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Playback: Republic of Rome

Turn 6: Desperate Maneuvers
In the Mortality phase, the chit is 18, the proconsul. Thus ends the short and ill-starred career of Titus Quinctius Flamininus. Lost are a veteran allegiance, 11 influence, 1 popularity, a Knight and worst of all, a valuable statesman. As he was the Faction Leader, Darwin keeps the main card.

Going into the what is likely the last turn, it may be instructive to compare total influence for each faction, now the likely victory determinant:

Arthur: 30
Brian: 29
Charles: 56
Darwin: 26
Edwin: 26

Interestingly, over the course of this playing Charles has moved from worst to first.

In Sardinia-Corsica, Aelius again opts not to steal from the province, and finally develops it, earning three influence. His province costs the state treasury 2 talents. His term over, he returns to Rome.

In Sicily, Manlius, steals from the province and earns 7 talents. His province earns the state treasury 6 talents. His term over, he also returns to Rome. To indicate that he was a corrupt governor, a Term marker is placed on his card until the end of the next Censor phase.

In Cisalpine Gaul, Sulpicius opts not to steal from the province, and fails to develop it. His province earns the state treasury 3 talents.

State: 64 T (after paying 48 T maintaining 19 legions and 5 fleets and 20 T for one active war). Players are thinking more about persuading others than about getting influence via contributions so no one gives to the state.

After the Revenue phase, money holdings are as follows:

Arthur: 28 T on P. Cornelius Scipio; 1 T in faction treasury
Brian: 18 T Flaminius; 5 T in faction treasury
Charles: 5 T on Macedonicus; 37 T in faction treasury
Darwin: 6 T on Fabius; 45 T in faction treasury
Edwin: 6 T on Aurelius; 26 T in faction treasury

Edwin, the Rome Consul player takes the first turn and draws the Syrian War, which is active.

He decides to attempt to persuade Junius, the non-aligned Senator currently languishing in the Forum. Without even spending, he has a +14. As Edwin is in last place, the others decide not to intervene. He is successful.

As the game is likely to end, Edwin doesn't spend anything to attract a Knight, but gets one anyway, for Julius.

He finishes the turn by making Aurelius, now his most valuable Senator, the Faction Leader. His turn has added three points.

Arthur's card is Hamilcar, who joins his son Hannibal and the Second Punic War. Arthur has a look over at the faction of the leader, Charles. Who could be persuaded away? The best option would be Papirius, who has 18 influence and a loyalty of only 6. Without spending he has a +15.

As Brian doesn't mind Charles losing some influence, he passes. Charles spends 19 T from his faction treasury, taking effectiveness down to a -4. He has 18 T left in his faction treasury, a number which is secret.

Seeing that Scipio, the persuading Senator, still has plenty of talents on his card, Darwin and Edwin both pass to await developments.

Arthur places 13 T on the Papirius card to take effectiveness back to +9.

Once again Brian passes. Charles places eight more talents on Papirius to take it back to +1.

Seeing that Scipio, the persuading Senator, still has plenty of talents on his card, Darwin and Edwin both pass to await developments.

Arthur places 8 T on the Papirius card to take effectiveness back to +9.

Brian passes. Charles sees that there are still 7 more talents on Scipio's card. Seeing that this is going to go down to the wire, Charles places nine more talents on Papirius to take it back to 0.

Darwin and Edwin both pass. Arthur spends his remaining 7 talents to take it to +7. Everyone else now passes. Arthur rolls the dice... it's an 11. The attempt would have failed regardless of effectiveness. Meanwhile, an huge number of funds have accumulated on Papirius with Charles yet to take a turn.

Arthur fails to attract a Knight and ends his turn.

Brian's card is the Second Illyrian War. There are now three active wars.

Brian will attempt to persuade Acilius, Charles' Senator having 13 influence. He spends one to reach +9.

Charles is down to one talent so he tells the table that he is resigned to losing someone so he will not contest this one.

Everyone else passes so Brian makes his roll... a 6! Acilius joins Brian's faction. Brian fails to attract a Knight and ends his turn.

Re-visiting the current influence totals ...

Arthur: 30
Brian: 42
Charles: 43
Darwin: 26
Edwin: 29
shows that Charles still has a tiny lead with Brian now in close second. Darwin has moved into last place.

Charles' card is no card at all, but an event: Evil Omens, just as in the first year. The state pays out 20 talents. For the rest of the turn, all dice rolls are at -1 except for the initiative roll and persuasion attempts, the latter being +1 instead.

Charles has a whopping 64 T on Papirius, who already has an influence of 18. He looks about the board to see which non-Faction Leader has the most influence. The answer is Gaius Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator at 19. But this Senator belongs to the last-placed Darwin. The next best choice is the Senator he just lost to Brian, who at 13 is not worth that much less. As Brian is his closest competition, this looks like the better option. He transfer 4 T from Papirius to Acilius to reach a +9.

At this point Brian mentions that there's no way he can stand up to the amount of money being directed against him and if the others want to be in the running at all, they should consider doing something. Arthur plainly states that he is out. (The others don't know, but his treasury is virtually empty). Hearing this, Darwin and Edwin privately compare notes. Together their holdings are nowhere near what Charles has so they decide to stay out of this one. Having no support, Brian doesn't fight back either. Unable to believe his luck, Charles rolls a 7 (modified by Evil Omens to an 8) and takes back his Senator.

He fails his Knight attempt and his turn ends.

Darwin's card is the First Macedonian War. There are now four active wars. If at least one of these wars is not defeated, instead of there being a winner, all of the players will lose. Philip V joins the new war.

Now Darwin declares a persuasion attempt on Acilius. He spends 5 T to achieve a +9. Awaiting developments, Edwin, Arthur and Brian all pass. With just one talent in faction treasury, Charles is out of tricks. He declines to fight back and Darwin makes his roll... which is an 11 (modified to 12). He has succeeded in nothing other than giving Charles more talents.

He fails his Knight roll as well.

He finishes his turn by protecting Gaius Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator, making him Faction Leader.

Now it's time to bid on the extra initiative. Edwin bids 1. Arthur passes. He is out of cash. Brian bids 7. If he bid more his persuasion attempt probably wouldn't be feasible anyway. Charles is not about to let anyone else have the initiative. Seeing that Darwin has only 1 T showing, he bids 8 and takes over.

Charles draws the last card of the game, a Tribune. This is the last card in the Early Republic deck so the game ends on this turn. He looks about for another persuasion target. The best available is Darwin's Manlius, who has 7 influence. He spends 7 to achieve a +9.

In respsonse, Darwin empties his entire faction treasury to take it to -36.

Edwin, Arthur and Brian pass.

Charles suddenly realizes he has made a mistake. During the Senate phase with so much money he could well have bought enough votes to elect himself Consul-for-Life, an alternate victory condition. But by attempting one of Darwin's Senators he has inadvertently permitted him to put an impressive amount of funds on his Senator, who could possibly get himself elected from Consul-for-Life. He decides that the only thing to do is continue the persuasion and try to win it. He adds 45 T to the persuasion attempt to again reach a +9.

Darwin is helpless to respond except to suggest to Edwin that he might help. Noting that Charles has only 5 T left to use, Edwin agrees, contributing 8 T to take it to +1.

Seeing how things are, and that Edwin's treasury looks to contain more than five coin markers, he breaks off the attempt and ends his turn.

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

Arthur: 16
Brian: 9
Charles: 17
Darwin: 12
Edwin: 12

No tax farmers are destroyed, but a previously destroyed tax farmer returns to the Forum.

Now it's time for Aurelius to make a speech.

The three dice speech roll result is an average 11, to which Aurelius' popularity is added to reach 12, from which one is removed for Evil Omens. Rome's Unrest level goes up to 2.

Senate in Session

Convening the Senate, Edwin considers that the two likely winners at this moment are either Charles – via total influence – or Darwin – by using his amazing amounts of money to get himself elected Consul-for-Life. Meanwhile, Rome needs to win at least one war or else everyone loses. What will be of paramount import this turn is the handy knife: assassinations. Each player may only attempt one assassination attempt per turn and each may only be the target of assassination once per turn. Edwin does not think that any of the trailing players should have to do the dirty work of assassination while there are still two leaders in play so he decides to just play things straight and see if he can't get them to try to assassinate one another. At the same time, he has no intention whatsoever of granting any of them any office. He plans to share all of the offices, including that of Dictator, with Arthur and Brian who are also on the outs. With 37 votes between them, they have a slim majority vs. the 29 of the other two. Of course it will disappear as soon as any of them are sent to the war, but this can be solved by sending everyone to wars at the same time. In addition, Charles' and Darwin's votes can be lowered by sending their Senators out to govern provinces.

Edwin decides that the Punic and Macedonian wars are both too difficult and too unbalancing for whatever player would get to defeat them. He suggests instead that Rome should pursue the two weaker wars as both more balanced and more feasible. This approach has the advantage of not needing new fleets, which frees state funds to recruit legions. The offices to assign are two consuls and a censor (5 influence each), dictator (7 influence), master of horse (3 influence) and the influence to be gained from the wars (3 + 2), for a total of 30 influence. Since there are three players in the coalition, they will try to assign it as closely as possible to 10 influence each.

Thus, the plan this is passed goes as follows: Arthur gets Field Consul for Scipio, Master of Horse for Aelius and the Illyrian War.
Edwin gets Dictator for Julius and the Syrian War.
Brian gets Rome Consul for Furius and Censor for Flaminius.

After all of this happens, Censor Flaminius takes the floor. Brian's highest priority is the faction of the leader, Charles. There he finds two Senators who took money from concessions during the current year: Macedonicus with a popularity of 5 and Acilius with a popularity of 3. Of course, Acilius did this while under Brian's control, but that is beside the point.

He also finds Papirius, a Charles Senator with 18 influence and no popularity. If this Senator could be removed, it would put a major dent in Charles' total. Brian announces a major prosecution. But before he can ask for a prosecutor, Charles rotates his Cato the Censor card and thus expends the free veto offered by this statesman.

Brian must return the floor to the Dictator.

At this point everyone looks expectantly at Darwin as he is now allowed to propose his Senator Manlius as Consul-for-Life and thereby win the game, should he survive assassination that is. But Darwin is sitting back not saying anything. "Just go on with your business. Nothing to see here. Move along."

What's going on? Ironically, of all the players, Darwin alone has no Tribune card. So while he could probably win the vote and maybe survive an assasination since Evil Omens cut the chance of it working in half and Darwin himself holds the Assassin card which means nobody will use it on him, he cannot do the simple thing of making the proposal that can give him the win. Turns out the lowly and common Tribune card can be more valuable than previously thought.

While the other players try to figure out whether Darwin is being cagey or simply powerless, let's re-visit the current influence totals:

Arthur: 41
Brian: 39
Charles: 55
Darwin: 29
Edwin: 36

Edwin, now presiding, proposes spending 40 of the state's 44 talents to recruit 4 legions. He asks Charles to vote first, who says no. Darwin is next. Realizing he is to get nothing out of this and yet has plenty of useless money to spend, he counts up the votes and announces he will spend 31 talents to vote against. As this is more than the coalition can come up with, even spending all their money, the proposal fails and cannot be proposed again.

Seeing how things are, Edwin now proposes that Manlius be sent out to govern Sardinia-Corsica. Charles considers vetoing this proposal with one of his tribunes, but as it is being proposed by a Dictator, may not. But once again Darwin spends 31 talents and the proposal is defeated.

Not yet out of ideas, if Sardinia-Corsica won't work, Edwin now proposes that Manlius be sent out to govern Sicily. Yet again Darwin spends 31 talents and the proposal is defeated.

But now Darwin is running out of funds. Edwin proposes that his Senators Fabius and Plautius be sent out as governors and Darwin meekly accepts. His vote total is now reduced by 5.

Edwin now proposes spending 30 talents to recruit 3 legions. Edwin buys 8 more votes against and Charles joins in, buying 20 more. The coalition needs to come up with 16 talents for the proposal to pass. Edwin spends 6 – all he has – while Brian coughs up the other 10 and it passes. At last Charles and Edwin have exhausted their funds, think the coalition.

Now it's time to make the war dispositions. Total legion strength is at 24. The Dictator and Master of Horse are worth 7 while the Field Consul is worth 5. Thus the Dictator receives 12 legion strength for a total of 19 while the Consul receives 12 also for a total of 17. They are both at +13 vs. the Syrian War and the 2nd Illryian War, respectively. (Because of Evil Omens actually an effective +12).

Edwin calls the vote to send out these forces simultaneously. He gets no votes from Charles and Darwin (who have nothing to gain). He is getting Arthur's votes when Arthur utters the magic words "die swine". Conversation dies as he has just announced an assassination attempt. Arthur's Senator Calpurnius will try his knife on Charles' Senator Papirius who at 18 is tied for the most influence in Charles' faction.

assassin card
He makes the roll and the result is ... a 5! It's so close. In fact it would have worked, if not for the Evil Omens. As the roll was higher than a 2 there is no adverse effect for the would-be assassin. The attempt having been tried, no one else may try an assassination against Charles' faction this turn (in effect for the rest of the game).

Arthur resigns himself and votes for the proposal, as do Brian and, as the last vote of the game, Edwin.


In the field, Field Consul Scipio tries his luck with the Illyrians. The roll is a stupendous 17, which would otherwise be great, but just happens to be the special Standoff number for this war. There will be no influence gain for Arthur. Worse, he must risk five mortality chits. Fortunately, he survives, despite the appearance of a "Draw 2 chits" chit (subsequently balanced out by a "None" chit).

Dictator Julius will now try the Syrian War. This seemingly simple roll has turned crucial as otherwise the turn will end with four active wars. If this happens Rome falls before her enemies and no player wins. The roll is a 9, modified to 8. As no special number was hit, the result is a +21, a complete victory without losses. Julius earns 2 influence and Rome survives another year..

The Revolution Phase is not played as the game is effectively over. It is left for the players to congratulate Charles on his victory as the final standings show:

Charles: 55
Arthur: 41
Brian: 39
Edwin: 38
Darwin: 29

<< Turn 5 | Setup >>

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Turn 1: An Inauspicious Beginning
Turn 2: The Phoenicians Are Coming
Turn 3: Persuasive Arguments
Turn 4: Prosecuting Wars and Criminals
Turn 5: Taking on Hannibal Himself
Turn 6: Desperate Maneuvers

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