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Playback: Republic of Rome

Turn 3: Persuasive Arguments
Once again it is time to face Mortality. The chit is drawn and it is number 10. This is Darwin's Junius, the current Rome Consul. As he is not the faction leader he leaves the faction for the Curia. Now that Arthur has five Senators and everyone else only three, he is more likely than ever to become a target.

After the Revenue phase, money holdings are as follows:

Arthur: 7 T on P. Cornelius Scipio; 11 T in faction treasury
Brian: 13 T on Flaminius; 10 T in faction treasury
Charles: 4 T on L. Aemilius Paullus; 7 T in faction treasury
Darwin: 11 T on Fabius; 3 T on Manlius; 10 T in faction treasury
Edwin: 8 T on Aurelius; 10 T in faction treasury
State: 39 T (after paying 56 T maintaining 14 legions + 14 fleets and 40 T for two unprosecuted wars). Fortunately last turn's Allied Enthusiasm Event adds 50 T.

Then Arthur contributes 1 T to the state treasury to take its total to 90.

Arthur as Dictator takes the first turn and draws the dreaded Hannibal. This leader joins the already active Second Punic War.

Not wanting to look more like the leading player than he already does, he doesn't attempt to persuade any opposing Senator. He spends 3 T to attract a Knight for Scipio. This succeeds.

Brian's card is the Cornelius family (Senator) card. This is automatically placed beneath Arthur's Scipio card. He spends 3 T trying to attract a Knight, which fails.

Charles' card is the Harbor Fees Concession. He adds it to his hand as it cannot be played at present. He spends 1 trying to attract a Knight which fails.

Darwin's card is the Tribune. This joins the Assassin already in his hand. Darwin announces that Fabius is opening a Persuasion attempt vs. Arthur's senator Quinctius. He has Oratory plus Influence equal to 17. Subtracting the defending Senator's loyalty of 6 and his faction loyalty of 7 gives a differential of 4. Six talents from fabius are placed on the Quinctius card.

Edwin declines to intervene.

Arthur places 8 from his faction treasury on the defending Senator, taking the Persuasion number down to 2. He is down to just 1 in faction treasury, but as the counter is turned face down no one knows if it's a 1, a 3, a 5 or even a 10.

Darwin examines his remaining funds on Fabius and counts 5. This would only take him to a 7 so he pitches to Brian. If Brian will contribute 5 or so he will pay him back 1 more talent for each talent contributed. Brian wants to help, but he thinks the price is too low. He says he'll contribute 5 if he can have half the money on the Senator after he's persuaded. Darwin says he's amenable to this, but with two conditions. If he doesn't get the Senator Brian gets nothing. In addition, he needs Brian to add in not just 5, but 8. Brian agrees, adding 8 T from his faction treasury, taking the persuasion number back to 10.

Now Arthur approaches Charles who is to go next. If Charles will put on 8 T, Charles can have half the money on the Senator if Arthur manages to keep him. Charles tells Darwin that he is sympathetic with not letting Arthur run away with the game, but that is a very tempting offer. Darwin responds that if Charles stays out of it, he can half the other half of the money on the Senator if successfully persuaded. Charles agrees.

According to the rules, when the chance to intervene comes back to the persuading player, he may either roll the dice or add more money. With the persuasion, Darwin is content to let the dice fly high. And the amazing result is TWO! Had he but known, Darwin could have accomplished his goal with far less trouble. He takes the Senator and his Tax Farmer concession. He does not hand over the promised funds to Brian and Charles, not because he doesn't intend to do so, but because he may only do so during the Revenue phase. On the Senator are 22 talents.

For the second part of his turn he spends 3 T to attract a Knight for Manlius, which succeeds. For the third part of his turn he considers changing his faction leader to the new Senator. If Arthur wants to assassinate the money away, at least he'll keep the Senator. On the other hand, it might be better to keep Fabius as the faction leader as this Senator also gives rise to a statesman. In the end he does make the change.

Edwin draws the Julius Senator card. Using his Senator Aurelius, he has a base persuasion number without spending of 7. He puts 3 T on the Senator to make this a 10. Arthur demurs to intervene. Brian having little money left also does so. Charles, expecting to come into money next turn, thinks maybe he could try for this Senator next turn and so puts 4 T in to take the number down to a 6. Darwin does not get involved. Not wanting to get into a bidding war he might not win, Edwin decides to take a try at 6 and rolls... a 6! He takes the Senator and sarcastically thanks the rueful Charles for the extra funds.

The new Senator immediately spends 3 T and to attract a Knight which succeeds on a roll of 3. Edwin muses that things are looking up.

Now it's time to bid on the extra initiative.
Feeling beleaguered, Arthur bids 1.
Brian bids 3.
Charles passes.
Darwin passes
Edwin passes

Brian draws the Mining concession and adds it to his hand. He spends 2 trying to attract a Knight, which fails.

With the Forum phase at an end, players count their votes and totals are as follows:

Arthur: 16
Brian: 9
Charles: 7
Darwin: 11
Edwin: 11

All enemy leaders are associated with active wars and so have no chance of going away.

A roll of 6 means that the dead Senatorial family Sulpicius returns to play. Junius fails his roll and is still trapped in the Curia.

A roll of 3 would have had the Second Punic War destroy Tax Farmer 3, but this card is not in play.

Now it's time for Scipio to make a speech. Before doing so 2 Unrest levels are added to account for last year's two unprosecuted wars. The three dice roll result is 5, reduced to 3 for the Unrest levels. Fortunately for Rome's elite, Scipio has a popularity of 10 which is added to 3 to achieve a 13, which means there is no change in Rome's Unrest level which remains at 2, i.e. somewhat disturbing, but not yet serious.

Senate in Session

What the new plan should be is far from certain. There are now three active wars, two of them with leaders, meaning they will be difficult. Fortunately, neither one is as bad as it could be. The Punic War could gain another leader, Hasdrubal, and the Macedonian War could gain another war card. This suggests that one of these wars should be the priority. There is also the question of whether the remaining smaller war should also be tried at the same time, both to save funds for unprosecuted war and to avoid getting too far behind the eight ball should say two or three more wars appear next year.

Charles points out that he hasn't had a command yet and happens to have the statesman who specializes on the Macedonian War. Everyone is willing to agree on this.

Brian suggests a quick feasibility study on the possibility of taking on two wars. The Macedonian War has a strength of 16 while the Gallic War has a strength of 10 for a total of 26. (There is a 5 fleet support requirement on the Macedonian War, but this is negligible). In comparison Rome can field 2 veteran legions (worth 4) plus 12 more legions plus purchase 9 more legions for a subtotal of 25. In addition leadership values of the Dictator, Master of Horse and Field Consul could add up to 5 + 4 + 4 (without enlisting Scipio who is a 5). Thus Rome's total could be 38. Subtracting the wars' 26 gives a result of 12, or +6 per war. Of course, the wars won't be fought all at once like this, but this is an effective way to summarize the situation. The final addition is an average three dice roll, which would be a 10.5. A result of 16.5 is a victory.

The players decide to take this on with Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus as the Dictator. Brian suggests that actually it's not strictly necessary that this leader be the dictator. He could also do the job as Field Consul and someone else could be Dictator. Charles observes that since Macedonicus cannot suffer a disaster or standoff, as long as he has enough troops, his success is pretty much guaranteed and with the resulting popularity he is very likely to cure the curren unrest problem as well. The others, noticing that Charles is still the last place player, can only agree.

Arthur is presiding. He indicates that as his faction is not a good fit for a command and he has no one eligible for Censor other than Scipio who has 23 influence. (No other player will want to give him more as attainment of 35 influence on a single Senator ends the game in victory.) Thus he proposes his own Calpurnius, suggesting him for Rome Consul, and the new Senator Julius (of Edwin's faction) for consuls. The other players agree and no one votes against.

The two new consuls take their markers and agree to appoint a Macedonicus dictator.

Macedonicus takes over and looks to Brian and Darwin's factions for his Master of Horse as neither has received an office yet this year. He chooses Darwin's Fabius who has a military value of 4. This takes that Senator to 19 influence.

Now he looks to Brian and sees that the only candidate for Censor is Flaminius. This proposal, which may not be vetoed, passes as Flaminius rises to 16 influence and takes the floor.

It's another coalition turn, but Brian wonders if he can get more out of the Censor job than just the five influence. He looks around at the various Senators except for those of the dictator. There's no point in offending the dictator as he could turn right around and send one of his senators away as governor of Sardinia-Corsica. He has a look at the faction having the most votes, Arthur's, but finds no one who is prosecutable other than Scipio, whose popularity is so high that the very idea of prosecution is laughable. He chooses not to prosecute anyone belonging to Darwin as he still expects Darwin to give him half the money on the persuaded senator next turn. Finally there is Edwin. There he finds two tax farmers, one of them also last year's Censor, and thus doubly eligible.

Brian suggests that the lesser of these two, Valerius, be prosecuted and asks Charles if he would support him by acting as prosecutor. Charles holds the current Dictator, and no source of income. He realizes that if the tax farmer is separated from Valerius and placed in the Forum, he may be able to get it assigned to his own faction. So he agrees on behalf of his senator Terentius.

Edwin has a Tax Farmer card in hand. He shows it to Brian now and offers it if he will not prosecute him this turn. Brian realizes that this way he gets a tax farmer whereas the other way probably Charles gets one, so he agrees. He turns the floor back over to the Dictator.

A little miffed, Charles makes his first proposal without any preamble: disband 7 of the 14 fleets in order to save on maintenance costs. He asks Brian to vote first. Brian says that actually this number is too high. Considering that each fleet costs 10 T to build, they should save at least 8. He votes no. Surprised, Charles asks Arthur to vote. Again the vote is no. And, climbing on the bandwagon, Edwin votes no and so does Darwin. Everyone having voted no to his proposal, Macedonicus loses 1 influence.

Having had everyone vote no to his proposal, Charles now has the right to have the Dictator resign his office.

"Do you want me to resign and just let Rome fall?", asks Charles.

No, no, they all assure him. Just discuss with us first what it is you mean to do. Charles asks if saving 8 fleets will be okay then and it is acceptable. The proposal passes.

OK, says Charles, who would like to be a Governor?

Several players respond that they wouldn't mind taking on Sicily... Seeing how it is, Charles asks, "OK, which Senators in particular then?"

All of the players offer Senators having little influence.

Charles thinks about it and has a look at the vote totals. "OK, Arthur has the most votes at 16 so I will propose that his Aelius serve in Sardinia-Corsica, the lesser province. Darwin has the next highest number of votes so as part of the same proposal, his Manlius should go to Sicily."

Arthur votes against. The rest consider that this may be the fairest deal that may occur and the motion passes. The relevant Senators receive their province cards and the players lower their vote totals to reflect their departures.

Next Charles proposes purchase of nine legions, using up all of the treasury. There is general grumbling that Brian's Senator Flaminius is earning 18 more talents thereby (via the Armaments concession). Brian promises to contribute most of this back to the state and so the motion passes. Rome is now fielding 23 of its available 25 legions.

Now Charles makes his final proposal of the turn. Ten legions (including one veteran legion) are to go with Julius the Field Consul against the Gallic War while twelve legions (including one veteran legion) and five fleets are to go with the dictator Macedonicus and Fabius his Master of Horse against the second Macedonian War. The differentials are +6 in each case. This passes unanimously and with the departure of the highest ranking available officer, the Senate automatically adjourns.


In the field, Macedonicus goes first, making a rather poor roll of 6. Adding 6 yields an 12, a Stalemate. One legion and one fleet are lost. Fortunately, the Veteran legion is not the one lost. In addition a new veteran legion is created. But since two items have been lost, now the same number of mortality chits must be drawn against the dictator and master of horse. Fortunately, neither of them are hit. Macedonicus takes the loyalty marker for legion number IV. He becomes a proconsul and along with his force remains with the war.
if no image, probably out of availability

Now it is Julius' turn to see if he can do better. His roll of 9 becomes a 15, a Victory, with loss of three legions. Fortunately, once again the veteran legion is not lost and a new veteran is created. Three mortality chits are drawn and Julius survives. He is assigned veteran number III and receives five popularity and five influence (taking him to 14). Twenty talents are earned by the state treasury and the province of Cisalpine Gaul is placed in the Forum for assignment in the coming year. The unrest level decreases by 1.

The 2nd Punic War is moved down to the Unprosecuted Wars section.

In the Revolution Phase, Edwin passes to Brian the Tax Farmer card he had previously promised. As he now holds the maximum five cards, Brian plays the Influence Peddling card, using it to draw a card at random from Darwin whom he considers to be in second place (the presumed first place player having no cards to draw). His reward is a mere Tribune as he misses Darwin's other card, the Assassin.

Brian still has five cards so he plays the Mining concession on Flaminius, his most important Senator and the one holding the Armaments concession. This is the all-eggs-in-one-basket approach. Putting Mining here does protect it from prosecution, but if he loses Flaminius, he loses everything. He could have put it on Acilius instead, who does have a popularity of 1, but it might be difficult to defend there.

Charles plays the Harbor Fees concession on the dictator.

In the second part of the phase, Julius returns peacefully to Rome.

As the year ends, Edwin questions whether it was wise to try for two wars. Would it not have been better to try just one, but make sure of it and thus eliminate a more serious one? Only time would tell.

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Founding Fathers is a game in the same style set in early America