Robert "Smitty" Smith
United States
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Masada is a game on the epic siege of Masada in 73 A.D. You as the Roman are trying to win as timely as possible. The game system replays the siege. The sequence of play is simple as it has an events phase and an action phase. Both these phases involve rolling dice to see what the Roman accomplished or how game events up to that point impact the turns die rolls.

In the Action Phase, the Roman is hoping that they get to place a ramp. Placing a ramp means the X Legion is getting closer to the plateau where they can assault the redoubt. Upon conclusion of the action phase, you end that turn. It is interesting to note there is no turn limit in the game as historically the Romans were committed to destroying this last resistance. Upon placing the 16th Ramp, the siege ramp is now completed and combat now happens.

First though you roll to see if the defenders commit mass suicide (the historic result) or if there is a fight to the death. The combat phase can last up to 19 combat rounds. Each Roman roll of 6 eliminates a defender, and Romans roll first. There is no simultaneous combat where each side gets a chance to roll before results are implemented. The system neatly handles the increasing Roman legionnaire presence on the plateau as each turn the Roman combat value increases by one to a maximum of 19. This means the Roman would roll 19 combat rolls for the final combat round. The surviving defenders roll with each die roll of 6 moves the Combat rounds forward. Each six combat rounds the defenders survive results in the Roman Victory Points being lowered by one. As well if the Defenders Morale Index (DMI) reaches 7, they simply surrender.

1. No Effect / No Effect
2. No Effect / Placed 1st Ramp
3. DMI +1 / No Effect
4. No Effect / No Effect
5. No Effect / No Effect
6. No Effect / No Effect
7. No Effect / No Effect
8. No Effect / Placed 2nd Ramp
9. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 11
10. Roman Assessment Table No Effect / Lowered Supply to 10

Decent enough turn in review. 2 ramps is nice but 3 early on is better to get the -1 DRM for the Roman Assessment roll (cue Joe Strummer "Should I stay or Should I go for the Roman Army...But Lowering Supply this much early is pleasant indeed. Solid start - didn't get any DRM's to use for the future here but positioned well early for that.

11. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 9
12. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 8
13. Roman Assessment Table No Effect / No Effect
14. No Effect / No Effect
15. No Effect / No Effect
16. No Effect / No Effect
17. No Effect / Placed 3rd Ramp
18. No Effect / Placed 4th Ramp
19. DMI +2 / No Effect
20. Roman Assessment Table Rolled 11 / Placed 5th Ramp
but -1 DRM due to 5 ramps being built means
the Romans don't pack up and go home

A decent overall turn but nothing to write home to Jerusalem about, much less Rome. However the Roman broke through one critical gate these ten turns, with the placement of the 3rd ramp. Getting the third ramp means that should the Roman has to roll on the Roman Reassessment Table or hey the desert sucks so let's all go home, they get a -1 Die Roll Modifier. Oh well - maybe we get the 6th gate early the next 10 turns, But knocking the Supply Level down to 8 was a nice overall effect.

21. No Effect/ No Effect
22. No Effect / Placed 6th Ramp
23. Roman Table No Effect / Lowered Supply to 7
24. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 6
25. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 5
26. No Effect / No Effect
27. No Effect / Placed 7th Ramp
28. No Effect / Placed 8th Ramp
29. DMI +3 / Placed 9th Ramp
30. No Effect / No Effect

The Siege Tower is up the Ramp at Masada

Oh the dice gods do love the Romans this game so far. In this 10 Turn segment, the Romans placed 3 ramps, of which 3 ramps were placed in a row! Moreover, The Roman luck held with Supply, early in the turn getting Supply whittled down by 3 as well, with all three of those coming in a row.

31. DMI +4 / No Effect
32. No Effect / No Effect
33. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 4
34. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 3
35. No Effect / No Effect
36. No Effect / No Effect
37. No Effect / No Effect
38. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 2
39. No Effect / Lowered Supply to 1
40. No Effect / No Effect

Wow - 9 no effects BUT the lowering of supply by 4 here down to 1 really placed the Defender in a pitiful spot for their Defense Response Rolls to stay alive. At this time in the previous game I was ready to offer up sacrifices to Janus at least. Now there is no question whatsoever of the eventual victory of Roman arms.

41. No Effect Placed 11th Ramp -Rolled on Defenders Response Table as we rolled a 6 - 1 Supply + 6 die roll = 7 vs 11 Ramps. DMI Die Roll has Defenders commit suicide.

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