These are rules in the old wargaming style, full of Rule 1.07.311 and the like. In short: complicated, not particularly well laid out and replete with special cases. The game itself actually plays pretty simply once you’ve understood the gist of it.
There are two main phases in which players make decisions.
During the Forum Phase, players attempt to grow their faction by persuading senators and equites to join them and may sponsor games to grow their popularity while placating the people.
But the meat of the game is the Senate Phase where players vote for the senators to lead the session, then vote on the motions they put forward. These will disburse Rome’s resources, to deal with problems or, as ever, to boost the standing of individual senators.
There are a couple of adaptations necessary to make this playable as a forum game, both relating to timing in the Senate Phase.
- Tribune cards allow players to propose a motion, otherwise restricted to just the presiding magistrate. In the board game, this is done on a first to shout basis. Here it’s best done by letting the moderator know you want to play a tribune at any point during the previous motion. Then the moderator selects one of these players.
The exception to this is tribunes played to interrupt a vote that will end the senate phase, which should be played on the player’s turn to vote.
- Assassination attempts can interrupt the flow of voting, removing some of a player’s votes before they can be cast - but not after. We can’t hang around waiting to see if anyone wants to conduct an assassination before each player votes, that would quickly grind to a halt. Instead, I feel it’s best to allow players to assassinate after a vote is cast but not after the end of the entire motion. This should not be abused to only attempt an assassination if you’re losing the vote; ideally players will register an intent to assassinate with the moderator before it gets as far as the vote of the senator they wish to kill. Handily assassinations aren’t that common a tactic, even in ancient Rome: they come with no certainty and a very significant penalty.
Our players for this game are @Navaronegun, @Juan_Raigada, @scottagibson, @Panzeh, @CraigM, @Kolbex, which makes up the full 6. A warning that this will be a significant commitment of time. Not on any particular day, but the game may last a while. Hopefully we can keep it moving along at a fair rate though.
For advanced rules, I’m open to suggestions. My proposal would be to play with 2.05 Advocates and 2.06 Passing Laws, both of which add flavour but only very limited complexity.
For scenario, my preference is to play it by ear a bit. To start in the early republic, when Rome is under most threat, and see how quickly we progress. If players want to be done with the game, we’ll decide in plenty of time before the end of an age and stop then (assuming the game doesn’t end before that point, anyway). If not, we can play until there’s a winner or until all three decks are exhausted.
I’ll open up the floor now for questions and discussion about the rules and their implementation. Of particular interest is how much secret communication we’re expecting there to be. Playing face-to-face, you’d always know who was talking to whom, if not the content of their discussion. And there would be plenty of pressure not to continue negotiations for days on end. I don’t want to prevent all secret discussions: that would rather defeat the point of the game. But I also don’t want them to dominate communication as that would be a dull game for the spectators. It would also be bad if one very active layer had a big advantage over those with less time on their hands.