republic of rome [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report  

   2006 Status: pending December Membership Century Vote

Frank McNally, MA

2005 Champion


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Event History
1991    Jim Doughan      20
1992    Robert Rudolph      23
1993    Sean Finnerty      23
1994    Chris Greenfield      25
1995    Michael Ehlers      37
1996    Michael Ehlers      41
1997    Chris Bartiromo      27
1998    Charles Dunn      32
1999    Brian Ecton     27
2000    Chase Bramwell     31
2001    Tom Phillips     32
2002    Sean Larsen     27
2003    Nick Benedict     21
2004    Chase Bramwell     24
2005     Frank McNally     14

PBeM Event History
2001    Rob Mull      16

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Chase Bramwell     OH    04     96
  2.  Tom Phillips       NJ    05     90
  3.  Sean Larsen        NJ    05     67
  4.  Nick Benedict      CA    03     48
  5.  Rob Seulowitz      NY    05     44
  6.  Frank McNally      MA    05     39
  7.  Brian Ecton        VA    99     30
  8.  Bret Mingo         MD    02     24
  9.  Craig Moffitt      NJ    02     24
 10.  Alan Witte         NJ    03     18
 11.  Henry Rice         NM    01     18
 12.  Chris Bodkin       IN    00     16
 13.  Sean Finnerty      NY    03     12
 14.  Brad Anderson      OH    02     12
 15.  Kevin Barry        PA    01     12
 16.  Rob Mull           CO    01     10
 17.  David Yoon         NY    05      9
 18.  Chris Greenfield   NJ    99      9
 19.  Matt Bacho         MD    04      6
 20.  Rich O'Brian       MD    03      6
 21.  Bill Dyer          IL    99      6
 22.  Frank Cunliffe     PA    05      3
 23.  Charles Dunn       VA    04      3
 24.  Will Wible         VA    01      3
 25.  Rob Knowles        NC    99      3

2005 Laurelists

Sean Larsen, NJ
2nd

Tom Phillips, NJ
3rd

David Yoon, NY
4th

Rob Seulowitz, NY
5th

Frank Cunliffe, PA
6th


Past Winners

Jim Doughan, PA
1991

Robert Rudolph, PA
1992

Sean Finnerty, NY
1993

Chris Greenfield, NJ
1994

Michael Ehlers, MD
1995-1996

Chris Bartiromo, NJ
1997

Charles Dunn, VA
1998

Brian Ecton, VA
1999

Chase Bramwell, OH
2000, 2004

Tom Phillips, NJ
2001

Sean Larsen, NJ
2002

Nick Benedict, CA
2003


Burn, Rome, Burn

As Others See Us: There are several events where the gamemaster is so devoted to his event he provides awards above and beyond the plaques provided by WBC, and this was the first such event I have played in. Here the director provided six mugs and three glasses, each specially imprinted with a design indicating it came from the 2005 WBC Republic of Rome tournament. The director also had several copies of the living rules, which is interesting as the game has been out-of-print since Avalon Hill's demise seven years ago, yet there are fanatics who keep the rules up-to-date. I did have one complaint, though: because this is such a lengthy game, (seven hours), it should not be scheduled in the middle of the day. The final round began 2 PM Saturday afternoon. It conflicted with three other Saturday afternoon events I wanted to participate in. Extremely annoying, but schedule conflicts are a part of life. No matter when something is scheduled it will conflict with other events for some of the participants. What is bad about the afternoon round is that it also conflicted with my morning event, which I had to drop out of, and it conflicted with my preferred evening event which I had to miss. ... Frank Cunliffe in EPGS' HEROICS Newsletter

This year saw the debut of the Living Rules (as found on http://67.66.187.69/ror/) -- the changes were minimal and generally well received. The notable changes were popularity loss based on legions killed in combat as well as starting set up with all players receiving one concession. While the popularity loss item was almost unanimously embraced, there were two camps of thought on the concession guarantee at start.

The first view on this was that it would help get the game going, as there would be a more or less steady source of income for all players from the get go. The opposing view was that game balance suffered. Concessions are normally viewed as important cards, and usually cause an "unbalancing" effect, establishing clear camps of haves and have nots. By placing everyone on a perceived "equal" footing this change seemed to limit the use of the Censorial prosecution in the Senate to go after corruption in Rome, as all factions were of course "guilty" of profiteering. It also placed an inordinate amount of cash into play and made it more difficult for players to gauge cash reserves of other players. People seemed evenly divided on this rule change, and can in fact generally be placed into two groups of vastly differing play styles which will be examined here.

It seems that players are increasingly being divided into two schools of thought on game strategy: the "Balancers" and the "Opportunists". The "Balancers" generally tend to want to spread things out at the table, making sure that all factions are included equally in every Senate phase, making sure that all players remain within a reachable influence level for the entire game. They seek consensus, and their play follows that line. They know that if everyone is equal, then all have a chance at victory in the end. They try to "play nice" and keep everyone at the table included in every deal struck. This is all in an attempt to position every faction in striking distance for the end game, so that all have an equal chance of winning in the final turns, and so that they will have a guaranteed shot at being one of those factions.

The "Opportunists" on the other hand try to exercise power when available. They form majority voting blocks as they can, trying to keep the power in their corner, attempting to set the table into a camp of the "haves" and "have nots". These players know that Lady Luck is a volatile thing, and that all are just one mortality chit away from losing their advantage. They try to exercise this advantage when they have it, and will constantly shift their alliances at the table to maximize the growing disparity between factions. This strategy will often divide the table, but will set up a group of front-runners apart from the pack. The "Opportunists" are generally more focused on placing themselves in the best position to win at the end. While this tends to alienate players and it often backfires on the "Opportunist", they would rather take a shot at a big win than eke out a marginal and uncertain victory.

While luck can have devastating effects to factions in the form of mortality chits and random events, two distinct situations occur when a table is played by these vastly differing strategies. In a "Balanced" game, often the final turns become dragged out, as every action has a direct impact on the final victor. It's anyone's game. In the "Opportunist" games, very often there is a swift conclusion as the two or three frontrunners will have to try to take each other down to become the "First Man in Rome." As in historical Rome, the Senate did not generally turn into a massive knife-fight of assassinations, and this bloodbath is far more likely to occur in a "Balanced" game than in an "Opportunist" game.

Regardless, both strategies have provided past champions, and it is up to the player to gravitate to the unique play style that works for them. Games this year featured both scenarios, and game lengths varied despite the drop-dead cards being in relatively similar positions. No game was won outright by "Consul for Life" or a march on Rome, nor did the game win this year, and they ran anywhere from five hours (possibly a record for the quickest full game ever) to seven.

Gameplay:

An alternate Middle Republic setup also provided greater odds that "Blackmail" and "Seduction" would appear, creating more intense end-games at several tables. We used the "Hannibal" card from the Early Republic as a drop-dead card to ensure timely conclusions, and we are pleased to report that Rome did not fall at any table!

Winners at each qualifying table received a handsome binder containing a full copy of the Living Rules (along with a variety of charts, tables and other material). In addition, one other player at each qualifying table was awarded a trophy (at the discretion of the GMs) for notable play: Frank McNally was awarded a prize for Treachery: After failing to persuade a senator away from a faction - leaving a large amount of cash on him - Frank assassinated the now-wealthy senator at the opening of the Senate phase.

Len Omelecky was awarded a prize for Perseverance: After losing four Senators to Epidemic, he ended his heat with 7 influence for his entire faction. Phil Rodrigues was awarded a prize for Valor: He sent three Consuls off to war in one game, all of whom died in achieving victory. (He later failed to assassinate a Consul for Life candidate despite playing TWO "Assassination" cards on the attempt!) And Chase Bramwell was awarded a prize for Fate: His last heat ended when he himself drew the Hannibal card ­ with both "Blackmail" and "Seduction" unplayed in his hand!

The final round was a closely managed game in the Late Republic. Rob Seulowitz was poised for a Consul for Life vote late in the game, however an extraordinary amount of money from all factions in the Senate as well as massive voting blocks by Tom Phillps and Sean Larsen (close to 50% of the total 105 votes in Rome at the time) disrupted Rob's plans, as he was unable to control the voting order after the failed assassination attempt on his candidate. The would-be ruler of Rome was quickly exiled to a governorship in the furthest reaches of Gaul.

The end game was not favorable to Rome either, as four wars were drawn from the last remnants of the deck in the final few turns. Needing to ensure that Rome survived, multiple armies were dispatched allowing David Yoon to mount a last ditch Rebellion after a successful routing of the Germans, however the dreaded Hannibal card appeared before he could march on Rome. Frank McNally and Sean Larsen tied on total Faction Influence after Frank persuaded a Senator from the Forum on the final initiative of the game, but Frank won the tie-breaker to take the First Place Trophy. Everyone in the Final received an engraved glass or mug bearing an appropriate slogan in Latin, including Chase Bramwell(Previous Champion) who served as the official GM Designate since both the GM and Assistant GM played in the final. Sean achieved the singular distinction of taking a Senator (who had been ruthlessly exploiting a drought) from -9 Popularity to +2 by the end of the game.

In an additional note, we hope to move one of the qualifying heats next year to an earlier time slot, as there was a sizable group of RoR veterans that were unable to play due to prior commitments to other events in the same time slots as the qualifiers.

 GM     Sean Larsen [1st year]   56 Brooksie Ln, Berkeley Hgts, NJ 07022 
    sean.larsen@xanadu.nu   NA

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