Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Central London, 19th December

No, not the ballet.

Actually a very rewarding multiplayer role-playing and map game from the John Bassett stable. Followed by a very sociable evening afterwards as we relaxed in the run up to Christmas.

I managed to get a copy of Barry Strauss's book at a discount in the closing down sale at Borders in Tottenham Court Road - so tried to get in the spirit ahead of schedule (a good job it was only spirit I was looking for as facts are few and far between ... and Strauss as much obscures them as illuminates them ...)..

The game is part of a developing approach to representing the end of the Republic, and I anticipate further developments in the new year (indeed, I hope that if I don't spill all the beans now, John will be contributing an article for Slingshot in the fullness of time ....)..

Suffice to say, for now, that whilst not without areas that need more work, this game brought out the complexities of Roman politics rather well ... the difficulties of managing the really important agenda (protecting your interests and faction within the Senate) with the irritating one (having to be away from Rome to deal with a rebel or an over-mighty citizen) ... or the difficulties of an over-mighty citizen in turning raw military power into tangible political credit ....

I got myself badly beaten up in the opening battle against Spartacus (OK - no battle ... I got myself ambushed ... some Thracian thing going on was my final memory ...)... and scurried off not in disgrace to Rome but in desperation to my old chum Pompey who was on his way back from victory in Spain. As a consequence, I took over the role of Pompey and all the advantages of his veteran army (and all the ethical/political issues of the great commanders of the Late Republic). The immensely powerful and loyal army (no hyperbole in either case) is an interesting tool: it means you hold the ultimate sanction ... a military government or a Civil War you are bound to win - and almost automatic defeat for your opponents. It almost seems that precisely because you hold all the cards, the other factions will oppose you: however modest your demands. There is a human factor in this. It is an interesting conundrum, and one the game made me think about afresh.

--> -->An enjoyable and thought-provoking run in to Christmas, and a last bit of recruiting before the year end. Thanks for the invitation, John - I hope to be able to play in the next evolution, and, yet again, do please write it all up for Slingshot ...

No comments: