J. R. Tracy
We had nine players tonight for gladiatorial games and shenanigans in Latin America.
Scott, Steven, Dave, and John tried Andean Abyss, as the FARC, the Government, the AUC, and the Cartels respectively. A scoring card came out very early, in the first three or four cards, so the Government was suddenly flush with cash and the board was carpeted in blue. However, FARC creeped ever upward with both territorial gains and bases in the jungle. As Scott closed in on his winning level, the other players took necessary measures, with Dave in the lead. His AUC assassins soon beat FARC down considerably, while the Cartels surged. So it continued, with the advantage passing from player to player and usually a couple factions quite close to their goals. Play continued through a second scoring card, and the game was called a dozen cards short of the third. It's unlikely they'll be able to return to it before Thanksgiving, but it was generally well-received, albeit a couple players found it long for what it is.
The AUC look to clip some FARC in the hinterland
Sean led another session of Spartacus: Blood & Treachery with Bill, Campoverdi, Dr. Rob, and myself. Because it's a four-handed game, I doubled up with Sean running House Solonius. We bid high for Oenomaus and then shot the rest of our cash on Spartacus himself. This left us with a solid ludus but with no coin to host the games, and unlikely to be invited to perform. Bill steadily increased his influence through intrigue and running games, while Dr. Rob cornered the slave market.
Dr. Rob's stable grows ever larger
It took a while for us to build the Solonius bank account to the point we could buy some favors and host some games ourselves. The Rigged Games card kept Spartacus out of the arena so Oenomaus became our main fighter. Campoverdi had a tough fighter of his own but Bill cut him down thanks to his initiative-grabbing net and some hot dice. That was the upset of the night and it put Bill dangerously close to a win. At this point Dr. Rob had to head home so I slid over to assume House Tullius.
The people know what they want
House Tullius' special ability allows it to convert slaves to influence at a 3:1 rate, and Rob had purchased accordingly. Unfortunately, Sean dropped the intrigue hammer on me and trimmed my slave population considerably. However, I was still in good shape and picked up Dolor for some muscle in the arena - Dolor is an impressive fighter and has an initiative bonus as well, making him likely to draw first blood every turn. I stepped onto the sand to face Sean only to be hit with another Rigged Match card. Dolor was replaced by Ashur to face Spartacus - this apparently was where Ashur lost an arm and a leg, for fans of the series. At this point it became a two-horse race between Sean and Bill.
Dolor out, Ashur in
We entered what proved to be the final turn with Sean two points away from a win and Bill only one. However, Sean bought one point through intrigue and turned in a set of guard/slave/gladiator for his twelfth and final point, thanks to Solonius' special ability. Bill had no way to match him. However, I couldn't let the game end on such an anticlimax, so I used intrigue myself to boost Bill a point. With two players tied at twelve, the winner is determined in the only reasonable manner: in the arena! Spartacus of House Solonius faced Crixus of House Terdoslavich for a fitting finale - however, we'd already had our upset of the evening, so Sean emerged the victor. Another good rousing game, with an expansion in the offing.
Sorry, no Crown of Roses this week, but we will see it again soon.