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Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Brilliant Yet Simple Game rss

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Burns Macpherson
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Overview: Hannibal:Rome vs Carthage is a fairly typical point to point card driven wargame focused on the brutal sixteen year conflict between Rome and Carthage in the late 3rd Century BCE the 2nd Punic War. Armies are moved around the map using cards that feature specific events as well as "OPS" points for more generic actions. What makes this game special is the way that all of the genre's finer points are combined nearly perfectly into a well balanced, simple, reasonably lengthed and just plain fun game that deserves a spot on all wargaming shelves everywhere.

Components: The map of this game is brilliantly designed, instead of the standard foldout mounted cardboard or paper the map of this game is basically a jigsaw puzzle, coming apart into ten neatly interlocking pieces that eliminate any risk of tearing or bending. The map features beautiful artwork and colour and (for the most part) is easy to understand and follow. Units come in the generic "CU's" featured in most games of this kind and these are also functional and nice to look at. The cards are a joy, featuring fantastic art and clear concise instructions regarding the card specific event. The dice however, while featuring real Roman Numerals and Carthaginian Numbers, are a bit lightweight and I have replaced them with standard dice. The PC, fortified city and tribe markers are also well made and functional, a theme that seems to repeat itself throughout this game. My only other real problem with the components in this game has to do with the choice of colour for Italy. Italy is a dirty, dark red and the lines used to divide the map into provinces are brown. This of course leads to some confusion as to which towns or cities are in which province. All in all though a brilliant job. 8.5/10

Gameplay: As previously mentioned the game follows the course of the 2nd Punic war, the 2nd (obviously) of a series of three hard fought and brutal conflicts between the two great powers of the western mediteranean. Gameplay starts off in 218 BCE just after the fall of Saguntum and the declaration of war. The game is 9 turns long and on each turn the players are dealt a hand of cards. Each card has printed on it a colour coded event and a certain number of "OPS" points. These cards are used for the card specific event or the OPS points. These points are used to move generals, gain political controll of towns or cities, initiate battles or seiges and just generally keep the game moving. The map is divided up into 22 provinces, 18 of which count toward victory. At the end of 9 turns whoever controls the majority of the 18 victory point provinces wins the game (Carthage wins ties). Battles in this game are dealt with in an entirely unique way. Instead of rolling fistfulls of dice and hoping for good luck, players are dealt a certain number of battle cards depending on a number of factors eg. the commanding general's battle rating and the number of troops in his army. These cards are played in sequence, one player after the other, until one player cannot match his opponents card in which case he loses the battle. While still involving heavy elements of randomness, this way of resolving a fight puts at least some of the responsibility on the player's shoulders, not just on the luck of the dice. When a player loses a battle, he must remove a certain number of PC markers from the board. If at any point a player cannot remove the necessary PC markers he automatically loses the game. Once all of each players strategy cards have been played the turn ends, players recieve reinforcements, the Roman Consuls are changed and then the game proceedes to the next turn. PC markers are also lost at the end of each turn depending on the relative province counts. Once again, if a player cannot afford to remove the necessary PCs, he loses. The game is lots of fun, presents a unique challange to both the Roman and his/her Carthaginian opponent and has (in my not so expert opinion) tons of replay value. 9/10

Final Thoughts: This game is exceptional. I love (nearly) everything about it and cannot begin to describe how much fun it is to play. I fear I cannot continue without repeating things I've already mentioned so I'll just leave it at this. Great game, if you can get your hands on it I heartily, heartily recommend you do so. A solid effort by Valley Games. 9/10
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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I've got the AH version which I prefer because I'm not a fan of jigsaw puzzles The game itself is sublime, thank you for the reminder and got me interested in the whole period (along with SPQR).
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Burns Macpherson
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Ashiefan wrote:

I've got the AH version which I prefer because I'm not a fan of jigsaw puzzles The game itself is sublime, thank you for the reminder and got me interested in the whole period (along with SPQR).


The puzzle honestly takes all of 15 seconds to assemble and as I said eliminates most of the problems with game boards. But, to each his own I guess. SPQR is also a phenomenal game, one of my favorites though I haven't played it in a whilecry
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Brandon Pennington
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I love the puzzle board.
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Jim F
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Where the heck did this interest in WW1 come from?
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ConsularCandidate wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:

I've got the AH version which I prefer because I'm not a fan of jigsaw puzzles The game itself is sublime, thank you for the reminder and got me interested in the whole period (along with SPQR).


The puzzle honestly takes all of 15 seconds to assemble and as I said eliminates most of the problems with game boards. But, to each his own I guess. SPQR is also a phenomenal game, one of my favorites though I haven't played it in a whilecry


I find it difficult to get people to commit to playing SPQR because the rules are pretty complex. I wasn't dissing the puzzle board btw, just expressing a preference about something which has little bearing on game play. I would recommend this to anyone, whatever the edition.
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David
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Surprisingly I find the puzzle board provides an excellent playing surface, flatter and nicer than some other deluxe boards out there. I'm just not a fan of the cluttered art on the board, which is very distracting for me.
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Jim F
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I think I just have memories of my old Gibson 'Kingmaker' game - a part of which was always sticking out because the boards warped and it never fitted together properly.
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Burns Macpherson
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Ashiefan wrote:
ConsularCandidate wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:

I've got the AH version which I prefer because I'm not a fan of jigsaw puzzles The game itself is sublime, thank you for the reminder and got me interested in the whole period (along with SPQR).


The puzzle honestly takes all of 15 seconds to assemble and as I said eliminates most of the problems with game boards. But, to each his own I guess. SPQR is also a phenomenal game, one of my favorites though I haven't played it in a whilecry


I find it difficult to get people to commit to playing SPQR because the rules are pretty complex. I wasn't dissing the puzzle board btw, just expressing a preference about something which has little bearing on game play. I would recommend this to anyone, whatever the edition.


I have the same problem. Hence the "haven't played it in a while" bit XD. Can't find any opponents.
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Jim F
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Played this twice yesterday, swapping sides. Hannibal went down 2-0 but showed greater fight in the second game. It was a lot of fun and like bumping into an old flame, reminded me why I love it so much.
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