Ed's thoughtsBeing a sticker for historical accuracy I opted to lose the battle of Trebbia playing as the Romans and let the Carthaginians take the win. To be slightly more truthful about it I was rash early on and was punished by Mago's ambush. I threw my two Warrior units forward early, hoping to crush the Carthaginian Light Infantry against its own battleline. This worked on left flank but only resulted in me losing my warriors in the right. I had begun to move my main Infantry line forward when disaster struck in the shape of Mago. The ambushers came in behind my right flank and quickly engaged my Medium Cavalry and Auxilia in combat, crushing my flank in a couple of turns. Hannibal and his heavy infantry then came crashing into my Medium Infantry, finishing me off. I preferred this game to the previous one at Ticinus River, a greater mix of troops offered greater challenges and opportunities.
Anth' thoughtsMago is the play maker in this scenario, with his ambushing force just waiting to pounce on a vulnerable Roman flank. That means the key to the scenario is when the Carthaginian player draws a leadership command card into his hand. These cards allow Mago's force to enter the board on the rear of the Roman line. As the arriving troops are fast moving (2 hex minimum charge distance), if the right command card is drawn early, the ambushing force can get stuck in really early. The only dilemma to this is if the ambush is sprung too soon, the on board Carthaginian forces may not arrive in time to stop the ambushers being isolated and destroyed piecemeal. The other consideration is on which part of the board to enter; the ambush party must arrive on the section of the field specified by the command card. So a ,'right' or 'central' leadership card brings Mago on or behind the river. This could be beneficial to stop Roman retreats, but also gives the Romans something to defend and reduce the amount of combat dice being rolled, thereby giving the Romans more time to win elsewhere on the battlefield. The open left flank seemed more suitable as there is plenty of ground to manouvre within, as happened in both of our games. If the ambush force is removed from consideration, the battle seems a stand up fight with equal chances of both sides scooping the win. Again though, limited Roman generalship (1 onboard general to two Carthaginian ones) limits the affect and breadth of the leadership command cards in the deck. Poor old Consul Sempronius cannot be all over the battlefield! Certainly the elephants are a thorny proposition for the Romans to bring their foot troops to bear against the Carthaginian battleline. In both games the Samnite 'warriors' valiantly lead the charge forward; sometimes supported, sometimes not, either way their presence was certainly felt. In both games Mago's ambushes were the trump card played to lead to victory. In the second game this was slightly reduced with Mago falling at the first clash of arms (2 helmets rolled for a leader loss check - the equivalent of a double six - ouch!). In the end, the collapse of the Roman right flank lead to too many casualties/lost banners for the remaining force to steal a victory...although it was very close in the second game (six banners to five).