Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Try the left flank (Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage)

Years after I purchased the edition of Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, I still haven't played a full game. I've tried a few times, but each time we run long and abort. I even received the fabled pre-order bonus, the general miniatures (all off their bases, but otherwise intact)... and haven't played since.

I was therefore surprised and thrilled when Kozure called me up on saturday and suggested that he drop by and we give the game another try.

We set up and I drew Carthage (in our previous games I've always played Rome). It's obviously a whole different ballgame playing this faction: The Carthaginians receive all their generals up front, including the formidable Hannibal, whereas the Romans only have 2-3 generals at a time (and the quality of these varies considerably). When I played Rome, I felt that I had to wait for Carthage to act first, since it seemed to easy for them to overwhelm me if I struck first. I therefore played it safe and spent my time converting the tribe markers as I waited. Carthage, on the other hand, feels more "wide open" strategically... though obviously their restrictions on sea movement and sieging create their own kinds of limits.

Early on, Kozure played an event which prevented me from moving any units out of Africa. Slightly hobbled, I took Mago to Sicily and Hannibal north. Kozure landed a beachhead at Massilia. Things started to go badly for Kozure as Hannibal won several battles against the Romans there. My secret was attacking Kozure's left flank. No matter his hand size, I would go left and penetrate his defense before long (shouldn't have worked, but hey). Further disaster struck as Kozure holed up a significant force in Syracuse and I played the event that hands Cathage that city and destroys everyone in it...

Other fortuitous draws on my part and a dearth of 3 OP cards for Kozure meant that I was making steady ground. We did call the game before it was over, but at that time Sicily was almost entirely in Carthaginian control and Hannibal had brought a rag-tag band across the alps and was busy converting political control across the north and east of Italy.

It was looking good for me, but Kozure was not out yet. All my forces were paper thin by this point. I would have been unable to do much further damage, except for more political conversion. In the next turn, the Romans could take their reinforcements at Rome and potentially steamroll over me. There was still another game turn before Scipio Africanus was destined to arrive on the scene.

We promised ourselves that we would play again within a few weeks and actually finish a game. Here's hoping.

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