Hannibal & Hamilcar Review

Theme and What is it?

“Hannibal and Hamilcar” is a two-person war game where you play as one of two nations at war.  The players either choose to take on the role of the Romans or the Carthaginians in this historically based board game that challenges you to recreate or rewrite the story of some of the world’s most revered generals.

Gameplay Mechanics

The goal of this game can vary from scenario to scenario but is mainly centered around territory control of your respective nations by military or political control.  Each scenario is based upon historical situations with the years in which the actual conflict happened.

Each scenario shows a starting setup of political, military, cities, and other pieces in the major regions of Northern Africa, Iberia, Italia, Sicilia, as well as Corsica & Sardinia.  Each scenario has a setup that is unique to the recreation of the conflicts between the Romans and Carthaginians (and additional tribes caught in the struggles) in the First and Second Punic Wars. 

Once the board is set gameplay relies heavily on strategy cards for troop placement/movement and political influence over nearby areas.  Maintaining a supply line of friendly cities and areas is key to winning for both sides, cutting off these lines can often be a strategy for besting your opponent.  Each player will control generals who will move by themselves or with combat units as you push for control of territories.  Each general is specific to each side and provides differing strengths.  If enemy combat units come into contact it is possible for a land battle to occur which are resolved using battle cards which state maneuvers i.e. Frontal Assault, Double Envelopment.  This is a simple matching system but surprisingly provides an interesting challenge.  There is also a naval system for moving troops, the results of which are determined by a die-based system including situational modifiers.  Knowing when to attack, move, retreat, and withdraw are essential in your imminent victory.

At the Victory Check Phase, each player determines the amount of political control they have in the given spaces, if a player has less political control point they must remove as many pieces equal to the difference in scores, if they are unable to meet that number then they lose the game, if they meet it the conflict continues.  The only exception to this is sudden death by the conquering of Roma or Carthago.  The Carthaginian player also wins if they control all provinces in Italia except Latium in the Victory Check Phase.

Initial Impressions

Upon first look the box depicts a gritty warrior, Hannibal, the artwork style is a bright color scheme that shows detail with accented shadows.  The box itself lists quotes from BoardGameGeek.com praising design and amount of fun it is to play.  The back of the box also includes a brief cinematic run down of the game and lists the components found inside.  However, as a gamer who normally plays deck building and resource management games, the box intrigues me but doesn’t quite hook me.

Game Build Quality

The contents of the box all come in great quality and condition, the tokens are all artistic and very aesthetically pleasing. The cards are all made from a relatively thick cardstock, however I do recommend purchasing sleeves for them for shuffling purposes and so as not to damage them while picking the cards up or playing them. The board is a nice six-fold layout.  My personal favorite part is the twenty-four unique general figurines.

Artistic Direction

Each card has individual artwork which features a very bright palette with interesting shadows and depictions.  The miniatures are each a different person and are very well depicted to match the time era and attire of a high ranking military person at that time.  I think the board has some of the best art as it is fairly clear to read and see the different areas and names.  The board does have a different art style than the cards which is fair as it shows detail in a clearer way and doesn’t blur colors as much as the cards.

Fun Factor

I tend to lean towards a deck-oriented game or resource management, so war strategy is not a style that I partake in, so I would say it is relatively enjoyable for those who don’t normally play war games.  The full experience of it would be much better for those who enjoy a strategic control style of gaming, as it is a fairly in-depth game of that genre.

Age Range & Weight

The box recommends for players to be 14+, I do firmly suggest sticking to that as the game mechanics are fairly in depth and heavy, not difficult just intricate, the theme of the game could be younger as it is not a graphic or gory game.  So, the age suggestion stands in the most part for the difficulty and understanding development levels.  Difficulty wise this is not necessarily hard to grasp basics, but it does take some learning and time to understand the intricacies of the game and play it to the fullest possible extent.

Conclusions

To close, I would like to say it is not my first choice of game to play as it is only a two-player game in a style I personally do not always play, however the theme is interesting.  The mechanics are good and run smoothly and well.  The art is a style I find visually very pleasing and looks nice on the cards and box, the board is a different style not a conflicting style just different.  The quality of the contents is one of the best parts as each piece is produced and finished well, I would purchase an organizer for the various tokens. I wish it had come with something nicer than the plastic bags but getting a tackle box would solve it.  It is a fun game just not something I personally would choose first but still enjoyable and worth the time.

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