«Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage» review

Hannibal

The first version of Hannibal Rome vs Carthage was published in 1996 by Mark Simonitch from Avalon Hill’s Games and the second one was published ten years ago by Valley Games.The difference between those versions is that Avalon Hill mapboard is mounted and you can unfold it but the Valley Games one is cut into large pieces and snaps together like a puzzle.

The illustrations were done by Joe Amoral, Mike Doyle, Rick Gondeck, Kurt Miller, and Mark Simonitch.

Game Components

  • 22″ x 32″ Map;
  • Rules Booklet;
  • 3 Sheets of die-cut playing pieces:
    • 86 Political Markers;
    • 66 Combat Units;
    • 14 Generals;
    • 13 City Markers;
    • 8 Tribe Markers (3 Carthaginian and 5 Neutral);
    • 8 General Tokens;
    • 5 Siege / Subjugation Markers;
    • 1 Proconsul Marker;
    • 1 Siege Train Marker;
    • 1 Turn Marker;
  • 112 Cards (card size fit for Standard American Fantasy Flight sleeves – 56×87 mm):
    • 64 Strategy Cards;
    • 48 Battle Cards;
  • 14 Plastic Stands;
  • 2 6-sided Dice;

Hannibal - Gameplay

Strategy Card List

  • Revolts (Corsica and Sardinia, Sicilia, Numidia, Celtiberia);
  • Native Guide;
  • Marharbal’s Cavalry;
  • Hostile Tribes;
  • Philip V. of Macedon Allies with Carthage;
  • Reinforcements (Macedonian, African);
  • Balearic Slingers;
  • Recruits (Bruttium, Ligurian, Iberian, Gallic);
  • Surprise Sortie;
  • Traitor in Tarentum;
  • Senate Dismisses Proconsul;
  • Spy in Enemy Camp;
  • Mercenaries Desert;
  • Mutin’s Numidians;
  • Numidian Ally;
  • Sophonisba Seduces a Numidian King;
  • Syracuse Allies with Carthage;
  • Spanish Allies Desert;
  • Capua Sides with Carthage;
  • Numidian Allies Desert;
  • I Have Come into Italy;
  • Hannibal Charms Italy;
  • Carthaginian Naval Victory;
  • Major Campaign;
  • Diplomacy;
  • Minor Campaign;
  • Bad Weather;
  • Elephant Fright;
  • Two Legions of Slaves Raised;
  • Allied Auxiliaries;
  • Opposing Fleet Breaks Siege;
  • Adriatic Pirates;
  • Epidemic;
  • Pestilence;
  • Tribal Resistance;
  • Treachery Within City;
  • Messenger Intercepted;
  • Grain Shortage;
  • Hanno Counsels Carthage;
  • Cato Counsels Rome;
  • Ally Deserts;
  • Storms at Sea;
  • Force March;
  • Truce;

Gameplay

Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage gives you a chance to try walking in the shoes of Hannibal, the great Carthaginian military commander, as he attempts to attack Rome once again. This is a 2-player card-driven war game: one of the players fights for Carthage, the other one represents Rome.

The armies move towards each other while employing new troops, moving generals, and gaining political control over strategically important territories. Finally, the two armies meet on the battlefield. To win, you have to be dominating both political and military fronts.

Hannibal - Gameboard

Rules

In the beginning, Carthage has control over Spain and North Africa, Rome controls Italy and the islands. At the beginning of the game, Carthaginians are given a start – they have all their 5 generals from the very beginning while Romans start out with just 2 generals – and not their best ones. But Romans get more new units every round as the game moves on.

The game lasts for 9 rounds. Every round goes through seven phases.

Reinforcement Phase (skipped on the first round)

  • The Carthaginians get their reinforcements and return their displaced generals.
  • The Romans get their reinforcements. On the sixth turn, they get Scipio Africanus – their most powerful general. The Roman player also names a Proconsul and selects two new Consuls.

Dealing Strategy Cards

Both players are dealt strategy cards.

Strategy Phase

The players play their cards taking turns. They can activate generals, gain political influence by placing markers on influenced territories, and trigger special events.

Winter Attrition

The players conduct Winter Attrition.

Hannibal - Conquerable World

Political Isolation Removal

The players remove all their isolated non-walled, non-tribal political control markers.

Victory Check

The players calculate their political points. The player who has fewer political points loses some political control markers.

End of Turn

The turn ends, and another one begins. The game ends if one of the players wins a Sudden Death Victory or all turns are played.

The player who has more political points during the Victory Check phase of the last turn wins. In case of a tie, victory goes to Carthage.

You can download the full version of the rules as PDF here.

Hannibal - Barca

Hamilcar: First Punic War Expansion

Hamilcar: First Punic War Expansion

With this expansion, you go back in time to the First Punic War when Hamilcar, Hannibal’s father fought against Rome. The expansion contains a game board with two sides – the original one and the Punic War one, nine new generals for Rome, nine new generals for Carthage, and seven new generals to add to the original game.

Errata

There is a list of misprints found in the game of Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage. You can see them here.

Play Online

If you want to play Hannibal on your PC, it is available for playing online in real-time on wargameroom.com and www.vassalengine.org.

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FAQ

Q: Being a rather old game. how does Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage hold up today?

A: Brilliantly. The unique mechanics of Hannibal has been copied by some newer war games. It remains one of the most popular two-player war games to date with just a few changes added to the second edition.

Q: How long does a game of Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage take?

A: Usually, it takes about 3 hours. Prepare to add another hour if the players are not experienced.

Q: Can I play Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage as a solitaire game?

A: Yes, you can. Card-driven games are usually not very much fun as solo games, but it is a good way to carefully go through all the rules and learn how to play.

Q: Is Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage difficult to learn?

A: If you are not used to playing war games, prepare that it might take awhile before you get all the rules.You will have to play it at least once looking into the rulebook all the time before you will be able to play freely. What makes remembering the rules more difficult is the fact that there are lots of exceptions that you have to keep in mind. But once you have gotten the feel of the game it plays rather intuitively.

Q: The rules state that I can have maximum 2 elephants on the board until African Reinforcements. Then I can have 4. If my 2 elephants have died, can I get them back with the Reinforcements?

A: Yes, you can. The problem with the African Reinforcements is that even though they give you plus two elephants, if you already have four, you will not receive them. So, if you have three elephants, the Reinforcements will give you one more. If you have fewer than three, then you will receive two elephants as stated in the rules.

Hannibal - Battle

Youtube

Conclusion

Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage is a strongly-themed war game. The beautiful artwork of the game will help you enjoy the time you will spend learning the rules.

If you like war games, you will definitely enjoy this one. Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage is a classic in its genre. The gameplay is based on a strong political strategy. You will travel in time and become either Hannibal or a Roman leader, both sides have their strengths, so you will want to try playing for both teams.

Roman Carthage is a deep and complicated game you will enjoy learning, playing, and winning.

You can buy Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage on Amazon.

  • Another_Fred

    I always like “Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage.” That’s one of the reasons I have so many articles about it at The Boardgaming Way. But the first edition (1996) was one of Avalon Hill’s last games, not Valley Games..The second edition was by Valley Games and it came out about 10 years ago. You can tell the difference by the way the board is constructed: the Avalon Hill mapboard is mounted and unfolds, the Valley Games mapboard is cut into large gig-saw pieces and snaps together like a puzzle.. .

    • Thanks for clarification! We will correct this article very soon.

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