Thursday, 9 February 2012

A night by the fire

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.


BigRedBat said...

Maybe play online, using Vassal? Cheers, Simon

Lee Hadley said...

Interesting review and some good pictures. I've taken to buying boardgames for those evenings when my group can't meet for Wargames or RPG's. I'll have to keep an eye out for this one, it looks quite interesting.

Shaun said...

I have the first edition. Actually bought in in England when I was over there for 6 months in 1990. Back in Oz, I played it about 20-30 times over the next few years before getting back into minis for a few years and then entering a hiatus of wargaming until 2009. I think it is one of the best two player boardgames I know. Always interesting and each game is very different. Highly recommended as a game. When I eventually find time to fit in some boardgames, this game is high on the replay list - in fact, I can't think offhand of another one that is higher. I will stop gushing now.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

We always used to use a digitial camera to take photo's of game setup's we needed to dismantle mid-game....

Mike said...

We used to play monster board games over multiple sessions. One of the players had magnetic counter clips and we taped the map to a piece of sheet metal. It worked very well. I have no idea where to find the counter clips, but I bet they are still available.

Sgt Steiner said...

Thats is one of the best wargames out there Imho (I have the Avalon Hill version).
The map alone seems to cry out for use as a minis campaign not sure how though.

Interesting to hear how you fare with this endeavour

Gunny Highway said...

If you google "Battlevault" under their Past campaigns section youll see they ran a Warmaster campaign using Hannibal. It may at least give you some ideas about your campaign.....
As always (respectfully)

Glenn said...

I'm planning on doing exactly what you are proposing. I've been workingon the project for a while now. I've got the board game, and have been writing special rules to manage the shift from board to tabletop and back, as well as some random charts for determining what type of units are recruited depending on where they are placed.

I'll be using a slightly tweaked version of Command and Colors: Ancients for my tabletop rules.

Glenn said...

I bought a large 28mm Punic War army for Rome from Aventine Miniatures and one for Carthage from Renegade with some troops from Relic. They are currently being painted by Scott MacPhee. You can see his excellent work on his blog: MacPhee's Miniature Men.
He's finished the Spanish, Gauls, and Numidians so far.

Let me know if you'd like me to send you my special rules for Hannibal/ C&C:A campaign.

Abikapi2 said...


my name is Stefano Bassetti and I live in Italy. Reading of Your Ruleset Ager Proelii, I made a Yearly subscription to Wargaming Miniatures on 18/12/2011.

This set of rules was the main reason of my subscription (order reference is #1005183 placed 18/12/2011 11:34:51), but the first number I received was february.

Then I called the customer service (with my uncertain english), asking for the january number but they said me that was possible to receive it only if not out of stock, and today I received march.

I wrot You to know if it's possible to have a copy of ager proelii, also via Email, or if it will be available in the Piquet newsgroup in few months.

Thank You anyway for Your job.



Hi stefano, wow, I'm sorry to hear that. If you can get in touch with Andrew Hubback (editor MW) I'm sure he will sort it out for you. He's quite a nice guy.

If you can't sort it out directly with MW, please can you contact me off list giving me your address, etc.(via email address at the top of my blog page). That way I might be able to help you with MW from this end.

If we can't get you sorted with a pucker copy, I'll personally send you the MS word doc.

Best Regards,


Hi Glenn,

I would like to see your rule ammendments.

The change I've seen that I think might be better than the rules 'as written' is making a distinction between major and minor 'walled city'. Apart from Rome, Carthage and Syracuse, the others will only require 2 siege points to capture. I might also give all a capacity of 5CU to all walled cities on the grounds that cities are big places.
From very limited play, I can't see that too many will have a garrison anyway!



MiniWargamer said...

I picked up a copy of Hannibal and must say I agree with your assessment of the game. I'd like to know more about how you translate from the gameboard to the miniature battle and back.