Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink-under any circumstances.
In the arena between the Aventine and Palatine hills.
"Were you there?"people would ask.
And somehow, it seemed everyone had been there. For this race had become legend.
"Red!" They would say,"What skill! To lead from the start. And win!"
Knowing nods would greet such wisdom, then, "But what of Brown? He battled Red to the end, and with only one eye!"
Sober nods again would greet those words. Everyone had seen the lash attack and the blood.
Into the quiet someone would say,"Poor Black."
"Rookie mistakes." A light chariot that tangled with one too many heavy ones and flipped in the first turn.
And of course that led to someone mentioning Purple.
"Purple was in it till the end as well."
"Smart racing, hugging the rail."
"Until she didn't," someone would say to the accompanying chuckles,that died as they saw, in their mind's eye, her chariot running over the remnants of Black, and losing any chance of victory.
And the mention of one woman driver brought up the other. Someone always cheered for Blue.
"Blue though! What a spirited woman!" Everyone knew she had cut not one but two of her horses loose after they had been brought down by scything chariot blades.
And with tears in her eyes and a lap down, she attacked the leaders as they thundered by her. It was she who had blinded Brown.
"But what of Green?" someone would say after they had all silently toasted the horses who gave their all in the Circus.
"He who lives by the whip..."
"Dies by the whip!" They would answer in chorus.
They knew he had whipped his horse mercilessly;lashed other drivers to get ahead. It was he who had originally challenged Red until that veteran driver had grabbed the whip from the youngsters hands and tossed it casually to the sandy track.
Inevitably, though, talk turned to Pink.
Not all glory is for the victor. Sometimes glory comes to those who risk all.
Everyone knew Pink's story.
The early jostling with Black that led to both chariots being damaged. The cautious racing that saw Pink fall half a lap down. The sudden realization that his team of magnificent horses were the fastest in the race.
The comeback that saw his deficit dwindle to just one corner.
Fortuna turned her thumb down.
Whipped horses at full speed and a loose wheel in a corner turned into..
The chariot that flipped and tumbled, end over end, until its one good wheel caught a rut and tossed it violently into the wall.
Those that admitted they had not been there, admitted to hearing the roar of the crowd and thinking a great race had been won.
But the roar had been for loss. A spectacular, glorious loss.
* * * * * * * *
It had been 7 years since I had last recorded a play of Circus Maximus and Ryan had been asking to play. So after a quick rules refresher we went racing. Unfortunately we made a few rules errors, mostly about evading and braking, but to me this game is more about the fun you had playing and the stories that it can make.
Kyle had never played and lost early.
Ryan always is aggressive and it cost him when Donald stole his whip and went on to win.
Laurie played it safe, staying on the inside, going fast on the straights and cautious in the corners.
Cindy got attacked often and early, but made life difficult for the leaders.
Bill ran with Donald, leading off and on until the end and Cindy did wound him as he lapped her.
I died spectacularly when I tempted fate trying to make up for early conservatism. I rolled 3 sixes in the corner strain but it did elicit the wildest roars of the players.
Hopefully it won't be another 7 years before we give this classic game a chance to tell us another story.
Fortune favors the bold...mostly.