006 Lake Trasimenus (217 BC)
Much of Hannibal’s “genius” for warfare lay in his ability to take the measure of his opponents’ abilities and intentions. His opponent in 217 BC was Roman Consul Gaius Flaminius, a vain and incompetent patrician. Armed with this knowledge, Hannibal determined to set a trap for his opponent by ravaging the countryside to spur Flaminius to action. True to form, Flaminius rushed headlong into pursuit of Hannibal, marching his army through the narrow defile next to Lake Trasimenus where Hannibal’s army lay in wait. Hannibal posted his veteran infantry as a blocking force, hiding his light infantry and cavalry in the hills. As the day of battle dawned, a heavy mist covered the area – Flaminius further aided Hannibal’s plans by neglecting to send out scouts. The Roman vanguard stumbled into the Carthaginian blocking force, and the battle was joined. Almost immediately the ambushing Carthaginians descended from the hills and fell on the Roman column before the soldiers had enough time to deploy. Flaminius died early in the fighting; more than half of his army died along with him, either in the desperate fighting or drowning trying to escape. It was noteworthy that the only portion of Flaminius’s army to escape intact was the vanguard – those soldiers fought their way through Hannibal’s best infantry to do it. It surely was not through lack of bravery that the Roman army met disaster at Lake Trasimenus.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
6 Command Cards
2* Command Cards
Lake Trasimenus is impassable.
The four steep hills hexes on the right side of the battlefield as noted, are impassable terrain.
The Roman player starts with 2 command cards. On turn 1 play one card, draw two cards. Roman player now holds 3 command cards. On turn 2 play one card, draw two cards. Roman player now holds 4 Command Cards . On turn 3 play one card, draw one card. Roman player hand size stays at 4 Command Cards for the rest of the battle.
Second game went to Rome 6-4; Roman left flank stopped Carthagian cavalry charge and inflicted serious damage there. In ensuing slugfest Rome pulled a (partly) lucky win.
That is exactly how that battle looked like. No need for additional Carthage banners - the set-up reflects the real, historiucal Roman disposition and yes, that is very, very weak position...
I played a solo game as I am learning the VASSAL program. The game started with both sides pressing forward to respectively avoid the lake and utilize the lake.
The Carthaginians willingly moved the Warriors and Medium cavalry against the Roman left as they player had two "Order Medium Troops" cards in hand. Some dice rolls favorable to the Roman player and a bit of luck as the Romans were holding "Order Left Section" cards, and all 5 medium units were destroyed. The Romans lost 2 light units. A bit of shooting finished off a damaged Slinger and the Romans win 6-2.
I have played this twice before with narrow Carthaginian victories. The difference in this game seemed that the Carthaginian player had access to only one "Line Command" or "Double Time" card early in the game...and the Romans used a "Counterattack" to match it.
The best strategy for the Romans appears to be attacking the Carthaginian left aggressively. The Romans need two banners early or the Command Card difference will cause such a poor position, the game will be decided.
The best strategy for the Carthaginians seems to be to press in the center while protecting the cavalry units.
This should have been a complete massacre of the Roman army. The opening hand for Carthage included a mounted charge as well as several cards to maintain a sustained attack on the Roman line. It started off strong with the Romans being cut to pieces. It was unclear if the Romans would even manage to get a single banner. Then the tide began to turn. Flaminius led his unit to slaughter several of the cavalry units including their leader. In the end, the Romans were a single block away from victory (they needed one more green hit, but the light cavalry evaded). The Carthaginian left did not fare very well, getting hit hard by a well played Clash of Shields to beat back their attack.
Carthage 6 - Rome 5
The Romans completely dominated this battle thanks to a well played Clash of Shields allowing 8 units to attack at +2 to take four banners for the win. More conflict on the Carthaginian left flank this time, but surprisingly only a single banner earned for each side. This is despite 10+ blocks of damage to each army. The cavalry charge on the right this time proved much less effective. The initial impact did almost no damage requiring four units to finish off an unsupported light infantry unit. Rome most likely would not have lasted too many more turns as they were severely weakened, but they stuck when they needed to.
Rome 6 - Carthage 3
First time I played this one was as a flip-flop set; the score was 6-3/4-6 and I lost.
In neither game did the Roman right/Carthaginian left see any combat at all. The Romans have to get their units off the lakeshore line or be dispersed by forced retreats. Conversely, the big variable for the Carthaginians is how quickly the warrior infantry can close with the Roman line and what damage they do when they get there.
I think this scenario is (despite its complexity) very well balanced, better so than the Crimissos, Bagradas, or Ticinus River Scenarios. I wouldn't change a thing.