Monday, September 16, 2013

Spartacus. The board game

So September has now weighed anchor and started it's journey. September for me means it's my Birthday. This year the family got me a copy of the Spartacus board game and the expansion. What fun it is so thanks family. I have had 2 games. First test run was with 3 people and second game was 4 players. Both times without including the expansion. First time we got some combat rules wrong... we only rolled for initiative once instead of every round. But we got the feel and hang of the game by the end of the first game.
Can we play the Spartacus Board Game as well!
As you may know this is not a game of combat but of playing the role of a Lanista trying to claw your way to become the most influential Ludus at the table by playing 'schemes' on each other, buying your way to the top or getting noticed because of success in the arena. Getting to 12 Influence points wins the game but we started on 7 for the first game so it was over before we knew it. The second game with four people was a real doozy. My measure of how good a game is often by if it becomes apparent that some sort of narrative starts to appear. You know.... if the game has plot twists and starts to feel like a story could be written from it. Well this game is very successful at that. Lots of drama takes place with laughs aplenty as gamers borrow money from each other, bribe each other only to be betrayed.
While the Combat phase is not the focus of the game it can be really entertaining. Especially when all players have Denarii placed on the outcome. Winning helps your influence go up but that's not the only path to success. Enough gold and you may be able to buy your way to the top and be the top dog Lanista.
The group I played with was not my usual bunch of gamers. People that do not play wargames but they like occasional board games. It was refreshing actually because there wasn't the over analyzing of strategy's and game play and so on that many experienced gamers are prone to do.
I am looking foward to including the expansion stuff (2 new Lanistas and a heap more cards) in our next games. This will see combats in the Arena go from having money (wagers) riding on the outcome of 1 versus 1 to 2 versus 2.
I highly recommend this game.

Cheers from Brendon (The Kiwi)