Author Topic: Critical Rolls for THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME  (Read 1337 times)

JasonPratt

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on: February 21, 2019, 07:06:32 PM
Since the Grogheads new forum host is having trouble making the dice-roll module work, I'm going to use Armchair Dragoons as a neutral ground for making game-critical dice rolls while umpiring our epic forum game of the (somewhat notorious) boardgame THE REPUBLIC OF ROME (combined with its fan expansion THE BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC, which we've already finished although a few pre-Early Era cards are still floating around, and with another briefer fan expansion THE CIVIL WAR ERA).

(I'm having some trouble dialing in a readable font and size, so bear with me if I experiment somewhat.)

Most Dragoons presumably know what I'm talking about, being from the GH forum originally, but if not here's the start of the game thread... http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=22942.msg631023#msg631023

I'll explain where we are in the game in a minute, once I've done some testing on the dice-rolling module here, to refresh my memory on how it works. (Once I've created a post, I can't edit it without invalidating the dice result.)

Rolled 3d6 : 3, 6, 4, total 13


Let's see what this test looks like.



mirth

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Reply #1 on: February 21, 2019, 07:32:37 PM
I could bump up the font size in the results box if you want.

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


JasonPratt

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Reply #2 on: February 21, 2019, 07:34:09 PM
Hm, yes, that should be sufficient.  8)[

All right, quick summary. By my standards.

The six current Players of the game (we have room for 2 more by the way!), not including me (I'm only the umpire keeping track of the infamous rules so the Players can just play the game), each represent a political Faction of the emergent Republic of Rome. The game started with the Players being each dealt a few starting senatorial families, and then dealing with kicking out Rome's final king to start building the Republic.

Senators in this game aren't the Players, but are more like hero characters collected and managed by the Players, though senators can sometimes be persuaded to switch Factions (thus going to other Players).

The game is both co-op and competitive. The game is trying to beat everyone, and if certain things happen then all Players lose together. Whereas if the Republic lasts past its historical overthrow into the Roman Empire, everyone wins together! (Yes, there's a sequel game based on the same system called "The Empire of Rome", but I figure everyone will be tired of the game by then, so I haven't made plans yet to continue on. And I don't think it's on TTS yet.)

The game also, however, constantly tempts the Players into competing with one another, especially toward one Player manipulating the political situation around to get one of his senators elected Consul for Life -- or to successfully stage a military rebellion against the Republic! -- winning the game in effect by himself by controlling the first Roman Emperor.

This leads to a significant amount of back-channel plotting among the Players, not all of which I'm necessarily privy to. This is a political strategy game which occasionally erupts into violence. We've had one judicial murder already, for example.

Clear so far? Okay.

Currently Rome is beset by three Active Wars, with one Inactive War (the 1st Illyrian) lurking in the background. If a Combat Phase ever ends with 4 or more Wars still active on the board, the Republic will shatter from the strain, and everyone loses. So aside from various benefits to winning wars (both for the Republic generally and for senators personally!), the Players have a vested interest to remove as many Wars per Turn as feasibly possible. And they have to politically cooperate with each other to do this effectively!

I'm tracking all this using a Tabletop Simulator module (partly created by a Russian and by someone else), providing snapshots (and one video for demonstrating a critical game winning or losing portion we were passing through) to the Players as we go along.

Here's an overview of the main board as a snapshot example to end my introductory context with.



...also this allows me to test posting snapshots of the game for the Players during the Combat Phase next.




JasonPratt

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Reply #3 on: February 21, 2019, 07:35:24 PM
I could bump up the font size in the results box if you want.

I'm not sure what that means, but I'm currently trying size 16, thanks!  :bigthumb:

(But not for this post, as a test.)



mirth

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Reply #4 on: February 21, 2019, 07:51:30 PM
I could bump up the font size in the results box if you want.

I'm not sure what that means, but I'm currently trying size 16, thanks!  :bigthumb:

(But not for this post, as a test.)

In the dice results box the font is set to "x-small". It's hard-coded into the plugin. I don't know that you can change that from the post settings.

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


JasonPratt

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Reply #5 on: February 21, 2019, 07:56:58 PM
Oh, okay, thanks Mirth, I understand now! That'll be fine, 16 font please.



JasonPratt

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Reply #6 on: February 21, 2019, 08:02:15 PM
So much for the general overview.

Recently the Players finished the Turn Eleven Senate Phase, where they worked out a deal to elect and appoint various senators to offices; to Raise some more Legions and Fleets to Active Status from the Force Pool (representing logistic potential of the Republic for its main fighting forces); and then Deployed some senators to fight against two of the Wars as Commanders of two Forces.

With the departure of the Presiding Magistrate (currently the Dictator Paullus Macedonicus of the Conservative Faction) out of Rome, the Senate was adjourned (and the Senate Phase ended).

This leads into the (almost) entirely automatically resolved...

TURN ELEVEN -- COMBAT PHASE
---------------------------

For the first of two fights this Turn, we start with...



Field Consul Manlius, Faction Leader of the Militarists, vs. Antiochus III and the Syrian War!

I won’t explain all the things the cards and chits mean, but some things will make sense as I go along. The current Players will all understand.

“Tripoli” is the Militarist Player, by the way. Now that the game has left the tutorial Eras and fully kicked into gear, his senators have been profiting steadily from the increased demand for their special headquarter capabilities: their minions or “knights” (Manlius has 5 of them, per the chit on the lower right of his card) have the unique ability to help manage Legions and Fleets more effectively than normal.

“Knights” in this game don’t usually have special military abilities, except for the Militarist Faction. Knights are normally-invisible extra senators who have been Persuaded by the Players to bring more votes, and more income, to more politically important senators, the characters of the game like the Manlius family representative here. Each Faction does get special benefits from their knights beyond the normal extra votes and income, but these differ from Faction to Faction. And that’s all you need to know about them for our purposes here.

Manlius is at some risk of dying in this fight, but because he’s a Faction Leader (indicated by the pawn on his card, red for the Militarist faction mat), the Manlius family will make sure a new scion is raised to the senate immediately so that they can keep being Faction Leader! The game Turns each cover many years (even decades in the previous tutorial Eras), and it’s assumed that normally senatorial families groom successors seamlessly transitioning from Manlius to Manlius (in this case) without making a difference in the game. But occasionally senators die catastrophically without the families being prepared, and this affects the cards.

In this case, the practical result will be that if Manlius dies, his card will go back to Tripoli’s mat without going into a sort of holding area to await respawning (where two other families are waiting in line by the way) -- but he’ll lose all the extra pieces on his card that Tripoli has built up over time!



bayonetbrant

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Reply #7 on: February 21, 2019, 08:03:14 PM
are you moving the whole game here?  players & all?

Random acts of genius and other inspirations of applied violence.


JasonPratt

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Reply #8 on: February 21, 2019, 08:10:38 PM
I will if they want to. But the Players (and sometimes me, too!) often need to refer back to prior posts for information and snapshots, including some extensive behind-the-scene p-mails for secret information, and it would be definitely clunky to shift back and forth between forums for a while.

(This is a little clunky, too, of course, but the Players will be able to visit here, catch the results in one straight read, and then go back to the main thread. And maybe bookmark here for reading and participation in other threads! -- so it's like free marketing for this forum. Also, future situations won't need this much introduction for host visitors, so to speak, about what's going on: I can just make a couple of posts explaining and showing the rolls.)

I certainly appreciate the offer, though, thanks!



JasonPratt

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Reply #9 on: February 21, 2019, 08:32:43 PM
With the most immediate context explained for new readers, time to resolve the fight! Here’s the snapshot again for ease of reference.



They’re a little hard to see against the colorful backdrop painting on the board, but Manlius has brought along the 1st and 2nd Fleets (for this War’s necessary logistic Support); and 10 Legions: the Veteran 1st, 2nd and 11th, and the regular 3rd through 9th inclusive.

Total Legions: 10 (the Fleets don’t fight in Land Battles.)
Total Veteran Legions: +3 (they do extra damage.)
Manlius’ Mil Skill: +8 (he and the Militarist knights together can manage 8 Legions enough for them to do extra damage again. The other two Legions will do their normal damage.)
Syrian War’s Land Strength: -6
Antiochus III’s skill: -5
The Die Roll Modifier will be 10+3+8-6-5 = +10.

This (for those joining us to watch) is such a hefty advantage for Manlius and his men, that there is no chance of Rome being Defeated in this fight, and the minimum possible chance of a mere Stalemate.

However: see those black and brown squares on the enemy cards, with D and S next to them? If the 3d6 naturally totals any of those four results, there will be an automatic Standoff or Disaster for Rome. Which will cost a lot of Legion casualties for no gain!

The time has come. Normally I would just roll the dice in TTS, but there’s no easy way to demonstrate the validity of the results -- and these fights are absolutely crucial for the survival of the Republic through the next Turn.

So, here we go. Rolling 3d6...



Rolled 3d6 : 4, 1, 2, total 7



JasonPratt

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Reply #10 on: February 21, 2019, 10:28:51 PM
1+2+4=7, which is not a D/S result (whew!), +10 DRM = 17.

For context, a final result of 7 would be a Defeat with 1 Legion lost. Manlius would die, I’d roll to figure out which Legion died (Vets get increasing preferential advantages here depending on their level), that Legion would go to the Force Pool, and the surviving Legions would return to Rome immediately.

An adjusted final result of 17, however, is a Victory! -- with one Legion lost.

So, processing the results:

Unrest goes down 1 point, from 1 to 0. (If the people of Rome become too unhappy with the Senate, various problems result: at worst, a popular uprising overthrows the Senate and loses everyone the game! 0 means no Unrest at all for now.)

The Republic’s Treasury increases by 45 Talentons of Spoils (the number printed over coin art on the bottom right of the War card), from 32 to 77! (Talentons, more popularly known as Talents, were the heaviest standard weight of silver, thus the largest unit of money, in ancient Mediterranean societies; and are the basic unit of cash in this game. If Rome is forced to spend money below 0 cash then the Republic goes bankrupt, the people revolt, and everyone loses. There was a serious danger of that next Turn; now much less so.)

Enemy Leaders don’t normally risk death in a War, and if they’re Defeated they can often go to a special slot on the board called the Curia where cards wait to respawn (and where they may die a natural death, as has often happened in this game). However, Antiochus only had this one War! -- so with its Defeat, this Successor candidate for the late Alexander the Great leaves history permanently, dying in battle or in obscurity afterward. His card discards.

Sometimes a Victory over a War grants Rome a new area to manage. In the pre-Early Eras, this would involve areas farmed for taxes, or a permanent increase in the Republic’s normal income, and/or a permanent increase of logistic capability (how many Legions and Fleets can be Active at once).

Syria can be a Province of Rome, as noted on the card. But for whatever reason, Defeating the Syrian War does not provide that Province! The Players will have to wait to gain it some other way. With that, the War permanently Discards into history.

Manlius, as the Victorious Commander, adds half the War’s basic Land Strength (of 6) to his Influence and to his Popularity. So Pop +3, up to 4 (maximum is 9); and Influence up from 23 to 26, new Militarist total 78. (Popularity and Influence help senators in various ways, as you might expect; Influence is also the ultimate score of the game. >=21 means a senator can be elected as Consul for Life, winning the game outright for his Player. A senator can also be automatically crowned Emperor by the people if his Influence and his Faction’s get far enough ahead of everyone else, but there’s no danger of that yet -- we’re using a house rule on that.)

As the Players will know, there’s a unique historical Event which has been lingering around since the Latin Era (the first tutorial Era of the game), called the Spolia Opima, waiting to be triggered by the first Victory over an Enemy Leader. So far, the Republic has had a lot of good luck in its Enemy Leaders dying off before attaching to their Wars, since this Event was drawn and primed long ago! -- but someone was going to win it at last, and Manlius turns out to be the one! (He got to fight first, because he had to be Deployed first before the Dictator could leave Rome for War.)

Manlius thus adds 5 each to his Influence (up to 31, quickly approaching the normal rule for an automatic game win for Tripoli alone at 35!); for his Popularity (up to 9, the maximum possible); and for his personal cash (from 0 to 5 Talents). Militarist total Influence up 5 to 83.

I’m feeling genuinely a little nostalgic for the discard of the Spolia, one of the few remaining cards in the game specific to the tutorial Eras.

Manlius did lose 1 Legion in this fight. And while that isn’t enough to make him more un-Popular, I still have to randomly decide the casualty. (This isn’t a crucial roll, so I’ll use TTS.) I do this by working my way down the Legion list, from highest number to lowest, roughly representing the experience and history of even regular Legions rolling a black die. Even it survives, odd it dies. If I go through the whole list this way, and I haven’t filled out the casualty total, I start over again, as many times as necessary.

It happens in this case that the 11th Legion is a Veteran, and must be tested first. Vets normally have no defensive bonuses in this game, but I house ruled the ability for the Senate to vote on training regimens (similar to the Marian and other reforms of the pre-Imperial period), improving the survivability of Vet Legions. The Players voted (and spent cash) to institute one regimen reform already a few Turns ago, so all Vets are automatically Level 1 now, “Seasoned”.

The 11th gets 1 extra survival roll; but passed it the first time anyway.

The casualty turns out to be the 8th Legion, a regular unit. It’s sent to the Force Pool.

More joyously, any battle result but a Defeat means the oldest regular Legion in the fight upgrades to (Seasoned) Veteran! In this case, that’s the 3rd (which was already previously a Veteran Legion. For the odd story, see the main game thread. ;) ) Manlius earns the Loyalty of the 3rd Legion, as a chit on his card. He has to hand the Legion back to serve the Republic (unless he rebels), but in case of a Civil War he can call upon this Veteran Legion to stand with him (for or against the Republic!)

Manlius must now draw chits from the Death Bag, equal to the units he lost -- so one chit. If his family number comes up, he dies! He’s family 6, as can be seen under his name. But I drew a 12. By house rule, any active senatorial family with a casualty in battle gains 1 Popularity. Family 12 are the Acilians, with a scion currently allied to the Plutocrat Faction (run by the Player with the Groghead forum name Ethel the Frog). He goes up from 0 to 1. (Acilius has had a rocky history; for more on his story, and Plutocrat political cunning, see the main thread.)

The Victorious Manlius begins the journey home to Rome with his surviving Force.



JasonPratt

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Reply #11 on: February 21, 2019, 10:57:08 PM
Now for the second and last battle this Turn:



Dictator Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus of the Conservatives (played by Arizona Tank at Grogheads), and his appointed Master of Horse Julius of the Militarists, vs. Philip V and the 1st Macedonian War!

This other Successor candidate is no slouch, with a +6 bonus to all four of his Wars, which by themselves threaten the Republic’s existence!

You may notice that Paullus’ card has red text, not black, and that he has a printed special ability (and generally awesome stats). That’s because he’s a Statesman: a historical character senator. Many (not all) families have at least one, as shown by a bracket around their family number beneath their name. The Julian family has at least one Statesman in the game (take a wild guess who ;) ), as the bracket shows, but this Julius isn’t him, just a regular member of the family who has been around a lonnnng time in this game and who has been buffed by Tripoli quite far.

Paullus comes from the Aemilius family, and I think the bracket around his number means they have at least one more Statesman somewhere. But I’m not sure.

Families never Discard out of the game, and so neither do vanilla family Senators; but Statesmen, being unique historical characters, permanently Discard when-if-ever) they die.

While multiple senators can attack a War, they usually have to use distinctly separate Forces, and so attack one at a time. A Dictator however can appoint one senator (not necessarily voluntarily!) to be his Master of Horse temporarily, which allows that senator to contribute his Mil skill to headquarter management. Julius’ Mil 9 is about to be very helpful...!

This War doesn’t require a Naval battle, but does require 10 Fleets worth of Support to secure the logistic line, which Paullus has brought. He has also brought 11 regular Legions: the 10th, 12th through 20th, and the 21st.

Total Legions: 10
Vets: none
Paullus’ Mil: +5
Julius’ Mil: +6 out of 9 used. (There are only 11 Legions, so the extra 3 Mil adds no benefit.)
 War’s Land Strength: -12 (this is the toughest War seen by the Players so far!)
Philip’s skill: -6 (toughest Enemy Leader, too!)
DRM will be 11+5+6-12-6 = 4.

Not so great, but better than average. It risks only a minimum possible chance of outright Defeat (with no casualties), and improves chances of a total Victory by a considerable amount, while significantly reducing Stalemate chances.

Moreover, Paullus special ability as a Statesman (they all have something) voids any D/S result from a Macedonian War! -- of which there were three possibilities in this case! However, the risk of Philip causing Rome a Standoff or Disaster remains, on a natural total of 14 or 15.

Could still be a tough fight! The roll will be...


This dice roll has been tampered with!
Rolled 3d6 : 4, 5, 2, total 11



JasonPratt

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Reply #12 on: February 21, 2019, 11:08:50 PM
Huh, I don't know why the module says the dice roll has been tampered with. I didn't edit the post after sending it: the forum would mark it as edited. (Possibly like this post, which I edited to add this remark, and for demonstration purposes.) Maybe I previewed it while I had the code text included? That will generate a dice result, and might flag as having been edited.

I wish I could edit it, because I listed the Legions wrong! -- should be 11 not 10, so the DRM = +5, not +4!

Anyway, results: 2+4+5 = 11, which is not a D/S result -- but it would have been a Standoff if Paullus had not been sent in Command!!! (On the tan square next to the S on the War's card, there's an 11 as well as an 18. Either one of those would work.) That just saved the Republic 25% casualties rounded up, or 3 Legions!

A final result of 11 (aside from D/S results for this War) would have otherwise been a Stalemate, with the Republic losing 2 Legions. Wars don't (usually) lose casualties, so their Land Strength would have been 12 next Turn, too -- or worse if another Macedonian War arrived! Julius would have gone home, but Paullus would have had to stay at the War, now as a Proconsul going forward.

As it is, the adjusted result is 11 + 5 = 16. That's a Victory (phew, the Players will be relieved with Wars stacking up), with 2 Legions lost.

I'll post the results tomorrow afternoon, as it's late here now.

(Edited to add: look right below here -- it makes the post as edited! So I didn't go back and tamper with the dice roll.)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2019, 11:12:49 PM by JasonPratt »



JasonPratt

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Reply #13 on: February 22, 2019, 09:19:27 PM
In hindsight, I suspect the reason for the "tampered" mark is because between the time I started the post and the time I actually posted, Mirth made an adjustment to the die-text size, for which I thank him muchly!

Also, Erax (the Progressive Faction Player, who often double-checks my proceedings), points out that I correctly resulted a DRM +4 for the Macedonian War, but for whatever reason I listed the Legions as numbering 10 instead of 11.  +4 result does include the 11 Legions, so there's no fix to the calcs (only to my text record).

This means the final adjusted score is 15, not 16. That's still a Victory, but one with 3 Legions lost.

(In case you're wondering why I often capitalize certain terms, that's because the guys who wrote the rulebooks did and I'm following suit. I'm not talking about Defeat as a concept usually, or Enemy Leaders, but as technical game terms. My one deviation on that is to call all senators "senators" with a small s, unless I'm talking about vanilla family Senators and then I use a capital S. Statesmen are also senators, but not vanilla Senators.)



JasonPratt

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Reply #14 on: February 22, 2019, 09:21:15 PM
Now for the detailed results of the Victory over the 1st Macedonian War.

Unrest -1, but already at 0. (The Players have been both lucky, and also quite religious about keeping Unrest down.) Defeating this 1st War doesn’t make Macedonia a Roman Province yet, but it does provide the Republic Treasury with 25 Talents in Spoils, up from 77 to 102. Philip grouses in Defeat over to the Curia (respawn section of the board). The 1st Macedonian War Discards.

Paullus, being the Commander (not Julius the Master of Horse), gains the Victory, and so gains +6 (one half the War’s printed Land Strength) Popularity, up from 0 to 6, and +6 Influence, up from 11 to 17. Conservative total Influence up to 33. The 21st, 18th, and 17th Legions (all regulars) are destroyed, and return to the Force Pool. The 10th Legion levels up to (Seasoned) Veteran! Paullus loses 1 Influence for 2 or 3 units lost, down to 5. After a thorough shuffle, Families 20 and 11, plus a blank, are drawn from the Death Bag. Aemilius Paullus and Julius (from families 19 and 4) survive. But Paullus’ fellow Conservatives Papirius (11) and Terentius (20) each lose a close relative in the Legions, earning 1 Pop each (up to 2 and 1 respectively).

The Support Fleets all sail back to Rome immediately, dropping off Julius who finishes his office as Master of Horse: Militarists votes back up 8 from 4 to 12. Paullus starts shepherding his Legions to the city.

This ends the Combat Phase. The 1st Illyrian War remains Inactive (since the Players decided not to risk the Republic’s destruction by aggro-ing it!). But the 1st Punic War, and its Leader Hamicar, remains Active and Unprosecuted.

AzTank and Tripoli must declare, early in the next phase (the aptly named Revolution Phase, the final one for any Turn), whether Paullus and Manlius respectively will hand back their Legions to the Republic -- or whether they will rebel! They are allowed to ‘test the waters’ before they do so, by polling the Active Legions. Paullus can rely on the Loyalty of the Veteran 10th Legion in a Civil War; and Manlius now has the Loyalty of the 3rd (plus his fellow Militarist Julius can rely on the 1st and 11th Vets. The Manlians have been Victorious a few times already, but not since Veterancy was unlocked.) Manlius also has 5 Talents in his personal cash which he could sacrifice to add +1 to the loyalty rolls of five of the active legions. (Other Loyal Vets would surely be called into defense of the Republic by their former Commanders, so no point testing them.) During the Early Era, a 1d6 result of 5 or 6 will grant Rebel Allegiance for any Legion. This test doesn’t necessarily require rebelling afterward, but it must be done publicly so other Players will know about it! If both Players decide to rebel, AzTank’s Paullus as Dictator will have priority and Manlius’ rebellion will be ignored.

To see the continuation of the game (until the next crucial rolls), you can follow this link back to the main game thread at Grogheads. http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=22942.msg642811#msg642811

Thanks to Brant and the Armchair Dragoons (e.g. Mirth admin help especially) for agreeing to host and validate these important times in the game!