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Subject: The Phoenician Empire rss

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Tony Chen
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I just played my first game today. It was a two player game: I controlled Phoenicia and Rome, my opponent Germanic Tribes and Greece. The game lasted around five hours (my opponent took up to ten minutes on some of his turns).

It was a blast. I've read that there is little incentive to wage war, but I didn't get that from the two player game. To start, there are only two players, so waging war against the lone opponent doesn't set both of you back relative to the non-involved players as it would in a multiplayer (3+) game. Besides, because you only need one of your two nations to reach 9vp, you can use the other one as a puppet to fight against your opponent's stronger nation. Lastly, there is a lot of points to be gained by conquering opponent cities? General Points for sacking temples, and maybe even King Points for owning more cities from conquering.

I waged war early against Germany with Rome. Both countries built their first temple on an iron city. Both researched wheels and roads before any other technology. Both went military early. Rome sacked Germany's first two temples, and would've been on its way to taking over the entire Western Europe had it not been for the neighboring Greece.

Greece and Phoenecia, growing in peace, had built up a stronger economy: first two temples on marble and gold instead of iron, more cities, researched market and currency know how first. Compared to these eastern nations, Western Europe was in the dark ages. So I can see how in a real 4 player game, Rome will have scruples about waging war against Germany, even if the campaign was a largely successful one as mine was.

Greece expanded to 9 cities (~5 of them with temples?). Phoenicia had 6 cities, but all with temples. Greece started building up armies (mostly navies) before Phoenicia. But with temples and democracy, and Greek's lack of wheel and sailing, Phoenicia was able to build up its economy in peace.

Shortly after, both powers were ready for conflict. To facilitate their campaigns, Phoenicia opened up the sails know how, and Greece followed suit with sails and wheels at a discounted price.

Greece, and what remained of the Germanic Tribes, then proceeded to wage war against Rome. Roma fell, even with a temple and democracy. This gave Greece two points (General and King). Greece was poised to overrun Rome, but Phoenicia had meanwhile built up a huge navy and army, and added navigation and wheels to its know-hows, just in time to strike at Greece. Phoenicia sacked two temples and ended the game with 9vp.

From what I remember, final score was:
Greece 7: 2 Scholar, 2 King, 1 Citizen, 1 General, 1 Navigator
Phoenicia 9: 4 Scholar, 1 King, 2 Citizen, 2 General, 0 Navigator
Germany ~2
Rome ~6

Adding both nations' scores, it was a bit lop-sided. But counting only the leading nation, it was a fairly close game. Greece was ready to sack another Roman temple and reach 8vp on its next turn or two.

While Phoenicia didn't really have any conflict until its last turn of the game, I felt that I was building up for that the entire game, and the military threat was present throughout. The economy and military really goes hand in hand, so that even when I wasn't fighting, I always felt I was preparing for it. Gold are used for know hows. Navigation or Roads greatly aide offensive campaigns, while Democracy guards against invasions. Marbles are used for temples, which in turn increase production for iron, resource needed for building armies. Temples also boost defense and raise the cap for army production.

In fact, Phoenicia had one legion and one fleet throughout the entire game, until it launched the military campaign that ended the game. Nevertheless, by building up its economy and technology, I felt like I was getting it ready to churn out huge efficient armies at a moments notice and overrun the opponent swiftly. Perhaps just like in real life, a swift victory is to be coveted and protracted war avoided. Building up the economy and technology to offer oneself the option of a swift efficient (albeit short-lived) strike is as exciting as carrying out a protracted war in my opinion. The focus isn't on war and maneuvering, but on how economy and military complement each other--and a short war is more economically sound than a long one.
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Dr Evil's Advocate
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Wow 5 hours!

We played a 5-player game last night and it took just under half that time :-)

I'm guessing the 10-minute turns were maneuver turns? As you noted, a multi-player game has less initial battling and so probably finishes a lot quicker.

If Phoenicia was non-military the whole game though, I would have expected them to gain the VP's needed for victory fairly efficiently and in relatively few number of turns.

Perhaps your "main" empires only took 1-2 hours of game time to acheive victory condition, but the other 3-4 hours were consumed with the "fodder" empires doing battle :-)
 
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