Having been voted in as a trial event Republic of Rome completed its 25th year as a WBC tournament. This 29-year-old game continues to add new players with at least 8 new players joining after attending demonstrations. Our new recruits even included two players less than half as old as the game! Our veterans included perennial players and saw the return after many years of a past GM and a past champion.
Our new players mastered the game with the help of numerous experienced players on hand helping to produce smoothly flowing games. The good nature of the players we have attracted, as well as the semi-cooperative nature of this game, allows new players the opportunity to realize that, despite what might seem like an overwhelming rule-set, at heart the game is not terribly complex.
Rome survived in all 6 heat games despite several tables facing challenging war card draws and events. Except for our early republic scenarios, we continued to use the deck trimming method to allow games to end on time without adjudication. Our 3 heats included 20 unique players and produced 6 unique heat winners.
This year we used a newly updated set of living rules and were pleased to have the leader of the revision effort, Alan Richbourg on hand. We certainly put the rule set to the test finding an interesting variety of edge cases which were successfully handled.
This year we choose to use the Middle Era scenario for the final. Aside from mixing things up a bit, it was thought this was the scenario with the least risk of the republic collapsing. Despite this era’s deck being less risky than the others, it managed to show its teeth and test the players. Our final featured four heat winners and a high ranked alternate. Our players were Geoff Albert, Brady Detwiler, Malinda (Mindy) Kyrkos, Walt Neumann, and Jay Schoenen.
The game opened ominously with 3 wars which could not be prosecuted because unrest in the provinces required all of Rome’s forces to prevent revolts. Had the provinces not been garrisoned, the potential revolts could have caused 5 additional wars. The Senate adroitly managed this crisis, husbanding their resources. This enabled Rome to begin eliminating wars in turn 2.
The cooperative mood was likely enhanced by shared trauma. A turn 2 epidemic led to 3 deaths including a popular Rome Consul. Turn 3 saw another epidemic killing two senators including the censor. Rome’s medical issues lasted throughout the game, extending to a last turn epidemic impacting 3 of 5 factions. Perhaps we need a new office to attend to the city’s water system or to drain the swamps.
The Senate’s hardships kept influence tight throughout the game and all players had paths to victory in the final turns. As what looked to be the final turn began, players choose different methods to seize a final advantage. Most players pursued influence gains from massive donations to the state. Others, most notably Geoff, saved and placed money on leading senators for aggressive persuasion. In the final rounds, most players looked unable to bribe heavily enough to affect the result, but Geoff appeared to have enough money to persuade a member of Brady’s leading faction. Bribes and counter bribes went on as players wondered when Brady’s treasury would run out. This ended with a base number of 6 after accounting for the effect of Evil Omens. Geoff rolled 7, and Brady was our champion. The final influence results were 49 for Brady, 41 for Geoff, 37 for Mindy, and 28 for Jay and Walt.
I want to thank my assistant GMs, Llew Bardecki and Bill Herbst, without them I could not run this event. I also appreciate my experienced players who helped get games started and moving, especially those who brought copies of games.
In conclusion, it was another enjoyable year in the Forum. Our blended group of youthful hastati and aged triarrii made for an enjoyable time. We look forward to seeing all of you next year, bring your friends, and don’t forget to vote your trial ballot. Finally, over the past few years I have collected email information from players for discussion of heat times and game options for future years. Topics for discussion include scenario preferences, variants to include, and opportunities to assist running the event. If you would like to be added to this discussion please contact me (also watch for discussion on boardgamegeek and consimworld).
|Deciding the Fate of Rome.
|Senators scratching their heads over state of Rome.
|Finalists with GM Frank McNally.