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TOPIC: How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage?

How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 11:53 #246752

I've never played Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, but I've heard a number of good things about it and with the reprint hitting Kickstarter today, I was curious how you lot felt about it? I usually don't buy games without playing them first, but this seems to be regarded as somewhat of a classic? My only experience with 2-player wargames is Twilight Struggle, which I love.

I guess it also contains Hamilcar, which I've never heard of.

Thoughts?
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 12:56 #246753

I really like Hannibal. It's one of the games that will likely survive all of my purges. It plays quick, has tons of room for maneuver and strategy, and provides plenty of opportunities for nail biting conflicts. I think it is far superior to Twilight Struggle because of the movement component and the card based combat.

Hamilcar is the vaporware expansion that Valley put up for preorder before their collapse.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 14:22 #246756

Even though its the second CDG and many others have come since, I think its held its own just fine. Still draws a decent field at WBC. Rules are remarkably stable other than a few tweaks to the rules about Roman consuls, no real errata since it came out other than a very early change that stopped Hannibals death from being an auto victory. Play balance , despite thousands of tournament level games, has stayed pretty even.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 17:17 #246768

I've drifted back and forth between thinking its the best CDG and one of the best. These days I think i prefer Wilderness War because there is less fiddling with political control counters. I won't KS this, but I might get it on retail.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 18:02 #246771

It is one of the great games, no doubt. I haven't played it in a couple of years but it is something I'm always thinking I'd like to get back to at some point.

However, it is a game that may be impacted negatively by the games that it inspired. If you look at games like Twilight Struggle, the COIN stuff, War of the Ring, etc. Hannibal feels sort of old timey and not quite up to that level. But it's a formative game, an important one, and it is still definitely worth playing today.

I kind of prefer We the People to it, to be honest, but Hannibal is probably the one most folks would like the best.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 18:47 #246775

Looks like the KS gets you two mini expansions which are just an extra leader each, and some new strategy cards. Probably unimportant for a game that has been out for 20 years. Plus it looks like I can probably get all of it at retail for the same price, probably cheaper. I'll wait.

Thanks for the opinions. And now to hijack my own thread.

Another game I've been looking at is Sekigahara. I've seen it mentioned here a few time but otherwise haven't heard much about it.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 19:09 #246778

"Mini expansions"...ugh...
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 20:25 #246780

Disgustipater wrote:

Another game I've been looking at is Sekigahara. I've seen it mentioned here a few time but otherwise haven't heard much about it.

Our very own Metalface13 was a playtester, I believe.

You might also check out this Scythe variant: boardgamegeek.com/thread/1750515/scythe-...-little-pony-edition
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 19 Apr 2017 22:52 #246787

I really enjoy both Hannibal and Sekigahara. Like others have said, the card mechanics of Hannibal might seem a little dated in terms of flexibility compared to other games that have followed in its wake, but I think the depth of strategy in Hannibal is easily the equal of any of those. In short, there's more than one path to victory for both sides and that makes it worthwhile. In fact, the possible paths at the start of the game can be daunting for new players. Also, if you want the multiplayer version of this, you want Sword of Rome.

Sekigahara, OTOH, can look deceptively simple and look like there's only one real path to victory for either side, at first. But that's not the case. The game is actually pretty elegant and little choices or a couple die rolls can have massive ramifications a turn or two down the road. If you like this style of wargame and/or the period of Japanese history, I'd highly recommend it.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 20 Apr 2017 04:13 #246795

Hannibal is an odd game. When it all comes together, it's incredible. Good games of Hannibal have been among the most brilliant and memorable of my entire gaming life, full of swings, strategy and story. But often it doesn't come together and games are spoiled by huge, random twists of fortune. The battle card system is a big reason for this: it's tense and brilliant but it offers far too high a chance for a weaker force to beat a stronger one and then for the stronger one to be annihilated. There are also a couple of big event cards in the deck which, if they come up late in the game, can act as deciders.

Sekigahara is much more compact and workable and generally it's a lot of fun. It's almost all about bluff. It can screw you over if you keep drawing bad cards that don't match the blocks you want to attack or defend with but again, a good poker face can brave it out sometimes. And it takes two hours or less to play so if you do get a bum game, just re-rack and try again.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 20 Apr 2017 08:12 #246799

I played the game twice against Matt online and I agree with him. Most of the time ,the game is fantastic: Tense, memorable, strategic, fun...it does feel like a true classic. But it does backfire ocasionally, I remember crushing him with extremely poor play just because I got lucky with combat card draws. I also agree that the design of the event cards is also fairly dated: They are pretty swingy, enough that they force you to keep them in mind but their power varies wildly depending on when the cards comes up and neither of those things seem intended by the design.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 20 Apr 2017 08:53 #246801

I'm attending a con in a few weeks where Simonitch will be bringing a CDG design on the Caesar in Gaul, looking forward to it .

While I agree that the Battle Card system can be swingy, I think a stronger force sometimes needs to know when to back off - i.e. Withdraw from Battle when they have a shit hand.

And Sekigehara can be just as swingy - your opponent attacks and you have zero cards for the troops in play - last time I played I saw four blocks get annihilated for zero loss to the other side.
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Last Edit: 20 Apr 2017 08:54 by Msample.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 20 Apr 2017 11:10 #246810

I played Hannibal once. It was a looong game. I'm sure it was because we were unfamiliar with it. A few weeks later we played Washington's War which I enjoyed much more because I found the subject matter more interesting, but mainly because it used a die and I prefer dice over card combat...no question.

Even then, you only throw one die in Washington's War so gravitated back to block games were you get to throw handfuls!

I also played Sekigahara once...wasn't a fan. Again, no dice resolution for combat, but it felt pretty dry and almost abstract. Now, I understand it isn't abstract, and I don't mind some games that others feel are really dressed up abstracts (TITAN & Manoeuvre - which at least names the units....), but the combination of feeling abstract and no dice meant....no dice for me.

For me, both of these games were killed because of their combat resolution. There may not be as much weight on that one category for you though.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 20 Apr 2017 12:09 #246819

I've played Hannibal probably around a hundred times. It usually gets to the table 5-6 times every year. The battle card system is great. I like games that leave the door open to smaller armies having a chance against overwhelming odds. This is the Second Punic War, so a CRT probably isn't going to give you a result like the Battle of Cannae. Most of the general's abilities are historically appropriate and clever. It's the best 2-player game. I love Sekigahara too, but while Sekigahara is more accessible and concise, Hannibal is the more epic experience. Hannibal should play in about 3 hours max and Sekigahara plays in an hour without pokey opponents.
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How is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage? 21 Apr 2017 04:21 #246868

Unicron wrote:
IThis is the Second Punic War, so a CRT probably isn't going to give you a result like the Battle of Cannae.

No, indeed. And more: it makes battle into a frightening, tense, tactical affair rather than just a dice roll and a lookup. In many respects it's great.

In my very first game of Hannibal, playing against a much more experienced player, I took one of my starting Roman generals to the foothills of the Alps, to meet Hannibal coming down. This is madness: a risk no-one but a first time player would take. But the cards landed in my favour, and I won. Because Hannibal had no retreat path he, and his entire army, died. My opponent resigned and we re-racked.

And there's the thing. I've played the game maybe 20 times and I've seen a Cannae happen - sometimes more than once - in maybe a third of them, to one side or the other. In a significant amount of those games it was game-deciding. That frequency, and that level of impact, is not historical. For all its positives, it is simply too easy to face a weaker force and get annihilated for your troubles.
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Last Edit: 21 Apr 2017 04:24 by MattDP.
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