Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Plodding towards the Punic Wars

I am currently reading Carthage Must be Destroyed: The rise and fall of an ancient civilization by Richard Miles and it has inspired me to get my Punic ambitions back on track. One of the main projects I hope to start, and possibly complete, by the end of next year is a campaign of the 2nd Punic Wars. I first read Polybius history of the Punic Wars when I was twenty but have struggled to get this period going. To date I have the majority of the Carthaginian army painted but have never fought a battle with it. I do have the campaign map and system I hope to use to run the campaign.

The campaign map will be the map from Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage by Valley Games game. This is an excellent game that I have played a dozen times and find each time incredibly interesting and enjoyable. In every year of the war, each player gets a number of strategy cards which allow them to undertake campaigns or play certain events. Who is winning at a given time, and who wins the game ultimately is determined by a players political points that allows them to control provinces.

The board for the game is a map of the western mediterranean at the time of the 2nd Punic Wars. It is a point-to-point map, each point representing a major town or city with four to six points within each province.

Armies in the game are represented by a number of points. When battles are fought each player receives a number of battle cards equal to the number of points in their army, their commanders rating, and the number of allies they are entitled to based on the provinces they control in the area of the map the battle takes place.

In order to convert a battle on the map onto the table top, the ratio of the number of cards each player has will be converted into the ratio of the points between each players army. Players will be allowed to pick their army from a list up to the points they have available. I am working on how the lists will be restricted to reflect the reliance on allies and other game events, for example the Carthaginian player can only select elephants if in Africa, or their army has an elephant counter present.

Battles will be fought using Impetus rules. I know that Lorenzo, the rules author, is looking at writing new army lists for this period as part of the next supplement. I hope that he will be looking at the rules for changing Roman lines as this is one of the few areas in the game that needs revisiting. The current process of having to pass a discipline test with both the Hastati and Principes unit means that there is only a 1 in 4 chance of success for a standard legion. This seems too low as they must have conducted the manoeuvre on a regular basis.

Having recently fought a Carthaginian army at the Impetus tournament at Derby I am keen to complete my own and get it fighting. The Sheffield & Rotherham club is just starting a new ancient campaign which should provide plenty of battles in which to explore the army's capabilities.

Anyway, back to finishing those Numidian cavalry so more on the army in a future post. As well a 2nd Punic Wars campaign, I also hope to refight the major battles from the Wars and will use Richard Miles book to start cataloguing these before developing them using a range of texts.

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