Playing Rome in First Punic War in PBEM and am running out of ideas as to how to actually win. Here is how things stand:
- the Carthaginian Army is about twice the size of the Roman Army (110,000 v 55,000 roughly) if everyone pulls together all their troops
- the Carthaginians are led by a General with 5 attack rating whereas the Romans vary but usually less than that for generals with defense ratings (aside from Caius Duilus who is there for one year)
- the Roman Army can generally hold its own on defense in hills/mountains; but if they try to stand in clear the Carthaginian horde with their 5-rated general sweeps over them and they lose a ton of morale points (usually combat losses are roughly equal; forget about the Roman Army actually attacking the Carthaginian horde
- Rome cannot win without taking the three western most regions of Sicily which contain Carthaginian-held objectives; however all three of those are clear terrain
- meanwhile, since Carthage starts the game with almost all the objective regions, they actually only need to play passively; about 1/3 of the way into the game the Carthaginians have a huge 1,500 victory point lead
- IF Rome wants to stand a chance they have to attack, but attack means splitting up their already vastly outnumbered main army
- Unless the Carthaginian players is silly enough to land in Italy and enable Rome to call a Dictator, the Roman Army is stuck at its vastly outnumbered size of four Roman Legions plus its auxilliaries; and if you start splitting your army to try and take some of the islands, for example, the Carthaginians just split theirs to massively outnumber you in two theatres instead of one
- the Roman fleet is not good enough to win without the Corvus - however storms send Corvus-armed fleets them to the bottom regularly and that is just around Sicily. One bad run of storms and you need multiple years to rebuild; in any case it doesn't matter since your Roman Army is not big enough to stand its ground on clear terrain against the Carthaginian Army
About the only thing I can see as a potential Roman win is to sit and do Pax Romana's turn after turn after turn, meanwhile sitting passively and avoiding battles which might cost you morale. Given how long the game is, you have an outside chance of getting your morale to 175 before the game ends, which can lead to an auto victory. But that means sitting in the hills of Sicily for hundreds of turns avoiding combat. Talk about the yawn factor.
So long as Carthage has a huge Army of the Potomac-sized host sitting in Sicily, I don't see any other option. If the Romans leave their precious hills and mountains they get swamped.
Now maybe there are some late-game events that break things up. Not sure. But right now the outcome looks pretty predetermined. Anything that involves fancy foot-work outside of Sicily just means leaving Roman Sicily to be walked over.