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Subject: "Britannia Brevis" session rss

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Lewis Pulsipher
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Commentary on/description of third solo game of “Britannia Brevis” “Expansion” to B2.

I am working on two “expansions” to Brit that may or may not be published by FFG. One is “Advanced Britannia”, a 6-7 hour game, and the other is Britannia Brevis, which I hope will be 2.5-3 hours.

The rules, which are not yet formal but are written in a rule format, amount to less than 4,000 words. These are, of course, changes from the B2 rules. The setup is close to B2's, except there are only two (yellow) Cals, 6 Picts, 8 Brigantes, 10 (blue) Welsh, and 11 (green) Belgae. The green may have nothing to do in R2 (Angles and Jutes come in R3). But as they have more nations than anyone else, I figure they’ll live with it.

The game lasts 10 rounds plus The Reckoning, when only the four king candidate nations can play.

The game uses battle cards, not dice. Each player has a deck of 25 (averaging just under +1) that he reuses over time; he has five cards in his hand, plus the National Specialty cards for his active nations.

This is the first game using the “National Specialty” cards that will also be a variant for B2. A player can choose to use one in battle in addition to his allowed battle card(s).

The Romans get two cards, choosing the second after seeing the battle card(s) played by the other side. Leaders give the same bonus–it’s as though the Romans always have leaders in the first two rounds, though not in the third (last round of Roman occupation).

Defenders in difficult terrain play up to two cards at the same time as the attacker’s one.

The total of armies and battle cards determines the winner; loser loses one army and retreats. If it’s a tie, attacker retreats, but if there are at least two defenders, each side loses one army in a tie. Loss is the same regardless of number of armies. As stacking limits are 2 and 3 (clear), +1 for the overstack, and +1 for a leader, the most you can have in a stack is 5 if you have a leader. Romans can always stack 5 in clear, 4 in difficult (again as if they always had a leader).

The Roman armies are no harder to kill than any other, but their card advantage is quite formidable. They have to go down to 12 armies at the end of Roman nation turn 2.

The Welsh play after the first Roman move of R1. Then the Romans play again, then the Belgae, etc. In the first round here the Romans kill two Welsh and 4 Belgae (one gets away). It’s a very conservative attack, nothing less than 2-1. I chose not to attack Devon because the Welsh get the next move, with Caratacus.

The best target presented by the Romans, at this point, is two legions and a fort. The Welsh scrunch up into five areas in order to submit. Another Welshman might attack (he could get five of his nine against the Romans). I’ve done it both ways.

The Belgae are in York, so the Roman has a different choice than B2 of where to submit the Belgae. Roman second play of R1, they dump 8 on the three difficult areas of north Wales, and the Welsh submit. (I suspect that in this game, of only three rounds of Roman activity and the presence of Caratacus, the Welsh may be less likely to submit. On the other hand, the Romans need them to submit more to score points than in B2.) The Belgae end up with York, Linsdsey, Norfolk, and N Mercia, facing Roman forts with three legions each.

The Belgae can get at best a 5-4 with Bou. The Belgae will certainly use their “Rage at Romans” card. (All the NS cards are +1, but some operate only in particular circumstances.) Roman NS cards cannot be used in the first round, except the “Paulus” card, which is only used when attacking Belgae. The Belgae win the battle, killing a legion (which must die before the fort). The other legions retreat, and another battle occurs (the fort cannot retreat, after all). The lowest Belgae card is a +1, but they must play at least one card; too bad, since they already outnumber the Roman 5-1. (Oh, before this second fight some of the Belgae could retreat, as in a not-completed battle in B2.)

Points for killing Romans are halved because fewer points are scored in this game. So the Belgae score 6.

The Brigantes can only move half their armies (the “Disorder/Disunity rule, they don’t have a leader–this applies to every nation except Romans). Faced with blue to the north and south, they can attack Clywd or Dalriada, or they can try to fight a stack of three legions and a fort when they can bring a maximum of four (stacking limit) to March. They take Dalriada to help keep the Picts in check.

The two Cals sit. Because of the successful Brigante attack, the Picts have only five areas so cannot get another army (if they could, they night consider attacking the Cals). They sit. If it turns out, from testing, that the Picts are too weak, then I’ll give them Dunedin to start with. Remember, though, the Scots are also Blue. And the Romans have only three turns, so are unlikely to beat up on the Picts a lot.

At this point movement is as in B2, though later it speeds up. I am still not sure I want to allow free movement through difficult terrain that you already occupy; yes, that makes sense physically, but representatively, the difficult terrain was a tremendous barrier to movement of peoples, and I’d like to retain that.

That’s the end of Round 1.

In Round 2 the Romans have a stack of five Belgae to deal with, with Bou. The way to succeed here is to surround the enemy, but it’s still an even fight 5-5. Some Romans might choose to leave the Belgae pile alone. It might depend on what cards are in hand. The Romans do have the “Paulus” +1 NS card to use here. In this game the Romans have excellent cards, so they’re going for the kill. They also send 2 to Lindsey, and the rest go north to try to submit the Brigs (Brigs can submit at four, getting to Galloway and Lothian leaves 3 untouched Brig areas).

The battle of S. Mercia is the biggest I’ve ever seen, with both sides pulling out all the stops and the Romans winning thanks to their Paulus card. One Belgae dies, Belgae cannot retreat, they fight again. This time it’s a tie despite the Roman margin of one, so each side loses an army and the Romans retreat! Boudicca survives, but dies of old age...

Unlike other nations, the Romans do not have to fight in margin order (from smallest margin up to largest). They now have a problem insofar as their hand of cards is three zeros (the most common) and two “Defender Flees”, which only applies when they defend. Do they risk losing against the Brigs, who then might not submit, or against the Belgae in Lindsey? The latter. Fortunately for yellow, the green have are also down to poor cards (even a minus 1), and the Romans win.

Now they attack the Brigantes. They have reshuffled their deck of cards and manage to draw a +1 to use in Cumbria. Brigs would like to play “Defender Flees” but there’s nowhere to run to. They play a zero and die. This means the Romans get to keep their +1, because they play a zero to begin with, and upon seeing the Brig card they know they have the win, so they can dump another zero as their second card.

They fight the 1-1 in Lothian. The Brigs do Flee this time, to Strathclyde. And the Romans finally draw another +1, so they have two.

Richard Jones and David Yoon helped me test this card method at WBC, and I’ve used it with many people who don’t play Brit. It is very different, almost a game of bluff and mind-reading, but allows for much more “management of your luck”.

The red just do not have good cards, and lose the 3-2 in Pennines. With nowhere to retreat, another round is fought. The Brig dies, but one of the Romans dies, too, because two Brigs have died, at least one because it could not retreat, and for every two dying this way an attacker dies too. (So if the Romans had wiped out the *Belgae* stack, they’d have lost two legions as well.)

Now the Brigs have drawn a +2. Do they fight in Galloway and avoid submission? They’re likely to go down next round anyway... but they could kill a Roman...

They fight. They play a “Play up to two more” card. The Romans play a +1. Now the Romans play a second card, then the Brigs play two. Romans put in a +1, for a total strength of four. Brigs need three more to tie. They have a +2 and a +1, so they drive back the Romans.

After their turn the Romans drop to 12 armies, removing one.

Only two Belgae of the four remaining can move (D/D). They go for Downlands, where there is only a fort, instead of to other areas where there are also legions. Rome’s failure to submit the Brigs meant they couldn’t reinforce Downlands. The fort counts as a “normal” army, but it’s difficult terrain. The Romans will get two cards, but will have to select them before seeing what the Belgae play. If this were a coastal area the Romans could play a NS card (both the defensive ones work only in coastals), but not here. Both sides play a 0 and a +1, so the Belgae win.

The Welsh spread out to seven areas.

The Brigs have, after Increase, eight armies in four areas. They can either attack the Picts, or sit and wait to submit. I’m not sure what the best move is, but I’ll have them wait.

Cals sit. The Picts decide to attack the Cals in Orkney at 2-1 (they have good cards). Cal dies. And that’s the end of Round 2.


Now the Irish (red), Scots (blue), Saxons (red), Jutes (green), and Angles (green) will come. I added the Jutes this time because the Red/Saxons had done so well last game; I may remove them again if I can get it balanced without them. All of these armies are special raiders: if they stay on land, they stay in the game; if they go back to sea, they go home and out of the game! This will encourage players to attack rather than conserve, because they can’t conserve unless the armies stay on land. The same thing is likely to happen in B3.

The Picts also get three special raider armies that can only attack Romans or Roman clients, then disappear.

Romans use the normal reinforcement scale, nothing coming. They decide to attack Mar to prevent seaborne Pictish raiding. They only get 1-1 in S Mercia, 2-1 in Norfolk (which they haven’t taken yet), and leave Downlands alone. S Mercia Flees, Norfolk dies.

Brigs must decide whether to fight; if they don’t submit, the three extra Picts won’t be able to attack them, and they’ll score normal points. But if they don’t submit, they may end up with only one or two areas, though the Romans are spread thin. 4-2 Dunedin, 1-2 Strathclyde, 2-2 Galloway. The red have only three nations (no Norse). The Romans have the Septimius Severus NS card as well. The Brigs submit.

The Picts play their “Great Ambush” card for an extra +1 in Mar, and two +1s. As the rules stand, when the defender plays a NS card, the attacker cannot, so the Romans cannot play Septimius Severus (who did in fact invade Pictland). I may have to change that, we’ll see. The Romans play a +2 and a +1, resulting in a draw, and Romans retreat through submitted Brigs to Lothian.

Romans spread out to defend the coasts (and they have two NS cards to help!). Romans score for each captured area outside England (10), minus one for each they fail to capture in England (none). This includes submitted, of course. Capture points = 10. (Addenda from round 9: I’ve decided to double this–so 20 for captures.)

At this point the Romans may all become normal armies, that is, they’ll lose their two-card advantage. However, as this is a change from B2, I may not incorporate it, depends on balance. I AM doing it in this play.

I like these Nation Specialty cards so far.

Belgae now take their third turn. They would get a new army, but they’re already overstacked in Downlands (three armies), so it is lost. One Belgae would starve, so they can move two (one plus half of the remaining two). The two go to Sussex, where there’s only a Roman fort. This may mess up the Saxons, is the Roman thought. Romans lose.

Belgae score zero, however, for territory. Territorial scores are done at the end of each nation’s turn, except at the end of the game (round 10).

Scoring is based on primary and secondary centers. Any area adjacent to the primary, and the primary itself, is worth 2 points, adjacent to secondary and not primary is worth 1 point. It is all depicted on one map, but players will have several scoring maps for reference.

Welsh prepare for the possible advent of Irish; they have seven areas and 11 armies! They score 12.

Brigs are overpopulated if Romans allow full growth. Sure. So they attack the Picts in Alban, who Flee. Brigs score 6 halved to 3 (Alban not worth any points).

Cals score 2.

The Picts now have the three raiders. They can move (to Bernicia), and half the remaining 7 (3). A fourth Pict goes with the raiders, as the blue have awful cards (3 zeros, 2 minus 1s). Defender Flees for Romans with legion and fort; legion escape, fort dies. Picts get 3 for the fort, and 7 for territory.

I’ve not put in a “no overpopulation” rule for the raiders (I may), so the Irish do 2-1 on Dyfed and 1-1 on a fort at Cheshire. This may not be the smartest survival move for the Irish (attacking Dyfed), but red may believe the Welsh need to be cut down a bit. Anyway, the 1-1 must be fought first (lower margin). It’s a tie, and the Irish army retreats to sea and goes away. Dyfed Flees. Two point for the Irish. (Gwynedd would not score territorially for them; however, they also score touch points for areas adjacent to the Atlantic, so they’ll get one for Dyfed).

The movement order is somewhat different. Angles Jutes Scots Saxons follow the Irish.

Three Angles raid two Romans in Suffolk, and though they play a +2, the Romans play a “Play two more” card and then +2 and +1, defeating the Angles, though each side loses one. The other Angles go home and out of the game! 3 Points for the Angles.

Jutes 2-1 on Kent. They play “Hengist and Horsa” and a +1 to win. They score 2.

Scots with one army and horrible cards, and going to go away if they don’t stay, go 1-1 with a fort and die (getting rid of a minus 1 card). If the Picts had been in better position they could have left an area open for the Scots.

Four Saxons now face Belgae and Jutes as well as Romans. Suffolk is an easy target, though no points. The cards are all zeroes. The Saxons have five NS cards, but do they want to use one and hope it’s enough? They go for the Romans to try to score some points, all four, playing the “Cerdic” NS card for a total of 5. Legion dies, then fort fights again and dies. One Saxon dies (two Romans have now died). And another starves. I think I may have to use that “no overpop” rule... just like the old days, eh? Saxons score 2 for territory plus 6 for Romans.

The Romans now score one per area held by Romans excepting burned forts, and by submitted. 23.

Now 12 R-Bs come into any open areas Cheshire-York and south, max one per area unless there’s no choice (they have two in Avalon). They move at the end of each Round, however. I did not have the Romans attack Devon, but I suspect that will still be necessary in B2Lite to try to preserve south Wales for the R-Bs (who do score there in this game).

Speed increases to three areas for everyone, now.

There are no points for R-Bs killing English or vice versa, except 2 points for a leader (which is true for any leader).

There are no major invasions in this game. The Romans play twice, the Danes in the time of the Great Army play twice, the Saxons following Alfred play twice. And that includes Increase of Population!

The Belgae kick the R-Bs out of Essex (they Flee). Welsh take Dyfed, losing one (both Irish die–two fights--as there’s nowhere to retreat). Only half the 10 Brigs can move, but they do get two to Pennines to slow down the Angles. Cals get a second army in Hebrides. (The Cals weren’t in the game originally, but I felt there needed to be a yellow presence in the north, and another yellow nation in mid-game along with the R-Bs.)

Picts send two (all they can manage through D/D) to Dunedin, Brigs Flee.

Irish take Cornwall (awful blue cards). Angles kill R-Bs in Norfolk, N Mercia, and York, and walk into empty Bernicia. This leaves Suffolk for the Jutes to attack the R-Bs. That one dies, but there are still eight.

Scots have two and Fergus. They attack a single Brig in Dalriada and win. Now we get a new feature of the game, all those with a leader get a second move (not needing to accompany the leader in that move). They attack two Brigs in Alban, and use a Scots NS card (this one is “Macbeth”, but has no time limit at this point). This ends in a draw, each side loses one because there were two defenders.

The Saxons take Kent, Essex, and Avalon with a loss in Essex, where two Belgae die for lack of retreat–so one Saxon dies.

Now Arthur and two cav (which are worth two armies each, but not in difficult terrain) come on. He and four infantry clean out Downlands (the R-B primary point location in R5); then they get another move. Two with Arthur,go to Avalon against two Saxons, playing the “Y Gododdin” NS to win.



Round 5, Welsh up (Belgae are gone), Cadwallon as a leader and York as an objective. He goes with 4 to York, while three others attack two Irish in Cornwall with a Welsh NS card. But they have to fight the lower-margin fight first, and come out even, so both lose an army. (Perhaps the Welsh should have gone 1-1 on an R-B so that they could fight that one first and maybe draw a replacement card better than a zero to then use in Cornwall.). In York the Angles Flee, and Cadwallon’s group moves back to Wales. Welsh score 13 plus 6.

Brigs (with leader Urien) prepare for the coming of more Angles (there is no Brig submission to Angles in this game). This is a bit unaggressive, as they could surround three Angles in Bernicia and probably kill them... in fact, I think I’ll change my mind and do that, since the leader move will let them get back into good position. Hmmm, the Angles in York should have retreated to N Mercia... so I guess I’ll do that first. Now there’s just one Angle in Bernicia, still worth slaughtering (and an opportunity to get rid of some weak battle cards). Bernicia is left empty. Brigs score 9.

The Cals are still there for 2 points. Picts take Alban at 4-1, 10 points. Irish reinforce Cornwall.

Angles rampage (6 + Leader), score 14. But they don’t do much to the Brigs. Jutes can only move one of their two, and don’t have the cards for a 1-2, so they sit in Suffolk. Two Scots armies occupy Skye and reinforce Dalriada, 4 points.

Bretwalda starts at the end of R5. Red have the most areas, but blue and yellow can contrive to vote such that there’s a tie between Saxons and Angles, no points.

Still 8 R-Bs, and no empty areas on the board...



Round 6. With the help of one of their NS cards (they can ignore difficult Welsh terrain when attacking), the Welsh take Devon. Picts, Brigs, and Angles fight in the north, Welsh, Saxons, and R-Bs in the south (Devon falls to Welsh, Downlands to Saxons). Once again no Bretwalda (10 to 10).

Round 7. The Vikings come. Angles are in severe disorder (cannot abandon any area, no Increase, cannot use NS cards). Welsh take Cornwall and wipe out Irish. Brigs have 7 armies and 3 areas, send three to Dunedin (which is also worth a point). 7 points. The Picts, now with 7 armies, send one each to Skye and Dalriada to be absorbed by the Scots (2-1, they become Scots armies)! 8 points. Angles move a bit (12 points). Norse take Hebrides, Orkneys, and Cumbria (4 points).

There are only 6 yellow on the board now (R-B), but 12 Danes are coming with a double play. Saxons all defend as though they are in difficult terrain (Alfred)! For the first move, 2-1s on Norfolk, N Mercia, York, March, and 4-2 with the leader on Lindsey. The Danes use a couple of their NS cards as their hand sucks. They lose in March. And draw in Lindsey (one on either side dies). Then there’s the “leader move” of the three that retreated to sea with Ivar and Halfdan, and they finally chase the Angle from Lindsey (Flees). Then the Danes play again–with Increase!

It is much faster to play a dice combat game solo than a card combat game, as I’m having to manage cards for all four sides. And I make mistakes. But I think players, especially those who aren’t enamored of dice, will like this method, which provides lots of variation yet necessarily “evens out” luck over the course of the game, since each player is using his own draw deck. I don’t think the game will be any slower with the cards than with dice, as there won’t be the sometimes-interminable rerolling to offset the thinking time involved in card playing. I hope. The cards don’t take long in Germania, where they’ve been used most.

The Danes take Norfolk and N Mercia this time. The leader’s group takes Suffolk from the Saxons with the leader move. Only 8 Danes are left, and 6 Angles in the north. 10 points.

The Scots absorb more Picts in Alban and Kenneth Mac Alpin attacks Dunedin at 3-3. Brigs play a NS card and defeat Kenneth, who goes back to Dalriada. Scots score 6.

The Saxons build two burhs, then take many areas and wipe out most of the R-Bs (two left in Cheshire). They are King (King counts borderlands of England, giving them 10, Danes 5).

The R-Bs take Cumbria from the Norse at 1-1 and score four points with their two armies.


Round 8.
Welsh consolidate, Brigs take Cumbria from the R-Bs (who Flee), Picts take Dunedin from the Brigs, Angles take Lothian from the Picts, Norse take Caithness and raid Hwicce successfully (dead Saxon), Scots absorb another Pict in Mar. Now the Saxons get two plays, each time with a leader, with the possibility of forcing submission from Danes, Angles, and Welsh (4, 2, and 4) for points (4, 4, and 2). They can also fight in whatever order they wish (more or less necessary where submission is possible). The Angles are pretty far away (3 in Pennines, 2 in Lothian). Saxons with leader take Cornwall, then with the leader move they go to Dyfed. At this point there are 16 Saxons with 2 burhs. Second turn they build three more armies and try to force Danish and Welsh submission. What do the Danes and Welsh lose by submission? Danes only lose some Increase if they submit, as they’ll unsubmit before more territorial scoring occurs. Angles stay submitted the remainder of the game, so they will try to get north (where their points are) and stay out of it. Welsh lose Increase and score half next turn.

3-1 on Clwyd, do the Welsh (now at 4 areas and 7 armies) fight or submit? They know the Saxons could hit them again with the leader move of a stack of five... And the Saxons were “nice” enough to get out of Dyfed... They submit. So do the Danes, attacked in two places. And with the leader move the Saxons wipe out the last two R-Bs in Cheshire, rather than take on Pennines by moving through Danish York. Saxon leader Athelstan goes away NOW (he died young, but mainly, the Saxons must suffer from poor leadership in the next Round). Saxons are King.

Movement speed is up to four by this time, by the way. But difficult terrain still stops movement.

All this submission stuff is untidy, but I want the Saxons to be the founders of England in this game, yet not wipe out everyone. It should fairly well reflect history, in fact. Rhodri “the Great” of Wales died in 877 fighting an English army (just a year before Edington, when Alfred stopped the Vikings).


Round 9
This is another scoring round. Welsh get half Increase and score half of 10 for modern Wales (north Wales). The Brigs take Lothian and score 8. The Picts (now the Kingdom of Moray) don’t score much now (to encourage the Scots to absorb them). But they do attack Strathclyde at 3-2. The Brigs play their “Stronghold of Dumbarton” NS, and the Pict who would have starved, dies. 2 points for Moray. Angles attack Lothian at 2-2, and the defenders flee. 4 for Angles.

The Norse are stronger in this game than B2, and there are no Dubs (so far). 3-2 on Skye, and 2-1 raids on Dyfed, Gwynedd, and Avalon. The Saxons fights them off, one Welsh Flees and the other dies. Skye is taken. 8 points (I’m counting up the touch points later).

6 Danes with Cnut come, and the Saxons can submit at 8. The Saxons fight as though their enemy was in difficult terrain (to reflect the very poor leadership and tendency to betrayal). There are 10 Danes on land. But even 16 Danes don’t look like much against the Saxons... Yet they attack six Saxon areas. And they can fight in any order (that submission thing again). The Saxons manage to fight off one attack despite the disadvantage, and decide not to submit. The leader move for the Danes now is a problem. There are lots of territorial points to be made: Bernicia, York, Lindsey, and Norfolk are empty. But the Saxons have seven areas, so for Cnut to be King something’s got to give. They cannot beat them down far enough. (BTW, in this game, for Bretwalda and King, the border areas count as part of England–Devon, Gwent, Powys, Clwyd, Strathclyde, and Dunedin.) If the Saxons had not done quite so well, this might be doable for the Danes. At any rate, they go back to occupy areas and get their 13 points. Now the Saxons, still crippled in combat but getting full Increase because they did not submit, 18 armies but only 9 can move. They attack Pennines but the Angles use an NS card and +2 and +1 and win.


Round 10. Scoring occurs only at the end of the entire round, except that the king candidates don’t score until after The Reckoning. The Saxons still have two NS cards, Angles have 1, and the Norwegians and Normans get two each. One each of these is defensive only (“Warrior at the Bridge” and “Norman Castles”).

Welsh get a leader, but there are only 7 of them so they sit. 8 brigs need a fourth area, so they attack two Angles in Lothian. They Flee to Pennines. Moray attacks Caithness 2-1, dumping a poor card and losing a man who would starve. Angles take Bernicia from the Danes, who Flee to York. Norse attack Cumbria and Cornwall successfully.

Danes are numerous, but stare Norwegians in the face. They attack Pennines and Bernicia (the only Angle areas) and get out of York, March, and N Mercia, all scoring areas for the Norwegians. Even the last NS card cannot save the Angles.

Scots, with a leader, hit Strathclyde at 4-3. The Dumbarton NS card has already been used but the Brigs fight them off, each losing one. For the leader move the Scots go again at 3-2 and win.

Now the Norwegians, with just one move and the leader move. They have 10 armies in this game, I think I’ll raise that to 12. In this game, as in B3, if a leader hides in difficult terrain, it’s as though he was dead for kingship purposes.

The order of play at the end of the game is:
Danes (no leader yet)
Scots
Norwegians
(Norwegian leader move as usual)
Saxons
(Saxon leader move as usual)
R-Bs
Normans
(Norman leader move as usual)
All nations except king candidates score.
The Reckoning
Danish
Norwegians
Saxons
Normans
In The Reckoning half of the nation’s armies can move, or all with the leader, whichever is fewer. They do receive Increase of Population. No separate reinforcements (so far). Players can choose the order of battle resolution in The Reckoning, too. And battles last longer, not just one shot. This is to try to make it possible to kill a rival. If a king candidate is dead before The Reckoning, the nation still gets to move (?).

This whole bit is experimental. I’m trying to have a tense ending without an entire 11th turn.

After The Reckoning, the king candidates score.

The Norwegians win a 3-2 against the Danes in Bernicia, thanks to their “Earl Tostig” card, and defeat the Brigs in Lothian, but each battle costs a Norwegian because there were two defenders and no retreat. Then they have to spread out big, sending two down to N Mercia and March from Lothian (remember the higher movement speeds, now five).

I have not yet decided when or whether the king candidate nations will be subject to overpopulation at the end of the game. Maybe not during The Reckoning, at least.

I may give the Saxons double Increase in R10, but not this time. They still have 20 armies. The Saxons could use 15 armies to try to wipe out Harald (10 on the way, five in Lothian), but green appears to be behind in the score. So King Harold attacks Cornwall at 4-2 (with his leader move he can get out, so this doesn’t count as hiding in difficult terrain), and three Saxons from Cheshire attack March (Norwegians Flee to York). Saxons still have “Earl Godwin” and “Thorkell the Tall” NS cards.

The leaves the Saxons with five and Harold in March, well protected from all but the Norwegians.

Normans are stronger in this game because the Cav are worth two armies each. This makes William nearly invulnerable if he stay with lots of cav. I’m not sure that’s Good, but that’s the way it is now (an should make cavalry adherents happy). With 14 armies worth of strength (I may hve to cut that down a bit), William could get to Harold but with only two armies. They take Essex (the last burh dies), Kent, Sussex, and Mercia. With the leader move William and three cav take Suffolk from three Danes (9 Danes survive).

Scoring: Norse 9+9touch points, Scots 8, Picts 2, Brigs 2, Welsh 10. The Blue are well ahead (Welsh 55, Picts 32), green well behind. Even though green have five nations, they need more points in this game. The Angles don’t score enough, nor do the Norwegians.

Danes get an army, plus 3 with S. Estrithson, for 13, so can move 6. The Danes have boats. I’ve left Harald H. exposed (but I give him the two extra armies I was thinking of adding to the Norwegians) so it’s 5-4. One Dane army from Pennines attacks 2 in Bernicia so that there’s no retreat. (I’m still not sure that I won’t require attack in order of margin in The Reckoning.) ... Except the Danish cards aren’t good... they change their minds and attack York (5-4 but no enemy leader), and occupy open Cheshire. No overpopulation, which is good because there are 13 Danes in five areas. Danes score 6 (their big scoring is further south...). Hmmm, I have to jack these scores up, maybe give them something at the end of R9 as well...

Norwegians get another army for 11, can move 5. 3 attack Pennines at 3-2. Danes Flee (keeping their +2 card in reserve). Nwgs score 5. This needs to be changed, too, perhaps I’ll give them touch points in round 10 before The Reckoning.

Saxons now have 18, 9 can move. If they kill enough Normans (and take enough areas) they might be able to be king despite no king-deaths. Both Nwgs and Danes have four areas, Normans 5. So 5-cav in S Mercia (with Harold) and 3-2 in Sussex. They play a +2 and a NS card for 6, but the Normans play “Play 2", two +2s, for 6 and a draw! The cav Flees! Saxons score 14.

Now the Normans, who bring back their just-killed army (one died on each side in Sussex). They need to capture one area to deny the Saxons. Four cav (8 armies) with William attack five with Harold. Both sides play an NS card. The Reckoning rules call for several battles where king candidates face each other but the Saxons are going to survive, and lose the area, so no one is King. (I suppose I could change the King formula here to include armies, but there are LOTS of armies on the board.) Normans score 10.

Blue 120, red 107, yellow 94, green 78. This is my balance problem, the green just don’t score enough. I can manipulate the Roman score to help yellow if necessary, but the Welsh scored a ton (60), the Picts more than I’d like (32). Green have five nations but still don’t score much.

I can cut down scoring for any nation by giving them only a secondary, not a primary, scoring center. That may be necessary for Wales. But it’s harder to increase scoring of a nation...

At any rate, balance is always a pain. But the game is unmistakably Britannia, without dice; and it’s more “true to history” than B2 is. I’m still a bit amazed at how well it has survived reduction to ten turns.



AARGH! The very next morning I get an idea for a drastic changing of sides. How about Saxons, Scots, and Picts as one side? I’m afraid I’ll have to play it to see what happens. Curses! I hate it when this happens.

Lew the Accursed

If you're interested in more information, I posted five files on the Eurobrit Yahoo Group. Not the rules yet, though.
 
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Blue Jackal
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I'd just like to say a shorter game time and a lack of dice might very well tempt me to purchase Britannia (as opposed to Vinci, yes, I've seen your recent post. =) I enjoy long games, but I've two great ones already...

Just spouting encouragement.
 
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Clinton Paris
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Excellent notes, Lew! It's always great to see new rules for established games, and this one has me VERY interested!

Keep up the great work!!
 
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George Van Voorn
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Nice detailed report. Much like my own!

Quote:
Romans first, then Welsh (Caratacus), then Romans, then Belgae (Boudicca)


Hum, this is just what I was working on. Only yesterday I've been using my day off to google the internet and familiarise myself with all the different tribes and stuff. I've been working on a scenario including one or two rounds before the Roman invasion, which includes the "invasion" by the fleeing Belgae and the expansion of the Catuvellauni (under command by the father of Caratacus). This Caratacus figure seems more important than Boudicca of the Iceni (not the Belgae), who were at the time allied to the Romans as a client state.

I can see why you've made more or less artificial peoples (the Welsh, the Belgae, the Picts) because it is much better for game play. However, I'm seriously considering the idea of making little tribes, controlled by all four players, that after a few rounds are "merged" (by flipping the counters, for instance) into the larger races as in Brit2, much like the replacement of the Romans by the Romano-British.

Quote:
The Picts vs the Caledonians


Despite my understanding for the way you "made" the peoples, I think the Romans didn't really discriminate between Caledonians and Picts. Rather, all books and website references seem to point to one large Pictish area north of the Hadrian Wall, with some buffer states in between. One of the original tribes in turn was the Caledonii. Why have separate Caledonians in the North?
 
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Iain Cheyne
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I'm excited by the thought of a shorter Brit variant too. I hope Fantasy Flight bite...
 
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Lewis Pulsipher
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Your ideas sound really interesting, George, certainly nothing that I've thought of. Yes, Bou wasn't strictly Belgae, but the Belgae as a whole had more identity than the Iceni alone. Caratacus was very interesting, particularly his later fate.

The Disorder/Disunity rule works really well to help indicate the ups and downs of many nations (not states) in Brit--they work together well only when they have a great leader.

I think the Romans called them Caledonians, then a couple centuries later they called them Picts, and no one knows why. We have very little hard information... and two centuries is a long time. I think they meant the same gangs of people. I wanted a name for the norther and western Broch and Dun builders, who seemed to disappear, so I borrowed "Caledonian". (At least, I suppose that's what I did--it was about 25 years ago.)

Have you considered limiting your scenario to just the southern part of Britain, to make is shorter? Depends on what you're looking for.

The problem with lots of little nations is that they can be so fragile. There's probably some sort of "law" hidden here, the more points a nation might score in the long run, the large it must be, or someone will wipe it out when it's small in order to do away with a lot of enemy points. Unless, of course, the little nation is invading, so that it can't be wiped out so easily.

Lew
 
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George Van Voorn
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I like the idea of submission, and I think it is OK to have the Saxons submit peoples. However, why not add the other option also? Perhaps the Danes can submit the Saxons also to become the "founders of England"? Not as historical, perhaps, but fun I think. The Normans will kick behinds anyway...

The idea to have the Scots and Picts be the same colour is OK. I kinda like the adsorption rule. There is however one thing I already mailed you about: the theory that the Picts destroyed Dal Riata. On the other side, the Picts had Gaelic kings, about which there is no doubt by historians apparently, so this might actually coincide with your cultural adsorption, I don't know. I'm still considering using Oengus as Pict leader, and have the option that the Picts submit the Scots OR the Scots (Gaels) submit the Picts, forming the Scottish kingdom. The player who submitted the other gets to be the (royal) Scots.

Your Disorder/Disunity rule combined with the increased movement seems to nicely mimic the effect of tribes becoming nations. I think you have a promising mechanism here.

I'm not sure what you mean by "there is no major invasions". If your people moves twice because of a leader, isn't that just like a major invasion? All major invasions have leaders in Brit 2 (even the Norse), so what is really the difference?

Quote:
Your ideas sound really interesting, George, certainly nothing that I've thought of. Yes, Bou wasn't strictly Belgae, but the Belgae as a whole had more identity than the Iceni alone. Caratacus was very interesting, particularly his later fate.
Have you considered limiting your scenario to just the southern part of Britain, to make is shorter? Depends on what you're looking for.


Yes, I have considering making a map with more areas and just depicting southern England, but the Romans did get very far, and the other players should have something to do, and I want the option to integrate the mini-scenarios into the large one.

I'm considering adding more player interaction through these minor Celtic tribes. Mostly diplomatic decisions, like Green asks the Red tribe A to support his attack on the Romans with tribe B, etc. Maybe I'll even make a rule on joint attacks, I don't know. The Roman invasion can be used by Yellow as a threat not to attack his Atrebates, for instance, while Blue (if Blue is still Boudicca) can do the same, sucking it up to Yellow. Red can then threat to have his Catuvellauni wipe out the Atrebates together with the invaded Belgae, "if I die, I'll go fighting". Green can bargain to have the Silures submit, given the Demetae may live, well whatever. It is all really in a virgin state at the moment, just ideas mostly.
 
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Lewis Pulsipher
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Major Invasion (in Brit) is "everyone can move and fight twice". With the "leader move", only those starting with the leader can move and fight the second time. In "double Play", you get Increase each time, rather than just the first time as in Brit; and the leader may change, or even die after the first play.

So they are all variations of the same thing, but the differences are important. The leader move is simpler than MI, because not everyone moves; double play is a little more complex because of the second Increase and possible change of location (or absence of) a leader.

Lew
 
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