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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

alxeu

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8MAVyDA.jpg

Hello, everybody! In this AAR, I intend to play through my favorite AGEOD game that I own, Alea Jacta Est.

For those who are unfamiliar with AJE, it is similar to AGEOD titles, but is set in Antiquity, with a focus on Rome and its civil wars. The game got several expansions, adding the rise of Rome, the Punic Wars, the Cantabrian Wars, the Parthian Wars, and Spartacus' slave revolt.

My intent is to carry this AAR forward through Roman history, playing though each scenario as the Romans, or, in the case of the civil wars, the victor among the Roman sides. I'm not that good at the game, however, so I will be playing on the lowest difficulty, as well as making the AI play with the same rules as myself. As I play more, maybe I'll try against a harder AI, but right now I make plenty of mistakes as is, and a harder AI would just kick me to the curb should I try fighting it.

That being said, I am changing the settings from how I usually play. I usually have the AI set to Cautious, which usually makes the AI armies sit and chill as I am given free reign to go pillage their lands, unless the AI has a massive advantage over me locally, from what it is supposed to know.

Unfortunately, I did forget to change the settings for the first scenario, so you will get an idea on how a cautious very easy AI acts.

I'm not sure how much tutorial I will give in my playthroughs, though I will try and clarify on anything you guys have questions about, if you ask. I can't profess to know everything about this game, so those who are veterans of the game will probably find themselves facepalming half-way through.

The first update will be my next post, as I want to keep this as a table of contents, so without further ado, let's begin.

Table of Contents

The Third Samnite War(298 BC-294 BC):
- Part I (May 298 BC - May 298 BC)
- Part II (May 298 BC - March 297 BC)
- Part III (April 297 BC - April 295BC)
- Part IV (April 295 BC - March 294 BC)
 
Last edited:

alxeu

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The Third Samnite War, Part I - Introduction and Explanation

When the scenario starts, the game is helpful enough to introduce the scenario, and what each side's goal should be.
dpagVrV.jpg


For Rome, there is no alternative but absolute destruction of the Samnites and the Etruscans. The Samnites need to hold out long enough, and use the superior numbers of their side, as well as their high quality Samnite forces, to beat out the powerful Roman legions.

At the very top and center the resources I have are, from left to right:

Victory Points - In case neither side achieves all their goals, the side with the most VP wins. VP can also be spent on decisions.

Morale - The fighting spirit of your nation. As it drops, your soldiers fight worse, and if it drops to zero, you lose. However, as it increases, your troops fight better, and your morale can exceed 100.

Engagement Points - The main currency of in-game decisions. These points let you take various decisions offered, and act as a limiter for preforming too many of them in a short timespan. You get more faster as you succeed more, or through random events.

Money - Used in decisions, recruitment, and upkeep, money is extremely important, and, outside events, is only replenished in March of each year.


Before I go too far into what is on the map, let me first show the different menus, accessed from the top left, or the hotkeys associated with them.

qzQ4Qwk.jpg


This menu shows us our OOB, effectively, showing all our armies, where they are located, how tough they are, how organized, etc. etc. Important to note is that the locked units, displayed on the far right, can not be moved unless attacked, or after 999 turns elapse. The letters, which are either white or darkened, show whether or not a unit's commander is active this turn. Individual units, afaik, can't become inactive, but the commanders of the armies can be, and if they are inactive, the entire force becomes weaker.

5WJtOM0.jpg


The next tab brings up the Production screen, showing units under construction, as well as reinforcements for those units we are currently fielding. The zeros above the unit symbols show how many replacements are necessary, while the numbers outside the boxes on the bottom show how many replacements you have. Finally, the numbers added on inside the boxes show how many replacements you are adding to the pool. There is no manpower in this game, the only limits being how many you are allowed to have fielded, and how much money you have.

Qt82JR7.jpg


The Reinforcements, or Imperator, screen, gives various decisions for hiring mercenaries or commanders. As it stands right now, only a Praetor can be appointed for 5 engagement points. We'll get back to this later.

sUiwpnC.jpg


Under politics, or SPQR, you can find different decisions, more focused on relations with other factions, or money raising decisions. Right now, only this one is available, and it is rather useless in this scenario, but as time passes and battles are fought, there will be more choices.

Pqkty8w.jpg


Under Various, or Varius, all decisions that don't necessarily fit with the others go here. Right now, we have a decision that, when enacted, allows us to get a free fortified city in eastern Italy, along with some free soldiers. This will be taken asap, but I do run into problems trying to take it.

MnQTtzW.jpg


The map is rather self explanatory, and displays the location of all visible forces, and whose side they are on. The size of the squares indicate combat power.

L7b9tZB.jpg


The objectives screen. Here we are shown our objective cities, which give us EP for capturing them, and our enemies morale, VP gain, and relative combat power. As you can see, Samnium has 136% of our combat power, relatively speaking. Luckily, much of this is locked away in allies Samnium does not yet have, or is split up and separated from Samnium proper. Graecia Magna is a 3rd faction, which I have not had to fight in this scenario. I don't know how they factor in, as I think they become important only later on, and I have never had to fight real late into the scenario.

vXZY4N1.jpg


Finally, background information for everyone.

ZYnxi33.jpg


This screen has a lot of information to take in, and would take a wall of text to describe all at once. In short, the most important things to gather is that armies can be set in different stances, with defensive (blue) and offensive (orange) being the most common, with red (assault) and green (evade) being more situational. At the bottom, you can see the Power of my army, effectively their strength. Currently sitting at full cohesion, a month's march will cause them to lose cohesion, hurting their power rating in the process. Finally, my general, his biography being show, is a 5-3-0 commander, making him an offensive leader, who is very likely to activate each turn. He's going to be our main guy for the beginning of this conflict.

vhtXSgk.jpg


Here is his strictly worse counterpart, losing two strategic rating and one offensive rating, for one defensive rating. Not only that, but he's inactive this turn. He will be instantly sidelined, though he will have his own day in the sun, and the white helmet symbol on his unit card at the bottom indicates that infantry under his command are stronger.

dz2LVwJ.jpg


Finally, here is our opponent, Gaius Pontius, leading a force of unknown strength, though one that is obviously stronger than any individual Consul's army.



Next time, we actually play the game!
 

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Your best bet is to win quickly. If the Samnite AI is able to hold out for a few years they get more allies and better troops. The starting samnite forces always under perform to me. They have really bad discipline which holds them back. If my memory serves me right.
 

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Thanks!

Your best bet is to win quickly. If the Samnite AI is able to hold out for a few years they get more allies and better troops. The starting samnite forces always under perform to me. They have really bad discipline which holds them back. If my memory serves me right.

I haven't been able to win quickly enough in this scenario in the past, but in my experience the Samnite allies are just as easily knocked out as they are brought in. Plus, by the time they are brought in, the Samnite armies are usually either crushed or relegated to irrelevance.


Thank you!


Update in a bit.
 

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The Third Samnite War, Part II - Opening Moves and Battles

Unfortunately, after that first longwinded explanation update, there are still some things I have yet to show.

3uBZ0HF.jpg


There are various different map mods, and while I will keep them off for most of the playthrough, I find this one and the loyalty mapmode the most useful. This displays military controls of various provinces. Those with military control can restrict movement of enemy armies and supplies. This also helps assess at the beginning as to which minor factions are allied to you, or your enemy.

Zmlq3yQ.jpg


Next, the eagle in the bottom left corner, when clicked, brings up this interface, from which you can train units, paying money, naturally. Red-backgrounded units are Roman in nationality, while the orange units are our allied forces.

Z3fkQ5c.jpg


As it was shown last time, my armies sorely lack any non-legionnaire forces, so I queue up some Equites(horsemen) and supply wagons. They'll take a few months to finish training, so they might miss the opening battles.

8wUoTjF.jpg


Lastly, this is the front that is going to be ignored. The Etruscans, in this playthrough, never left their cities until it was too late for the Samnites. An unfortunate by-product of cautious AI, ensuring I didn't have much opposition at any one time.

Arretium is held by the Umbrians, who are neutral currently, leaning Samnite. Same goes for the Senones, the Gauls of Sena Gallica. They can, and will, be brought in by the Samnites later on.

51K7IPT.jpg

iqTDYNO.jpg


We take actions to recruit a Praetor, who increases the amount of CP we have available. We also attempt the Alliance with Picenum, for the free fortress and soldiers.

Now, before I continue, I need to let you guys know: I messed up. I forgot to screenshot many of my movements, though I did catch most of the action. I will be able to show you the results of my actions, at least.

q7bg7LD.jpg


My first turn movements saw my two armies merged, and my inactive consul sent to holiday in Capua. Barbalus goes ahead to siege Maleventum, a level two fortress. All fortresses can be assaulted in this game, but level 2 and above forts need two or more breaches before they can assaulted by most commanders, so for the moment we wait.

vlFNZ6L.jpg


My allied Lucanian forces are sent north to protect Spoletum and retake Hadria, which fell under Samnite control. Meanwhile, the Praetor and Consul Maximus move south to link up with Barbalus.

4giVlid.jpg


The next month, we see the legions finish their Ballistae, special siege weaponry which are built only by the legions and only for the duration of the siege they are located at. This is helpful in that we do not need to build siege weapons and carry them around with us.

VwYxzEu.jpg


Some time passes, with little action on either side. We retake Hadria and finally take this decision again, and succeed.

Ey0szrT.jpg


Maleventum falls, and Hadria/Hatria is founded on the Adriatic coast. Meanwhile, our reinforcements are done training. They will be brought up to the Consular army before we march against the Samnites at Luceria.

NISN8bJ.jpg


Our units in neighboring provinces give us the ability to see what is currently inside of Bovanium. I order my Lucanian allies to siege the city while I prepare my main force against the Samnites.

xoau3gO.jpg


The main Samnite army can only be defeated by my Consular army, and should the cavalry to the south link up with it, it will become quite the intimidating opponent.

Vt3K9cq.jpg


Unfortunately, the Samnites chose to evade my main army, and attack the Lucanians in Bovanium. The first battle of the war is a theoretical Roman defeat, but the Samnites took heavier casualties, and therefore suffered more hits that they would have to replace.

EgTG7Gz.jpg


On the bright side, the Samnite cavalry ran off and ran into my main army, ensuring they could not link up with their main force, though as you can see, they have instead headed north, to Rome.

0i4CRtr.jpg


This culminates in the 2nd Battle of Bovianum, where, despite being a stalemate, 1/4 of the entire Samnite army is destroyed in battle, while Rome loses 1/8 of its own forces. Furthermore, the Samnite army lost two elements, which are harder to replace than just portions of said element.

lkcnxEr.jpg


We use the captured units of the Samnite army (seized after the battle) in a humbling humiliation of the Samnite armies, netting NM and VP.

bbqDuze.jpg


We also brush aside the foolish cavalry of the Samnite army, eliminating all remaining parts of the horsemen after the battle.

5csTqiP.jpg

PTZdL16.jpg


Meet the new consuls, Rullianus is the man who we want to keep in charge, though the two will alternate command as long as they are both in the army.

As a new year begins, we have the Samnite army trapped in Bovanium, besieged by my consuls, while elsewhere, the sounds of war remain quiet. How much longer will this be the case?
 

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Actually If I recall the Etrucans start locked in this senario. The reason you can't see them doing anything is that they can't do anything.
 

alxeu

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Actually If I recall the Etruscans start locked in this scenario. The reason you can't see them doing anything is that they can't do anything.

Huh, neat. Hadn't really thought of that. I wonder if they unlock after the Umbrians get involved, or if by an event that triggers some time in.

Update in a bit.
 

alxeu

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The Third Samnite War, Part III - The War Turns North

So far I have seen moderate success. The Samnite army is trapped behind a siege, but most of their homeland remains untouched.

PvRJezx.jpg


While Bovanium is under siege, I have moved my Lucanians south, to speed up the conquest of Samnium. They will be sent to Grumentum in a bit.

c169OL0.jpg


An example of a random event, this one triggers the same turn volunteers show up. The volunteers give me replacements for losses I may accrue. Note at the bottom how my Lucanians took hits just from weather and/or moving too much. The game prevents you from sending an army halfway across the map in a couple months in this way.

lFaxdfl.jpg


The next turn, yet more volunteers appear, while Bovianum is near surrender, with all units inside nearly starved to death. They won't last much longer.

9YnNZ1O.jpg


And indeed, by October I have seized the city, netting me control of another victory city. Maleventum is show as being rebel-controlled, as I have no loyalty in the city, and no units to control it. I have some Allied units training to hold the city.

4SC4HjN.jpg


By December, my main army was racing north to deal with the Umbrian threat, while the Lucanians were ordered to continue their invasion of Samnium, though they won't be able to take the last portion alone.

0RoLnQX.jpg


The Umbrian army consists of two foot units and two cavalry, easy pickings for my legions. Unfortunately, Mus decided to be inactive, so he is going to stay behind, so he doesn't mess with my orders.

3dt69fR.jpg


We deal little damage to the Umbrians before our commander calls off the battle. We didn't take too much damage in the battle, but we did take 97 hits moving into Perusia. Meanwhile, Mus continues to sit around, so I send him to Clusium.

ImlJ9MN.jpg

OM5XGqI.jpg


The Umbrians leave the area, as new consuls are elected. Neither man is particularly good at launching offensives, but Violens is definitely my preferred leader.

KBu95Du.jpg


The Etruscans aren't amused by our actions, and the cowardly Umbrians abandon their homeland to link up with the Etruscan field army.

Yrkw52J.jpg


The Samnites are also beginning to recover from their early beatings, and their new leader leads a new army. However, Silvium won't last much longer, and if the Samnite army leaves Murgantia, my Lucanian allies will be able to seize the city out from under them. As it stands, this front is a stalemate.

2b294kX.jpg


In the north, Arretium's wall is breached, but we can not yet assault the city. Meanwhile Caecus decides to become inactive, so he is invited to go sit in the countryside of Arretium.

72UhjO6.jpg


The next turn, the men are once again swapped. Did I mention that I really don't like inactive leaders?

U5kdtcZ.jpg

DraIOeb.jpg


The next month, the fall of Arretium means our forces can launch an offensive against Faesulae, the Level 1 fortress north of Volaterrae. It falls without much effort.

oAigZIz.jpg

Wm0ZU6k.jpg


Confident off a string of victories, we ride south into Volaterrae, though the river crossing proves our undoing and our army is heavily damaged. Luckily, it turns out to be the Etruscans who break first, and they flee south towards Veii.

ldl2Rsx.jpg


The large, relatively intact Etruscan army in Veii doesn't sit well with the Senate. We can now call up a Dictator, along with two extra legions to accompany him. This decision turns a largely indecisive battle into a strategic victory for my forces.

yVuomVk.jpg


The Dictator is summoned in Rome with two legions, but his force is currently too small to fight the Etruscans, and not only that, but he is inactive this turn. Otherwise, he is a perfectly adequate commander, who will be extremely useful while he is around.

98YaMmy.jpg


In the north, the new consuls, who are a set of familiar faces, take advantage of the breaches in Volaterrae's walls and prepare for a final assault.


As it stands now, a powerful Etruscan army sits near Rome, the weak Umbrians siege Populonia ineffectively, and the Samnites face a stand-off against the Lucanians. Meanwhile, the Senones watch on, unlikely to keep sitting out as Rome takes down the Samnite coalition.
 

Thandros

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To be honest the Romans really have the advantage in this senario. The Sammnites are hampered by weak troops intially. The Etruscans by poor leaders. The Senones by the fact they can't be replaced. It's only when you throw them and the umbrians together and then add the linen cloth legion of the Samnites that a real threat to rome emerges. As to Dictators they are the most annoying part of playing these senarios as the non-romans. All your efforts to overwhelm your enemy undone by a while bunch of free enemy troops which give them the upper hand.
 

alxeu

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To be honest the Romans really have the advantage in this scenario. The Samnites are hampered by weak troops initially. The Etruscans by poor leaders. The Senones by the fact they can't be replaced. It's only when you throw them and the Umbrians together and then add the linen cloth legion of the Samnites that a real threat to Rome emerges. As to Dictators they are the most annoying part of playing these scenarios as the non-Romans. All your efforts to overwhelm your enemy undone by a while bunch of free enemy troops which give them the upper hand.

Yeah, I got lucky the Etruscan army went all the way down to Volsinii. It was the only place for it to retreat to, but even then it is still too close to Rome.

Sorry for missing an update yesterday. Just plain forgot. Last update of the first scenario coming up soon, though.
 

alxeu

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The Third Samnite War, Part IV - Divide and Conquer

HIbAIAa.jpg


I would march on Volsinii, but right now the entire Etruscan army lies inside, and the dictator is inactive. Therefore, I shall wait until Volaterrae falls.

rah3PHT.jpg


Volaterrae falls in April, allowing P. Decius Mus to march south. The Umbrian army arranged to siege Populonia is swept aside, and flees to their Etruscan allies.

lHzdLLc.jpg


A second battle against the Umbrians shatters any hope of their continued resistance against Rome. Only the Etruscans remain.

wKNVOwJ.jpg


In August, as Volsinii is about to fall the the combined forces of the consuls and the dictator, the Samnites seal an alliance with the Senones. The barbaric Gauls have arrived too late, however, as the Umbrians and Etruscans are all but subjugated.

GudDl5j.jpg


September proves this case, as Volsinii surrenders. The Roman army prepares to head across the Apenines to Hatria, to fight the Gallic invaders, and remove Samnium's last ally.

G588Mdq.jpg

j5WGueD.jpg


Sure enough, by November, the Senones, having had the chance to raid Hatria, now find themselves with their backs against the walls. They withdraw from Roman territory, and from the war. Meanwhile, representatives of the Umbrians sue for peace as well, and find their country to be occupied by Rome for their transgressions.

OJ2NG9H.jpg


With peace in the north now negotiated, the armies of Rome and Lucania prepare to clear up the loose ends. Only one Samnite region remains defiant, and the Brutii of southern Italy are also targeted, if not for strategic importance, then for the glory of victory.

6UxzcPo.jpg


The Consul Q. Fabius Rullianus heads south with six legions against the last Samnite fortress in Murgantia. The weak fortifications should prove no challenge for the repeatedly victorious legions.

Tix1mLG.jpg

dVlGGv1.jpg

POKA1e1.jpg


Sure enough, the legions of Rome annihilate the Samnite garrison, even killing one of its commanders in the attack.

2yJc6pg.jpg

81B2cAZ.jpg


This defeat means the end of the Third Samnite War. The Etruscans are defeated, and the Samnites are broken. Rome takes stock of its affairs, and turns its attention towards the one enemy that survived this conflict intact: the Gallic Senones.
 

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Getting such a decisive victory over the Gauls may prove rather more difficult. The Conditions for an absolute victory are actually rather tricky.
 

The Number 9

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Nice AAR.
I'm interested in this game for a long time now, but I've never bought it. I'm scared with AGEOD games. :p

Looking forward the next scenario.
 

alxeu

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Getting such a decisive victory over the Gauls may prove rather more difficult. The Conditions for an absolute victory are actually rather tricky.

Hopefully I'll be as successful on the next scenario!

Nice AAR.
I'm interested in this game for a long time now, but I've never bought it. I'm scared with AGEOD games. :p

Looking forward the next scenario.

Thanks. The game is fun, if you can get past the sheer depth it has.

I won't be able to play again until Sunday, unfortunately, but hopefully I'll be able to have an update up then.