Author Topic: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics  (Read 10593 times)

lazyj

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Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« on: December 30, 2009, 03:31:17 PM »
Carthage Tactics and Units Thread
What wargamer hasn’t dreamed of being Hannibal as you march across the Alps, causing fear and trembling in the hearts of Romans everywhere? And now your time has arrived! Take up your Elephants and wreak havoc!

I'll list each unit and give a number of stars to each general role I think one might try to use it in, from 1-5.  If I don't list a given role it means I think it can't do that, but I could always be wrong or forgetful, so please respond and post your own if you like! There are also many people here who have played far more often than I have, so please give your feedback.

If you have a post you've made in another thread that you think fits in this one, feel free to post it; I think it would make some sense to have everything in one place.

General guideline to what the stars mean:

*:  It looks like this unit might be able to do this, but I've found that this is a trap.
**:  In select cases, the unit might not completely embarrass you trying to play this role.
***:  The unit plays the role competently.  Generally it won't work miracles, but it justifies its points in most games.
****:  The unit is excellent at that role.  I'll try to "upgrade" other units in that role to this one if I can.
*****:  Centaurs.

Stars are points-adjusted, so you'll often see a unit that's better on the table getting fewer stars at a role, because it isn't enough better to make the points worth it in my opinion.

Roles:

Tank: This is a unit you use to soak up hits and last long enough for relief to arrive, without planning on it doing significant damage.
Light Infantry:  This is a unit that you plan to have last just long enough to get help, and maybe do a bit of damage while it's at it.  It won't stand up to a real damage unit, but it will prevent opposing tanks from embarrassing you by pinching in.  I think of this as the "offensive" version of the tank unit.
Heavy Infantry:  The game's generalist units.  They have good attack and defense stats, but neither is enough of a standout that they aren't capable of both dealing and taking some damage.  These are the non-specialist guys who you plan to use to cover contingencies and things like that.
Light Damage:  This is a unit you use to charge in, either against weak units or into a pinch.  This plan involves breaking them on the first turn because the unit will be in trouble if you don't.
Heavy Damage:  This is a unit you use to charge in and beat people up on the charge turn, but unlike Light Damage, you're trusting them to last a few turns if things go wrong.
Fire Support:  This is a unit you use to add fire where it is needed.  You don't count on them to get much done on their own, but combined with a reasonable infantry unit or other fire support, they can create holes in the opposing line and get things going.
Artillery:  The big guns.  These units add fire support, but the fire is meaningful enough that you are hoping they'll do big damage over the course of the game, rather than serving a dedicated support role.
Other:  Sometimes I'll put in another category, like "Centaurs" or "Bowriders" and explain it in the comments.

I'll also give every unit an overall score indicating how often I tend to play it.

Carthage Ability Review

Determination: This is a great ability. To semi-permanently increase Courage on a unit, as well as give you a guaranteed point of damage, is one of the most powerful Command Actions available. Don’t use it blindly – you don’t want to cheat yourself out of more useful command cards. But also hesitate to apply it to your almost dead guy if all you need is one more damage to force a rout check. The ability to force an unstoppable damage ping can’t be discounted.

Foresight: Just when you thought Carthage had an unfair advantage with only Determination, now they get Foresight? This is my favorite ability in the game by far. Battleground at its core is a game about favorable matchups. And with Foresight, you can almost always have the advantage in determining matchups. I would go so far as to say that you should never buy command cards for Carthage – spend the points on Foresight instead. 5 points of Foresight plus a handful of skirmishers should mean that your opponent’s entire army should be deployed before you first put down a line unit. The advantage you get from this cannot be understated.

Carthage Unit Review

Balearic Slingers
Disposable Fodder: ***
Light Damage: **
Fire Support: **
Tank: ****
Overall: ****

Wait, what? Tank?! Yes, absolutely. As has been discussed in other places, a pair of Carthaginian skirmishers is brutally effective in tying up enemy units. Really, when you figure out how many roles this cheap little guy can fill, you should almost never field an army without some. Just remember that causing damage is secondary to all the other pain and suffering that he can cause. Which is good, because with only 3 dice it’s rare that his better attack stats are going to matter. Also, just because his stat line is abysmal in close combat, don’t forget that when he jumps in to force a pinch Courage check, you can rout units costing 5 times as much!

Caetrati
Disposable Fodder: **
Light Damage: **
Fire Support: **
Tank: ***
Overall: ***

Caetrati cost slightly more points than Slingers, which means in my mind they aren’t worth nearly as much and therefore there’s a general reduction in star value. There’s nothing wrong with them, and in fact you can smack opposing Roman skirmishers every which way from Tuesday. I just feel like the slingers give you more bang for the buck. One hidden bonus to Caetrati (and Slingers, but I’ve raved about the slings enough) is their extra green hit – meaning they don’t face oblivion the first time light cavalry charge into them. They will generally skirmish for you most admirably.
 
Gallic Warriors
Light Infantry: ***
Light Damage: ***
Overall: ***

Try as I might, I cannot find much more use for these guys than just as a filler infantry. They don’t cost much, they hit decently well, they can’t stand up to “real” troops for very long. They are your quintessential “light” troops. The plus side is that you can fill out a line with them quite well, and as long as you remember their cute little tendency to barrel into combat, they usually won’t embarrass you.

Scutarii
Light Infantry: ***
Light Damage: ***
Overall: ***

The unit I field least often. Note that the stat line on the card is wrong – they are only 2/1 defense. With that little depressing change, they become merely a variant on the Gallic Warriors. They get less courage and cost more, but more green hits and Pila attacks. Generally they both fill the same role, and I switch between the two depending on how many points I have and whether I want the Courage bonus or if I plan on using Determination to compensate.

Spanish Cavalry
Heavy Damage: *
Light Damage: ***
Anti-Skirmisher: **
Overall: **

Players approaching Carthage with a Fantasy Faction background might see that Cavalry note on this card and think this is the unit to use to make a glorious, line-breaking charge. Don’t believe it. Remember, this unit represents pre-stirrup cavalry, meaning these guys are just fast light infantry with less staying power. True they get a slight combat advantage when they charge, but they are certainly not going to hold their own for very long against any non-skirmisher infantry. Use them as a supplement to your line instead of your primary thrust and they will do you no harm – and can usually handle whatever your opponent sends out on the flank. But they will not serve as your primary “breaker”.

Libyan Foot
Tank: ***
Heavy Infantry: ****
Heavy Damage: ***
Overall: ****

Oh yes. Oh my yes. Libyans are the rock of your army. They have an excellent stat line, including the all-important skill 6 on offense (meaning your Pila attacks just became 10 times more effective) and excellent courage which can be further boosted by Determination. Your Libyans are going to be the ones taking on the enemy tough guys, holding their own, and probably breaking them without much help from you. If you don’t have Libyans in your army then Hannibal is probably ashamed of you.

Carthaginian Spearmen
Tank: ***
Heavy Infantry: ***
Heavy Damage: **
Overall: **

Nothing wrong with these guys, except to me they just don’t feel very “historical”. They are functionally equivalent to Hawks except for less courage and less Green health. But I rarely take them, considering them to be a crutch for playing against Fantasy factions. In fact I can’t think of a time I actually put them in an army… Use them as you would any other spearmen – meaning against Cavalry or Large/Colossal targets, or just as a solid place holder in your line.

Gallic Cavalry
Light Damage: ****
Heavy Damage: **
Chasing other cavalry: *
Anti-Skirmisher: **
Overall: **

Ah, here is where your cavalry can actually start to make your opponent nervous. Though they don’t roll many dice, at least these guys can punch through guys on the charge and actually do a bit of damage afterward. Still they are no match for the Fantasy guys, and their best use is assisting other guys in ganging up on less mobile units. They will certainly do a number on skirmishers, but you really ought to keep their noses out of that kind of fight. Notice that they are one of the few 2/2 defense units – but that low Cavalry health line better make you pause before you put them in harm’s way. Also note that as one of the few Historical Cavs that can actually put some fear into a line unit, you don’t want all those points being wasted chasing around some other horse. Find a weak spot and use these guys to punch through it. Note that I typically use other guys for my punching as it feels like these guys are too expensive for what they are and don’t use them much. Still, you could do worse.
 
Numidian Cavalry
Light Damange: **
Anti-Skirmisher: ****
Anti-Cavalry: ****
Annoying the hell out of your opponent: *****
Overall: ****

I love these guys. Cheap, fast, and perfectly suited to mess with two aspects of an enemy that players are increasingly relying on. Remember they have javelins too, so if your opponent decides to confront you with some annoying tank – just hang out a bit away and lob sticks at him. If you’re willing to burn the determination every round, you can ping him for one damage per turn until he comes to you. And you can effectively neutralize any enemy cavalry for two or three turns – which is hilarious. The drawback to these guys is that they are really just expensive skirmishers. If you opponent refuses to engage in shenanigans on your terms, they just don’t have much firepower to make him change his mind. Just keep these guys in your pocket as the ultimate counter to many annoyances, and if there’s nothing to counter use them to annoy your opponent. They won’t win anything on their own, but they are quite fun to play.


Elephants
Tank: *
Heavy Infantry: **
Heavy Damage: ****
Overall: ****

I do love me some elephants. They are iconic of Hannibal’s campaign, though they didn’t do much. Thankfully, the Battleground units are quite capable of turning a battle in your favor. Especially against Rome, those impact hits and extra power will allow you to carve through enemy light infantry like butter. Their drawbacks are many – you just can’t survive long as a Large unit with Toughness 3 and low courage. But for every time that your Elephants break and run early, there is another time that they proceed to stomp half the opposing army under their feet. If they are critical to your plans, grab Command Cards early so you can get the Courage boosting ones. If you can slam into enemy cavalry, it will be hilarious (though it probably won’t happen often). And just remember one of the basic tenets of Battleground – one powerful unit is no match for a horde of fools – so keep their flanks clean and make sure their first charge is worth it.

Hannibal’s Elite
Tank: **
Heavy Infantry: ****
Heavy Damage: ***
Overall: ***

There are no drawbacks here except that these guys are expensive. In fact I would say that if they are only tanks in your line then they are costing you too much. You need to take advantage of their offense. They will consistently put a hurt on anyone foolish enough to engage them. Just remember that even Elite, high Courage units like this can flub a Courage check when pinched – so don’t completely ignore those enemy skirmishers. Basically these guys should pair with Libyans, Elephants, and/or Gallic Cavalry to be the damage dealing rocks of your line.

Moorish Archers
Disposable Fodder: **
Light Damage: **
Fire Support: **
Tank: ***
Overall: **

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really found a role for these guys yet. They do fill a gap in the Carthage army in that they can shoot more than 7”. And it is kind of nice that they skirmish as well – though they don’t do it quite as well as the Slingers. But in the end they are just another kind of skirmisher. Perhaps against some of the Fantasy armies I’ll think of some other uses – but for now they are somewhat less useful than Slingers and Caetrati in my opinion.



Discuss Carthage here! I’m by no means an expert, but I wanted to spark some discussion. I feel like Carthage is one of the strongest factions to date – and more than a match for stodgy old Rome.

Niko White

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 10:50:54 PM »
Thanks for doing this, but you really should have ghost-written for user Hannibal  ;D

Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 09:44:34 AM »
Excellent write up!

Caetrati vs. Slingers is a very difficult question, and depends a lot on their function.

Caetrati can do 2 things better than slingers.  One is they they will usually kill enemy skirmishers.  The other is that they're "poor man's cavalry"  5" movers, and their (3)5/4 may not look like much, but if they charge onto a flank and pinch that (3)5/4 turns into (3)7/6.  If I'm playing a 1500-point battle they're an excellent way to extend my line if I'm thinking offense!

Slingers are (3)5/5, but unlike Caetrati they have a move and shoot penalty, so as often as not their shot is effectively (3)4/5:  essentially equivalent to that of the Caetrati's (3)5/4.  The main advantage is slingers is that they're cheaper, and if your opponent doesn't have skirmishers there's no real reason not to make every skirmisher in the middle of your like a slinger.

The better range of slingers can also help.  Very good units to extend the line defensively (Park it angling it back from the infantry at the end of the line)--with luck they'll get a couple of shots in before they rout, and in any case will keep you from being pinched for a while.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Hannibal

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2010, 02:08:31 PM »
Thanks for doing this, but you really should have ghost-written for user Hannibal  ;D

The irony here being that I haven't played Carthage much.   ;D

gornhorror

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2010, 09:08:53 AM »
Well, I've had the Roma and Carthage set for about a year now.  Just played Carthage last night for the first time.  I really liked how the units performed.  Pila is really cool and skirmishers must be annoying to fight against.  My favorite unit by far is the elephant unit, and it hung in there against a lashmistress a halfblood levy and some calvalry unit that I can't remember.  I should of played this army at council.  Maybe I would of given Kevin a better fight and not been so out numbered.  Ah well.  ;D 
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lazyj

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2010, 09:27:30 AM »
Elephants are the bomb! Join the cult of RushAss and I: Preach the Gospel of death and flatness! :D

ajax98

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2010, 05:59:56 PM »
Balearic Slingers
... Also, just because his stat line is abysmal in close combat, don’t forget that when he jumps in to force a pinch Courage check, you can rout units costing 5 times as much!

I thought this was Officially errata'd that Skirmishers Do Not Force a Pinch Courage Check.

RushAss

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2010, 12:26:23 AM »
Elephants are the bomb! Join the cult of RushAss and I: Preach the Gospel of death and flatness! :D
Hey!  I was the guy that got squished!
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Will still capture our imaginations"
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ajax98

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2010, 01:31:57 AM »
Balearic Slingers
... Also, just because his stat line is abysmal in close combat, don’t forget that when he jumps in to force a pinch Courage check, you can rout units costing 5 times as much!

I thought this was Officially errata'd that Skirmishers Do Not Force a Pinch Courage Check.

7.6 Skirmishers
... Skirmishers don’t count when determining if a non-skirmisher unit would take a rout check from being pinched, through skirmishers get and give pinching bonuses to attacks as normal.

ajax98

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2010, 01:57:46 PM »
Carthage Tactics and Units Thread
...
Numidian Cavalry
... If you’re willing to burn the determination every round, you can ping him for one damage per turn until he comes to you.

Determination has been changed to adding damage to Engaged units only. It is not to be used for Rangestriking/Shooting attacks, as is implied by the above comment.
http://yourmovegames.com/forum/index.php/topic,1430.0.html

gornhorror

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2010, 03:03:31 PM »
Hey!!!! Where is the Roman faction discussion and tactics section?  Kevin?   ;D
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Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2010, 05:53:33 PM »
Hey, good point.  I'll try to write something up this weekend.  Probably good that we waited to do one until the recent Triarii errata, as otherwise half the things said would be obsolete.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

gornhorror

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2010, 08:18:38 PM »
I agree.  Who better than you to do it too.  Congrats on your Council wins.  I'll get you next year.   ;)
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lazyj

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2010, 11:39:00 AM »
Hmmm... yes I should update this with the recent revision in mind. Sorry folks, been chock full of trivial non-battleground stuff for too long. Will see what I can do.

Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2010, 11:31:06 PM »
OK, the Roman Units and Tactics section is now up for all to peruse.  Enjoy!
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill