It was another good year for the republic. Turnout was stable despite the move and an apparently unpopular first heat time. We attracted several brand new players including all those who attended the demonstration. We also saw the return of exiles ending long absences.
Four preliminary games were played with diverse outcomes, all using the middle-era scenario. The combination of new players, middle-era and the slightly expanded decks in VG rules led to challenges keeping to time constraints. To address that we came up with an adjustment where, as the time limit approached, the deck was trimmed from the top bringing the game end card nearer. This was refined for the Final by a trim occurring two hours before scheduled game end (to 20 cards left above the last 10-12 card group containing the game-end card) and a second trim at one hour from end (to 0-1 card left above the possible game end section). Heat winners received bronze coins from the time of Constantine as mementos.
One exceptional game saw nine senators die in the opening two turns from two successful mortality chits, mob violence, and an epidemic. It continued to be messy throughout: All three Macedonian wars were drawn in a single turn (manageable owing to Imminent War rule). The Pontifex Maximus squeezed a grain concession during a drought and reached -12 popularity before being stripped of office. Two factions had all their senators exiled after a spectacularly failed assassination attempt and an aborted attempted march on Rome. The last turn saw 300 talents spent on persuasions with 150 coming from the game winner Henry Rice (whose faction controlled the wealthy and unpopular Pontifex).
The Final‘s result came down to the last turn with all factions in range of awin in the penultimate turn. The public factions were controlled secretly by lesser known families, the Ricii (Henry Rice), McNallii (Frank McNally), Benedictii (Nick Benedict), Ferraioloii (Guy Ferraiolo—one of our new players), Tammesii (John Tammes). The Riccii gained an early influence lead starting from his temporary Rome Consul appointment. After a few turns he had amassed influence twice that of any other faction. This led to prosecution and a period of exclusion from office. Offices were distributed among the other factions for several turns as Rome addressed a series of manageable wars, barbarian uprisings and other provincial issues requiring garrisons. The senate was very generous with land bills (not surprising for aggressive players), this briefly kept the Rome treasury worrisomely low, but as is typical for Mid Republic, it eventually reached levels where Rome had no bankruptcy worries.
The Benedictii were home to the Pontifex Maximus and Cicero and was vote and veto strong throughout but lagged in influence and was hurt by two evil omens. Eventually most factions had highly influential senators and enough money that Consul for Life threats had to be closely watched. Late in the game, the Gallic wars were defeated by a Tammesii senator. Since his faction was lagging in influence and he had some luck with attracting legions he elected to march on Rome. While the rest of his faction pleaded ignorance they were still sent away from Rome. Rome at this point had an overflowing treasury owing to massive donations as factions saw the time ripe for influence purchases (though as we’ll see some retained cash for legion funding). Despite this, the legion limit left Rome with a shortage of legions to send against this rebel with anything more than parity. The only loyal factions with senators not an immediate threat to become Consul for Life were the Benedictii and McNallii and these were elected. In an unusual move they diced for Field Consul rather than Rome Consul. McNalli’s senator won this dice roll and survived an assassination attempt by his colleague’s faction. The Benectii faction leader was saved by a veto but the faction now lagged further in influence. The Field Consul marched to meet the rebel as a slight underdog (-1) and obtained stalemate. This was likely the best result for the Republic since the Tammesii would likely have trouble supporting legions another turn. Unfortunately for the state, it was expected that if victorious, the McNallii were likely to march the following turn. Alas for the McNalli and the Tammsii who had set aside money for troops rather than seeking further support through donations, the game did not see another War phase. The next forum phase the game end card was the first drawn. No successful influences were feasible so the game was finished. The Ricci had rebuilt its influence through donation and holding the Censor office on the penultimate turn. This was enough to prevail by a mere five influence well within the range of trailing factions had they made further donations.
Congratulation to Henry Rice (Riccii) who as tournament winner received a copy of an appropriate book, First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough.
Republic of Rome is hoping to grow with an expected Seven Springs attendance increase next year. The goal will be to generate six heat games so that all players reaching the Final are preliminary winners. If you have input regarding the best events to avoid and/or preferred heat days/times please contact me or join the discussion at consimworld or boardgamegeek. We also are seeking assistant GMs, especially those interested in hosting an extra heat. As a trial event we will likely need your vote to return to WBC, so please remember us during the election period.
|GM Frank McNally and his four co-finalists.
| Frank McNally [2nd year]