Total War Cards: Punic Wars


Tech Tree 11-02-2013.jpg
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What is it?

Punic Wars is a two-player card game, in which the players represent Rome and Carthage in a battle for dominance in the Mediterranean. Players must skillfully use their resources, represented by army cards, to conquer lands and gain tactical advantage through the development of new technologies. Points are scored according to the combinations of Territory each player captures. After six turns of play, the scores are added up, and a winner declared.

Different Features

Army Cards

Each army has eleven Army Cards of different resource values. These cards are used to fight over territory (see Territory Cards) and develop new technologies (see Tech Tree).

Territory Cards

There are four regions in the Mediterranean (Gaul, Iberia, Italia & Africa) which players will compete with their armies to capture. Each region has eight Territory cards in the deck.

Tech Tree and Special Ability Cards

The Tech Tree shows a series of technologies divided into four branches; ‘HUMANITAS’ (Civilization), ‘CLASSIARIUS’ (Naval), ‘INSTRUMENTA BELLA’ (Tools of war) and ‘ARS MILITARIS’ (tactics). The Tech Tree can also be downloaded from

Technologies cost resources to develop according to their tier, so tier one technologies will cost one resource point each, and tier four technologies will cost four resource points (the exception is tier five which costs one resource point). Both players can develop the same technologies from tier one to tier four, but each player may only develop a single tier five technology: this then becomes unavailable for development by the other player. Note that many technologies are dependent on developing lower-tier technologies in other branches, as depicted by the linkage lines on the Tech Tree.

Connected with each branch of the Tech Tree is a Special Ability Card that offers a tactical advantage to the holding player:

  • ‘HUMANITAS’ - Choose turn order.
  • ‘CLASSIARIUS’ - Ability to look at hidden Territory Cards. May be used freely throughout the turn.
  • ‘INSTRUMENTA BELLA’ - Automatically win one drawn combat of your choice per Combat Phase.
  • ‘ARS MILITARIS’ - From tier two, play one hidden (face-down) card in the combat phase. From tier four, play two hidden cards in the Combat Phase.

The player who progresses furthest up each branch of the Tech Tree at any given time gains control of the associated Special Ability Card during the Resolution Phase. Players record their progress up the Tech Tree with Tabula game pieces.


Setup Phase

  1. Divide the deck into the following piles and shuffle each pile individually:
    :: Roman Army cards
    :: Carthage Army cards
    :: Territory cards
    :: Special Ability card
  2. Each player takes the Army Cards for their chosen side face down and removes three random cards, keeping their value hidden (these represent resting troops; they will activate in the Upkeep Phase). The remaining cards form the player’s hand for the turn and should be kept concealed from the opposing player.
  3. Take the face down Territory Card deck and discard two cards at random. Neither player should see these cards throughout the game.
  4. Deal four Territory cards face up, and one face down, between the two players. Place the rest of the deck face-down to one side.
  5. Assign starting technologies. To do this, flip a coin to see which player goes first. Players then take it in turns to mark one unclaimed technology at tier 1 on the Tech Tree. Each player will then receive the associated special ability card for the start of the game.

Combat and Development Phase

Observe any entitlements granted by Special Ability Cards. Players then alternate in placing a single Army Card either:

-Face up next to a Territory card. Territory Cards are scored in a specific manner (see Ending The Game And Scoring). Players take it in turns to place Army Cards against territories one at a time, but through the course of a turn, multiple cards from both players may be stacked against a Territory Card. Players should play their Army Cards either side of a Territory Card to keep their committed forces visually separate from their opponent’s.


-Next to the Tech Tree, instantly gaining one or more technologies depending on the value of the card placed. A player may expend as many resources as he wishes over the course of a game-turn to advance technologies.

If by getting a new technology you reach a higher tier in that technology branch than your opponent, the associated Special Ability Card will become yours in the Upkeep Phase. If you overspend on a tech, any excess resources are lost.

Resolution Phase

After all Army Cards have been played, the turn resolution takes place. Reveal all face down cards, both Land and Army. The player with the highest combined Army Card score against each Territory Card claims that Territory Card.

In the event of a draw, the player with the Instrumenta Bella Special Ability Card can choose one drawn contest and win that Territory Card. If there are other drawn combats, the relevant Territory Cards remain in play and are contested again next turn (Note that the following turn, the full complement of five Territory Cards must still be dealt).

Upkeep Phase

  1. Each player gathers all his spent Army Cards from the table and shuffles them, removes three Army Cards face down at random, and draws the previous turn’s three resting Army Cards into his hand.
  2. Leave any drawn Territory Cards in play.
  3. Draw five new Territory Cards as before (four face up and one face down).
  4. Redistribute any Special Ability Cards to their new owners. A new turn begins.

Ending The Game & Scoring

The game ends when the sixth turn is resolved and final scores can be calculated. Players with tier five technologies score double points for Territory Cards connected with that technology (Ars Militaris = Africa, Instrumenta Bella = Gaul, Humanitas = Italia, Classiarius = Iberia).

GAUL Score the number of these cards you collect: one card = 1 two cards = 3 three cards = 6 four cards = 10 five cards = 15 six cards = 21 seven cards = 28 eight cards = 35

IBERIA Score the face value (the number of ships) of each card from 1-8.

ITALIA Score for sequences of connected road. Roads that connect in numerical order score: One card = 1 two in sequence = 4 three in sequence = 9 four in sequence = 16 five in sequence = 25 six in sequence = 36 seven in sequence = 49 eight in sequence = 64

AFRICA Score 7 points for each matched pair of Merchant and Trade Route. Lone cards score nothing.