Saturday, 11 October 2014

Are you not Entertained?

Hello people,

The recent Gladiatorial theme around Enfield Gamers has continued as Rich has recently picked up a copy of the Spartacus boardgame which sports the tag-line A Game of Blood and Treachery...which is highly accurate.

The blurb is also rather accurate;
In Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery, an exciting game of twisted schemes and bloody combats inspired by the hit STARZ Original series, each player takes on the role of Dominus, head of a rising house in the ancient Roman city of Capua. Each house is competing for Influence to gain the favor of Rome. Through a combination of political schemes and glorious battles on the arena sands your house will rise in fame and stature. As Dominus, you have a variety of resources at your disposal. Guards protect you from schemes launched by rivals. Slaves run your household and earn gold. Gladiators compete to bring glory to themselves and influence to their Dominus.

Three main phases occur in each game round of Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery.
The Intrigue Phase is when players launch their Schemes, hoping to raise their fortunes while undermining their rivals. Schemes and Reactions are represented by cards in the Intrigue Deck. Players wield their Influence to put their Schemes into play, often asking for (or bribing) another player’s help in hatching the most complex plots.

The Market Phase is when players buy, sell and trade Assets (Gladiators, Slaves, Equipment and Guards). Players also bid against each other to acquire new Assets at Auction. Wealth is not the only path to success as players bluff and bargain with each other to acquire the Assets they covet.
The Arena Phase is when the bloody games are held. Gladiators from two rival Houses are pitted against each other in a brutal fight for glory. The spectacles of the games are represented by miniature combat on the arena board. Fighters pit their Attack, Defense and Speed dice against one another to determine the victor. All players seek to increase their fortunes by betting on the outcome of the gruesome conflict. Fighters who emerge from the arena victorious gain Favor and their Dominus gain Influence.

The goal of the game is to become the most influential house in Capua, securing your family’s power for years to come. During the game, players will bribe, poison, betray, steal, blackmail, and undermine each other. Gold will change hands again and again to buy support, stay someone’s hand or influence their decisions. Will you be the honorable player whose word is their bond or the treacherous schemer whose alliances change with the wind?
Tuesday night we also cracked out The Serpents and The Wolf, the expansion allowing six of us to backstab, plot and occasionally do battle in the arena. Myself, Rich and Mr C had got a couple of games in a couple of Fridays back so had a bit of an idea what we were doing but it's not a difficult game to pick up.

The game itself is yet another high quality offering with good elements of resource management (gold does tend to talk though) and plenty of interaction between players. The combat system once onto the sands is quick, simple yet has enough to producing an engaging combat. Each house has its own special rules and abilities, flavoured to the series, and there are genuinely multiple ways to win the game, it's not an auto to build a stable of stone cold killers.

With the expansion the idea is for upto four Houses putting forward a combatant into the arena to fight in teams of two. We gave that bit a miss with three new players but it soon proved that it was otherwise too easy to sideline the more combat ready Houses. I'd made the early running, BIG mistake, only to be hauled back down toward the gutter. By mid-game a definite alliance had appeared between MrC and Rich. The rest of us weren't having that so when Ian had a chance for glory we backed him all the way!

Give it a go if you get the chance, well worth it for the quote opportunites alone :)

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