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Subject: AAR from Castro Valley. rss

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Milton Soong
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San Francisco
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Our monthly game group outing decided to give ToC another try. Three of us have all played before and a fourth (the host) have read the rules.
We played the short game. Went from about 2:30 till about 5:30 and we are moving at a good pace (a few interruption at the end for rules dispute, mainly re a use of the Praetorian Guard event.

1. A typical game (well, among the three that I have seen) in that the entire game we saw only 2 events. That means a LOT of barbarian activities from the get-go.
2. That means everyone did the "grab a new province, grow them a bit, then build up some VP by whacking some barbarian strategy". This continued at least until Rome has weakened sufficiently, then Milton (or rather the Gallic-Brittania Empire) got enough votes and became emperor.
3. Once triggered, three of the four players were all contending with Rome (Ron had a military disaster with the Sassanids where all the exploding 6's greatly damaged a big army).
4. When Luke (the newbie who did NOT play before) ended the game, Jeff and I were ahead on Emperor points, but Luke's careful early build of Improvements (1VP a turn) gave him the edge. He won by 4.

Learnings
A. It IS a very chaotic game where carefully laid plans can be ruined by event or dice (my superior position was ruined by one of the only two event cars where the Gallic Pretender Emperor landed right in the middle of Gaul and ruined my planned march on Rome). That kind of swing might not be for everyone.

B. Whacking on barbarians is still a valid strat for a point getter, but subject to Barbarians near you actually appears (not a problem in our game), and them not rolling exploding 6's on the dice.

C. Improvements are always good, I need to build those things earlier, assuming you can hold on to the province.

My opinion that this is the best multiplayer game published in 2017 still holds...
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Roger Reisinger
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I really like the game too, and have only played the short game. My opinion is the short game is just perfect the way it is. Just as things start to spiral out of control and into chaos the game ends.

I have a niggling suspicion that the long game would overstay its welcome.
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Brad Miller
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And I think the gaMe with the RAW is too short!

But agree it's a really fun game.
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Martin G
United Kingdom
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Lowecore wrote:
I really like the game too, and have only played the short game. My opinion is the short game is just perfect the way it is. Just as things start to spiral out of control and into chaos the game ends.

I have a niggling suspicion that the long game would overstay its welcome.


I've only played the long game (average length 3 hours) and I fear that the short game would make it too hard to pull off successful Pretender empires and would overly favour the first player to make it into Rome.
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Dwayne Dibbley
Australia
Perth
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In my experience (admittedly only 5 or so games) with the long game the length of time it takes to go from 40 points to 60 is maybe a quarter of the time it takes to go from 0 to 40, the pace really picks up as the game goes on, personally it's never felt like it dragged on.
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Marty Sample
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MILFORD
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dwayne_dibbley wrote:
In my experience (admittedly only 5 or so games) with the long game the length of time it takes to go from 40 points to 60 is maybe a quarter of the time it takes to go from 0 to 40, the pace really picks up as the game goes on, personally it's never felt like it dragged on.


Agreed. By late game, there are more Improvements in play, players usually have bigger armies and are thus more aggressive about whacking barbarians and racking up Legacy. The one thing that can slow a game is if the current Emperor is in last place, as only the Emperor can trigger the game end.
 
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Milton Soong
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[q=
I've only played the long game (average length 3 hours) and I fear that the short game would make it too hard to pull off successful Pretender empires and would overly favour the first player to make it into Rome.[/q]

I agree with this. I have played 2 short game and one long game. The long game had two instances where someone came within 59 points(!) while emperor, than lost the Emperor so have to keep going. There are definitely more back and forth.

Given the time to do it, I prefer the long game...
 
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Martin G
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In our game last night I was Emperor from turns 6-8 and would have won the short game easily. Turns 9-12 were where most of the excitement happened - three of us ended up within 3 points at the end.
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Luke Hughes

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Thanks for the write up Milton. I enjoyed the constantly changing landscape of decisions due to barbarians and the rare event or two. Plus learning about this fascinating period. Lots of fun chaos in the system. Anyone could have won.
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