Prior to his passing, Richard H. Berg was hard at work completing the third volume in his The Ancient World series, Thunderbolt, covering the titanic 2nd Punic War between Rome and Carthage. Mark Herman has teamed up with series developer Alan Ray to finish the game.
For Thunderbolt Deluxe Edition
, we have decided to enhance this package and include the first two volumes in the series: Rise of the Roman Republic
. Each will have its own exclusive rules and scenarios booklets, army and city display cards, and other displays relevant to those titles. The exclusive rules have been extensively revised based on player feedback. All these components will be brought up to the latest GMT graphic standards. The following scenarios from the first two volumes will be included:
- The Mercenary War: Mutiny in Carthage. One map, 5 Game Turns (241-237 BCE)
- Agathocles: The First Invasion of Carthage. Two maps, 5 Game Turns (311-307 BCE)
- Hiero, Hero, or Gyro?: The start of the 1st Punic War. One map, 2 Game Turns (264-263 BCE)
- The First Punic War: Two maps, 24 Game Turns (264-241 BCE)
- The Conquest of Central Italy: The Samnite Wars. One map, 10 Game Turns (320-311 BCE)
- The First Alexander Invasion: One map, 4 Game Turns (327-324 BCE)
- The Eagle Has Landed: The Invasion of Pyrrhus. One map, 10 Game Turns (280-271 BCE)
Thunderbolt brings The Ancient World system to the mammoth 2nd Punic War. The game covers the action in the Western Mediterranean on updated Italy and Africa maps published in the prior two volumes, plus a connecting full-size map of Spain and western Mauretania, the last map design of Richard’s long and illustrious career.
The Ancient World system uses a chit pull mechanic to drive the action with the better leaders having more opportunities to act. There are no movement allowances; instead attrition and the ability of a leader to continue to conduct operations govern how forces can move. Battles are straightforward, resolved with a couple of die rolls and an extensive list of modifiers to account for cavalry superiority, elite status, and leadership, as well as numbers of troops. The Battle Results Table features an “Unpredictable Result” which can turn the tables on the best laid battle plan. All the trappings around the decisive moment are there as well: Interception, Avoidance, Coordination, Retreat, Pursuit & Butchery, and after battle effects. Sieges are covered in detail, including rules for attrition, assaults, repair and reduction, treachery, and surrender. And what would a Richard Berg game be without random events—Auguries in this system.
The Ancient World system models the Roman and Carthaginian political systems which provide a framework for campaigning during the Game Turn/year. A hierarchy of magistrates commands the Roman Legions in the field: Consuls, Proconsuls, Praetors, and occasionally a Dictator. These magistracies are filled from a pool of over 60 historical personages meticulously assembled by Richard from the sources and individually rated for their capabilities (or lack thereof). Each magistrate is given an Imperium, one or two Legions to command, and a specific area on the map to conduct operations. Changes to the area of operations may change while campaigning but only by permission from the Senate.
Spain & Mauretania map
The Carthaginians also have a hierarchy of army commanders: Overall Commander, Army Commander, and Subordinate Commander drawn from a pool of over 20 historical personages rated in the same manner as the Roman leaders. Unlike the Romans, the commanders are permanently assigned to a specific army unless recalled or other circumstances dictate otherwise. The Carthaginian family in power and the overall Carthaginian political climate is determined each Game Turn/year. The results determine how many armies the Carthaginians will field and where they can campaign. Hannibal and his army are an exception—he can come and go as he pleases.
New to The Ancient World system are the Celtic and other tribes that populated the Iberian peninsula and northern Italy. These tribes, over 20 in number, are represented on the map with counters rated for Aggression and the ability to provide troops. Each tribe can be either allied to Rome or Carthage or Neutral. Tribes can be used to attack the player’s opponent or provide troops. Tribes can be attacked and pacified. Diplomacy can be used to alter a tribe’s allegiance.
Naval matters are not ignored, but due to the paucity of significant naval engagements, the scenarios use The Ancient World’s simpler Naval Superiority System to streamline play.
Thunderbolt will feature several smaller scenarios (most playable on a single map) along with the 2nd Punic War grand campaign played on all three maps. The planned scenarios include:
- 2nd Punic War: The entire 2nd Punic War. Three maps, 16 Game Turns. A wealth of special rules to bring this conflict into sharp focus.
- Thunderbolt: Hannibal’s Invasion of Italy. One map, 3 Game Turns (218-216 BCE). A reappraisal of the scenario from Rise of the Roman Republic. An excellent introductory scenario.
- Italian Campaign: Hannibal’s campaign in Italy. One map, 16 Game Turns (218-203 BCE)
- The Spanish Campaign I: The Roman Invasion of Spain. One map, 8 Game Turns (218-211 BCE).
- The Spanish Campaign II: Scipio Strikes Back. One map, 5 Game Turns (209-205 BCE).
- The Island Contest: The Carthaginian Invasions of Sicily and Sardinia. Two maps, 5 Game Turns (215-211 BCE)
- The African Campaign: Scipio Africanus’ Invasion of Africa. One map, 3-4 Game Turns (204-201 BCE)
- Iberia: Carthage’s Conquest of Spain. One map, ~16 Game Turns (237-220 BCE)
Roman and Carthaginian counters
- Two 22” x 34” maps (Italy and Spain)
- One 22” x 17” map (Africa)
- Six Countersheets (½” – 280 per sheet) -> 1,680 counters
- One and one-half Countersheets (½” – 280 per sheet) -> 420 counters (Deluxe version only)
- One The Ancient World v3.0 series rules booklet
- One Thunderbolt Exclusive rules and scenarios booklet
- One Carthage Exclusive rules and scenarios booklet (Deluxe version only)
- One Rise of the Roman Republic Exclusive rules and scenarios booklet (Deluxe version only)
Player Aid Cards
- Four 11” x 17” Ancient World PACs (one set of two for each player)
- Two 11” x 17” 2nd Punic War Scenarios PAC (one for each player)
- Two 8 ½” x 11” Celts Charts and Tables PAC (one for each player)
- One 8 ½” x 11” Roman Charts and Tables PAC
- One 8 ½” x 11” Carthaginian Charts and Tables PAC
- One 8 ½” x 11” Advanced Naval System Charts and Tables PAC
- One 8 ½” x 11” 2nd Punic War Auguries PAC
- One 8 ½” x 11” Roman Magistrate Quick Reference Card
- One 8 ½” x 11” Map Gazetteer Card
- One 8 ½” x 11” Carthage Auguries PAC (Deluxe version only)
- One 8 ½” x 11” RRR Augury Tables PAC (Deluxe version only)
- Two 8 ½” x 11” Roman Army Displays
- One 8 ½” x 11” Carthaginian Army Display
- One 8 ½” x 11” Alliance Level/Game Turn Tracks Display
- One 8 ½” x 11” Carthaginian Political and Manpower Display
- Two 8 ½” x 11” City Occupation Displays
- Four 8 ½” x 11” Carthage City Occupation and Army Displays (Deluxe version only)
- Four 8 ½” x 11” RRR City Occupation and Army Displays (Deluxe version only)
- Four 8 ½” x 11” RRR Alliance Level Tracks Display (Deluxe version only)
Time Scale: 1 year per turn
Map Scale: 13 miles per hex
Unit Scale: Strength point = either 500 men, 300 cavalry, or 10 elephants
Game Designers: Richard H. Berg, Mark Herman, and Alan Ray
Series Developer: Alan Ray