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Give me some info on Republic of Rome

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09 Apr 2008 20:56 #4865 by Gary Sax
So I was thinking of preordering Valley Games production of Republic of Rome. But I wanted some honest opinions on it--and honestly I feel that the gamers here are by far the most useful in terms of opinions on teh internets. I've read some shit on BGG but I just don't feel that that crowd is a good representation of how I'd feel about the game, especially the hardcore eurogamers.

I love diplomacy games, but am not a huge fan of diplomacy itself. There are far too few levers too pull in Diplomacy--too little (in terms of different options) to bargain over for me. Yes, I know that's sort of heresy and I will admit that Diplomacy is a brilliant design, but I like more chrome and player powers than Diplomacy gives me. I'd like a diplomacy game that has more game, more framework than diplomacy but is also close to as fluid. Is Republic of Rome this type of game? I love working together with someone for a few turns toward coop goals but also having to keep my eye out that they don't gain too much or more than me from our cooperation, and then perhaps working against them the next turn. That sort of thing.

Also, how have you guys played this game? There is virtually no way I'd ever play this game face to face, I'm afraid... Unless I start doing something nerdy like going to conventions, which is a line I'm loathe to cross with this hobby. Maybe someday I'll move into an area with a game group that has a good time and isn't a bunch of brow furrowed fat 40 or 50 year olds of either gender. It's like my worst fear so maybe that's why I don't have a regular group. Anyway, until then, does this game play well PBEM? Have you ever done so? What would you say is the median play time for Republic of Rome? Ideal number of players?

Now maybe they'll put their shopfront back up to preorder it, I suppose right now this is all moot.

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18 Apr 2008 15:32 #5163 by Walterman
I've only played the game face to face. Haven't played it in years (I didn't own a copy) you've been warned that this is from memory.

Republic of Rome plays differently depending on the scenario. Late Republic sees a lot of corruption, backstabbing and negotiation. Early Republic can be an accomplishment to survive (there is solitare suitability in this scenario).

I don't remember ever playing the campaign (all 3 scenarios back to back). We might have tried it once, but the game ended before the third deck came into play (shortly after the second deck so it felt a lot like Early Republic scenario).

Play time is dependant on the scenario chosen. Early Republic (the scenario I've played the most) seemed slightly shorter than Revolution: The Dutch Revolt. I've played it with 3-5 players and it seemed to play fine with those numbers (but that was back in the "dark ages" before games "had to last less than 2 hours").

I haven't done PBEM with Republic of Rome. There are decks of cards with events and such that drive the game, but Here I Stand is playable via PBEM so Republic of Rome should be too, right?

The game has a lot of historical flavour, but isn't a simulation. Hope this helps.

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18 Apr 2008 16:02 #5166 by Darilian
Republic of Rome, in my opinion, is the greatest political game ever made. The conceit that the players ARE the Senate of Rome, is one that hasn't really ever been successfully copied. In Junta, for instance, the only 'governmental' decision you have is to rob the treasury for yourself, and as President, how to move everyone around in musical chairs.

In Rome, you have to decide how many armies to buy, who gets what concessions, who gets what governments, are we going to prosecute so in so for corruption, who gets command of what army- the list goes on!

Rome is one of the VERY few AH titles where I actually feel playing the 'basic' game with only one of the optional rules is essential. The game is already kinda fiddly with markers, and some of the optional rules make the fiddly factor worse. (Play WITH the Pontifex Maximus, but NOT with the elite legion loyalty. Priests, make up your own mind- I say dump them, but others will disagree).

I also feel that there is room out there to 'streamline' the game down to its essence- the entire Forum Phase, for instance, is essentially one big 'Clean Up' phase of drawing cards, getting new Senators, investing in political support (Knights), etc. In addition, the overseas garrisons gets really fiddly also- there has to be a way to streamline that (My idea was to just say that the province has an 'x' defense factor when unimproved, and 'y' when improved. You can't take the legions with you when you march on Rome anyway.)

The Early Republic Scenario (the roughest) is the best. You can also decide when you complete it if you want to move on to the Mid and the Late decks. I found that with experienced players, we could finish the Early Republic in about 3-4 hours- but you have to FORCE people to MOVE through the Forum phase. The Mid and Late republic start taking longer- there are more decisions to make, the money piles get larger, etc. Call it 5 hours for the Middle Republic, 6 for the Late. Of course, the game can end QUICK if you screw up- there are more ways to LOSE Rome than to win.

One nice thing is that its pretty easy to put up the game between sittings. If you've got a reasonably committed group that likes longer games, you can finish the game in three sittings at the most I find.

My overall opinion is that while the game IS a 'mini-monster' the game is definitely worth playing. I own two copies of the game in the vain hope that one Day I'll get a group interested in playing...but in this day and age of 'kinder, gentler, and FASTER' gaming, I sometimes fall into despair. But then I look at my box of RoR and think, there is hope....!!!!!

Darilian

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