Mark made it over here today for a game of Carthage. He got me a copy for Christmas, and I’ve been eager to try it out since, so it came up as my pick for our FtF sessions.

There’s four scenarios available, and we went with the most complicated of the three ‘small’ scenarios; which still doesn’t hold a candle to the First Punic War scenario. In 311 BC, Agathocles was the tyrant of Syracuse, and went to war with Carthage over control of the rest of Sicily. In the actual event, he kept the larger Carthaginian military off-balance by swapping theaters between Sicily and Africa.

Mark (who volunteered to take Syracuse), decided to stick it out on Sicily rather than take his chances in Africa. There’s only a couple of leader activations the first turn, which we both spent taking small cities in Sicily (the Augury was a non-event). The biggest thing was that my four-point army in Sicily lost a point during a siege.

After that quiet start, the second turn was naturally a lot bigger, thanks mostly to the full complement of Leader Activation Markers (LAMs). I made a mistake at the beginning of the turn, which had big consequences at the end. I was aware, as I was figuring the political segment, that bringing in mercenaries from off-map was going to cost my overall leader his only LAM. But, by the time we were done, I’d forgotten all about it.

The Magonids stayed in power, and the political outlook remained Cautious. I hired mercenaries, and got a good roll for the Iberians and Celtiberians. Mark took 8 points of Sicilians for his reinforcements.

The plan was to continue harassing small Sicilian cities with Hamilcar, while Hanno (the overall commander) brought absorbed the new troops into the I Army and let the Carthaginians go as a garrison for the city (illegal, Hanno doesn’t get a LAM). Then he’d shuttle the troops over to Sicily escorted by the main naval fleet, commanded by Bomilcar (illegal–I can only have one army outside of Carthage and only one in Carthage–in fact, getting new troops out of Carthage requires a special rule–CR 6.13–which I had also forgotten about).

Even so, the plan had problems when I did think it was legal. Bomilcar attempted a revolt in Carthage (random event), as was killed, leaving no commander for the naval escort. Meanwhile, Agathocles took Lilybaeum, the best Carthginian port in Sicily. Thinking that Hanno was about to cross over, Arcagathus gather the navy together, and attempted put the fleet to sea in front of Lilybaeum to intercept the transports. They ended up scattered, which nullified their effectiveness, and for a few minutes we had Hanno disembarking in Drepanum–until I remembered my gaffe with the LAM.

Worse for Mark, the fleet had to roll for a major disaster getting back to port at the end of the turn. The distance was 0, but there’s a +20 distance penalty for the scatter, and an ’03’ roll sank the entire force.

Turn 3 saw both of us continue to recruit troops–I had somewhat expected Mark to try to replace his navy. The Magonids stayed in charge, but the political climate went to interested. Allowing both turns’ troops to be formed into a new army to be shipped overseas (…I’m not sure I did that entirely legally…). Mark took another 11 points of Sicilians. Since I lost a leader last turn (the unlamented rebel, Bomilcar), I got two new ones, which could command the navy and the new army.

Agathocles lead off the turn by besieging Drepanum. Himilco (the new leader for the III Army) crossed over and landed outside Lilybaeum. Hamilcar moved into East Silicia and attacked Agatharcus, who had been securing the few neutral cities on that half of the island. While Hamilcar was outnumbered 3:1, his efficiency rating was a +3, and overall, the modifiers were even–short of the leader adjustments, and I had the better leader. Sadly, I rolled poorly, giving a flat roll, and 15/15 losses. This caused a drawn battle and 1 loss on both sides.

Then Agathocles broke off his siege to attack Himilco’s army before it could attempt to retake Lilybaeum. After some thought, I decided to give battle, as the odds were close, and I was only one leader class down. I again blew my leadership roll, and got a 10/20 loss. Worse, Himilco was wounded and therefore unable to do anything with the rest of the turn. Ironically, he retreated to Drepanum, the two armies having swapped locations.

The last major event of the turn was Ophellas turning up in Tripolitania, allied to Syracuse (random event) and intent on adding more of north Africa to the Ptolemaic kingdom. He took Gigithis before running out of steam.

Mark had to quit a little early, so that’s as far as we got. We’re going to continue via Vassal, as we have no idea where the scenario is going to go in the next two turns. We’re definitely liking the game, and hope to get in some more soon. Next session will be his pick, and he’s still thinking about what he wants to play.