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Conquest of the Empire» Forums » Variants

Subject: CotE as a (better) simulation: The Second Triumvirate rss

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Lowell Drake
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If you look back a few posts you can see that back in October I posted a question whether Conquest of the Empire was a good simulation (having not played it before, I had no idea). I received some very friendly responses that all said it wasn’t a simulation at all, but a good game. I’d been reading on the Roman Civil Wars and wanted to find a game that covered that period, but there just don’t seem to be any out there. So I decided to do what any genuine grognard would do and make a simulation of the wars myself. I bought CotE and did my research and, with CotE as my base game, wrote up a scenario that attempts to recreate the situation in the Mediterranean at 39 B.C. I call it, The Second Triumvirate.

I’ve just posted my scenario as a complete set of rules and Faction Cards under "Files". The game I present is mostly the same rule set as CotE II, although I used the land battle rules from the Classic edition. To make the game more a simulation, I had to write up some of my own rules. The rules I’ve posted below in Files use black for the "II" edition, dark blue for the "Classic", and a lighter blue for my own rules. I had to abstract much of the historical to make a playable game, so the forces each side starts with are much more balanced than in the historical situation. As I’ve read about the period, it seems Marc Antony SHOULD have won the war, but he got deeply entangled with Cleopatra and made some very unwise decisions. In my Set Up, Marc Antony does start in a better position, but Octavian is in Italia so he’s able to quickly build up his base there and get more money and troops, or whatever the player focuses on.

Unfortunately, it’s not working all that well. We’ve played these rules twice. The first game, Mark Antony allied with Cleopatra (me that game), marched on Octavian, who was grabbing provinces north of Italy (not at all historical) and after a brutal battle, Octavian was killed. Meanwhile, Cleopatra marched across North Africa to take out Lepidus. In our second game, Lepidus rushed to visit Cleopatra (in that game Cleopatra didn’t have a player, so we used the neutral rules) to get her allied, but Mark Antony couldn’t let that stand and rushed an army there to confront him and both bled each other white. Sextus Pompey took out what was left of Mark Antony, and Lepidus surrendered. I was playing Octavian and had been leisurely building my tax base, so I won the game without shedding a drop of blood. That game was only one turn long. We were all pretty disappointed.

SO, I post these for all to read and I’d really appreciate anyone who would like to try my rule set and let me know how we can make them work. I’m thinking to just make Mark Antony and Cleopatra allies from the start, and make Mark Antony weaker as a result (he’d already been weakened by war with the Parthians). This is an on-going project, so your input will be put to good use.

You can print the Faction Cards in landscape with two columns and get two Factions per page. Since I first sent these in for approval, I've tinkered with the rules, and if you'd like an update, send me an email address to my BGG mailbox and I'll send them as an attachment.

REALLY looking forward to hearing from you guys who play CotE.

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mike corry
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Try looking into a later period. The year of the four emperors seems a better fit for the game setting. Nero was dead and four contenders vied for control. The map, troops and balance make much more sense if set in that period.
 
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Lowell Drake
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ratmilk wrote:
Try looking into a later period. The year of the four emperors seems a better fit for the game setting. Nero was dead and four contenders vied for control. The map, troops and balance make much more sense if set in that period.


I bought the game knowing it was focused more on the later events, but I've been doing a lot of reading the past few months on the Roman Republic and Civil Wars. Fascinating period! That's why I bought the game - to make my own simulation of the Civil Wars. I ended up paring it down to the Second Triumvirate because it was just too difficult trying to make a game that covered from Julius Caesar/Pompey to Augustine. But I'm intrigued by your suggestion and will think about taking that on after I get this one hammered out.
 
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Lowell Drake
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While driving from Boise to Reno I had an Archimedes moment when I saw what was missing in the rules I've posted. As the rules are now listed, when a Triumvir persuades Cleopatra to join him, it's all win with no loss. When in fact, when Mark Antony married Cleopatra he alienated all of Rome and Octavian was able to use it as propaganda ammuntion to move Rome to declare Rome on both of them. I won't edit the rules posted just yet since I don't know how this will end, but here are the new rules I've written up. Add them between King Phraates of Parthia and Barbarians.

CLEOPATRA’S SEDUCTION

Mark Antony first visited Cleopatra in Alexandria in 40 B.C. In 39 she bore him twins, though he was occupied with war in Mesopotamia and patching up relations with Octavian for four years until he could again return to Cleopatra. To simulate this in the game, Mark Antony has primary influence with Cleopatra and the first opportunity to form a permanent alliance with her. Lepidus may move to Egyptus at the beginning of Campaign Season III and any turn thereafter. Cleopatra may then "attach" herself to Lepidus in her bid to co-rule the Mediterranean. Cleopatra may never attach herself to Octavian. (She would have been very willing, but he never would have considered it.)

When Mark Antony married Cleopatra he alienated all of Rome, and by abandoning his wife Octavia, he administered a great insult on Octavian. From that point on, war between the two Triumvirs was inevitable. It costs something to offend Rome. As soon either Mark Antony or Lepidus are attached to Cleopatra, they must immediately pay three Senate votes, in any denomination. If a player has only two II-value cards, he may not make change but must pay both cards. If he does not have three Senate votes, he must pay all he has on hand. That player must also surrender any Senate Vote cards he has purchased earlier in the game, and may not purchase another for the remainder of the game. He may not call a vote of the Senate, and may not take any more Senator cards, although he may participate in a Senate vote if he has any Senator cards remaining. Any Senate Vote cards surrendered are returned to the table to be purchased by another player. Once a Triumvir player has had Cleopatra attached to him, he may not be allied with Octavian for the remainder of the game.
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Hey, I've created a video channel! Hover over my avatar to get more info! :) - Josh -
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Cool concept. I wonder if you'd get some useful feedback in the game design forums.
 
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