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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Spotlight on the Carthaginian Army

The story of Hannibal and his 15 year campaign in Italy against Rome is one of the great stories of history.  After reading “Hannibal” by Theodore Dodge, I decided to paint up an Old Glory Carthaginian army as my first army in Field of Glory.  The great thing about painting up Carthaginians is that they have a very diverse list and many of the battlegroups can be ported to other Army lists. The Carthaginians also present you with a two-for-one.  Paint up a Later Carthaginian army, add 8 bases of heavy chariots and the Sacred Band and voila!!! You have an Early Carthaginian army!  In addition, they are a natural foil for the many Roman armies lurking in the closets of your ancient gaming brethren.  

African Spear:  This is your bedrock unit. You only need 18 bases for the Later Carthaginian list but I recommend painting 24-28 bases. The extra bases come into play if you run the "Hannibal in Italy" special campaign list or if you want to run an Early Carthaginian list.  Early Carthaginians are fun to run because you get Heavy Chariots and the Sacred Band.  On the other hand, Early Carthaginians doesn't have elephants.  African Spear are decent Heavy Foot but you'll have trouble against Armored Superior Roman legions and horse based armies.  If you are bumping up against Romans regularly, consider a "Hannibal in Italy" list so you can upgrade these fellows to Armored Superior. 

Unless you are a Master Painter, you'll want to consider shield transfers. I used Little Big Man Studios but I hear the Veni Vidi Vici transfers are excellent as well.

Elephants:  If you're going to run Later Carthaginians, you have to have elephants and if you are going to have elephants, double down on crazy and max them out. That means 6 bases of thundering madness and if that doesn't sate your elephantine obsessions, you can bring in 2 more with a Numidian ally! Elephants are fun but dicey to run.  I've had them break from missile fire alone when I failed to keep skirmishers in front of them. I've also seen them stomp through an armored elite Soldurii unit. Just remember to keep them away from your cavalry. 

When asked to explain his obsession for fielding elephants in battle, Hannibal reportedly responded “Go big or go home."



Gallic Foot:   Gallic foot can be run as medium or heavy foot. These impact foot swordsmen gives you a different tool in your Carthaginian army toolbox. Think of them as a down payment on a future Gallic army. Once you've painted up your first Gallic Foot and Cavalry battlegroup for your Carthaginian list, you are on your way to your next army!                                          
 
Spanish Scutarii: Medium Impact foot swordsman.  I love the look of these guys and even though I have a Gallic army, I think about painting up a Spanish army from time to time.  Because the Gallic army and Spanish army are really mirror images of each other, it doesn't really make sense to do this so I'll probably settle for painting up more bases this fall or winter.
Balearic Slingers: They are one of the few superior skirmishers in the game and I count them as a must-have.  I've had them put away their slings and go mano-a-mano in melee. Being superior, they stomped their skirmish opponent but good. You'll thank me every time you get to reroll 1s in the shooting phase.
Numidian and Libyan Javelinmen: Javelinmen are the first to the front and first to the rear. Mundane but necessary. The Libyans sport the mohawk and apparently, when they shaved their heads, some of them also shaved off their ears.  Not the best sculptures...
Numidian Light Cavalry:  I recommend maxing out your light cavalry to 12 bases and if that's not enough for you, bring in more with a Numidian ally.  I really like these figures and by the 3rd battlegroup, I learned that basing them at angles and farther apart made them look more wild and skirmishy.
Spanish, Libyphoenician and Gallic Cavalry: This is the cavalry arm of the Carthaginian army.  Carthaginian cavalry is good but may run into trouble when matched up with lancer-armed cavalry.
Camp:  Every army needs a camp and this one is fairly docile.  I should have made up a "No looting" sign for it.  Then again, its not like barbarians can read.
After Romans, Carthaginians are probably the second most popular army in ancient miniature gaming.  They are colorful, rich in history and their battles well documented.   You'll find many Roman accounts (fair and balanced!) and resources for creating battles and campaigns.  
 
If you're thinking of painting up a Carthaginian army, I'd recommend Old Glory.  Their figures are affordable and nicely sculpted for the most part.  If you have the $, you might also look at Xyston Miniature's as their figures are perhaps the best in this field.  I've been eyeing their website for some time.  First though, I have to decide what army I want to paint next.