Thursday, 6 February 2014

A Second Punic War Campaign

Last night we started a new 2nd Punic War wargame campaign. Peter is playing Carthage and Graham is playing Rome. 

We will be using the board game Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage for the strategic part of the campaign - the victory conditions, map moves and general narrative. The game is ideally suited to this. It is a card driven game and each card can be used to activate generals for movement and action, or to undertake diplomacy (in an abstract way), or to initiate events such as grand political strategy, espionage, and acts of god. 

'Events' are the key to a good campaign as they add spice to the campaign's narrative but they can, if left unchecked (and up to the player's imagination), unbalance a campaign, or even make it rediculous. The events on the campaign cards in this game are historically based, nicely limited, and fair.

Before the campaign started we decided to use Commands and Colors, with the amendments for hex-less use in Slingshot (magazine issue 271 which I penned in 2010), to fight the tabletop encounters. 

In the last weeks, I have read some battle reports where Pulse of Battle (the new rules by Brent Oman of Piquet Inc.) have been used. These looked very good, so I obtained a copy - and later in the campaign we may well switch.

Ager Proelii might, of course, get a look in too.

The map at the start. Note the tables (right) showing army strength in CUs. Also note the envelopes (top) which will be used to store unused campaign cards whilst battles are being fought.
TURN 1. (Note: C is Carthage's card; R is Rome's card; # is the specific campaign card (cards in the game are numbered 1 - 64).

C31: Hannibal moves to Narbo.
R13: Longus crosses the Sraits of Messena to Italy.
C55: Carthage starts to take political control of Idubeda in Spain.
R25: Longus starts a campaign to subdue the Bruttians.
C58: Hannibal moves to Isera - he is on his way to the Alps.
R38: Minor Campaign card: P. Scipio moves north to Mutinae. Longus finishes his subjugation of Bruttium - et tu.
C50: Carthage takes majority control of Idubeda.
R51: Epidemic: Played on Hannibal who rolls a 6 on the attrition table and loses 3 CU and an elephant point.
C64: Hannibal crosses the Alps, losing another 2CU and an elephant point in the mountains, and arrives at Boii.
R53: Rome gains political control of Mutina in southern Cisalpinia.
C06: Carthage gains political control of Taurinni and majority control of the province of Gallia Cisalpinia.
R59:  Rome gains political control of Verona in southern Cisalpinia.
C27: Event: "I have come into Italy, not to fight Italians, but to fight for the liberty of the Italians against Rome". Cosa and Pisa in Etruria change sides and join Carthage.
R21: Longus move north to Rome.


Following the recruitment phase, Rome nominates Longus as Proconsul. Elections are held and the two consuls are Flaminius and P. Scipio (again).

C01: Event: Corsica and Sardinia are in revolt - Rome loses political control of all settlements.
R24: P. Scipio marches against Hannibal at Boii. The first battle of the Second Punic War is about to begin.

The map, early in turn 2, with the battle of Trebbia about to begin. Note the clear pin, in the 'Roman available leader row' (map, top right), showing Longus as Proconsul, and the black pin (map, bottom right) showing turn 2 is in progress. Also note that P. Scipio and Hannibal are in the Battle In Progress box. Their location on the map is shown by the white pin with crossed swords.
Tabletop rules, amendment notes and dice.
Transferring the battle to the table, and to Commands and Colors was fairly easy. 

Army size: I worked out the armies (I do have something to do in the campaign other than write its history) using CU strength for army size - Rome 12 vs Carthage 9. I started with the Romans as they have a fixed army organisation. I decided to give them 6 legions and scaled Carthage accordingly.

P. Scipio: He has a campaign battle rating of 2. He is given two generals and will get a hand of 6 C&C cards. 

Hannibal: He has a battle rating of 4. He is given three generals and will get a hand of 8 C&C cards. Because he is Hannibal (in the board game he gets an extra combat bonus) he will be allowed to play two C&C cards, back to back, but only once, during the game.   

The location of the battle could, in truth, only lead the terrain to be set up one way - a flat plain with a river at the Roman army's back. We set the table as if for Trebbia. We worked out the armies using CU strength for army size (Rome 12 vs Carthage 9). 

A few shots of the game as we left it at the end of the nights play. The Romans are attacking and light troops have been engaged in heavy skirmishing. I will post a report next week.


Simon Miller said...

Looks fabulous, James!

Jonathan Freitag said...

James, this a Capital Idea of combining a strategic boardgame with tactical miniatures resolution. I have often thought of doing this but never made the next step.

As always, your table is fantastic!

Sgt Steiner said...

Great looking stuff as ever.
Using C&C a diffrent approach

chris said...

great Idea, want to do something similar.

Gonsalvo said...


Looks good... as always!


For some other examples by James, see his prior Punic Wars campaign, Pike and Plunder, and Isle of FoB campaigns.

The boardgame "Shogun" comes to mind for you Samurai battles games...

The main trick is in working out the details of the board game to tabletop conversion well before you start to play the tactical battles!


I have that game (Shogun). I picked it up in a charity shop for £5 a few years back. Never played it, but it looks like 'Axis & Allies' goes feudal Japan - I like that game too.

Board games are by far the best (most simple) way of doing campaigns because they have realistic 'boundaries of play' and do not require umpires, written orders, etc. Those driven by cards (GMT do quite a few) are the best of these because of the 'events' cards, IMHO.

Phil said...

Looks great!

moosoid said...

Good stuff! You might even inspire me to get through the Republican Romans I bought inspired by your previous Punic Wars campaign, but then got sidetracked by Macedonians, Landsknechts, Napoleonics etc...

Are those Libyans Renegade like your Romans, or do I detect some GB?


The collection is all Renegade except for the elephants, Numidian cavalry and a few dozen Spanish infantry, which are Crusader (I think).

Glenn Drover said...

Really great looking game. I have everything I need to do this now as well (and the same for the Napoleonic Wars using a new version of Napoleon in Europe - thanks for the navies!), but have yet to put them on the table.
I'll be starting the Napoleonic Wars in March and The Second Punic War when that is completed...perhaps this Summer/ Fall. Cheers!