, and Hannibal attempts to intercept. Claudius refuses battle. Meanwhile, Rome sends another general to Africa, who burns my fields. Crassus storms Hippo Regius, taking no losses, and lays siege to Cirta. Then, Rome mocks me:

This Hurts Hannibal's Feelings

Before turn twelve begins, more bad news:

Poor Syphax, His Kingdom is Gone

Carthage Turn Twelve:

Seeing that the Roman position in Italy is strong, and worried about defending Carthage from the Roman armies in Africa, I advise the Senate to reinforce Spain. If I can get Hannibal there, I can send him home using one of my Hannibal on the march cards. There is no manpower for recruiting.

Manpower Problems

Hannibal runs to Spain through Gaul, and then escapes to Carthage. He cannot be activated the turn he sails, so that ends my turn.

Rome Turn Twelve:

Not content to let up, just because things are looking grim for Carthage, Rome plays Revolt in Spain, weakening my remaining units there.

Revolt in Spain

Rome then sends Manlius to Spain. He conquers Emporion with a Roman Siege card, and then moves to attack New Carthage. Hasdrubal intercepts, and then the fun begins. Manlius plays Rampant Elephants to force my elephants to rout. He then proceeds to defeat Hasdrubal in detail, forcing him to retreat to New Carthage.

 

After Round One

After Round Two, Retreat!

Similarly named Roman general Mamilius then storms Mediolanum, Turin, and Patavium, retaking Cisalpine Gaul at the cost of one unit.

The Rest of the Game:

At this point, things get ugly. Rome proceeds to annihilate my navy. New Carthage falls around turn fourteen, right after I pull out Hasdrubal.

 

New Carthage Welcomes Its Roman Overlords

Hannibal is able to reconquer all of Africa, and keep Carthage safe. The battles generally look something like this:

 

Hannibal, At Least, Still Wins

With the destruction of my navy, and Carthage’s lack of manpower, there is little that I can do but wait for turn twenty to put Carthage out of its misery.

 

Defeat

At least the Romans did not successfully siege Carthage. They will have to wait until the Third Punic War to salt the ground.

The odd thing about Hannibal, which I will discuss more thoroughly in my review, is that I still want to play again, despite this rather embarrassing defeat.


Hannibal AAR – Turns 8-10

January 17, 2011

Rome Turn Eight:

Rome begins the turn by playing a Solidarity with Rome card, which converts Rhegium back to their side. This is a fairly significant blow for me, because Rhegium is a major city, which is more difficult to storm or siege than the smaller cities on the map. Rome follows this up by sending Fabius to attack Consentia. Hannibal moves to intercept:

Hannibal Moves to Intercept

Cowardly Fabius continues his Fabian strategy, refusing battle. I decline to fight him in his camp.

Fabius Refuses Battle

Valerius sallys out of Lilybaeum, attempting to break Hippocrates’s siege. He is succesful, forcing me to retreat after destroying two infantry and a cavalry unit. With Hippocrates hiding in Syracuse, he is free to storm Messana, but loses two infantry in the process.

Carthage Turn Nine:

I advise the senate to upgrade African defenses, seeing no need to move anywhere else. They agree, and build an African infantry and a 2-2 African cavalry.

Turn Nine Recruiting

After building units in Carthage, Hannibal moves out from Bruttium, intending to break the Roman siege on Ancona. That requires Hannibal to capture Luceria. Hannibal is successful, taking no losses. Hannibal then disrupts the siege of Ancona, and forces Gracchus to battle. Hannibals troops are, as usual, overwhelmingly successful, destroying Gracchus’s army, and killing him.

Hannibal Annihilates Gracchus's Army

After the battle, Arminum and Corfinium join me. Hannibal moves to besiege Asculum, and ends his turn. Meanwhile, Hippocrates takes his remaining troops from Syracuse and storms the recently vacated Lilybaeum. Unfortunately, luck is not with Hippocrates, and he takes heavy losses (2 infantry) and is forced to retreat to Syracuse.

Finally, I realize that it is possible to recall generals to Carthage, even without access to a port. This would have been very useful, had I remembered it a few turns ago. Himilco is recalled, with hopes of sending him to Spain to recruit, with a new army from my troops in Africa.

The Situation, Turn Nine

At the end of turn, I draw a Punic Tricks card, which should prove useful later. I recruit an Italian infantry in Ancona, and a cavalry unit in Syracuse.

Rome Turn Nine:

Rome sends out Caecilius to Umbria-Samnium. He storms Corfinium, Arminum, and Ancona, suffering only one loss total. They then move their fleet to attacking mine in the Mediterranean, with each fleet suffering one loss. Mine gets the worst of the battle, however, and retreats. The Romans send their general in Sicily to siege Syracuse. Fulvius storms Consentia, completing the Roman turn.

Carthage Turn Ten:

I instruct the senate to upgrade defenses in Africa (while I wait for Himilco to return). I build 2 infantry and 1 cavalry.

First, I recall Mago to Carthage, hoping that he can carry reinforcements to Hannibal from Carthage. Hannibal then moves towards Gaul, hoping to get to Spain and recruit. Hannibal assaults Arminium, for no losses. Then crosses into Cisalpine Gaul proper, and conquers Turin, Mediolanum, and Patavium with 3 infantry losses. Hippocrates sallys out of Syracuse to assault the besieging force. This fails miserably, resulting in the loss of all of his infantry.

The Situation in the North, Turn Ten

The Situation in the South, Turn Ten

Rome Turn Ten:

A series of disasters occurs on turn ten. First, Syracuse surrenders to the Romans, leaving them in complete control of Sicily. Rome then sends an army to Africa, which conquers Utica with a Roman siege card. Rome then plays a Revolt in Numidia card, which gives the Roman army a number of Numidian cavalry, and creates a Roman contender for the Numidian throne. Fabius then assaults and captures Arminum.

It looks like things are starting to turn for the worse.

Next Post: The situation deteriorates.


Hannibal AAR – Turns 4-8

January 16, 2011

Rome Turn Four:

Rome begins its turn by playing reinforcement in Rome for two additional legions. I respond with a reinforcement card for an additional navy in Carthage. Scipio then moves into Cisalpine Gaul, where Hasdrubal moves to intercept.

Hasdrubal Moves to Intercept

Battle is joined, and Hasdrubal has great success:

Battle Line, Round One

Losses, Round One

Losses, Round Two

After Hasdrubal’s success, Rome consolidated its fleet in the Ionian sea, and then ended its turn. While Rome took major losses, it recruited 9 infantry units.

Carthage Turn Five:

I recommend that the Senate upgrade defenses in Africa, and spend the three allocated builds on Naval units. The goal here is to clear a path to Bruttium, where Hannibal will have an advantage recruiting, while keeping a path open for reinforcements. I am notified that Ancona will surrender in one turn, but has suffered a breach and will be easier to storm. For my first action, I activate Hannibal and storm Ancona, taking the city with only one loss. Hannibal then lays siege to the other city in Umbria-Samnium, Asculum. Everyone else stays put. I am forced to play an action card this turn, because I have too many in hand, so I use it to recruit an extra Italian infantry in Umbria-Samnium. Recruitment gives me 1 naval unit in Syracuse and 2 Italian infantry in Ancona.

Rome Turn Five:

Rome begins by using a Roman Siege card on Arminium, the gateway between Umbria-Samnium and Cisalpine Gaul. Rome then move more fleets to the Ionian sea. Finally, Rome sends Marcellus to Gaul. Marcellus moves towards Hasdrubal’s numerically inferior force, and I refuse battle. This may have been a mistake, because Marcellus proceeds to conquer all three Carthaginian controlled cities in Cisalpline Gaul, taking Patavium, Mediolanum, and Turin. Marcellus only suffers one loss in the process. After that, Rome adds insult to injury by getting even more recruits.

Never Ending Roman Recruits

Carthage Turn Six:

I recommend that the Senate reinforce Italy, intending to get some units out there. They agree, and allow me one build, which goes to an African infantry in Carthage. This is the turn I clear out the Roman Ionian Sea fleet. First, I send out the Syracusan fleet to soften the Romans up. I follow them up with my Carthaginian Fleet, which pushes the Romans back, forcing them into port at Rhegium.

Syracusan Fleet Attacks!

I then play a card that allows me to remove one unit from two different Roman groups. I use one on Marcellus’s army in Cisalpine Gaul, and one on the units in besieged Asculum. At the end of turn I draw a Gallic Aid/Syria revolts card, and recruit a Gallic and Italian Infantry.

Rome Turn Six:

Rome has Marcellus attack Hasdrubal in Cisalpine Gaul. Stung by my mistake last turn, I engage, rather than retreat into camp. The battle is bloody on all sides, but Marcellus eventually forces Hasdrubal to retreat. He runs over the mountains into Roman controlled Etruria, cut off from reinforcements. Marcellus then moves to consolidate troops in Umbria-Samnium and attacks Hannibal. I engage, and use my Punic Tricks to Ambush Marcellus, resulting in significant casualties for his army, and more importantly, a card draw which results in me drawing the powerful treachery card.

Hannibal's Ambush

Rome then uses Syracusan Diplomacy, which causes Syracuse to switch sides. I respond with another Syracuse Revolts card, which makes them switch back to my side.

Carthage Turn Seven:

I urge the Senate to reinforce Italy again, and they agree. Shortly thereafter, I realize that I have no generals  in Africa that can move to Italy, and no generals in Italy that can return to Africa. This complicates the reinforcement situation.

Having already abandoned the Siege of Asculum, Hannibal storms the town of Luceria, allowing him to break out of Umbria-Samnium and move towards Bruttium. The use of two Hannibal on the March cards results in him being in a position to storm Consentia in Bruttium. He succeeds without any casualties, and then returns to the field. Hasdrubal moves to Bruttium to join him, awaiting reinforcements.

Rome Turn Seven:

Rome responds by sending Fabius to Bruttium. He storms Consentia and wins. When he moves into Bruttium proper, Hannibal moves to intercept, and Fabius withdraws to camp, ending his move. Rome then attacks my fleet, pushing me back to the Carthage sea zone (called Mediterranean Sea). Meanwhile, a Roman consul storms Luceria and then lays siege to Ancona. Rome also sends out a unit to capture Lilybaeum in Sicily. Finally, Rome attempts to engage Syracuse diplomatically again, but is rebuffed.

Syracuse Refuses Roman Entreaties

Carthage Turn Eight:

I ask the Senate to upgrade defenses in Africa, and use the builds to add additional African infantry to Carthage. Hannibal moves to attacks Fabius, who declines battle. Frustrated, Hannibal storms Consentia, regaining control for Carthage. I then play the Treachery card on Rhegium, which annihilates the garrison and makes them join the Carthaginian cause. This should result in a good flow of recruits, once Bruttium’s manpower recovers. I then merge Hannibal and Hasdrubal, and send Hippocrates to besiege the town of Lilybaeum in Sicily.

The Situation at the End of Turn Eight

Next Post: A genuine attempt to reinforce Hannibal.


Hannibal AAR – Turns 1-4

January 15, 2011

Having finished my War in the East AAR, it is time to turn to something a little more big picture:

This time I will be playing through Forced March Games’ Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War, published by Matrix Games. Hannibal is a strategic level game with a simple, board game like interface. A nice break from the operational micromanagement of War in the East. Hannibal is also notoriously, punishingly difficult, so this AAR may be more likely to end in failure than success. I elected to start a game on Normal difficulty (harder than it sounds) and to use the standard first move, which starts the game with Hannibal activated and across the alps, in Cisalpine Gaul.

The Situation at the Beginning of Turn One: Hannibal in Cisalpine Gaul, Hasdrubal in Spain

Carthage Turn One:

I have the Gallic Aid card in my hand, which allows me to recruit extra Gallic units if I control 3 cities in Gaul, as well as avoiding attrition when moving into Transalpine Gaul, which will be important if I ever decide to move Hasdrubal from Spain into Italy. Hannibal storms Mediolanum and Patavium, losing 1 unit of Spanish cavalry (2 attack, 1 hit point) in the process. That is a pretty minor loss, and is easily replaced by the 2 Infantry and 1 Cavalry I gain from the Gallic Aid card. Hannibal returns to the countryside to bait the Romans into attacking on their turn. Hasdrubal stays in Spain, waiting for the inevitable turn one Roman invasion. At the end of turn I draw a Hannibal on the March card, which gives Hannibal special movement options, and recruit 2 infantry in Spain and an infantry and cavalry in Gaul.

Storming Patavium

Rome Turn One:

Rome firsts move a fleet out to Spain, attempting to destroy my fleet in the Iberian sea. The Roman fleet routs mine, sending it back to port in New Carthage. Rome then sends Scipio (Publius, not Africanus) to Spain, uses a special “Roman Siege” card to take Emporium, and then moves to engage the numerically superior forces of Hasdrubal in battle:

Hasdrubal vs. Scipio, Round One

There are heavy casualties on each side, but Hasdrubal is ultimately victorious, forcing Scipio and his remaining infantry unit to retreat back into Emporium:

Hasdrubal vs. Scipio, End of Battle

Fabius then moves into Cisalpine Gaul. When I send Hannibal to intercept, Fabius uses his special ability, which allows his to retreat before combat (modeling the Fabian Strategy). I get an opportunity to pursue, and choose to do so. Unfortunately, luck is with Fabius’s screening cavalry, and they cause 1 loss, while taking no losses. Not the most auspicious start to a game of Hannibal, given that the titular general often destroys a numerically superior Roman force on turn one. On the good side, I do get to draw a card for winning the battle, and I draw “Syracuse Revolts,” which could be useful in the near future.

After some random naval and leader movements, Rome plays 2 reinforcement in Rome cards, giving it a massive recruiting turn:

Roman Recruitment, Turn One

Not all is bad however, as a favorable random event occurs at the end of turn one:

A Leadership Change in Syracuse

Hiero, the ruler of Syracuse, has died. His 12-year-old son has taken over, and he lacks the respect of his people. This makes my “Syracuse Revolts” card much more likely to be successful, and ensures that I will play it first thing in turn two.

Carthage Turn Two:

At the beginning of each turn, Hannibal has to suggest a course of action to the Senate. I suggest that the senate reinforce Hasdrubal’s army in Spain, and the senate accepts my suggestion:

Hey Senate, Reinforce Spain!

Taking advantage of Hiero’s timely death, I then play Syracuse revolts, which turns out just as I had hoped:

Syracuse Revolts!

With Syracuse in my hands, I will have access to more fleets and will be able to take and hold Sicily, unless Rome gets a card to take Syracuse back.

After taking control of Syracuse, I move my fleet from Carthage to the Iberian sea and engage the Roman fleet. After a short battle, a destroy one ship and rout the other. This allows me to send Himilco, along with an African cavalry (2-2) and 3 Spanish infantry (1*-1) to link up with Hasdrubal, who besieges Emporium. Hannibal remains in Cisalpine Gaul, where he will recruit more Gallic infantry and attempt to bait the Romans into attacking.

At the end of the turn I draw a second Hannibal on the March Card, recruit 1 infantry in Spain, and recruit 2 infantry in Cisalpine Gaul.

Roman Turn Two:

Rome decides to get frisky this turn, moving Flaminius with 21(!) units into Cisalpine Gaul. Hannibal, mighty general that he is, elects to intercept with his meager 15 units. Luckily, his “Punic Tricks” give him an ace in the hole. An ambush:

Ambush!

The ambush causes massive damage to the Roman army. In the first turn of the combat, Hannibal’s army has 15 hits to 4 for the Romans. On turn 2 I have 14 hits. 4 hits in pursuit manages to eliminate the entire Roman army and kill Flaminius, at the cost of 3 African infantry (1-2) and 1 Gallic infantry (2-1). I think that is a trade I can afford, given that each Legion is strong (1*-2). I also get to draw a card, and pull Emergency Levies/Remove 1 Roman unit from 2 stacks, which is a very useful card. Demoralized, Rome ends their turn, with only minor efforts at recruitment:

Roman Recruitment, Turn Two

Carthage Turn Three:

I begin by requesting that the Senate upgrade defenses in Africa, because Carthage is looking empty, and I may want to reinforce Spain or Italy later. I recruit 3 African infantry (1-2), which form the backbone of my formations because they can take 2 losses, rather than 1, like Spanish or Gallic infantry. The siege of Emporium is going well; the city will surrender next year.

In an attempt to move further into Italy, and take advantage of the crushing victory from last turn, Hannibal attacks the city of Arminium, to seize the mountain pass between Cisalpine Gaul and Umbria-Samnium. After a successful attack on Arminium (with no losses!), Hannibal lays siege to the city of Ancona. Meanwhile, Hippocrates, the Syracusan leader, lays siege to the Roman town of Lilybaeum in Sicily.

Roman Turn Three:

Rome begins by moving a large (6 ship) fleet to the Iberian sea, which annihilates my smaller fleet in Spain. This allows Claudius, who has taken over for Scipio, to flee Spain, heading back to Genua in Cisalpine Gaul. Varro flees Sicily, landing in Tarentum. Rome elects to leave my sieges alone, as they have few units after last turns debacle.  Recruitment has picked up, however:

Roman Recruitment, Turn Three

Carthage Turn Four:

I recommend that the Senate reinforce Italy this turn, which will allow me to move Hasdrubal to Cisalpine Gaul. The Senate agrees. Emporium and Lilybaeum both surrender to my forces, which frees up Hasdrubal and Hippocrates. Hasdrubal travels to Transalpine Gaul, avoiding attrition due to my turn one play of Gallic Aid, and crosses into Cisalpine Gaul with the help of an extended move card. Hannibal maintains the siege of Ancona.

Spain and Northern Italy, Turn Four

Hippocrates moves to lay siege to the last Sicilian town in Roman hands, Messana.

Southern Italy and Africa, Turn Four

Next Post: Hannibal moves south, I hope.


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