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Subject: Time of Crisis Game #1 rss

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Wray Ferrell
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NOTE: This game used rules that are different from the final published version. It will give you a good idea of how the game plays, but shouldn't be used to resolve rule questions

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Hi,

We are getting ready to start an online game in this thread with some of the veteran play testers so you can see the game in action. Feel free to post questions you may have here in the thread. You can ask the players why they are doing a certain action or game design questions to Brad and me.

Lets meet the Players
Bill Dyer - Dune savant and beer snob. Also a black belt in some kung fu stuff, but for some crazy honor thing refuses to use it to battle evil.
Scott Blanton - Owner of my local game store. If you are ever in Cary, NC stop in. Scott has probably played the game more times than anyone outside Brad or I. This is to put pressure on him to play well...
Glenn McMaster - We decided we needed an international man of mystery to add some sizzle to the game. Sure he is only from Canada, but close enough right? Glenn and Bill constantly vie for title of best Dune player on the planet.
Mark Ashton - Mainly known for being the father of the cutest baby ever and attempting to play through the entire Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale series online.

Color Commentary
Brad Johnson - Co-Designer of Time of Crisis. Best known for being the model for 2nd rioter from the left on the Mob Violence card in the original Avalon Hill edition of Republic of Rome. I read this on the internet so it must be true.

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Wray Ferrell
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Over the next few days before the game starts I will be posting the text from all the event cards along with my thoughts on them.


Blue 2: Tribute - Remove all barbarian tokens of a single tribe from any one province and return them to the tribe's homeland still on their active side.

Historically Rome paid tribute (basically a bribe) to the various barbarian tribes so they would stop their pillaging ways and head back home. One example was Alexander Severus who attempted to buy off the Gauls who had invaded Gallia on the advice of his mother. It caused the Roman legions, who felt like the Gauls should be punished for their insolence, to look down on him. This eventually led to Alexander and his mother being assassinated.

Since the bribes were only a temporary fix, the barbarians are returned to their homeland active side up.


Red 2: Castra - Place a Castra marker beside an army you command that does not already have a Castra marker. When this army is attacked the Castra marker must be removed as the first hit, but that hit is ignored when determining who won the battle. The marker is also removed at the start of your next turn or if the army moves or attacks.

The Latin word castra was used by the Romans to mean (among other things) a temporary camp constructed by Legions for use as a military defensive position. When near enemies, the Legions would construct marching camps. A trench would be dug around the camp, throwing the dirt inward, to be formed into a rampart. On top of this stakes would be erected. The soldiers had to carry these stakes while marching.

Since the winner of a battle is determined by the number of hits inflicted, a castra prevents damage to your legions by absorbing the first hit and making it easier to win as that hit is ignored when determining who won.
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Wray Ferrell
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Yellow 2: Quaestor - Select a province that you govern without a Quaestor marker and place one beside its provincial capital. After cards are played for a Place Governor event targeting this province roll a number of d6 equal to the province's support level. Each roll of 3+ adds one to the cost of the attempt. Remove the marker if you are replaced as Governor or at the start of your next turn.

A Quaestor was a magistrate in charge of the city's treasury. As time passed their duties were expanded to include collecting taxes and tributes from the territories as well as recruiting new soldiers for service in the army. Eventually each provincial governor would have his own quaestor. This event supposes your Quaestor is looking after your interests in the province while your attention is focused elsewhere.


Yellow 3: Mob - Place a mob token in a province that does not already contain one. The mob token reduces the Support level of the province during the owner's Support check phase. The mob token is removed when fought without either side rolling dice. No legacy is gained for defeating a mob.

Over a million people lived in ancient Rome and many of them did not have a regular job. Even the most powerful emperors had to keep this vast mob of Romans happy. Most did this by distributing grain and holding vast spectacles to keep them occupied. The Roman satirist Juvenal described this in his famous quote - “Two things only the people anxiously desire — bread and circuses.” Couldn't have a game on ancient Rome without a Mob event.
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Volko Ruhnke
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Wray, great way to give us a look into the game. Volko (vox populi)
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Wray Ferrell
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Volko wrote:
Wray, great way to give us a look into the game. Volko (vox populi)


Thanks. I am hoping it will help people make an informed buying decision. Very much looking forward to the Gallic War COIN game. Here is the link if you are curious to read about that game: http://www.gmtgames.com/p-503-gallic-war.aspx

Wray
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Wray Ferrell
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Blue 3: Foederati - Remove from the game one barbarian token or leader located in a barbarian homeland and place one Auxilia counter in the provincial capital space of a province that is listed first on any of that tribe's invasion paths and is free of enemy legions. Auxilia are commanded by the governor of the province and are considered one step legions who cannot move and if forced to retreat are eliminated.

Forderati was the practice of providing benefits in exchange for military assistance. The term was also used, especially under the Roman Empire, for groups of "barbarian" mercenaries of various sizes, who were typically allowed to settle within the Empire. Basically Rome gave Barbarians land in return for help defending the empire. In game terms the barbarian selected must be in their homeland because a barbarian that has invaded has already occupied the land the empire would be offering. In addition the Auxilia counter can't move to simulate the barbarians would only defend their land and the surrounding areas.


Red 3: Flanking Maneuver - Play before dice are rolled for a battle in which you are attacking. Add two to the value of each die you roll in this battle. Only one Flanking Maneuver can be played per battle.

A flanking maneuver is an attack on the sides of an opposing force which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its ability to defend itself. One of the most famous flanking maneuvers in history was used in Hannibal's victory over the Romans at the battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Combat in the game consists of each unit in the battle rolling 1d6 and inflicting hits simultaneously. Full strength legions hit on a roll of 3 or more, reduced legions hit on a 5 or more.

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Wray Ferrell
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Red 4: Praetorian Guard - If you are Emperor, place a Praetorian Guard Favor marker beside Roma if none is present. The favor marker is removed if you are replaced as Emperor or at the start of your next turn. If you are not Emperor remove the favor marker from Roma or if none present replace the Governor disk in Italia with a neutral disk.

The Praetorians’ may have been tasked with protecting the Roman Emperor, but they were also the single greatest threat to his life. The guard or their prefect played a part in the murder of Commodus in 192, Caracalla in 217, Elagabalus in 222 and Pupienus and Balbinus in 238. Emperor Pertinax was confirmed by the Praetorians in 193 and then slain just three months later when he tried to force them to accept new disciplinary measures.

If you are Emperor playing this event shows you have the favor of the Guard which prevents them from removing you from office until you lose the favor.

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Jim F
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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Following this but some pictures would really help visualise it,
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Glenn McMaster
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I read the rules last night. Very nice, easy read. Watching Judge Judy at the same time. International man of mystery!

A couple questions -

In 5.3, buying and trashing cards, can you trash a card from your available pile and discard pile? (6.5 says that the available pile can be examined, but it does not specifically state that cards can be trashed from that pile).

In 6.3.2, Place Governor, does the influence level of the province you capture remain the same or is it reduced? In the example, what would be the influence level of Hispania (support level 4) after being captured?

In 6.3.3, When you add a legion to an army, it does have to come from the legion pool?
 
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Wray Ferrell
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Ashiefan wrote:

Following this but some pictures would really help visualise it,


Once the game starts I will be posting pictures of the map after each move. I am just posting about the events along with some historical detail waiting for all the play testers to be ready.
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Wray Ferrell
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GLENN239 wrote:
I read the rules last night. Very nice, easy read. Watching Judge Judy at the same time. International man of mystery!

A couple questions -

In 5.3, buying and trashing cards, can you trash a card from your available pile and discard pile? (6.5 says that the available pile can be examined, but it does not specifically state that cards can be trashed from that pile).


Good catch. No, you may only trash from your discard pile. I will update the rules to specifically state that.


Quote:
In 6.3.2, Place Governor, does the influence level of the province you capture remain the same or is it reduced? In the example, what would be the influence level of Hispania (support level 4) after being captured?


The support level of the province is unchanged.


Quote:
In 6.3.3, When you add a legion to an army, it does have to come from the legion pool?


Yes. No teleporting of legions across the map.
 
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Wray Ferrell
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Blue 4: Imperial Edict - If you are Emperor select any one army commanded by a player who does not govern a province with a Seat of Power marker. You may control that army using up to four points of Military influence. If the army is forced to fight the owning player may play events and gains legacy as normal.

This event supposes your General is not loyal enough to disobey a direct order from the Emperor. However if you are a Pretender, your general recognizes you as the true Emperor and ignores the commands of the "other" Emperor.


Yellow 4: Pretender - You may play this event if you are not Emperor and you govern two or more adjacent provinces each of which have a support level of three or more. Place a breakaway marker in each of those provinces that does not already have one. See section 11 of the rules for additional details about breakaway empires.

Marcus Postumus was a western Roman emperor of provincial origin. He usurped power from Emperor Gallienus around the year 260 and assumed the title and powers of emperor in the western provinces of Gaul, Germania, Britannia and Hispania, thereby founding what was called the Gallic Empire. He ruled for the better part of ten years before he was murdered by his own troops.

The support level of the provinces must be three or higher as you are trying to convince the provinces to pledge allegiance to you rather than Rome which was a very risky move. The presence of a pretender drains support from Italia each turn which encourages the Emperor to act historically and march his legions out to defeat his rival.
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Wray Ferrell
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I randomly determined seating/turn order:
1) Bill - Brown player
2) Glenn - Green player
3) Scott - Orange player
4) Mark - Black player

So the players in turn order need to send me (or post) their initial province choice. As a reminder - All art, color choices that I will be posting are play test quality and in no way reflect what the final game will look like. As you will see my artistic skills are quite limited.

You can click on the hourglass with the + symbol above the photo to see a bigger version of the map.

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Bill Dyer
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I will take Thracia.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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Thracia is a good pick - well centered for easy expansion and close to Rome.

Green will take Gaul for the same reason - access to three adjacent provinces, plus Rome.
 
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Bill Dyer
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GLENN239 wrote:
Thracia is a good pick - well centered for easy expansion and close to Rome.

Green will take Gaul for the same reason - access to three adjacent provinces, plus Rome.


I had Gaul typed in and then changed it at the last minute. Not sure why, I think I just like the name Thracia better :-)
 
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Brad Johnson
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GLENN239 wrote:
Thracia is a good pick - well centered for easy expansion and close to Rome.


Hey, you're stepping on my color commentary responsibilities. I'll comment after everyone has chosen.
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Volko Ruhnke
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I see that the imperial powers are jostling for the people's ear already!
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Glenn McMaster
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bfd_64 wrote:
[q="GLENN239"]

I had Gaul typed in and then changed it at the last minute. Not sure why, I think I just like the name Thracia better :-)


The main point is that we're both obviously awesome at this game!
 
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Bill Dyer
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GLENN239 wrote:
bfd_64 wrote:
[q="GLENN239"]

I had Gaul typed in and then changed it at the last minute. Not sure why, I think I just like the name Thracia better :-)


The main point is that we're both obviously awesome at this game!


Well, and I wanted to be close to the goths, because you know, goth girls are cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FNz8ZsFxgM

 
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Wray Ferrell
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bfd_64 wrote:
Well, and I wanted to be close to the goths, because you know, goth girls are cool.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FNz8ZsFxgM


Pretty sure you are required to link to an Evanescence video when you mention Goth girls...
 
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Scott Blanton
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I guess I will go with Africa. Wanted Gaul and Macedonia is too close to Thracia.
 
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Mark Ashton
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It's been a while since I've played and I have an inkling this is a terrible move, but I'll take Syria. Someone's gotta deal with them Persians.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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Now all we have to do is figure out how all four players can get empires of 3 provinces each on a board with easy expansion into only 11 provinces!
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Brad Johnson
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Ok, setup is complete and we have:

Bill in Thracia - Like Glenn said, a good choice for being centrally located with decent access to Italia. The potential downside is it can be threatened directly by both the Alamanni and the Goths. On the other hand, if Bill has some time to build up a decent army, that downside can be turned into an upside as he heroically dispatches barbarians for legacy. If I had to guess, I would predict Bill may go for a strong military (red) strategy.

Glenn in Gaul - Gaul is similar to Thracia, but with better access to Italia and threatened only by the Saxons. However, it's best to not forget about Postumus, who can appear as Rival Emperor in Gaul. Historically, Postumus led most of Gaul and Britannia (and more) away from Rome to form the short-lived Gallic Empire in 260 AD. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallic_Empire) If Postumus shows up before Glenn is prepared, it could be a tough to recover. (I'm always a little surprised at the popularity of Gaul as a starting choice. It's big and central and well-known, so maybe that's it. But I think every time I've started there, I've suffered for it. We'll see how Glenn fares.) I will predict that Glenn wants a strong blue strategy and an early shot at being Emperor.

By the way, what Postumus did with the Gallic Empire is exactly what the players can try to accomplish with the use of the "Pretender" special event. If you can't take over the whole Roman Empire, make your own empire! It's a good alternative path to victory...

Scott in Africa - This seems like kind of a different choice to me; I'm not sure I've seen many people start in Africa. It has the advantage of being more on the "quiet" end of the board, with only the Nomads to worry about. I assume Scott would like to expand into Hispania, probably one of the most "safe" provinces on the board. Either way, I'm assuming he's kind of hoping to stay out of the other players' way, build up his own holdings, and maybe try a strong yellow/Pretender strategy.

Mark in Syria - This choice has the advantage of putting Mark basically alone in the East. Advantages are obvious - good room to expand adjacently, hopefully limited direct threat from neighboring players. The one downside is the distance to Rome. It could be more costly to try to become Emperor because it might not be practical to get an army to Italia, so Mark may need to go either very strong blue or else he'll have to build his own Eastern empire. There will also be the Persians to deal with, plus the Priest King of Emesa as a Rival Emperor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_family_of_Emesa), so he'll also need some red. I think he may have to try to work a mixed strategy.

Nothing is carved in stone, though. Any of the players may have their own reasons to try any different approach. We will see how it develops from here...
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