Author Topic: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics  (Read 11227 times)

Zelc

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2011, 10:30:44 AM »
Now that the Skirmisher flypaper has been fixed, Skirmisher pinches no longer force rout checks, and Determination doesn't apply to ranged attacks, what do people think about the faction?

Hannibal

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2011, 11:37:05 AM »
I still like the faction.  In fact, I like it much more than Rome.  I know, I know, given my handle you'd expect I like it, but I chose the handle long before there was a Rome vs Carthage.

Skirmishers still fulfill a role of a tank, it's just they're not quite so no-brainer in their use.  However, they still can tie down an enemy unit for large portions of the game. 

As for the pinch, skirmishers may not cause a rout check but they still do give the pinch bonus.  That means I can put a decent unit on your front and the skirmisher is there just to provide the (+0)+1/+1 to that frontal unit.  Still worth doing.

Determination...yeah it's a secondary ability behind foresight anyway.  I use it a fair bit because the +1 Cge boost is worth the CA for me in most cases.  I think of the ability more as a +1 Cge for the tough fights and then if forcing a Red check is necessary I erase the box.

My thoughts on units:

Balearic Slingers:  I used to love them, but their slow speed (for a skirmisher) means they're just ablative shields for my important stuff now. Usually if I need skirmisher speed I take Caetrati, and if I need skirmisher shooting I take Moorish Archers.  Edit:  dunno what I was thinking.  Their speed is fine, but if they're pinching they lose attack dice so I take the Caetrati if that's the role whereas if I want shooting, I still take the Moorish Archers.  I wish these guys had no move & shoot penalty. 

Caetrati:  this is your "tie the enemy down" unit.  Put them in terrain or on a flank or someplace where they can get a pinch if you ignore them but are worth more than whatever the enemy puts opposite them.

Gallic Warriors:  This is my usual line-filler unit.  If I take them, they get Determination pretty quickly.  Their entire role for me is to die, but not run.  They hold the line long enough for my Libyan Foot to win out.

Scutarii:  These guys I rarely use.  They're as flimsy as Gallic Warriors but without the high Courage.  They have the Pila attack but aren't as good as the Libyan Foot.  They kinda just don't fulfill any role.

Spanish Cavalry:  Maybe if I'm playing Border Patrol or some other scenario where I need fast Core, they'd come out.  Otherwise, they stay in the box. 

Libyan Foot:  You're building your army around this unit or you're not playing Carthage.  Simple as that.  I start with 3 of them for pretty much any scenario.

Carthaginian Spearmen:  I actually often take one of these guys.  I seldom try to envelope with two flanks and so these guys are my anti-cavalry line anchor.  They're cheaper than Libyan Foot so if they never engage all game I don't feel there's wasted points.  But they're not as light as Gauls, so the enemy doesn't look at them and say "hey I can break through there and turn his flank."  They're just good enough to hold off all but a serious attempt at turning your flank but cheap enough that you can put points elsewhere.

Gallic Cavalry:  Slightly better than Spanish Cavalry but not enough to justify it in my book.  Again only in highly situational cases will this unit come out.

Numidian Cavalry:  I don't have the love-fest that most people do with this unit.  Certainly its nice and can tie down an enemy unit, but I feel that if this unit is engaged you're doing it wrong.  My opinion is that really this unit is an MV 7" Pinch Check.  Their best use is getting an enemy to commit energy hunting them down and if he doesn't he takes a flank charge.  The problem is people don't do that often.  By now everyone knows that the best way to beat the Numidians is just send some light cavalry or light infantry out there, something no more expensive than the Numidians and just tie them down in turn.  So often they get used as flank guards for my elephants.

Elephants:  These guys are awesome.  I take at least 1 and sometimes 2 in almost every army.  They don't have a lot of points wasted in speed that I'd cap anyway to keep them near my line, but are just fast enough to roll out on a flank without constant direct controlling to keep them in line.  They need cards to help them bust up an enemy, because their Off Skill is mediocre and their defense won't stand long against dedicated shooting.  Also their substandard courage needs some help too.  But I don't see that as terrible because they're your line-breaker anyway so you were already going to spend cards on them.  Once you commit to doing that, their damage boxes means they can slug it out with enemy cavalry and infantry alike.

Hannibal’s Elite:  Lazyj's initial assessment on these guys is spot on.  Its not that I never use them, but they do get seldom use because the extra 70 pts over Libyan Foot often could be better spent elsewhere.  If I find myself with 70 extra points and I don't need any more Foresight, I don't need another skirmisher, and I think there might be a matchup where the stats of these guys is better than 3 cards, I'll upgrade a unit of Libyan Foot to these guys.

Moorish Archers:  If I need some ablative skirmishers that can shoot, I take these guys.  Otherwise, not so much.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 03:29:47 PM by Hannibal »

Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2011, 02:53:13 PM »
Quote
Balearic Slingers:  I used to love them, but their slow speed (for a skirmisher) means they're just ablative shields for my important stuff now.  Usually if I need skirmisher speed I take Caetrati, and if I need skirmisher shooting I take Moorish Archers.

 ???  Balearic Slingers move 5", as fast as any other skirmisher in the game!
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2011, 03:22:24 PM »
As to the original question...


I like Carthage, though it's not as good as Rome, IMO.

Foresight is an awesome army ability...quite possibly the best in the game (though, ironically, less good when fighting Rome, as the units are too similar).  Carthaginian command cards are also very strong, and their skirmishers--particularly Balearic Slingers but also Caetrati are the best value in the entire game!

The Libyan Fail and their little brothers the Scutarii both hit hard for their cost--making them somewhat vulnerable to ranged fire, but you have skirmishers to deal with that.  Elephants are also hard hitting and very vulnerable to ranged fire, but unlike the infantry the skirmishers won't screen them at all.

Sadly, Carthaginian cavalry, for the cost, sucks.  Spanish & Gallic cav are weak to kill a standard line unit, and will both get plowed by almost every Fantasy cavalry in the game (The exceptions being Hawkshold scouts & Goblin Wolf Riders.).  This means that, if you aren't fighting Romans, your cavalry are relegated to the "get a wide line and pinch" role, which Italian cav can do just about equally well for under 2/3 the cost.

I know that a lot of people get excited about Numidian Cav, and in certain situations it can be useful, but more often than not you end up wasting 167 points on a unit that does virtually no damage and has to make an iffy rout check after a couple turns of combat.

The biggest weaknesses of Carthage, however, aren't what it has, but what it doesn't have.

Carthage lacks an equivalent to Roman Principes:  a solid 200-ish (5) 5/5 - 2/2 unit which can make for a solid line at reasonable cost.  Yeah, they have Carthaginian spearmen, but that super-vanilla unit isn't core, and it loses a die on the charge, which means it doesn't mesh perfectly with the rest of your offensive line.

More significantly, Carthage lacks a cheap non-skirmisher.  Their cheapest are the flaky Gallic Warriors at 160.  If Carthage had the equivalent of, say, Hawkshold Peasant mobs, it would be nigh unstoppable, as 1 peasant mob + 1 slingers = guaranteed to bog any enemy unit (except for maybe units with javelins) for 6 full turns at the cost of 143 points.  Since Carthage lacks a cheap sacrificial unit, this tactic becomes very pricey:  233 points and you have to waste a command action holding back the stupid Gauls.  254 points if you do it with Scutarii.

But all that said, I'd still put Carthage in the top half.  Pila are awesome--not only because they'll for an equal size opponent to usually have to make a rout check first, but also because a holding opponent armed with swords or spears will have to waste a command action to engage you as the alternative is to eat a second pila-throw.
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 #19 on: March 22, 2011, 03:35:36 PM »
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  ??? Balearic Slingers move 5", as fast as any other skirmisher in the game!

Huh, yeah.  Wonder what I was thinking.  (there's no "smoking crack" emoticon).  Fixed.



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I like Carthage, though it's not as good as Rome, IMO.

Yeah I can never make Rome work.  I can't in good conscience do the Triarii spam (they really should've never been Core), which is one of the few effective tricks I've seen.  The only other one is spam the Principes and put some skirmishers on the flanks.


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Carthage lacks an equivalent to Roman Principes:  a solid 200-ish (5) 5/5 - 2/2 unit which can make for a solid line at reasonable cost.  Yeah, they have Carthaginian spearmen, but that super-vanilla unit isn't core, and it loses a die on the charge, which means it doesn't mesh perfectly with the rest of your offensive line.

I've never seen a problem attacking with spearmen.  Do it all the time with fantasy armies, as the -1 attack for +1 pow is fine.  I think they work well as a solid 200 pt unit.  But I also don't think this army needs a solid 200 pt unit.  Libyan Foot + Gauls works well together.  Gallic Warriors usually make very decent tank units, especially against a 200-220 pt unit.  If I faced two 220 pt units against a tandem of Libyan Foot & Gauls, they'd average about the same.



lazyj

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2011, 04:12:35 PM »
Adding to the Pila love: remember there are TWO units in Carthage who make their Pila attacks at (3)6/6 - Libyan Foot and Hannibal's Elite. Note how one of them is not elite.  ;D

That extra skill point on the throw makes a world of difference. If you can get the right match-up with your Libyans (hello Foresight) you can often punch through the weakest unit in the enemy line on one turn. I've routinely done 2-3 damage with the Pila and another 2-3 on the charge, knocking the other guy clear into the yellow and sometimes into the red if I have good command cards.

Heavy Infantry that can break a unit on one turn like cavalry? Yes please.

In a vacuum you probably are as vulnerable as Kevin points out. But the brilliance of Carthage is that you are always the one in control. You decide the match-ups, you engage when you want to engage (thanks to what are easily the best light troops in the game), and you always have the ability to force a Courage check on your opponent when he's one damage box away - guaranteed (unless it's a lousy backed up Roman - them and their cheap tricks). edit: forgot that Romans can't heal until *after* you hit them, so it is a full guarantee!

Man I forgot how much I love this faction. I haven't even mentioned the elephants. And I do love me some elephants.   ;)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2011, 04:14:33 PM by lazyj »

BubblePig

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2011, 08:22:18 PM »
I have found in practice that Gallic Warriors are a more than acceptable line-filler if you are just charging in, but I feel that the discount for 'impulsive' generally does not make up for the 25-50 points worth of extra command actions you need to spend on them in any other role.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2011, 10:32:41 AM by BubblePig »

BubblePig

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2011, 10:33:34 AM »
Two Gallic Warriors plus a Slinger to hold them back is a decent bang for your buck, though.

Hannibal

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2011, 11:54:20 AM »
Usually when I'm playing Hannibal I am being aggressive but sometimes I'll be facing a unit that will just blow through them (Orc Marauders or Dwarven Hammermen are good examples) and want to delay combat as long as possible.  In that case, yeah, I try to put some Moorish Archers in front of them.

Niko White

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2011, 01:59:19 PM »
Usually when I'm playing Hannibal I am being aggressive but sometimes I'll be facing a unit that will just blow through them (Orc Marauders or Dwarven Hammermen are good examples) and want to delay combat as long as possible.  In that case, yeah, I try to put some Moorish Archers in front of them.

Every time you post in this thread it makes me happy.

That's all.

Hannibal

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2011, 03:39:12 PM »
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Every time you post in this thread it makes me happy.

That's all.

 ???

[falsetto]

creepyyyy

[/falsetto]

 ;D

Zelc

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2011, 01:18:32 PM »
By the way, who places a unit first after the Foresight units are deployed?  Is it the player with the most units in total, or the player with the most units left to deploy after Foresight?

Kevin

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2011, 02:19:10 PM »
Since there's nothing special about the rules stating otherwise, it's the player with the most units total.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Niko White

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2011, 09:25:50 PM »

I played Carthage in a small tourney in the store this weekend, and have rocked them for some in-store playtest games lately, and I'd forgotten how awesome they are.  They're making a strong bid for my favorite faction after High Elves.  Even nerfed, Determination and Skirmishers are fantastic against fantasy factions.

lazyj

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Re: Hannibal has Arrived: Historical Carthage Units and Tactics
« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2011, 09:14:50 AM »
Totally agree. No one super unit, but the sum is soooo much cooler than the individual parts. What I love the most is the ability to be in control of any battlefield right off the get-go.

Well, I should say I agree *except* for the part about liking High Elves better. Pointy haired little freaks can't compete with the might of the elephants!  :D