It's not too often that I complain that a game has too many components, but in this case I wonder whether having all the Campaign markers and Consulate figures starts getting a bit much, and makes the mechanics and book-keeping of a game a little clunky and excessive.
Here's an idea for streamlining this aspect of the gameplay:
● Remove the Campaign markers, and use only the Consulate figures.
● Use Consulate figures to keep track of the tricks won on the Curia Hostilia Tableau (instead of the Europa Tableau).
● Don't place a new Consulate figure for each trick that's won - just use one Consulate figure, and advance it along the "track" to record the amount of tricks won.
● If a Consulate figure gets to the third space on the Consilia Hostilia tableau, it then "graduates" to the Europa board. When third Consulate figure of a colour graduates to the Europa board, the game ends (that colour wins and becomes emperor).
Here's how it would look:
In this example, Yellow has already won two hands and Black has one one hand (represented by the two Consulate figures on the Europa board). In the current hand, Red has won two tricks and Black has won one trick (represented by the Consulate figures on the Curia Hostilia board, in the second and first position of those coloured tracks respectively). Yellow is one hand away from ending the game, but hasn't won any tricks in this particular hand yet (represented by the Consulate figure not yet on the Curia Hostilia board).
Why is this an improvement?
● It removes the need for Campaign markers.
● It simplifies recording the tricks by just moving the marker on the board rather than needing to add a new marker for each trick.
● It makes a more logical connection between the two boards.
● It allows you to see at a glance how many hands have been won, and how many Consulate figures still need to achieve victory in order to end the game.
In a nutshell, it simplifies the mechanics, trims some of the fat, and makes it fit together better, without changing the game itself.
It wouldn't take much to change the game along these lines (even if the names Curia Hostilia and Europa need to be switched, or the artwork on the boards changed). If you really wished, you could still use the Curia Hostilia board for keeping track of hands won, and the Europa board for keeping track of tricks won, but the only disadvantage is that the "tracks" on the Europa board aren't as clearly marked. Perhaps this is a tweak that could be considered for a second edition of the game, by modifying the artwork on the Europa board slightly (to include a more clear "track" similar to the Curia Hostilia board), and eliminating the need for Campaign markers altogether.
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Great minds think alike? Your suggestion is exactly the way I have been thinking of combining these two into a single tableau if this ends up getting printed commercially.
Another alternative is to use only 6 markers (3 of the consulates and 3 of the campaign markers), advancing the campaign marker for each trick won, and advancing the consulate for each hand won.
I went with two sets of markers (9 consultes and 6 campaign markers) because it simplifies the written rules for the first time playing. As the rules are written you simply add a marker every time a trick or a hand is won. Your alternative is more elegant, but for a first time player its much more difficult to explain in writing, and with a game that already breaks many of the molds for trick taking I didn't want to leave any room for confusion around scoring.
A final alternative is to just remove tracking markers for tricks won, its relatively easy to just used the played cards to track this. I had several play testers tell me that this is what they do, but I personally use the campaign markers and know others that do as well so again I decided to keep them in. For me its good to be able to look at the tableau and know exactly where you are in the game.
We generally bust out only one each of the Consulate figures, the Curia Hostilia board, and the green token. We keep track of tricks won by putting the winning card on top, and simply advance consulates UP the Curia Hostilia board. The green token is used to denote the dealer.
Once I suggested a single-piece score track, with 10 spaces for each color that looked a lot like a cribbage board. There could be an incentive to keep the Europa and Rome tableaus for pledged and hidden cards, but often we end up putting pledged cards tucked under our side of the Curia Hostilia board and the hidden cards for that hand on the far side of it, away from our pledged hands and the play.
You could merge all the tableaus together, but it kills portability. It's also just nice to have the extra bits
I see that some of these suggestions have been implemented in the new edition, which eliminates some of the unnecessary components and simplifies the scoring mechanism. Nice work!
I'm wondering what others think about the changes. In the new edition there are no markers for keeping track of tricks won - this is done by "placing the winning card on top of the trick to serve as a reminder of the number of tricks won by that suit during the current hand." This may take some getting used to, although it does seem reasonably sensible. There's now only a single scoring tableau, with three consul markers in each colour to keep track of the hands won.
I like the artwork and overall production quality of the new scoring tableau, it's very impressive. Personally, however, I did like the "progressive" track on the old Curia Hostilia board, and would have liked to have seen something like that retained or incorporated in the artwork. The redesign by Midaga Ritten is one possibility that looks particularly appealing (although you'd only need one score track if you're using the method of putting winning cards on top to record which colours have won each trick):
My own solution is to keep track of tricks won using face up cards, as suggested by the new rules, and to use part of Midaga's redesign for the scoring tableau, along with one pawn in each colour from the original edition. I find that the muted colours of the old pawns aren't as garish as the markers of the new edition, plus I'm partial to using pawns rather than discs (you can even name them Pompey, Caesar, and Crassus if you like!). Using a single pawn of each type on a board with a progressive track to record the winners of each hand simplifies the scoring even more. Unfortunately I don't have a colour printer, but aside from that it looks quite good:
Overall the streamlining of the scoring mechanism in the new edition is an improvement. What do others think of how it's been done?
- Last edited Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:25 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Fri Oct 8, 2010 4:44 pm