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By the time Hannibal settled into winter quarters after his celebrated Cannae campaign, he might have felt in equal measure elated and frustrated. While many cities in tribes in Southern Italy had joined his cause (most notably Italy's second city, Capua), he had failed to secure the vital ports of Campania (most notably Neapolis), nor the strategically important Greek cities further to the south (Tarentum, Rhegium).
Cannae thus hadn't dealt Rome a knock-out blow by having all her allies defect. And a resilient Rome had quickly levied new legions, so as to quickly reestablish Rome's numerical superiority in Italy. Something of a stand-off developed.
Yet reinforcements from Africa were expected, which might soon have the Carthaginians truly seize the initiative once again in Southern Italy.
Over in Spain, it looks as though the two Scipios had established rough military parity in face of Hasdrubal's Iberian forces, yet Roman influence was still confined to the region north of the Ebro.
I think this situation on the eve of the 215 BC campaigning season is a very interesting one, given that one has a precarious balance between the two sides in both Spain and Italy. The below map shows you my first go at a 215 BC scenario (i.e. Turn 4):
1) If you have the extra Roman generals (featured in one THE GENERAL issue), I recommend you replace Marcellus with Gracchus, since the latter was Fabius's consular colleague in 215 BC. Marcellus actually had been elected consul for that year, but wily Fabius managed to have him disqualified on religious grounds and took his place. Yet, should you not have that expansion, using Marcellus is a good substitute as he played a prominent role in 215 BC's campaigns. Obviously, using Gracchus in Marcellus's stead somewhat weakens Rome. So, I suggest you add another 2 CUs to the Rome stack as a means of compensation if you go with Gracchus.
2) Hannibal's a very broad-brush portrayal of the Second Punic War. As such, it works very well, but it's really impossible to reconcile the respective armies' historical sizes with the game's. And in this respect it also has to be noted that HANNlBAL's really cannot fit all the historical armies and action into its model. Lastly, historians diverge massively from another when it comes to troop numbers. The upshot of all of this is that I went for army sizes that I felt best portrayed the wider strategic picture.
3) Historically, the sieges of Saguntum, Tarentum etc were far more critical than HANNIBAL's standard rules allow for. This is why I developed a number of years ago a set of alternative siege rules, which do better justice to the war's dynamics. I recommend you also use them:
Optional Siege Rules
All cities (except Rome, Carthage, Syracuse, New Carthage and Gades) fall once TWO (not three) siege points are accumulated by the besieging force.
Modify the siege roll against any city by -1 drm whenever:
- 1 or more unbesieged enemy CUs are located in a space adjacent to the besieged city and/or
- 1 or more enemy CUs are located within the city
Rome, Syracuse and Carthage no longer enjoy their inherent -1 drm, but may benefit from the above-described drm.
Once a siege is successfully completed, the victorious besieger may choose to either:
- LOOT THE FALLEN CITY: Add 2 CUs to the force which conquered the city.
- SHOW CLEMENCY: The 2 closest enemy PC markers not occupied by enemy CUs (distance calculated in movement points) are flipped. If several PC markers are equally close, the conqueror of the city may choose which are flipped.
For a discussion of this variant rule, check out this.
I mean to eventually design a variant scenario for every turn and have my sights especially on the 213 BC scenario since Sicily then also is introduced as an active theatre. I trust thought that any scenarios following that one will have me also adjust the victory conditions, since things really started to go south for the Carthaginians from Turn 6 onwards...
Anyway, I'd be curious what you think of the above scenario. What's your take on its balance and historicity? I'll probably fiddle with it some more and welcome your suggestions!