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Played today and found the game to be fun but a huge amount of randomness. We didn't much like the way that stratagem Chits can give a big advantage in combat and winning then gives more chits. It often leads to situations where one side has several chits and the ability to do much whilst the other side has none and has to turtle to cut their losses.
The game is very fluid and there's a lot of maneuver and the chit effects are fun, just very powerful.
The random events in the game are also very powerful. One can kill a handful of units leaving previously safe Roman towns exposed or removing all the stratagem chits from your hand..
It's a real Shane this didn't make it to a boxed game because it's good in general I just feel it needed the events toning down and the run away stratagem problem needed something else.
So while I was packing the game up I had a few thoughts about how I'd alter it to reduce the issues I mention above.
I thought I'd post them and see if anyone uses them.
#1 : 0 value cities are pretty irrelevant. And there are quite a lot of them. Alteration: All the 0 value cities are worth nothing to the Roman but remove 1 from the income otherwise gained per occupied or burned city.
#2 : Gaining & losing chits in battles is too harsh, and leads to attacking small forces with huge forces to maximise the chits.
Alteration: No chits are ever lost for losing a battle.
A player gains one chit if winning against two enemy tiles.
A player gains two chits if winning against three or more enemy tiles.
#3 : Some of the random events are really harsh, massively random or otherwise can half destroy a game in progress.
These are toned down and slightly pro-barbarian.
Alter Roman-1: Death of (1-3 Caesar, 4-6 Augustus). If Augustus dies replace Caesar with Augustus as normal.
Alter Roman-2: 'in the footsteps of Trajan' failure to: lose a stratagem marker, or lose 2d6 money if you don't hold a marker.
Alter Barbarian-1: Select any barbarian and perform an activation. Don't remove any markers from the cup.
Alter Barbarian-4: Rebellion in any province selected by the barbarian player, resolved as per a geographical command which is Federated.
Alter Barbarian-5: Plague. Barbarian player selects a city anywhere on the map. The Roman player must remove D3 units within one hex of the city, odd units must be field or regional armies if there are any.
Then the Roman player loses half of the provinces income immediately.
#4 : My preference is to not allow a federated force to fight at less than even odds. Otherwise you get weird situations where Caesar marches out with one army to fight the Goths all alone on 3-1 against.
Also, Romans probably shouldn't burn down Roman towns. At least not all the time.