Our Republic of Rome tournament continues to introduce new players to this classic game and allows veterans to return once again to see if they can bend the Republic to their will.
We offered two demonstrations which were well attended and allowed some brand new players to jump into competitive play. Once again, these new players mastered the game with the help of numerous experienced players on hand helping to produce smoothly flowing games. 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 only survived half of the heat games. The GM experienced two of these collapses firsthand, both due to there being 4 or more wars at the end of a turn. One of these tables had horrendous luck with battle rolls which hit the rare Disaster number (5) multiple times. The other collapse was more unusual, with Mathew O’Connor being a stalemated rebel and Rome facing an additional 3 wars
The Final used the Late Republic Scenario. The contestants were Paul Toro, Tom Rodriguez, Alan Richbourg, Scott Harris, Brady Detweiler and Frank McNally. This game started with a lot on the Senate’s plate, 3 wars and Internal Disorder. This led to strong cooperation, with the Senate garrisoning all the threatened provinces and the Field Consul defeating Sertorius. The second turn was full of events, 4 in fact. These included Mob Violence and Enhanced Mob violence, the unruly masses, however, harmed no Senators. The next few turns saw the appearance of numerous famous statesmen, Crassus, Cato the Elder and Marius. They joined Cicero who was already active. Influence was fairly well balanced among the players by the 6th turn, when the First Gallic War appeared along with Vercingetorix and with the 2nd Gallic War imminent. Julius Caeser had appeared by this time, though he was only sent as Master of Horse with Dictator Aemilius to address this threat.
In turn 7, Rome faced what looked like doom, the Cataline Conspiracy took place and the Rome Consul lost 8 popularity. This would mean the mob would be unlikely to receive his state of the Republic speech well (i.e., population phase roll). It was said in the Forum, “we need an epidemic to save Rome” as that would have a chance of killing off the unpopular Consul. Amazingly, the unpopular leader spoke so well that the result led to a net roll of 2 and Rome only faced a “No Recruitment” result. Despite several active wars to deal with, the state was saved by fortuitous paranoia. Previously a Senate wanting a home force to face potential revolting generals had built the army up such that 24 legions were already available. Sulla was made Dictator with Caesar again serving as Master of Horse, they were sent to fight Mithridates. A disaster was nullified by Sulla and the war was defeated.
The game had remained tight with the exception of Tom who had more than his share of death chits and only 15 influence. Alan’s faction which included Caesar had 44, Paul’s Sullan faction 43, Scott’s Marian faction 38, Frank’s wealthy Crassus faction 39, and Brady’s faction had 34. With enough wars for glory as well as the possible need for a Dictator the next few turns, which should be among the last, were regarded as key and so strife came to the fore.
Discussions began on how to address the need to fight the Social War as well as the 2nd Mithridatic War. Support formed around sending Marius as Field Consul to fight the Social War which is a specialty of his and sending Sulla as Dictator against the 2nd Mithridatic War.
Caeser, snubbed for a top command again, took matters into his own hands and stabbed Sulla via an Assassin. He hoped to bring Rome down in defeat while remaining the faction with the highest Influence. In retaliation Sulla’s ally Cassius kills Caesar with an unmodified assassination roll. With the Dictator dead, the military plan was in tatters and Rome on the brink, leaders were sent to fight at long odds. However, Marius defeated the Social War and the Rome Consul Claudius managed to defeat the 2nd Mithridatic War. This allowed Rome to survive by bringing the active wars down to “only” 3.
The End of Era card appeared early in the next turn, so, persuasions, bribes and counter bribes were key. Scott and Frank both fail persuasions with rolls of 11 and 12 despite plenty of cash to make the target numbers of 8. The only successful persuasion on the last turn was by Paul to pull Cato to his faction on a roll of 8 and move into 3rd place. The final results were Scott 47, Frank 44, Paul 38, Alan 34, Tom 31, Brady 25.
,p>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 third place since the winner and second place players already owned copies. This book covers the times of the Middle Republic deck and contains many of the statesmen featured in the game.
In summary, it was another exciting year in the Forum. We look forward to seeing all of you next year, bring your friends, and don’t forget to vote your trial ballot.
I want to thank my assistant GMs, Llew Bardecki and Alan Richbourg, 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.
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).