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All Forums >> [Current Games From Matrix.] >> [Ancients] >> Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic War >> The War Room >> Opening strategies Page: [1]
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Opening strategies - 11/11/2010 7:30:08 PM   

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Here's hoping for some more players for what looks like a very cool game. Just got it yesterday and I'm looking to swap tips on opening strategies (I'm using the scripted initial turn for now).

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RE: Opening strategies - 11/11/2010 7:51:13 PM   


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Same here. It's the first game to yank me away from WitP/AE since a couple of Ageod games.

(in reply to sushidog)
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RE: Opening strategies - 11/18/2010 10:20:30 AM   


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Any suggestions for Hannibal after conquering Turin, Mediolanum and Patavium. The force in Pacentia keeps him pinned to Northern Italy. It stalls the offensive. Any ideas?

(in reply to anarchyintheuk)
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RE: Opening strategies - 11/18/2010 3:15:29 PM   


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I like to have Hannibal appear as weak as possible in order to get the Roman army at Placentia to attack him. Read page 2 from the Replayability and Price thread for ideas on how to do that.

(in reply to Manzana)
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RE: Opening strategies - 11/19/2010 3:04:36 AM   


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Is that in the manual?


The Guz

(in reply to anarchyintheuk)
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RE: Opening strategies - 12/19/2010 10:28:59 AM   


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There is an example here of what you can do.

Early on you need to be drawing the Romans to you so you can destroy them. With a Punic tricks card against the poor early Roman leaders you can easily beat armies nearly twice your size so appear weak and draw them out. Later on you won't have the Punic Tricks cards and the Roman leaders get better. Also their strategy improves so make hay whilst the sun shines.

(in reply to Guz)
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RE: Opening strategies - 1/8/2011 4:08:47 AM   

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when using the standard move option, i've found the romans prone to invading spain, so make sure to keep hasdrubal strong. another is to keep your fleet at sea around africa or maintain a decent force in the field there, to discourage early roman invasions. the numidian revolt card is a pain.

< Message edited by c unit -- 1/8/2011 4:09:55 AM >

(in reply to julianbarker)
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RE: Opening strategies - 2/19/2011 12:00:14 AM   

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The little known Sicilian Gambit, from MALTA AND THE PUNIC WARS:


Carthage also planned for a war on two fronts. While Hannibal marched overland from Spain to invade Italy, a Punic force of fifty-five quinqueremes was sent to recover Sicily and raid the Italian coast. A northern task force of twenty ships with 1,000 troops was to retake the Lipari Islands and a southern task force of thirty-five ships with 8,500 soldiers and sailors was to seize the old Carthaginian stronghold of Lilybaeum. In addition to gaining these positions, Carthage hoped successful landings in and around Sicily would provoke a revolt among their Phoenician compatriots. Meanwhile, a force of 2,000 troops under Hamilcar, son of Gisgo, had been positioned on Malta.

The offensive did not go well. The northern task force was dispersed by a storm and then set upon by Syracusan ships from Messana, where Hiero of Syracuse happened to be staying while waiting for Sempronius to arrive. Three ships were lost, and the prisoners were interrogated. The existence of the other force heading for Lilybaeum was ascertained and Hiero immediately communicated this information to Praetor M. Aemilius, the governor of Sicily, and recommended dispatching a strong garrison to Lilybaeum. Aemilius did so at once.

The southern task force planned on seizing the supposedly unsuspecting port of Lilybaeum by surprise in a predawn attack, taking advantage of a full moon. During the night the Carthaginians had purposely lessened the speed of their vessels, so that they might reach Lilybaeum before daylight. They approached with full sails, hoping to sail directly into the harbor before the Romans were aware what was happening, a trick that had worked for them before in the First Punic War. But the garrison at Lilybaeum had been reinforced and the Romans were waiting for them. With their full sails reflecting the moonlight, they were easy to spot and the lookouts sounded the alarm. Seeing that they had lost the element of surprise and could not sail into the harbor, the Carthaginian fleet veered off. They stood out from the harbor and waited until daylight, and spent the time in lowering their masts and preparing for the naval action to come.

The Roman fleet sailed from the port, eager to come to close quarters and make a hand-to-hand fight of it. According to Livy, however, the Carthaginians "sought to avoid this and to succeed by maneuvering and not by direct attack; they preferred to make it a battle of ships rather than of soldiers. For their fleet was amply provided with seamen, but only scantily manned by soldiers, and whenever a ship was laid alongside one of the enemy's they were very unequally matched in fighting men." The Carthaginians proved incapable of ramming the Romans without becoming vulnerable to boarding parties. In a short time, seven of their ships were captured and the remaining twenty-eight fled the battle. As for the Roman fleet, it had not lost a single ship and returned to port with only one vessel damaged by ramming. In the seven ships they had captured, the Romans had taken 1,700 prisoners, including three Carthaginian nobles.

(in reply to conger)
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RE: Opening strategies - 2/19/2011 12:16:12 AM   


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Bruttium Gambit

Provided the circumstances are right (i.e. an extra naval squadron, Syracuse revolts right away, Syracusan or Roman storm chased away by storm, etc), Hannibal can land in Bruttium and storm Consentia on the first turn, giving him two units on recruitment. The units need to include 2-3 Spanish infantry, one African infantry and Companions. This leaves Spain strong and, hopefully, entices Romans to attack Africa early one. Meanwhile, with a little luck, you can build up Hannibal up to 8-10 units. Don't stay at Consentia for more than one turn, offer battle in Bruttium (otherwise Romans will concentrate 25+ units and will storm Consentia - a dreaful move since you wouldn't be able to retreat). Eventually Hadsrubal will move to Gaul though Genoa and, once Bruttium is dry, Hannibal will join him there prompting Gallic Aid.

The benefits of this gambit: not too many. If it works, Gallic attrition is avoided early on, but you do put Hannibal at considerable risk. A lot depends on Senate's reinforcements and Syracusan allegiance. I've played three games on Hard using these strategy, won two with capture of Rome. The best advantage of this gambit: it allows to me to do something different, spicing up the game a bit.

(in reply to Hardradi)
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RE: Opening strategies - 3/1/2011 5:21:34 PM   


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Bruttium Gambit Plus

Variation of Bruttium Gambit. If by some random luck you find yourself holding two Macedonian Aid cards, do not stick in Bruttium for too long. Defeat just one Roman army and march out of the province to Apulia. Tarentum is always a tempting target (when enemy general present), but not with 5-8 units on hand. Instead, storm Brundisium, call upon the Macedonians twice and use superior Macedonian units to bring the entire province under your heel. Elite Macedonian Infantry is very helpful in city battles and the rest of the units fall not far behind. Get as much use out of the Macedonians as possible since Romans may remove them soon with Roman Diplomacy.

Meanwhile, while Macedonians under Hannibal are ripping Roman armies apart in the south, strike hard at Cis. Gaul via Genoa with Hadsrubal large army, especially if there is a chance to capture one of the Roman generals lightly defended in some northern town. Then, whether you have the Syracuse Revolts/Gallic Aid card (or two) or not, move Hannibal north to join your forces.

Tips: do not leave Phillip unprotected, his death spells the end of the Macedonian Aid. I separated him from main army to defend Tarentum better. Even with ten regular units and four garrison he still fell to Africanus and his 30-unit strong army.

(in reply to nalivayko)
Post #: 10
RE: Opening strategies - 3/3/2011 9:17:46 PM   


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Etrurian Gambit

Pre-requisites: Hannibal in Spain, reinforcement card or two (Treachery or place two units with Hannibal preferrable), Roman fleet driven off Ligurian sea by storm. Alternatively, one can wait for 1 turn since Romans will leave this sea of their own accord. Of course, the latter means wasting precious time.

So, turn one Hannibal leaves for Etruria. If there is Treachery card available, he storms Perusia, collects Italians and then storms Pisa. Once the city is conquered, he will stay inside the walls. Romans will usually collect their army in Cis. Gaul and besiege the city. Here it helps if Senate authorizes reinforcements for Italy, where you can use Africa's forces to relieve the siege. Meanwhile, Hadsrubal moves to Cis. Gaul through Genoa.

The gambit is tested once on Hard, Romans beaten on turn 12 (all cities in Italy conquered, Rome besieged for two years and taken by storm). I did wait for two Macedonian Aid cards to play at the same moment, never receiving Gallic Aid (had it available again on turn 11, too late for practical use since Hannibal was already besieging Rome).

(in reply to nalivayko)
Post #: 11
RE: Opening strategies - 1/21/2014 4:18:40 AM   

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I have some criticisms of this game, even though I'm finding it very entertaining. I haven't tried hard level yet, but at the first two it seems simple enough to win.

First, Hannibal isn't rewarded much for bold action, in fact quite the reverse.

I will usually move him into cisapline gaul and just sit there growing the army until I can bring up some extra armies under the lesser leaders, and make sieges. Hannibal covers them from interference by stray consular armies, which he can usually intercept and destroy or at least mutilate without much trouble. You can get a win on points nearly every time. At some point Hasdrubal or one of the others can be got to a reasonably safe 25-30 unit army and can cover a third or fourth army to advance down either side of the Appenines, storming minor cities with the big stack and besieging majors with the small one.

If you do anything other than this, Roman consular armies will immediately attack Cis. gaul or Spain or both. If you do do this, it seems to paralyse the AI into inaction, which works in your favour given the massive advantage in recruitment the Romans have. Trying to storm major cities is very bad policy and usually fails in that your army evaporates like the morning mist.

Second, on very few occasions does a victory in the field result in any cities changing sides. I have won several handsome victories and rarely does any city defect. Not sure what governs this. However, given the essentially cautious strategy that works best, not much of a problem since isolated cities in revolt are meat anyway to a consular army and I can't defend anywhere securely if Hannibal isn't there.

Third, the AI doesn't seem to grasp how critical Syracuse is and generally makes no effort to recover it except by diplomacy. This rarely works for it and the VPs are usually decisive.

Fourth, I just don't know about leaders not having any bearing on naval warfare. I'm pretty sure that the Romans had a decided advantage on the water in the second Punic War and some very good admirals, and the Carthaginians didn't--which is why Hannibal ignored naval options in the main. I think the current system should be the default option, but naval leaders should be added in small numbers and with limited availability.

Fifth, while the game is relatively easy to win, it is for the wrong reasons. The AI plays too 'smart' and knows not to engage Hannibal even before he's whupped a couple of consuls. However it is stupid in that what it doesn't do is widen the field of conflict to areas where Hannibal can't make a difference, especially if you sit in Cis. Gaul and menace Italy. It doesn't move to establish naval supremacy and use it as the Scipios etc. did.

As for other worthwhile tactics, the only other one of note is if humanly possible, trap Scipio, Fabius or Africanus in a city and kill them by storming it. This cripples the AI (especially Africanus since this makes some really nasty Roman cards unplayable) and makes a win highly likely, as long as you don't expend too many troops doing it. It is quite often possible after an extended move by these generals which leaves them successful but isolated and low on troops. In particular I will do almost anything to exterminate Africanus.

(in reply to nalivayko)
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RE: Opening strategies - 1/22/2014 12:49:14 PM   

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I'll have to eat some of those ill-chosen words. Just played another game at Normal level and was crushed by the AI. It immediately established naval superiority, invaded Spain and defeated the armies there, then put Carthage under siege by turn 6. There wasn't a thing I could do about it--I could have got Hannibal back there with Escape by Sea, but there was no prospect of raising an army big enough to break the siege and no way to ship one in. V. unpleasant all in all...

(in reply to mrchuck)
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RE: Opening strategies - 1/23/2014 4:09:58 PM   


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The AI in my games is very good at wrecking my plans. Once it invaded Africa on the second turn and got Numidia to revolt. It took quite a while to deal with that threat.

(in reply to mrchuck)
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RE: Opening strategies - 2/3/2014 7:18:23 PM   


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I think this AI has beaten me more times than any other AI in any wargame.

Sometimes everything just goes wrong and your plans collapse completely when the AI does something really nasty, like invading Africa when you least expect it.


"But here we are in a chamber pot, about to be ****ted upon."

-French General Auguste Ducrot before the Battle of Sedan, September 1870

(in reply to SteveD64)
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