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What Playtesters are Saying
Not an AAR, but last night we played (in the VASSAL hotseat) four turns (4 activations each turn and we tossed in 3 event AMs too). It was a long game, especially because we had two players who had never played and my son had only played a turn with me before. It was my fourth time playing and twice I played solo. I think I am pretty good with the rules, but I did screw up a couple times.
Anyway, I played Greece, my son Charles (Carthage), and two of his friends took on the East and Rome. I just want to relate a moment of pure evil genius which (if there is any justice in the world) will haunt me in a later game.
Back at turn 2, Greece has been expanding nicely into Asia Minor taking advantage of Carthage beating up pretty badly on the East after the East decided to expand in both directions at once. I also was fighting Rome for control of Bruttium - Rome had decided that he could fight me early on, suffered a defeat, and then built up reinforcements while I was distracted. I had actually already resigned myself to a loss when I pulled a good elite leader and was back in style. My armies were still not all that strong, but war was inevitable. I talked to Anthony (Rome) and explained to him that we both had to be wary of Carthage, so when it was Rome's turn to activate, I offered him 2T to call off our fighting and take advantage of his turn to start moving north before Carthage took all of Hispania and Gaul. Naturally he accepted and sent some minor forces north and skipped attacking me. Ok, his friendly move to the north was naturally towards Greece (he didn't trust me that much) so when it was time to pay, I told him that I would wait to see what his real motives were. After some discussion, I promised that I would pay him at the income phase.
Next AM was drawn (by Rome - our convention is to let the last guy who activated do the next draw) was an event: Revenues and Stability - Rome had only 1T in the bank, so lost stability. I wasn't exactly pleased, but I did think it was an interesting coincidence.
Now Rome drew the next AM and it was Greece. Ah, Fortuna!
I paid a talent for my activation and opted to expand, changed Xanthas & Myra from garrisons to towns (2 minor moves used to build) and declared my major move. I rolled a 2, so I had 6 MP (my leader was a 3/4). I moved him to Brundisium to pick up 1 extra HI and then back to Tarentum and to Venusia (3 MP so far) and then to battle in Capua.
Battle of Capua:
Battle points: 4 LG is 16 BP – Rome did not use the town (bad move) and the intercept from Rome failed, Rome’s Leader was a 2/3. Greece: 3 HI is 9, 1 BP for Cavalry. Odds were 10:16. 1 Shift in favor of Rome. 1 Shift in favor of Greece for Cavalry superiority. One more shift for me for Tactical advantage. My roll was a “4”, Rome’s roll was a “2”. I shifted my result up by 1, so a “5”, so Rome eliminated (50%) 8 BP or 2 LG, leaving 8 BP on the field. Greece lost 20% of 9 and I chose to remove one HI (3 BP) leaving 8 BP on the field (I thought my cavalry would be useful later). Continuing, I now had 2 shifts in its favor and chose to attack (I won the battle so I didn’t have to pay a MP). I rolled a “3” and Rome a “1”. I shifted Rome’s down by 1 (I couldn't take any losses) and raised my roll to a “4”. 40% of 8 BP is 3.2 BP, so Rome has to eliminate 1 more SP of Legion. No losses for my army. Greece now had 8 BP (2*3 for HI plus 1 Cavalry) and my attack was at 2:1 – 4 shifts in my favor. (2 for 2:1, 1 for cavalry, 1 for tactical difference) - I rolled a 6 and Anthony a 4 which I shifted down by 4 and my 60% killed Rome's last legion. The good Roman 2/3 leader was also dead.
I wasn't done though. I paid one more MP to attack Capua (a town). The intercept attempt from the weak Roman legion failed (a "5" was rolled, tactics was - I think - a "1" (probably a 1/3 leader or a 1/4)) And even intercepting from the city gave only a 9 adjusted roll. You need a 12.
Anthony was desperate but the other players decided to "help" him, suggesting that since he lost a battle on home turf, he could raise militia. He did and his stability took a hit. There were 2 SP of militia in Capua though. I paid for siege expertise (using the 2T that I should have probably paid him). Now I had 8 BP (6 BP for my 2HI - cavalry doesn't count in sieges - a 2 siege expertise) versus his 4 BP (2 SP of militia and 2 SP for the town). 8:4 gave me 2 shifts and of course I have leadership tactical ability (3 shifts more). Greece's roll was a 3 and Rome's a 2. I reduced Rome's roll to nothing and raised mineto a 6. He took a point for the town and lost the 2 BP of militia so basically the idea to raise militia cost him stability and no gain. That's how I took Capua.
Oh, to make matters worse, I did pay him 2T after my income phase - not that I had money to burn (all the maintenance for Galleys prohibits that) - but I thought it was worth the joke.
It isn't easy to write AARs, Aaron, as I'm sure you know. I have been keeping lots of notes on the game, but when you are playing, it is almost impossible to keep things straight. Most of the time we prefer to roll dice instead of using Vassal. When I get into a real online game (instead of just using the machine as my board) it might be easier because of the logs.
In any case, I can probably clean up my notes and post them if you like. There have been some excellent battles. Hannibal is amazing in this game. He led Carthage out of a tough bind and even took Alexandria and when the East went after him again, he fought them back at amazingly bad odds - LEADERSHIP is all important in this game and you have to take risks when you have the best ones available and play smart and safe when you don't.
His friends also really liked the game, even though we really beat them up before squaring off. They had never played a game this deep before (to be fair, it is a very deep game, so not many have) and didn't know what to think. They basically played with their instincts - one was too cautious (Rome) and one was too crazy (the East). When we finished (3:30 or so) they were both really tired and Charles and I were wide awake.
--Michael Gouker - Consimworld - October 23, 2005
Having been thru 2 playtest games so far, I thought it would be appropriate to post my impressions of the game so far. It really has a lot going for it, aspiring to fill a niche between Diplomacy, CDGs, and civ-style games ,with a little (but not excessive) amount of historical flair thrown in. First, some highlights:
What the game is not:
--Aaron Lewicki - Consimworld - Nov 1, 2005