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Subject: Endurance is Key! rss

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Phil Alberg
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Cumberland
Rhode Island
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CIRCUS MAXIMUS: Phil, Joe, Greg, John

John had never played, while it has been many years since the rest of us had played this fine AH offering of racing chariots and causing mayhem. After a general rules explanation (perhaps 15 minutes?) we were ready to begin at 12:45.

Each of us controlled two chariots. The initial prep points (driver, car, team speed, endurance), factions, driver names and owners are shown below (from inside to outside lane positions):

2 2 0 0 Green Bealzabub (Joe)
2 1 1 0 Red James T. Kirk (Greg)
2 0 1 1 Yellow Antony (John)
1 2 1 0 Blue Cleopatra (John)
2 2 0 0 Purple Dick Cheney (Greg)
2 2 0 0 Black Grunt (Phil)
2 0 1 1 Orange OJ (Phil)
1 0 2 1 Brown Jesus Ben Joseph (Joe)

So each player had a heavy scythe-blade cart at their disposal as well as a moderately fast cart. Most drivers were experienced, while endurance wasn't valued much.

Turn 1 was uneventful, as we all moved forward out of the gray area, with only a couple of lane changes.

The fun started in Turn 2, when Grunt rammed into Jesus Ben Joseph (JBJ), causing the left wheel to take a few points of damage. Unfortunately, this move highlighted the inexperience we collectively had in not playing the game in some time, for defensive moves (evading or braking) were not considered until the next turn. D'oh! The wheel damage progressively got worse as the game progressed (but more on this later).

As Bealzabub was ramming his cart into horses willy-nilly, it suddenly occurred to us that this should be preventable. Cleopatra and James T. Kirk kept their damage, but Bealzabub ran out of steam as he chased the evading Antony.

On Turn 3 Cleopatra rammed into Grunt's horses -- and inflicted 8pts of damage! This was enough to kill the horse, forcing the driver to cut the horse free. Grunt, down to a 3-horse chariot, lost a lot of speed (from 16 down to 11) and a quarter of his puny endurance. From here on out he could only play the role of spoiler (which was his initial intent anyway).

Turns 4 and 5 saw several atttacks made and evaded. At this point JBJ was leading the race, hugging the outside rail, while OJ and Kirk were close behind. Upon entering the second raceway turn, Kirk planned to strain in the corner within the 9 lane, but at the last second Greg said "The difference is only 1", and switched to the 8 lane. He succeeded. OJ, however, was not as fortunate, getting jostled by going 15 in a 12 lane. JBJ rolled a 3, and took another point of damage to his wheel.

The cat and mouse game began in Turn 7, as Joe took FOR-EV-AH to move Bealzabub a paltry 4 spaces. He was hanging back, trying to line himself up for attacks on the leaders. This backfired somewhat, as he moved before any of the leaders during the next two turns. But he eventually was able to shadow and harass OJ during the penultimate straightaway.

In Turn 9, JBJ took another hit to his wheel, giving him 5 hits. This predicament caused Joe to become a bit more conservative in the next-to-last raceway turn, as he did not want to tempt a flip and therefore kept his speed at 14.

Around this time another error was discovered. While everyone was diligent about rolling on the corner strain table when exceeding the posted speed limit, everyone except for me was negligent in marking off endurance for such activity! Although Greg offered to check the photo records (he snapped photos at the end of each turn) to see how much time was spent in the curves, I figured that the gradual loss of endurance would have altered the decision-making along the way as well, which is something that could not be recovered. So we decided to just start marking off endurance from this point forward.

Turn 10 commenced at 4pm, and provided a lot of excitement. In a battle of heavyweights, Cleopatra attempted to ram Dick Cheney at the beginning of the third raceway turn. Both chariots were damaged, with Cheney taking 3pts of damage and Cleo taking 7pts of damage! A flip check garnered Cleo with another 1pt of damage! Surely we would soon see our first flip of the day!! BUT WAIT! HOLD YOUR HORSES!! Although Cheney's cart was not in the turn, his horses were on the first space of the turn, meaning that John had to first check the corner strain table (he was exceeding the posted limit) before carrying out the attack. Wouldn't you know it, Cleo double sideswiped!! This means that the attack never happened. Drats...

By Turn 13 the three leaders were heading toward the last raceway turn, with Bealzabub amongst them a lap down. Antony trundled along, while Cleo and Cheney both slowed to a crawl in the last straightaway, lying in wait to perhaps inflict damage on the leaders. Grunt grunted along on his three horses.

On Turn 14, in order to try to catch OJ (who had passed him on the straightaway), JBJ threw caution to the wind and ramped up to full acceleration. While he survived the first wheel check, he wound up flipping his chariot in the last raceway turn!! The cart landed peacefully along the outside wall, while JBJ was dragged by his team. He took 1pt of damage at the end of this turn (not bothering to try to free himself -- what would be the point of that?), and took 3pts of damage at the end of the next turn. He might have survived being dragged across the finish line, but we'll never know, as OJ was just able to cross the line and take the win early in Turn 15! The game ended around 5:30pm.

While many attempts at carnage were made, John felt that there wasn't enough of it in the game. Most attacks seemed to occur in the first couple of turns, when the chariots were all clumped together. As the race progressed, the slower chariots couldn't catch up to the leaders, nor could they effectively lie in wait for them (although Bealzabub did catch and harass OJ). Saving endurance for the end game is essential. Hopefully we'll get to play this again sometime soon while the rules are still fresh in our minds.
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Davido
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I've said it before, but AH harnessing the Speed Circuit engine to Circus Maximus was freakin' brilliant. In the Battleline version, there wasn't any penalty for scythes other than cost, so those were major hamburger fests

With the 4 prep points allocated amongst 4 categories, that means that scythes = heavy chariot = 1/2 your prep to that. Which means, you gotta give up a lot elsewhere. So yeah, a Heavy/Scythe-mobile needs to inflict carnage earlier otherwise, well you saw what happens-the others whiz right by and lap you

Great report of a classic game
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I like board games more than most people.
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Northlake
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When I die I want people to look at the condition of my games and say, "Man, he really played these alot."
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Spielfreak wrote:
Around this time another error was discovered. While everyone was diligent about rolling on the corner strain table when exceeding the posted speed limit, everyone except for me was negligent in marking off endurance for such activity!


We probably played about twenty games before a thorough read of the rules uncovered this missed rule.

The guy who had been taking two points in Driver and two points for a heavy chariot suddenly was not as big a threat.

I would have to say that anytime we have played this game when the players get two chariots (generally when we have exactly four players), most everyone takes one heavy chariot with Driver 2. One chariot to race, one to grind meat!!!

Additionally, I have never seen anyone NOT put at least one point into Driver skill. There are too many rolls that get a bonus from that skill.

Great write up. We haven't played in about four months - time to get it back on the table again.
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