Greetings everyone, and welcome to my first ever AAR. The First Punic War is the reason I bought AGEOD's Birth of Rome, and this particular PBEM has really gotten me interested in the AJE series and the mechanics of how everything works. I'm still trying to get to grips with the subtleties of the game, so I'm going to go in detail over every turn so and would appreciate any advice or comments on things I could have done differently, or explanations on why things happened the way they did.
I'm playing as Rome's great nemesis, Carthage, and Alex (aka Bob) is playing as Rome. Carthage has historically wanted control over Sicily to ensure a stranglehold on Mediterranean trade and by the time that the First Punic War started it had eroded Greek (Syracusan) control over the island.
The causus belli was due to a group of Roman mercenaries that had taken control of the city of Messana across from the strait to the peninsula. Hiero, the Syrausan king, was annoyed at their raiding practices and was threatening to siege the town which prompted the Mamertimes (the mercenaries) to ask for Carthaginian help. The Carthaginians though started negotiating with Hiero which caused the Mamertimes to plead for help from the Roman senate.
This is where the scenario starts. The political map is below:
The scenario can be won by either Rome or Carthage holding all of Sicily for two years, or Rome or Carthage falling under siege. I seem to hold all the cards at the beginning of this scenario. I have a very strong navy, while Rome has none. Etruscans north of Rome are once again making an appearance allied against Rome. Syracuse is allied to me as well although it can easily swtich to Rome's side. Rome only has a foothold on the island in the form of Messana. I've had a fairly easy time as Carthage against the Roman AI taking Messana and holding out for two years, but I imagined it would be a different proposition with a much more experienced human player than myself.
First the army composition. I have two locked armies in Carthage (active after 18 turns) and Lilybauem. Hiero is my ally and is a 4-2-2 three-star general. I have a small stack in Panormus under a 1-star general Hanno Messina (it seems a lot of the Carthaginian generals share the name Hanno!). My armies are extremely diverse. First of all, I have acces to a large pool of mercenaries that can spawn all across Carthage's far-flung holdings:
- Iberian and Celtic mercenaries spawn in Gades
- Ligurian mercenaries spawn in Sardinia
- Greek and Italiot mercenaries spawn in Lilybauem
- Numidian mercenaries spawn in Carthage
My favourite mercenaries are Iberian and Ligurians because they have a lot of army strength per command points and also have a useful hill/mountain combat bonus which defines a lot of the terrain in Sicily. They need to be transported in by ship however, while Greek/Italiot mercenaries spawn in Sicily directly. Even so, none of my units come close to the strength per man of the Roman legions and my greatest weakness is the high cost of replacement. The backbone of my army will be mercenary and it costs 25k per line infantry replacement chit, whereas the Romans only have to pay 3k per heavy infantry replacement. It's a good thing I make more money than Rome, but not nearly close to 8 times more which is the replacement cost ratio!
I also have access to regular Carthaginian and African troops, and while Syracuse is an ally to some Syracusan troops. These troops are mostly hoplites but also have good cavalry and elephant units which can disrupt Roman entrenchments.
Rome starts with four legions distributed across two consular armies -- they also have an option to cross the Messana Strait in the first year even if I do choose to blockade it. Rome has allies in Massilia and Emporiae which can supply additional fleets to its tiny starting fleet thorugh later options.
Initially I hold almost all of Sicily which gives me a lot of victory points compared to the Romans (23 vs 5 gain per turn at the beginning). Later on, I will have the option to declare war on Numidia -- although it seems rather foolish to do so while not holding all of Sicily.
Lastly, I wanted to link to another AAR for this scenario written from Rome's point of view: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?665999-Struggle-for-the-Mediterranean-a-BOR-Punic-War-MP-AAR