Einmal ist keinmal
You'll Never Walk Alone
Rob and Anthony were new to the game, I had played once about a year ago, and I taught.
I let them choose roles for the first game. Caesar started out by getting ahead on the political track, which would set the stage for the finish, actually. Pompeius decided to go for the military route, increasing competence and adding 2 weapons to the bag. Crassus, apparently upset at the start with Caesar, immediately made an attack from Syria to Egypt. He won the battle, but left Syria with an undefended Civil Servant, despite warnings. Caesar was too focused on his political aspirations or didn’t care enough to take advantage of the wide-open Syria, and instead aligned some citizens. So, Pompeius sent a small army over to Syria to gain the new province and an extra 2 gold per turn from that civil servant. Lesson learned for Crassus.
Of course, Caesar won the election. There was some more jockeying for territories with attacks, but eventually, Caesar fortified his 4 remaining regions with 6 legions each, so that he could finish his political ambitions. Crassus took revenge on Pompeius by taking over one of his regions, but not a civil servant. The supply of legions ran out, so there were several turns where legions were not added to every territory during supply. While Pompeius and Crassus looked for opportunities to attack weakly-defended regions, Caesar was quietly influencing the Senate. Neither was close enough in competence or military representation to win before the second election, which also went to Caesar, giving him the victory. I don’t remember the speech, but something lame about “I want to thank my supporters…”.
We immediately reset and started another game, this time choosing roles randomly.
Caesar started out aggressively again, attacking Pompeius in one of the early turns. Crassus made it a goal to have at least 2 (preferably 3) legions in each region. Crassus won the first election, and placed the bonus Civil Servant in Nova Africa, which would generate 2 gold per turn. Crassus then moved over legions to help defend it, and/or end the turn with Crassus, himself, there to help defend, so as not to lose the civil servant (and the income). This would help Crassus gain the victory, as the extra gold allowed for more actions.
Again, this game saw the legion supply exausted, and even the Battle Bag being depleted to a single cube! Crassus lost the 3 citizens from the forum the prior year, so did not have enough to win the 2nd election, which went to Pompeius—no matter. This speech consisted of complaining of Crassus’ wealth compared with the other players. (I explained that just like the other Euros we'd played, this game is no different, and money is very important.) Crassus used actions to move ahead on the competence tracks, while also attacking when given an opportunity to win without leaving himself overexposed. After taking control of Africa ( think) from Caesar, Caesar then took Macedonia (?) back from Crassus.
In the end, Crassus could not be stopped from reaching max competence in politics and military before the 3rd election. This dispelled any worries Rob had after the first game that Caesar has the advantage from going first. “One game,” I said “isn’t enough to determine something like that.” He’ll learn to give Euro-games more credit next time.
Overall, it was a fun night of gaming. One win was a political win, one a competence win. So, next time we play, I'll focus on military more, and see if that way is as viable. I think our metagame allowed the legion supply to be depleted and not many cubes being added to the bag through weapons upgrading (mostly just from compensation). In fact, the first time I played this game (a while back) I remember it being a military victory.
Despite me having played before, I only won one of the games, and it wasn’t a crushing defeat. The game seems very well-balanced, and full of tough decisions. It makes a great game to play with those who have played older Ameritrash games, but who haven’t been exposed to the elegance and depth of the more Euro-style games. Rob was too focused on his cell-phone texting (so I didn’t get an honest answer), but Anthony said he liked it. Hopefully, they have now learned some strategy, like how to properly defend civil servants and use your character effectively to gain cash, do actions, and bolster armies.
2010 Releases ........................................ The Resistance, Haggis & Triumvirate ..................................... Now accepting submissions for 2011 releases ........................................ www.IndieBoardsandCards.com
and here I was thinking that a Triumvirate double header meant playing The End of the Triumvirate and Triumvirate!
Nice session review. Glad people are still enjoying the game. It's one that I've been trying to get to the table for a while now, but I can never get exactly 3 players, or perhaps people are turned off by the theme. The few times I've played have been dominated by military victories and the occasional political victory.
Triumvirate looks like a fun game too, but I'm waiting for the reprint.