My first session report
Mark, Steve, Angel, and yours truly decide to play an oldie at our weekly Wednesday game night. Mark and me were newbies, Angel had played before, and Steve was the seasoned veteran. Since there were only four of us, we each ran two chariots apiece. Three laps around the small track and one lucky slave would be granted freedom; the rest (only two others survived) would be feed to the lions!
The first turn saw lots of conflict as the tight-nit group of charioteers cairned out of the starting gate. Angel's lead chariot was bashed repeatedly against the left side of the stadium wall as mark and Steve whipped to gain more speed and move past him. The last bash caused the chariot to bash spectacularly and flipped Angel's poor driver out. He was promptly devoured by my 1st's chariot’s pack of beasts. Steve got greedy with the whip cards though and ended up whipping BOTH his teams into a frenzy before the first turn around the track (I guess he wanted to show us how those cornering cards worked!)
The second half of the straightaway saw Angle's other chariot in the lead, with my 1st right behind, Mark's frenzied team was in third, Steve's chariot were both pretty smashed, while my 2nd and mark's 2nd both plodded along behind trying to avoid the carnage. I rammed Angles chariot, which caused the last of his rear armor to disintegrate forcing him to bail out, and leavening him with only one drive to control. Marks frenzied beasts took the lead away from me, and he was able to regain control of them at the end of the turn, just before he was going to run into the corner. He would keep the lead almost until the end, and would have won outright if he hadn't made a newbie mistake.
The second lap had three groups of chariots in it marks 1st in the lead, with my 1st following, Steve's two and marks 2nd bashing into one another, with Angels driver also in mark's trying to take it from him, and my second, very healthy chariot cautiously moving past them. At some point in the second lap Steve had to abandon his two chariots as one was reduced to a speed of three and the other had only four hps left on its beasts. I take and gamble and whip my 1st team into a frenzy and past mark, which I do, unfortunately I never regain control and they team eventually dies running into a wall at a rather high speed. Mark's other driver kills off Angel's last person and I kill off one of Steve’s wayward drives. Around the second turn Mark's 1st chariot took an unnecessary risk, clinging to the outside lane, when he had the option to move in at no risk (both spaces were a 7 and it was his last move) he slid into a wall on the outside lane and was thrown out of his chariot, which gave my second chariot enough time to pass him and go on for the win. The third round was pretty boring, but was played out, since mark's 1st still had a slim chance of winning, alas it was not to be as my 2nd chariot trotted across the finish line.
Overall I thought the game was a bit long, the third lap was really unnecessary. The combat mechanics were okay, but it does suffer from a runaway leader problem, as in order to catch up to a leader you must whip a lot (likely into a frenzy) yet as you whip you damage your beasts, causing them to go slower once they loose there frenzy and allowing the leader to pass you again. Also it is hard to regain control of your beast with near dead beasts giving you only a 50% chance at most (30% in heavy armor).
But winning is not what this game is about, it is about racking up a body count and watching people crash (sorta like NASCAR), and that the game delivers in spades.
You could get me to play this again, but I’d rather play a euro instead.