10 November 2005

After Action Report (05.11.2005): 'Sword of Rome'

I have waited a long time to play GMT Games' 'Sword of Rome'. The 'Sword of Rome' is a strategic level treatment of the struggle for supremacy on the Italian peninsula during Rome's early years. The wargame utilises a system that is similar to Avalon Hill's highly sought after classic 'Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage'.

Before commencing we tried a sample turn with 5 rounds. After which, we randomly decided who should represent which power.

The Greeks - Seow Buay
The Gauls - Wei Yi
The Romans - Chris
The Etruscans and Samnites - Shyue Chou

Turn 1
The game started with a Gallic onslaught. The Gauls (Wei Yi) plundered the Etruria. The Etruscans (Shyue Chou) deign to take the lands back and instead strengthened the support of their cities to 3.

Meanwhile, Chris activated the Carthaginians and engaged the Greeks (Seow Buay) in a few indecisive manoeuvres and battles in Sicily. Chris had three 'Neutral Power Activites' cards and he used them well. The Greeks (Seow Buay) were fully occupied in the south. I couldn't do much as most of my leaders require '2' and above cards to activate. I was holding too many '1' cards and I passed a few rounds. Then, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) seized the Roman city of Capua which had a support value of '1'.

The Gauls (Wei Yi) then commenced besieging the Roman city of Narnia, capturing it. At that point, Wei Yi played a Desperate Times card and attempted to seize a first turn victory but was somehow unable to secure the needed VP.

Turn 2
The Etruscans (Shyue Chou) proposed an alliance with the Gauls (Wei Yi) who agreed after I pointed that the Gauls could plunder the Samnites (Shyue Chou) and Romans (Chris) while having clear lines of communication north to their bases (and also that the Etruscan lands are still independent and have not recovered from being plundered). Two Gallic armies began moving south. A Gallic army began plundering Roman and Samnite lands shortly after.

This provoked the Romans (Chris) who had just started beseiging Antium which belong to the Volsci and also attempting to take Narnia back through another siege. Subsequently, Chris activated the Transalpine Gauls who took a few of the Gauls' VP spots, thus sending the second Gallic army back north. Then, Chris ventured with another Roman army which proceeded to destroy the first Gallic army.

I had three 'Neutral Power Activates' cards but I waited for the Greeks (Seow Buay) to move west towards Lilybaeum. Following that instance, I played the 'Mamertines' card, and endeavoured to trap the Greeks a la Stalingrad, by turning the Greek city of Messana behind into an independent one while manoeuvring a Cathaginian army to offer battle. The Greeks (Seow Buay) managed to win a battle with both sides incurring casaulties and he rushed back to Messana to lay siege on it.

Towards the turn, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) broke its alliance and attempted to seize two Gallic VP spots for an instant Turn 2 victory. I played a Desperate Times card but was thwarted by another card. Following which, the Gauls (Wei Yi) began guarding their lands with a Gallic army.

Turn 3
The Romans (Chris) managed to capture two cities and building another walled city. The Gauls (Wei Yi) and Romans (Chris) became allied. Weakened after the previous push, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) began consolidating and grouping their two armies into one. The Gauls managed to re-capture their VP locations while preparing against the Transalpine Gallic army which was massing north.

The Greeks (Seow Buay) were re-building their support.

Towards the end of the turn, the Etruscans (Shyue Chou) began to attempt to seize Gallic VP spaces again. This time, the Romans (Chris) tried subjugating my tribal lands and also besieging the captured Roman city Capua and eventually capturing it. The attempt to intercept that army saw the loss of a minor Samnite (Shyue Chou) army. The preventive measure would have worked if not for the Desperate Measures card I was holding. I played one before Seow Buay's round and was denied. And I played one before Chris' round and was again denied. Finally, I played one at the end of the 5th action round and was able to occupy a few Gallic VP spaces for a 11 VP win.

Thoughts on Strategies for the Etruscan and Samnite player

"When silence comes in, and creeps underneath the skin
If the lost word is lost and the spent word is spent
This is the time, this is the place where the story ends
Where the story ends
Where the story ends"
'The Story ends' Clan of Xymox