elxaime
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First Punic War needs some balancing

Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:55 am

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.

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Franciscus
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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:04 am

In the next patch the African CAR army will be locked in Africa, unless Romans invade Africa. That should help in this balancing.

Thanks for your remarks

(PS: nevertheless, don't forget historicaly the FPW lasted for many, many years... ;) )

elxaime
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Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:35 am

Any estimate on when this patch will be ready?

dans221
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Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:09 pm

"- 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"

Carthage has to contend with the same storms, doesn't it?

dans221
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Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:03 pm

Franciscus wrote:In the next patch the African CAR army will be locked in Africa, unless Romans invade Africa. That should help in this balancing.


That makes sense especially since the Carthaginians can keep recruiting mercenaries. But does that mean that if the Romans don't attack Africa, you'll never be able to use the suffete in Sicily? So are you telling me that towards the end of the Punic War you can get Hamilcar and be unable to use him because the army is locked? If the army is locked in Africa, then maybe it should get unlocked if the Carthaginians choose to attack Numidia. At least that makes attacking Numidia a more interesting option.

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El Nino
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Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:11 am

dans221 wrote:That makes sense especially since the Carthaginians can keep recruiting mercenaries. But does that mean that if the Romans don't attack Africa, you'll never be able to use the suffete in Sicily? So are you telling me that towards the end of the Punic War you can get Hamilcar and be unable to use him because the army is locked? If the army is locked in Africa, then maybe it should get unlocked if the Carthaginians choose to attack Numidia. At least that makes attacking Numidia a more interesting option.


Yes, if the Romans don't attack in Africa, you'll never be able to unlock the african army (Hamilcar Barca, is not concerned by this fact).
And yes, the only other way to unlock this african army is to attack Numidia (by event).

EagleKing
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Sat May 04, 2013 6:31 pm

One of the problems is that Hanno's army begins the game already in Sicily, albeit locked for 10 turns. I assume the reason for this is that the AI had a hard time moving this army from Africa. A better solution would be to just start the scenario a couple years later, with Syracuse and Rome already allied, Hannibal Gisgo inside Agrigentum and Hanno's army in Lilybeaum (possibly locked for a turn or two), and 2 Roman Consuls in Messana ready to pounce on Agrigentum. As it is, Carthage has Hanno's big army, Hiero's army, another ~30,000 man army waiting in Africa + all the mercenaries they can hire. Impossible to recreate history with the current setup. (In the final analysis, Sicily might be too little [11 regions] to fight over for twenty years anyway. A smaller scale would help a lot here too.)

pantsukki
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Sun May 05, 2013 12:29 pm

EagleKing wrote:In the final analysis, Sicily might be too little [11 regions] to fight over for twenty years anyway. A smaller scale would help a lot here too.


I agree. To be honest, I felt the First Punic War (and actually all ((Except Pyrrhus, haven't tried it) of BOR's scenarios) were boring. AJE is much better.

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Narwhal
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Sun May 05, 2013 4:06 pm

So far, Pyrrhus is the most entertaining I did. The Mercenary War is a good training scenario, the Samnite is extremely unbalanced, but fun. The Punic War (victory in SP as the Romans in 80 turns) is an endless grind in Sicily. Did not try the Sennotes yet.

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GlobalExplorer
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Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:10 am

I can confirm this experience. When I began the Punic Wars (playing as Carthago, both the long and the short campaign) I was absolutely excited over the possibilities. But after the AI had shot its powder (meaning destruction of their field army in Sicily and Africa) it turned out a rather dull affair.

With the map spanning most of the Mediterranean, the Punic War gives a feeling of almost a World War in the Antique. But why does the scenario lock practically every province outside of Italy/Carthago? Even Roman allies like Massalia / Emporiae are perpetually locked. Of course I could attack there. I generally agree with the option to declare War on Numidia first as a political decision, but I would like to see more such options.

I generally had the feeling that too much of the territory cannot be entered. This may be defended as historic but railroads every game into the same strategy. I think in gameplay terms it would be better to offer many strategic alternatives at a cost, and give the player some choice and consequence.

What I suggest is to add more political options, even non-historic ones, like invade Massalia / Emporiae, to make more provinces enterable (at best all of them). Also if regional decisions are never available, they make no sense to me from a gameplay perspective. 1 castrum can be built in Tunes, that's it for the whole campaign (?). There are a few provinces in Spain, but they feel like islands (literally) with the rest of Iberia locked in perpetual fog of war. There is only 1 town to send merchants to (Illyria). I am supposed to build trading posts in Roman cities while I am at war with them?? It should also be considered if Rome does have enough military power to win the war, if Carthago never attacks the Italian mainland.

I really think this campaign needs more work. It's the heart of the BoR expansion, but overall a bit of a dissappointment.

But I hope this does not sound like harsh criticism, you did a great job with this game! Graphics and everything are top notch, and I am already looking forward to more!!

bob.
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Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:20 pm

I agree with everything from this thread, I made a similar topic as I didn't find this thread before: http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?29536-1st-Punic-War-Rome-strategy-experience

I wonder if just locking the African army of Carthage will be enough to stop the "Carthaginian menace"? On the other hand, making Carthage even weaker than that might quickly move the balance the other way...

Fact is though that the "powerful legions" that the Romans posess according to the scenario descriptions are a joke compared to the "inferior" mercenary-based army that Carthage is supposed to have.

Also, I am still of the opinion that a change like this would go a long way:
if you can't buy mercenary replacements but only new soldiers, thus the mercenariy troops numbers would - like in reality - slowly get smaller and smaller. or as an alternative, replacements that cost at least triple of what they cost right now

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GlobalExplorer
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Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:16 pm

Didn't mind the Mercenaries at all, they are a nice touch of the scenario. I build a separate army of mercenaries and some cavalry (especially the Numidian with 0 CP is nice), and it was very effective, without feeling overpowered or anything. They are nicely done, with some interesting specialities like a "wild" terrain bonus. It may be nice though if they were more .. troublesome, being mercenaries and such. Perhaps they should create trouble / revolt / disobey from time to time?

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