Mr. Axle can do all for you.
The factions: Lisa, Kyle, Donny, Mark, and myself.
The scenario: VG version, Extended (all 3 eras), all optional rules except Passing Laws. In addition, we used Aging and Retiring Senators.
House rules: Any Elder Senator can retire, not just 21 Influence or higher. Also, a new house rule where crummy Initiatives, like Events or non-Senator black card, give a consolation prize of 2 Talents or 1 Popularity respectively. To spread out the Wars a bit, we also only dealt out 2 Senators and 2 Intrigue cards to each faction at game start. It was my intention to do that to compensate for having 6 players, but one dropped out at the last minute, so there were a lot of extra cards in the Early Republic deck (14, to be exact).
This was a particularly odd game of Rome. Lucky dice rolls had Rome obliterate almost every war with no losses. Furthermore, there were very few Prosecutions, and none that ended with a conviction.
The first turn of the game pounded us with an Epidemic, then an irrelevant Foreign Epidemic. Both of Lisa's Senators fell to plague, as did Kyle's non-faction leader. The naval engagement with the 1st Punic War was a crushing victory for Rome, and no other wars came out. We elected the outgoing Temporary Rome Consul - of Mark's faction - as Pontifex Maximus, freeing up the Censorship to the whole table. Unfortunately, Mark also had Cato the Elder. The whole table would regret his double veto as the game wore on.
Over the next two turns, Lisa’s Macedonicus polished off the 1st Punic War with no losses, and the 1st Gallic War went down with minimal cost to Rome. Allied Enthusiasm turned up, and Rome's treasury quickly stabilized. It was never an issue after turn 4 or so.
I poached a Senator from Kyle, leaving him with only his faction leader for most of the rest of the game. The poor guy rolled 10+ on persuasion rolls against easy Senators in the Forum on at least 2 occasions. In addition, his faction leader, the Cunctator, had no associated family card. As the Cunctator aged, this became a source of great amusement to the rest of us.
Mark turned out to be rather bloodthirsty, attempting FOUR assassinations over the course of the game, including one during Evil Omens. One that was successful was against my Rome Consul, punishment for attempting to banish the extremely annoying Cato to Corsica. The Field Consul sent Cato anyway, to raucous laughter. The Field Consul was on my left, though, so I went from first to last in turn order. Boo. The good news: Cato later gets old and dies governing Rome's crappiest province, a fitting end to the most hated man in the Republic.
The 2nd Punic War then came with Hannibal and Hamilcar in one turn. Oh, Refuge and Manpower Shortage were also rolled that same turn. We let them run amok, hoping that they would kill off Lisa’s Macedonicus (with 24 Influence!) governing Gaul. No such luck – she rolled a Disaster, which had no effect, oddly enough. After 2 turns of preparation (and after Hannibal torched both of Lisa's Tax Farmers), we sent Mark's Scipio and about 29 strength worth of Legions. A roll of 12 dodged all of the shit numbers, and a random roll assigned Hamilcar to the waiting Refuge. Hannibal died of old age the next turn, as did Antiochus. Mark's faction was pretty much broke, so he surrendered his command. Things were looking good!
Donny, meanwhile, had been slowly building his wealth and votes, despite losing a Senator with 5 knights to one of Mark's many wild daggers. He and I formed a diumvirate, and we locked out the others, assigning ourselves 3 offices, 5 concessions, and a type III land bill! We also striped Mark of the Pontifex, and we gave it to the Cuntator next turn. In an interesting development, Lisa, Mark, and Kyle all had Consul for Life candidates but little else, whereas Donny and I had 5 or 6 Senators each, most of the concessions in the game, but no one eligible for the win.
Hamilcar joined Philip on the 1st Macedonian War, and I retired my elderly Quinctius in preparation for playing Flamininus on the next turn. I murdered those Greeks in the face, and my glorious triumphal parade ensued. Meanwhile, my co-Consul takes out the 2nd Illyrian War.
The Cunctator nominated himself Consul for Life THREE TIMES over the next few turns, and Middle Republic cards started showing up in the Forum. "Where is the Fabius card, Kyle?" we laugh. Oh, how we laugh. The only other Senator he's managed to scrape up has an Oratory of 1, giving Kyle a whopping 3 votes for the second half of the game.
At this point, 2 wars that give droughts were pulled on the turn after we failed to prosecute 2 active wars. For the first time, Unrest was a real problem, and the persuasion-fearing factions couldn't cajole a promise of immunity from the smaller factions, so no one threw games.
Donny had two elders die during the next Mortality Phase, and he had too much money on them to attempt the ensuing persuasion rolls. The Cunctator also finally died of natural causes, so Kyle had to draw Furius from the Curia to stay in the game. Smelling blood in the water, I put all my money out on my guys, and I drew and persuaded Fabius. Ha! My Flamininus, as Rome Consul, drew out a Tribune by nominating two of my Senators co-consuls. The other players used a second Tribune and a buttload of cash to elect two others, but I had a pocket Tribune of my own. I nominated Flamininus as Consul for Life and bought enough votes for the win. Rome had 3 Active wars, 7 Unrest, and almost 300 Talents in the bank.
Rome was never really under the gun (javelin?), so the politics were more like you would expect from a Middle Republic game after turn 4 or so. This is certainly a consequence of our stacking the deck with extra Senators and Intrigue cards, but kicking ass in combat didn't hurt either. The whole affair took 9 hours, and we made it about a third of the way into the Middle Republic deck. Everyone had a fantastic time, and we plan on another game some time in January.
ubi bene ibi patria // vidi perfutui veni
great session report, thank you Jon!