Peter Joslyn
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Below is my first (rough; there will be errors, no doubt) solitaire play-through of Epoch 1 in the “Barbarian Conspiracy” scenario (No Pivotal Events). I apologize: No images, but at least the flavor of the thing—how it plays—is captured somewhat. This game is fun, even solo. The card notation is # (Current) - # (Coming Up):

#19 (Surrey) - #60 (Mariners By the Sea)

Realizing that bad things are coming, the Civitates (me) elects to use the event to place Saxon Foederati (Str. + 3 Warbands) at Durocobrivis. The Foederati are enlisted in the ranks of the Imperial Army (Red). We will need them to have intercept ability.

Dux looks at “Mariners by the Sea” with a mixture of desire and dread. Mostly dread, since the Scotti are going to get it. The Dux Roboticorum passes nonetheless (+3 Briton resources).

The Saxon ravages Iceni (5), with 1 population loss. The timid garrison eyes them from the hillfort. 3 Raiders land at Trinovantes, without decreasing population. The “gallant” commander of the local cohort refuses to meet the invaders, citing the swampy ground. [I assumed the possibility of Ambush, and attendant cavalry loss, would keep the Dux from forcing battle] Spurred on, however, by the bravery of the local militia, the Dux eventually joins battle, and the raiders are hunted down and slain. The Dux commander is happy to take the credit (+1 prestige), while the militia withdraw from the field with 1 plunder in tow (Hey... looks like future wealth. Why give it back to our “protectors”?). South, in Kent, 4 raiders land, carrying off plunder, but failing again to chase off the farmers. Neither Dux nor myself is here willing to chase 'em down (Got lucky once, and best-case scenario I'd lose my militia here).

#60 (Mariners By the Sea) - #8 (Classis Britannica)

Naval shenanigans are afoot, and a Barbarian Conspiracy indeed. The Scotti altruistically sets the Oceanus Brittanicus to “unpatrolled” and the Oceanus Hibernicus to “patrolled.” [Note; This was randomly determined. However, something tells me I may have misplayed it. The Scotti will only ever flip “Oceanus Hibernicus” to 'unpatrolled' via the rules, so this Event, even though a Priority, would not qualify as “effective” for them... I think? Does the free raid, though, override this consideration? Ideas anyone?] The Saxon drinks robotic mead in his honor, yet remarking that all this is unnecessary courtesy (it seems that #8 will fall into Saxon hands). The Scotti avails himself of a free raid: 5 in Votadini, 3 in Textoverdi, 7 in Parisi (which proceed to level the Hillfort, losing 4 raiders in process) and 2 in Novantae.

The Dux, reclining in his mechanized villa, sagely passes again... I wish. The Bonehead robot instead decides to get some glory against the raiders. The Scotti (2 warbands etc.) are invited to settle as Foederati in Dinorben. The Dux dispatches his hordes of Barbarian mercenaries (1 Scotti warband each to Novantae and Votandini, 2 Saxons—see, I knew we'd need 'em—to Iceni and another to Kent).
In Novantae and Textoverdi the Scots are wiped out and prosperity restored, but they disappear into the hills in Votadini. To the south, the Saxons fall under the swords of their brethren in Iceni and Kent. But trouble's a-brewin'. Bonehead.

# 8 (Classi Britannica) - # 44 (Lindsey)

You could have let them go home with their stuff. Saxons set all seas to “no patrol.” Great. They are coming.

The prudent, wise, and benevolent Civitates musters 3 militia each into the soft underbelly of both Atrebates and Durotriges. And now I RULE. The plunder in Trinovantes is converted into Wealth, and I RULE in one other region besides, and pay 5 Resources to increase Population in Dobunni. Briton resources now at 11 (take that, Dux robot), Wealth at 3.

# 44 (Lindsey) - # 49 (Vortigern)

Well crap. Will the Scot go home? No. But neither does a “Tribal War” appeal to them. So more raids. Deep raid into Cornovii, then Decangeli, Durotriges, and Textoverdi, At least this time he has to pay. Stunned Cornovian Militia are slaughtered by Coup de Main (5 Scots) in their beds, and Virocomium burns. Scots elsewhere (5 in Textoverdi, 4 in Decangeli and Durotriges) land and plunder. Pandemonium.

Is it over yet? Heck no. C'mon Dux. Do something. He does. The lone Saxon Foederati in Kent swings round to Durotriges, and it's Interception time. Nobody gets away, and the Scots are wiped from the map (except at Parisi and Cornovii, where chaos reigns). Go home with THAT.

#49 (Vortigern) - #16 (Dux Bellorum)

SIX WARBANDS!? SIX!? There's a Saxon king in Kent. He's mean. He's nasty. And he hates everything to do with Christmas. For this short scenario, Saxons are just 1 population from victory. Gotta be stopped. Let me go summon my bands of immortal Comitates. Oh wait.

Sigh. I trade (+12 resources). I RULE (-6 Resources, +3 Wealth).

#16 (Dux Bellorum) - #6 (Uther)

The Dux passes for Uther. Scots go home with their 5 plunder.

#6 (Uther) - #42 (Anderida)

Well, I'm sure glad no cavalry are in my Hillforts. Scotti Foederati don't cut it. Heh. This thing would be straight evil under the right circumstances. As it is, the Dux does something almost inexplicable, were he not such a robotic Bonehead. Hadrian's Wall and the Legionary fortress at York are stripped to send 7 Cavalry south to Durotriges, and he builds a Fort there. He's sending me a message.

Inexplicable, because now I get to play Uther. Rather, I get to rebel against him [I must have misplayed this one somehow. Because “Uther” was functionally ineffective for the Roman, and due to some wonky random region-selection, well.... this. Though “Towns” are targets, even before Fragmentation, maybe there needs to be some nested priorities?]. I got your message. That fort? Now a Hillfort. Seven cavalry to casualties, replaced by two lowly militia. That lone Saxon Foederati? Blue now [That's how I'm playing it, at least]. Sic semper tyrannis. Oh, did I just strip Britain of her legions? Never mind, pass me the mead. Civilian Dominance.

#42 (Anderida) - #9 (Swift Chargers)

Epoch's a-comin'. Saxons make war to drive me out of Kent. No field battle will result, so Suprise is attempted, and achieved. [I think I'm playing this right; They did have option to settle on roll of 1-2, but failed, and I'm assuming with Coup de Main they'll try it, which they did]. Saxons take plunder, and remove the town and the defending Cavalry and Militia, losing 4 warbands. Dux earn prestige for a gallant defense, but lose two for the town. Weird.

Scots meanwhile resume their trade, Deep Raiding into Corieltauvi. A puny 3 raiders there are wiped out before they plunder. 7 Show in Decangeli, 6 in Votadini, and 6 in Ordovices.

#9 (Swift Chargers) - #18 (The Irish Shore)

The likelihood of the next card being played before Epoch is low. The Roman army, depleted by the recent events in the south, intercepts nonetheless into Decangeli and Votadini. Scotti in the clear are knocked out; those in Votadini do their disappearing act.

The Dux's feat-less (or is that “feckless”) interception leaves me with few options. I'll pass (+3 resources).

# 18 (The Irish Shore) – #3 (Pelagius)

Good heavens. It goes on. The Scotti play their event, boosting future raids from Oceanus Hibernicus. Saxons settle a warband in Kent (-3 Reknown), and sends home his plunder (+2).

#3 (Pelagius) - # 35 (De Excidio Britanniae)

This will be the last card this Epoch. What craziness does the Dux have left in the tank? How 'bout one more interception? 2 Cavalry dispatched from Decangeli to Ordovices. The pesky crowd in Votadini is finally wiped out; but those in Ordovices remain hidden in the hills.

Well hello there, Pelagius (you heretic). Can't play you because of feckless Dux. Guess I'll pass (+3 Resources).

EPOCH (RESCRIPT OF HONORIUS) - # 35 (De Excidio Britanniae)

Here we go. Dux and Civitates pay 5 Resources for Foederati (Brit resources at 5). Reknown adjusted accordingly. I will take remaining British resources for wealth (hoarding, wealth now at 11! Roman Rule remains in effect, already at Civilian dominance. No automatic victory.

The Rescript. Oh Crap. To Autonomy, with Military Dominance. Hard choices time--it's pay, or watch the rest of the legions sail for Gaul (only 12 remain). I'm the man with the money, and we'll be rolling two dice. Welp. -7 Wealth. Rolling. 6. Whew.

Dux receives +2 prestige bonus (Bonehead!). Prosperity under British control = 54 + 12 towns = 66 British Resources. Saxons get 1 Reknown. 9 Resources spent for Roman forts, 10 for Roads (47 remain). Dux redeploy Cavalry and Foederati; 4 Cav to available, 4 to Out-of-Play. Four Militia to available. The Blue Foederati in Durotriges decides to go full Saxon. Scotti get +1 Reknown from remaining raiders, and the lone Saxon warband shuffles off to Kent. The Scotti cheiftan is not fired (barely), while his Saxon counterpart gets the Sax (up to 10 Reknown).
Recovery etc.

So the Epoch ends # 35 (De Excidio Britanniae) - #30 (Groans of the Britons), with shaded #18 in play.

Roads Maintained, Imperium at Autonomy (Military Dominance)
No seas patrolled.
Briton Resources = 47
Wealth = 4
Dux Prestige = 5
Dux Resources = 0
Total Prosperity = 62
Briton Control = 34
Saxon Control = 2
Saxon Prestige = 10
Scotti Prestige = 6

What did I learn? In the short scenario (without Pivotal Events), the likelihood of getting Comitates into play is slim. Taking even a marginal lead in Wealth as compared to Prestige, early on, may force some ridiculous and (ultimately unproductive) internecine strife between Robot Dux and Player Civitates. Going to Autonomy (though this was accomplished via Epoch Event) does nothing for Civitates in “Barbarian Conspiracy,” as “Cymbrogi” isn't coming. So I will love my Roman overlords a bit more, next time. The legions can't go home early. I'm relatively confident the Saxon would win, in the 2nd Epoch, by control (3 needed). Civitates, in this scenario, needs to focus on propping up the Dux without letting him win, and maintaining as much control as possible, realizing that automatic victory (i.e., Civilian Dominance + Control] is not yet in the cards. Basically, it's a contest to see who does the least badly. Civitates want to lose only enough control to avoid Civil War, keep their Wealth at or below Prestige, hoping that the Bar-bars make enough plunder (but not too much) to keep the Dux busy and below his victory threshold. Oh, and Vortigern is bad. Reaching Autonomy in only the first Epoch has made Civitates victory a genuine possibility by end of the second; however, Dux will be using his (now thinned) legions to whack me, most likely ennabling the Saxon to seize the southeast for the win.
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Jon Snow
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meeple A truly rousing account! Have some wine. With citizens like you, we'll save civilization.
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Kevin Walsh
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Petrus Aleator wrote:

Naval shenanigans are afoot, and a Barbarian Conspiracy indeed. The Scotti altruistically sets the Oceanus Brittanicus to “unpatrolled” and the Oceanus Hibernicus to “patrolled.” [Note; This was randomly determined. However, something tells me I may have misplayed it. The Scotti will only ever flip “Oceanus Hibernicus” to 'unpatrolled' via the rules, so this Event, even though a Priority, would not qualify as “effective” for them... I think? Does the free raid, though, override this consideration? Ideas anyone?]

Could they have flipped Oceanus Septentrionalis to Patrolled instead?
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Morgane Gouyon-Rety
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Petrus Aleator wrote:
#60 (Mariners By the Sea) - #8 (Classis Britannica)

Naval shenanigans are afoot, and a Barbarian Conspiracy indeed. The Scotti altruistically sets the Oceanus Brittanicus to “unpatrolled” and the Oceanus Hibernicus to “patrolled.” [Note; This was randomly determined. However, something tells me I may have misplayed it. The Scotti will only ever flip “Oceanus Hibernicus” to 'unpatrolled' via the rules, so this Event, even though a Priority, would not qualify as “effective” for them... I think? Does the free raid, though, override this consideration? Ideas anyone?]
The wording of the unshaded Event ("Flip one... to flip" another) means that this is only an option (the only obligation is to flip one to Patrolled in order to be able to flip another to No Patrol). In this case, the Event is always effective for the Scotti because of the free Raid - always a prime treat for the frugal Scotti - but they will only exercise the flipping option if they need to restore the Oceanus Hibernicus to No Patrol. They will certainly NEVER flip Hibernicus to Patrolled! :-)

Petrus Aleator wrote:
# 8 (Classi Britannica) - # 44 (Lindsey)

You could have let them go home with their stuff. Saxons set all seas to “no patrol.” Great. They are coming.

#6 (Uther) - #42 (Anderida)

Well, I'm sure glad no cavalry are in my Hillforts. Scotti Foederati don't cut it. Heh. This thing would be straight evil under the right circumstances. As it is, the Dux does something almost inexplicable, were he not such a robotic Bonehead. Hadrian's Wall and the Legionary fortress at York are stripped to send 7 Cavalry south to Durotriges, and he builds a Fort there. He's sending me a message.

Inexplicable, because now I get to play Uther. Rather, I get to rebel against him [I must have misplayed this one somehow. Because “Uther” was functionally ineffective for the Roman, and due to some wonky random region-selection, well.... this. Though “Towns” are targets, even before Fragmentation, maybe there needs to be some nested priorities?]. I got your message. That fort? Now a Hillfort. Seven cavalry to casualties, replaced by two lowly militia. That lone Saxon Foederati? Blue now [That's how I'm playing it, at least]. Sic semper tyrannis. Oh, did I just strip Britain of her legions? Never mind, pass me the mead. Civilian Dominance.
A human Dux would indeed most probably pass to make sure to at least kill the Classis Britannica event. But there are limits to the complexity that can be built in the bots...

Petrus Aleator wrote:
#42 (Anderida) - #9 (Swift Chargers)

Epoch's a-comin'. Saxons make war to drive me out of Kent. No field battle will result, so Suprise is attempted, and achieved. [I think I'm playing this right; They did have option to settle on roll of 1-2, but failed, and I'm assuming with Coup de Main they'll try it, which they did]
This seems weird: Anderida was an effective Event for the Saxons to play I think

Petrus Aleator wrote:
What did I learn? In the short scenario (without Pivotal Events), the likelihood of getting Comitates into play is slim. Taking even a marginal lead in Wealth as compared to Prestige, early on, may force some ridiculous and (ultimately unproductive) internecine strife between Robot Dux and Player Civitates. Going to Autonomy (though this was accomplished via Epoch Event) does nothing for Civitates in “Barbarian Conspiracy,” as “Cymbrogi” isn't coming. So I will love my Roman overlords a bit more, next time. The legions can't go home early. I'm relatively confident the Saxon would win, in the 2nd Epoch, by control (3 needed). Civitates, in this scenario, needs to focus on propping up the Dux without letting him win, and maintaining as much control as possible, realizing that automatic victory (i.e., Civilian Dominance + Control] is not yet in the cards. Basically, it's a contest to see who does the least badly. Civitates want to lose only enough control to avoid Civil War, keep their Wealth at or below Prestige, hoping that the Bar-bars make enough plunder (but not too much) to keep the Dux busy and below his victory threshold. Oh, and Vortigern is bad. Reaching Autonomy in only the first Epoch has made Civitates victory a genuine possibility by end of the second; however, Dux will be using his (now thinned) legions to whack me, most likely ennabling the Saxon to seize the southeast for the win.
The short scenario is a special beast, and the DuxBot is on average more troublesome and less cooperative than a typical human Dux, but Civilian Dominance is always a good thing for the Civitates, though the manner and the timing are important... And yes, Vortigern is bad :-)
Anyway, keep having fun, and let us know how it goes :-)
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Peter Joslyn
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Thanks! Obviously, I'm still working out the kinks.
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Ricardo Dubcek
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Awesome report, very enjoyable to read. I must say that although not initially drawn to this historical period (out of sheer ignorance of it), after reading extensively about the game I am seriously considering in treating myself to it. Heck, my birthday is coming up
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