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Subject: 2-player variant (ideas) rss

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Chris Berger
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Round Lake
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Okay, first off, this certainly isn't tested at all, but I was trying to think of a way to play Chicken Caesar as a 2p game. After thinking about it for a while, I'm convinced that you have to use a dummy player. For people who don't like using a dummy player in 2p games, well... that probably means that CC won't work as a 2p game for you. I'm not 100% convinced that the dummy player works, but it seems like it will. Heck, it might even persuade players to make deals with each other to avoid the horrible shame of losing to a dummy. Maybe?

So anyway, here are my ideas of playing Chicken Caesar with a dummy player, who I like to call Nero. In general, it's simpler than it looks - basically, the dummy player does the simplest thing that can be automated and generally works out in his favor. That's really what all these rules below boil down to. Anyway, it's all theoretical, so feel free to add suggestions.

Initial setup:
- Nero gets roosters and rooster cards like any other player.
- He does not start with any Frumenti. (In general, Nero never pays frumenti, he can only gain frumenti (place it near his rooster cards).) - Determine the start player however you normally would, and take turns placing roosters as for a 3 player game.
- Nero chooses offices in this order: Caesar, Censor, Consul, Aedile, Praetor (alt: any order you'd like, it just matters that it's consistent). As any other player, he cannot stack an office with his family if he has another option.

Advancement:
- If one of Nero's roosters has been nominated, he seconds that rooster.
- If neither player wants to pay Nero, then he will nominate (or appoint) one of his own roosters (if there are any eligible - and if more than one, then whichever is more senior, or if pulling from the Quaestors, lower-numbered), or pass. Nero does not have to pay frumenti to nominate or appoint his own roosters.
- Players can bid for Nero to use his vote as they ask (nominating, appointing, or seconding a rooster of their choice)... The minimum bid is 3 frumenti if Caesar's office is empty, 2 frumenti if either of the high offices is empty, and 1 frumenti if we're only filling the middle offices. Normally one player will open the bidding and the other player will either pass or outbid them. If both players want to bid at the same time, then whoever currently has the highest-ranked* rooster goes first.
- When appointing from the Quaestors, Nero obeys the usual rule about not packing the middle office with his own family.

Action Phase
For each action phase, Nero only acts if he has a rooster in the applicable office, as you would expect, and acts in order of seniority as normal.
Aediles
- Nero would prefer a tax rate of 3. So if he can confirm or propose a tax rate of 3, then he does.
- If 3 is not an option, then he chooses as close to 3 as possible. If there's a choice between 2 and 4, he chooses 4.

Praetor
- Nero generally wants to place a Vigil by his own roosters.
- If Nero controls all Praetors A, B, and C, then just follow his steps with the cards face up. If only Nero and one other player have Praetors, then that player will play all of the cards, playing Nero's cards face up. If all three players (including Nero) have Praetors, then the person whose rooster is immediately before Nero will play his cards, face up. (If Nero has Praetor A, then that will be the player with Praetor C.) (I'm not sure how much this part matters.)
- Nero places roosters by choosing the first of the following rules that is possible:
a) Vigil by the highest office (with open card spaces) where he has a rooster.
b) Traditor by the highest office (with open card spaces) where he doesn't have a rooster.
c) Traditor by the lowest office available.
d) Vigil by the lowest office available.

Censor
- If there are two face-up Traditors by the Censor's office, and at least one rooster in the Quaestors, Nero exiles his own Censor, gaining his insignia of office as usual. This should almost never happen.
- Otherwise, Nero chooses to exile the highest-ranked rooster that he does not control. That player can pay Nero a frumenti to skip his rooster, in which case he moves down to the next highest-ranked rooster that he doesn't control (and repeat as long as players are willing to pay).
- If Nero exiles a rooster in this way, he gains the usual 1 frumenti from the bank.

Consul
- Nero approves his own monument upgrades first.
- Otherwise, Nero approves the monument upgrade with the most frumenti underneath it. In case of a tie, he prefers the more recently deceased (highest alcove).
(alt: Nero throws away any 1 coin offerings from other players, and only approves offerings of 2 coins or more (or his own).)

Award Phase
- Nero gets awards just as a player would.

Attack Phase
- Nero never chips in for the Consul bribe.
- Voting works similarly to the Advancement phase, except that Nero will never nominate or second his own roosters (even if paid). Instead, he will prefer the highest ranked rooster that is not his own, unless bribed.
- If Nero has the Veto token, he uses it immediately if one of his roosters is set to be killed off.
- If the only options left to die are Nero's roosters, kill off the one with more insignia on it (in case of tie: the lower-numbered one), and give Nero the suffragium, without going through the rest of the voting process.

Attrition and Adjustment
As normal.

Accolade Phase
- If Nero has any extra insignia, he proposes each one on the lowest monument that it can legally go on. For each offer, add frumenti from the bank equal to the highest offer made by any other player. (So if player 1 proposes a stack of insignia with 3 frumenti, put 3 frumenti on each of Nero's offer stacks).

End Game Scoring
Works as usual. If both players lose to Nero, then they must be suitably humiliated.

*for these purposes, offices are ranked as follows: Caesar, Consul A, Consul B, Consul C, Censor, Praetor A, Praetor B, Praetor C, Aedile A, Aedile B, Aedile C, Quaestors
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