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Subject: Core of Republic of Rome? rss

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Michael Akinde
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Hi,

I recently moved to a new city - and lo and behold - finally started to be able to play games again. Even better - I found players interested in RoR, but we unfortunately ran into the age-old problem: people intimidated by the dense rules, and long playing time.

Having fiddled with RoR in the past, I went back to the sketch-pad to see if we could come up with a ?simpler? and faster variant. Have read many of the threads here with interest. Find interesting the seeming consensus that RoR cannot be changed without becoming something else.

Based on that, I started wondering what people consider the "Core" of Republic of Rome - the distinguishing characteristic of the game.

Personally, I consider it lies in three things:
1. The "Political" gameplay: the wheeling and dealing that is necessary for the distribution of the "spoils" of the game. IMO, the way this is done in RoR is fairly unique, because the negotiation because RoR encourages win-win negotiations (of course backstabbing happens, but it only really pays if it is the "game winning" move).
2. The "Threat" of the Game system taking all the players down.
3. Excellent theme - mechanics make sense in the context of the subject matter

We are hopefully going to test out some ideas for a "variant game" in one of the coming weeks; but I am interested in what people think on this matter.

Regards,

Michael A.
 
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Greg Todd
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Michael

I think that some of the chrome in ROR is part of the game. For example the detail of the Senate phase and the political side appeals to me a lot.

I know this isn't what you asked for, but some simple ideas I've had to streamline the game:
Remove exile and captive rules.
Fix state income for provinces (cuts out a lot of die rolling in later senarios)
And I've done some much simpler provincial forces rules, that I haven't tried yet.

There are probably quite a lot more "chrome" rules that can be cut without hurting the game much.

The other thing I'd say is that the game isn't that complex when you play it. I think most people would get the general idea just by playing it through a couple of turns; I'd say this is better than trying to read someone the whole rules book, it's not a game you can learn that way.

Greg
 
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Michael Akinde
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I agree that the Senate phase is a big part of the "chrome" in the game; like others who have mentioned simplifying the game, I have not found much to be done there. I'm also in the camp with those who think the complexity of the game is alright (at least in basic mode).

My main concern is to try and bring game length down as this tends to be our biggest problem (people having to leave early, etc). For our part, this has meant that a lot of stuff had to go (among them variable province income, as you noted, and also personal treasuries). The game certainly isn't "exactly RoR" anymore, but I hope - still retains the RoR core (thus my interest in the question).

 
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Michael Akinde
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Played our first test of Republic of Homebrew yesterday; with a bunch of beginners (only one of whom had tried RoR before other than myself), we managed 5 turns in a little over three hours. With a little more experience (and some more work streamlining parts of the game), I think we may manage to get that down to 3 hrs for all 8 turns of the "early" game (we did waste a fair amount of time due to interruptions).

On the positive side; we seemed to manage to catch the RoR spirit well enough. The bidding in the much simplified forum phase was fierce, and the Senate featured the usual heated negotiations (even resulting in one player launching an assasination attempt in a fit of pique ). On the negative side, people made too little use of money for votes, there were a few "holes" needed plugging (back to the think-tank), and the Republic wasn't really placed under enough pressure (but then we only saw five wars in the game - somewhat below average).

The player with the Cornelius gens won the game on points (unsurprisingly). I was a pretty close second, though.

 
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