We had many new faces this year with a very strong turn out for the demonstration (10+). Scheduling kept a few of our regulars away but we still had 18 unique players, many playing multiple games. The tutorial and the games were aided by using the latest player aid on boardgamegeek from Alan Richbourg, this captures the flow for new players and prevents old ones from missing easily forgotten steps like “Putting Rome in Order.”
We played 3 Early Era games in our first Heat which resulted in 2 Consul for Life (CFL) wins and a collapse of Rome to the mob. One of these CFL wins was an amazing result in which a faction with a total of 24 influence bested two factions with over 50 influence each. This was the result of the leading factions expecting the game to end in the Forum phase and preparing persuasion defense. The game extended into the Senate phase and Dave Bleau’s 24 influence faction was able to spend enough to win a CFL election.
Our second and third Heats featured Middle and Late Republic games. These had influence wins and both played quickly with little or no deck trimming needed to meet time constraints.
The Final was unusual owing to some qualifiers having conflicting events. The game was a struggle for dominance among a triumvirate. Last year’s champion Brady Detwiler was the Eagle faction, Steve Bachman played Sun faction and Frank McNally played Wreath faction.
The game started very cooperatively, but over time wealth built up and Eagles’ Sulpicius became a threat after reaching 21 influence. This led to a coalition among Sun and Wreath to deny offices to the Eagle faction. However, the Eagles decided to take their shot and entered the Senate phase with large sums deployed, suggesting they would seek to force a CFL vote. Between Sulpicius’ influence, other votes, and cash for bribes, Eagle had enough votes to pass this measure.
During the consular elections being run by a Consul from the Sun faction, a tribune backed by Eagle rose to request the next proposal. This led to a parliamentary trick by the Consul whereby he allowed the measure to fail. This forced Eagle’s tribune to propose a new pair of Consuls rather than proposing a CFL candidate. That election was blocked by a tribune and Eagle apparently lacked another tribune to use after the Consular elections.
Sulpicius continued to be a threat and a few turns later it appeared Eagle was ready for another attempt. After Consuls were elected, an Eagle tribune rose to nominate Sulpicius for CFL, but the tribune did not carry through with this owing to accepting graft from Wreath. Thwarted in his first attempt another tribune rose from the Eagle faction, but before he could make his proposal this tribune was murdered by Wreath. The anti-Sulpicius coalition showed cracks here as the Sun faction then stirred up the mob against Wreath. Wreath was lucky and the mob was loud but did not manage to kill any senators. Once this was resolved, a third tribune rose from the Eagle faction. This time the measure made it to a vote which would have carried, except that a skilled assassin in the Sun faction killed Sulpicius.
Meanwhile Fabius of Wreath faction had reached 15 influence and made a contribution to reach 22. As the game end neared, factions began to deploy cash for persuasion and vote buying. Fabius made another contribution to reach 29 influence and appeared to have enough cash to reach 35 influence in the next revenue phase.
Since Military Reforms were not yet in effect this could win the game. He also had a significant amount of cash to make him a threat for a Consul for Life election in Senate phase, though other factions had enough votes to decide most issues in Senate. The one thing he had for protection was popularity to make prosecution difficult.
Entering the Forum phase, persuasions proved difficult, as all faction had large treasuries and aggressive spending would likely expose the faction. The barbarian raid event was rolled mid-way through the phase and this was worrisome to Wreath. While Fabius would be hard to prosecute, he could do little to prevent being sent to govern an ungarrisoned province likely to be overrun. Lucky for him, the End of Era card came up and he did not have to face that vote. The game ended with Wreath at 70 influence, Sun at 60 and Eagle at 50. The final 2 influence purchases being the margin for Wreath, and the loss of Sulpicius being enough to have to have pushed 3rd place Eagle into first.
The game was very tight with a lot of excitement generated by threats of achieving Consul for Life throughout. It should also be noted that Sun had the Military Reform card in hand, so Wreath’s attempt to reach 35 influence was in vain, further his faction was likely to have been crippled if another Senate phase was reached. I imagine the game does not always play well with three players, but it played very well with this group.
The prize this year was “The Storm before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic” by the History of Rome podcaster Mike Duncan. This was awarded to the runner-up since the winner owned a copy. This book covers the times of the Middle Republic deck and contains many of the statesmen featured in the game.
Next year we may combine the 2nd and 3rd heats. If this impacts your ability to play, please contact me on boardgamegeek or consimworld. Other heat times would be considered, especially by those volunteering to help with GM duties.
Ad rursus conventum nostrum!
|Will Rome fall or be ruled by a Consul for Life?