The Germanic Successors of Rome Attempt to Survive Further Invasions
Summary: The game broadly represents the situation in western Europe following the fall of the Roman Empire. Each of two to six players represents one of the Germanic invaders who, pushed by the Asiatic Huns, settled in and eventually destroyed Rome. As they attempt to consolidate and expand their holdings, a variety of invading nations threaten to overwhelm them, as they overwhelmed Rome. My intention with this game was to combine “Euro” elements with a light historical wargame. The game uses no dice; players use cards to influence combat, and also use event cards to control non-Germanic invaders and influence other players.
At least one game has been played in which the players, unbidden, did not attack each other directly during the entire game, though there was lots of fighting with the non-Germanic invaders. Nonetheless, successful players usually directly attack another player at some point in the game.
It is possible to be reduced to one area and still come back to win the game. It is also possible to become non-Germanic invaders; hence there is no player elimination.
There are three versions of the game, each version building on the previous one. The first version will satisfy many; the second, more “historically accurate”, is the one I’d expect many wargamers to play; and the third is the most complex and lengthy.
The game length varies, in part depending on how long the players want to play when it starts; 90-150 minutes is typical, but a “full-blown” complex game can last much longer.
In general, the game includes the following characteristics of “Euro” style games:
• Players have just a few reasonable choices in each turn
• Uncertainty of information
• No player elimination
• Intervals between playing ("down time") are short
• There are not many pieces--cards, counters, etc.--for a player to manipulate in a given turn
• Great visual interest
Brief description of play: Players take turns executing a variety of Actions up to a limit of six Action Points. Some of the Actions are creating new settlers, moving pieces, and playing Event Cards. Three or (in Standard and Advanced games) four rounds of turns are a century. Invasions occur at the end of each Century, or they may occur because of an Event Card played by a player. One player or another temporarily controls Invaders as they invade. Players attempt to increase the number of settled areas, improve those areas, and, in Standard and Advanced games, build cities. They will probably fight Invaders, and may fight one another, using Battle Cards to help resolve these fights. When the game ends, each player tallies his score, and the highest scorer wins.
Components: Less than 17" by 22" board of 27 areas including western Europe to Hungary and Serbia, and including North Africa and the Mediterranean; 46 Event cards and 40 Battle cards; 220 figures and markers (for up to six players) including horse, foot, settlers, “improvements”, towns, castles, and cathedrals; rules.
Competition: Many of the playtesters for this game are video gamers who do not normally play boardgames: it is much more accessible than most “wargames”. I know of no similar game.
Expansion/series possibilities: Conceivably, eastern Europe and the Middle East could be added to make a much larger game, or that area could be used for a somewhat similar game. Many of the systems (mechanisms) are being used in a science fiction game, an ancient Near-Eastern game, and a Chinese history game, all my designs. There are other possibilities.