The latest monthly gaming group day was yesterday. Managed to get four of us together for another stab at Republic of Rome.

It would really help if Valley Games had managed a good rulebook instead of an almost-decent one. The rules are generally pretty clear—once you find them. The ‘turn order’ organization is not a bad idea, but you still end up with things being explained in odd places because they impact more than one part of the turn. And then there’s the lack of references, the references to the wrong rule, and the occasional missing rule. (At least I’ve never found an explanation of just when a concession [other than the armaments and naval ones] go to having a corrupt tag.)

And it’s a real shame because it’s a fun game other than the need to spend longer than necessary pinning down a rule.

Anyway… we went with the Middle Period scenario this time, to make sure we got to see provinces in action. That was a great decision, since they add a nice flavor to the game. They generally add some income to the state treasury, they can add some influence to a senator, they can cause corruption for that senator, and they change a faction’s voting strength, since the governor is no longer in Rome.

I think we got a bit shy of four turns done, which is actually a bit better than we’ve done before, and with the provinces, we were doing slightly more. We started with the Macedonian war active, which we didn’t manage to do much about the first turn, thanks to a manpower shortage (caused by a poor State of the Republic speech; we tend to awful luck with those…). Then the 3rd Spanish revolt came up, giving us a second worry.

I tended to stay in the background, I bid on most of the extra rounds, but not outrageously, and I think I only got two of them. Dave managed to keep the Rome Consul within his faction most of the time. HRAO actually passed to Jason at one point when the Rome Consul died of an epidemic. This shows again how our group doesn’t do a lot of infighting. We generally like the idea of it, we just don’t do it very much.

However, I got Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator as a senator. Along with a good military rating, his ability to reduce casualties was a big plus, and getting in as Field Consul was easy. Almost as easy as fighting the Macedonians. After that, everyone was of two minds about him. He was too valuable a general to get rid of, and too popular (especially after he held some games in Rome) for anyone else’s piece of mind.

One of the moderately capable military men was sent out the next turn with a very sizable army, and took care of the Spanish Revolt, even with a leader attached, and just in time, because the 2nd(?!) Revolt was waiting in “Imminent Wars”, and it was thoroughly taken care of the turn after. I’m a bit surprised we weren’t drawing more wars than we did, considering that we were almost never rolling ‘7’s for the initiative, and therefore burning through the event/forum deck at a pretty good clip.

I actually scored a narrow second when we counted up influence at the end of the day; Dave had a fairly commanding first, though that probably would have been limited over the next couple of turns as it was just getting to the point that people were truly concerned about it.

Overall, we had a lot of fun, though Dave has announced that he’s not really up for it again. This didn’t surprise me too much, as he’s not really interested in larger, fiddlier games. Personally, I’d be a lot happier if there was just some way to streamline the voting tallies; the little dials Valley Games provided tend to drift on their own, and are not helping. Otherwise, it’s a fine game and a lot of fun to maneuver for political position. Dave certainly likes getting into character and making impassioned speeches (a good reason for letting him keep the Rome Consul actually…).

With luck, Mark will make it over again next weekend, and we can finally start trying to do something about the backlog of 2-player games we’ve been building up.