Last night, Peter J. and I took a look at "Hannibal: Rome Vs Carthage" by Valley Games with a view to using it as the main driver for a 2nd Punic Wars miniatures campaign. It was the first time either of us had played the game. For a change of venue, and to ease play, I set the game up in my rather untidy dining room. It was below freezing outside, so I stoked up the wood burner for a toasty evening.
The board game itself is card driven. This is a mechanic both Peter and I like as it breaks the game into manageable and different U-go-I-go chunks. The game itself (I think this is a 2nd edition version) is of top quality manufacture. The jigsaw board is pretty and made of thick card. The counters are also made of thick card all with double sided artwork. A nice touch are the Roman and Carthaginian dice with their own numerals - though the Carthaginian die takes some getting used to.
We thought the game, as a game, is pretty good. The force sizes (with a multiplier) are just about right for translation to the tabletop in a miniatures campaign, and the command quality is also transferable. Post battle results and transfer back to the board would have to be consultative (regarding margin of victory and 'battle' casualties), rather than an exact science, but as most casualties seem to occur through post battle retreats this should not prove to be a problem. We played the first five turns in the course of the evening; we got a good idea of strategies that might work; we discovered a lot of things not to do in general play, you know, things which only become apparent that way.
We think it will work quite well as a campaign driver for table-top battles and plan to proceed with a campaign very soon - as soon as I finish painting and basing the Spanish troops (350 down, 150 to go). I might also scan the web for rule ammendments people use.
The one problem we had, and that will have to be overcome one way or another, is keeping all the bits on the board between campaign sessions; especially as I have a kitten in the house - seen [below] retreating under the table after spilling a deck of cards and the consul election pot. I'm not sure if I should build a low, flat, lidded storage box to put the game in, or photocopy the map and stick it to a cork notice board and use map pins. The former would be useful long term and for other board games played as board games over a few weeks. The latter might be better for running a tabletop campaign over a few months. That is one to ponder.