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Tabletop Gaming, Models, and Minis => Forum-Based Games => Topic started by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 05:48:52 PM

Title: Infothread for THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 05:48:52 PM
The promised time approaches.

Friends! Grogs! Too long have our twin-citied mother-hills, who nursed us from our infancy, lain enchained by one despotic king after another! Are we not men? Are we not Romans?! Look at the massive strides across the world taken by those dogs of Achaia, who ruptured fair Troy (from which according to legend our ancestors received the ship of Aeneas)! They flourish with their democracies; we languish with our Superb Tyrant!

No more! -- today we stand to represent all the people of Rome, creating a Republic in defiance of the power of one, warring instead for the benefit of all!

I invite you, O senators appointed for the people, to establish: THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME!

(click to embiggen)
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 05:59:43 PM
This is the forum game of THE REPUBLIC OF ROME which I've been working on producing, for a few months now.

I anticipate fraternal questions. Should I attempt a FAQ, or collate a video demonstration of three players washing through a setup and first turn? Or just try to give some minimal information necessary to start the game, and explain things as we go once the game starts?

(To download the latest April 2018 copy of the living rules as a pdf, click here to jump downthread ( Or go to BGG's Republic of Rome page and mouse around.  :coolsmiley: UPDATE: the link to the rules-post below, now features the Sabrerules doc which I created to run the forum game on.)

As a very quick overview: up to 8 forum members plus myself as the umpire (doing the scutwork and calcs behind the scenes), along with backups in case players have to drop out, would be assigned Factions at the Birth of the Republic; whereupon you'd manage the senators of your faction (including persuading more senators to join your Faction in various ways), and politically cooperate with each other to keep the Republic alive for, hopefully, longer than historically.

The game will be trying to beat everyone by destroying the Republic; and will also be tempting and prodding players into trying to win by yourself alone, by promoting one of your senators into being Consul for Life (i.e. the Emperor). But everyone will win if they can hold out against the various challenges long enough.

There isn't a combat map; this isn't a wargame (although there are a lot of wars to beat). But I'd report various things to the players publicly in this (or perhaps another proper game) thread, and also report a few bits of secret information privately to players using the p-mail system of the Grogheads forum.

Players would be encouraged to chat with each other publicly and privately (via p-mail) to work out deals with each other.

Despite the rules being infamously complicated, most of the _actual gameplay_ by the players doesn't take long to do. And it starts out with many of the game factors locked behind a play-wall, so to speak, being progressively unlocked as various goalposts are passed.

I would be tracking the game on the TTS module I've been working on, and posting relevant screenshots for players along the way, as well as giving reports of what their various choices have wrought (and what the game's system is throwing up at you all).
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 07:19:22 PM
On consideration, perhaps a report of where my "demo" game has gotten to at the end of the first turn, would be helpful in giving ideas about the game.

This player drew the oldest senatorial families in the game, and they created the ARISTOCRAT Faction. (Factions are generated by your randomly drawn first senators; and you'll play the same Faction, but probably not the same senators, all game long.)


Tabletop Simulator hates using its own text labeling tool, so if you zoom in too close it cuts off part of the texts.  :P But anyway.

Fabius there, or his ancestor rather, also randomly drew the first Consulship, but he proceeded to die of old age before he could do anything. At the time, the Aristocrat Player had assigned faction leadership to Fabius, so when he died his family was able to get a new scion immediately elected (senatorial elections happen in the background of the game) -- so the senator respawned, in effect, immediately, with his stats set back to vanilla. The pawn (purple for this player's table color) shows he's still the faction leader, although this Player could have chosen otherwise once already.

With the original temporary-Consul dead, the highest ranking available senator was Cornelius, with 6 influence, but he has foolishly squandered that down to 1 in an attempt at being clever with his proposals in the Senate. (Actually he only dropped to 5, but a neuron in my head wasn't paying attention and I dragged a '1' marker over, because he lost 1 influence from 6 to 5. But the snapshot makes for a more amusing cautionary story!)

The Aristocrat Faction farms influence slowly but steadily along the game, and as long as they have more total influence than any other Faction each "knight" of their senators can cast 2 extra votes instead of a knight's usual 1 extra vote, on any topic pro or con. Senators are the minions of the players; and knights are the minions of the 'visible' senators: they're normally-invisible senators who have joined up to support the visible ones, sometimes bringing along more votes with them from their friends.

This player has drawn a couple of tribunes as faction cards so far: normally these would be hidden from other players, but I'm showing them for illustration. Tribunes can't be played this early in the game so he's holding onto them for later.

He also drew the Statesman Appius Claudius. Statesmen are unique historical senators, who usually have better stats than normal senators, and always have at least one special ability maybe more. But when they die, they discard permanently. The Aristocrat player can't really use Appius yet, because another player has the Claudian family in play.

The counter in the middle right shows the normal number of votes this faction can muster, which is a sum of all the senators' Oratory skill plus the number of knights. The Aristocrat faction was able to persuade a knight to join Claudius, so they do get that extra vote; but at the moment their influence isn't the best in the game so the special knight ability doesn't trigger.

Cornelius, as the highest ranking official at the time, gave an impressively sucky speech to the people about the state of the Republic to start the senate, and significantly raised the unrest level. If the players and their senators cannot manage the expectations of the people, the population will riot and murder the senate, losing the game for everyone!

After opening the senate, and nominating some other senators as the two Consuls this year, the Aristocrats didn't accomplish anything else this turn. They've had a bit of a bad run, but they're still in the game with 6 normal votes and 9 total influence. Also (in the very far upper right near "Faction Treasury") they're the only faction which still has 1 talenton in their treasury! -- but none of their senators have any personal cash.
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 07:38:29 PM
This player's two random starting senators had the highest remaining military skills, and so made him the MILITARIST Faction.


The Militarists don't get more than the usual extra vote for each knight; but each knight does increase his patron senator's military skill! Military skill allows senators to make legions or fleets up to twice as effective -- it's a managerial, logistic skill really. I'll show an example later. The Militarists also gain a little extra popularity and influence from defeating wars. So they're set up to be very attractive choices for the senate to vote to send off in command of an army -- thus gaining more than usual influence and popularity that way!

That's what has happened here, in fact. The Militarist player drew two starting faction cards which he could play, one of which was the senator Cincinnatus. He isn't on the mat right now, because the players elected him as Field Consul and sent him off to fight against the final Roman king, Tarquinius Superbus. Which means he isn't in Rome now, and so cannot contribute to the Militarist's normal vote count or influence total.

The Militarist Player also randomly drew a special starting Statesman card which he played on Claudius (whom he chose as faction leader for now), buffing his lackluster 2 Military skill up to 4. They were able to persuade a knight to join Julius as his minion, too, which will effectively increase his military skill to 5 in a battle.

The Militarists are dead broke right now, with nothing in the factional treasury or the senators' personal treasury. But they do have 7 votes and 8 total influence, even without Cincinnatus in Rome.

The Militarists are also responsible for Cornelius of the Aristocrats losing a point of influence, when he proposed Cincinnatus and Fabius (the other Aristocrat senator) as Consuls. The Aristocrat though the Militarist would agree to the vote, but the Militarist surprised him by voting against it -- and naturally so did the 3rd player of the demo. Cornelius had to decide whether to take the hit in influence or cede his Presidency, which would have gone to Fabius (his faction compatriot) but for demonstration purposes I had him take the influence loss of a point.

We'll see how Cincinnatus of the Militarist faction did against Tarquinius soon. But first the final player of my demo.
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 07:59:06 PM
This player's random starting senators had the largest remaining total of influence -- and he was also just the last remaining player -- so they created the Republic's third faction, THE PLUTOCRATS!


While you can see they have no cash remaining in their faction treasury, Valerius has 5 talentons of silver and Manilus has 1. He had another 5, but he used it to buy a knight as his minion, and it won't take long for that investment to pay off because all knights earn 1 extra talent for their patron and Plutocrat knights earn double! The Plutocrats also start the game with one knight, which this player assigned to Manilus (also the faction leadership), so he's the only senator with 2 minions yet. Moreover, the Plutocrats are the only faction in the game to start with 2 talents already in the faction treasury. So they get a nice starting boost, which a careful (and lucky) player can parlay into an ongoing income advantage. But his knights won't ever bring more than 1 extra vote per knight.

(Every Faction has special abilities that the players can use to hack the game.  >:D )

Valerius got elected the Roman Consul, so he's the current Highest Ranking Available Officer in Rome -- also he ended the Senate as the Presiding Magistrate (both of which I marked for convenience beneath his card, but I haven't gotten around to erasing the PM yet.) Unless he dies during the Mortality Phase of Turn 2 (which is unlikely) he'll be giving the next State of the Republic speech to open the Senate next turn, and he'll be responsible for nominating replacement consuls for himself and Cincinnatus: no Consul can serve two terms in a row.

The Plutocrat player was lucky to draw a Concession (most of which aren't playable yet) for Harbor Fees, which he assigned to Valerius, earning the Faction an extra 3 talents per turn. (Concessions can and eventually will be lost, whereupon the senate can vote who gets them next.) Earning cash from concessions opens a senator to charges of corruption, but this early in the game no one can prosecute for that yet. I've left his corruption marker on his concession by accident I MEAN FOR ILLUSTRATION but it ought to be gone now because he got through the Senate Phase without investigation.

This player also drew one of the Tax Farming Concessions, but he can't play it yet because the Republic's territory isn't large enough. So he's holding onto it for later -- or as a bargaining chip perhaps.

Lastly, the Plutocrat player drew a Marriage Intrigue, which will give him protection against counter-bribing if he tries to persuade an unattached Senator to join the Plutocrats.

The Plutocrat player is unarguably the strongest faction of the game right now, with no less than 12 total influence, and 6 normal votes (even though neither of those senators is all that great with Oratory), plus some personal cash still to burn which he's carrying over into Turn 2. Plus as the HRAO, he gets to go first around the table when players take rounds to make choices -- so if a new family Senator shows up in the Forum next turn, he'll get first crack at him! -- and will likely have the cash, and the marriage offer, to snap him up!

At which point he'll also be the chief likely targets of plots by the other players.  ::)

So, how's the War going meanwhile...?
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 19, 2018, 08:24:58 PM
Yick, not so great!


Cincinnatus was unable to roll more than a Stalemate, even with his relative bonus to the dice roll (once all the relevant factors were accounted for). And Stalemates in this game suck! -- he lost 2 whole legions, which this early in the game is a disaster (and lost him a point of popularity which is now negative 1). The players will have to agree to donate practically all their income next turn to Rome's Treasury, to have a chance of affording to send him some reinforcements. But at least he wasn't captured or killed, and although he lost the people of Rome are (warily) satisfied that at least he's out there trying, prosecuting the War. He could still turn things around.

Also, one active War won't kill the Republic directly -- four active Wars will! But wars cost at least 10 talents each turn, and Rome's income is only 30 talents a turn right now.


The pawn marks the income rate. But Rome's treasury, for various reasons, only has 36 talents. Add 30 = 66, minus 10 for the War, minus another 2 for the (remaining) active Legion, and that's 54 Talents. Not bad, the Senate could even vote to raise 5 Legions with that (and the Republic starts with the logistic capability of fielding 7 Legions -- here they are in the Force pool where potential forces wait to exist):


(When Legions, and later Fleets, are defeated, they go back to the logistic Force Pool, which grows larger as Rome wins certain Wars later.)

But all it would take is a few bad events, whether randomly rolled or historically drawn -- and the historical ones are coming sooner or later... and if Rome can't pay its bills, then EVERYONE LOSES!

One such historical event was already drawn on this first (Demo) turn:


Fortunately it didn't cost any cash, just a little unrest due to the drought condition it instigated. (And the Senate had to decide whether to pass a 1st degree Land Bill to offset the unrest, which they decided not to since that would cost a ton of talentons -- which for the nascent Republic didn't seem to be a good idea!)

Still, the senators will have to decide how conservative or risky to be next turn, in spending money to raise reinforcement legions.

This early in the game, the Republic lives on a knife's edge, which strongly encourages the players to cooperate together -- at first.  ^-^

Later, once things start spiraling out of control in other ways (but when resources are a lot richer), it'll be increasingly tempting to step in and save the Republic by yourself, winning the game by yourself! -- but the attempt at doing so might well tear the Republic apart giving birth to the Empire, leaving everyone to lose after all.

And that's the game.  O:-)
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 20, 2018, 12:45:37 PM
The more-or-less official Living Rules to the main game can be found attached below as a pdf.

This update was last revised pretty recently, in April this year (2018).

It contains most of the rules I'll be using (including Advanced Rules), but not the rules for the Birth of the Republic prologue or the Civil War epilogue. I'm also house-ruling a few things for convenience in forum play; and adding some other upgrades such as extended rules for Province defense, and specific factions (which I invented with some basis in bot-player rules.)

Once you have stared sufficiently into the maw of insanity, try not to despair: easily 2/3 of the rules are just mechanics for resolving actions in the background (which I'd keep track of), and the rest would be introduced slowly over turns as game factors unlock.

For example, in the first turn the Senate will never have more than two officers to elect (and at the same time), namely the two Consuls. All the other officers unlock over time as players 'build' the Republican Senate apparatus by passing semi-randomly positioned goalposts.

UPDATE Feb 20th, 2019! -- I have also uploaded my current Sabrerules version, which includes rules from Birth of the Republic and the Civil War Era epilogue, plus my house-rules for asynch play, and some attempts to update the rules where the current Living Rules seem to run against their own gists in places. (e.g. province defense.)

Naturally, this will be more detailed than the Living Rules (since it covers more material) but I've also tried to sort the rules into a flow-list, somewhat like for a computer program, which has helped me a lot in test-plays so far.
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: Windigo on August 20, 2018, 03:03:19 PM
I haven't read mind numbing instructions since mirth published his early child memoire's.... I'll read them.
Title: Re: Calling together THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on August 20, 2018, 03:29:10 PM
Great! -- you won't live to regret it!  :bd: :hide:
Post by: IncompetentIdiot on August 21, 2018, 03:35:48 PM
I've yet to work my way through the rules, but consider me provisionally interested!
Post by: JasonPratt on August 21, 2018, 05:56:41 PM
The rules kinnnnnnnd of boil down to this:

0.) Setup Phase: fully automatic, Players do nothing. Iíll create the mostly-randomized scenario decks; set up the board; deal two family Senators to each Player (reporting their stats); and randomly deal one hidden Faction card to each Players (p-mailing each player as to what card you've got and what it does and when you can use it). Then Iíll assign a Faction type to each player based on current Senator stats (and explain your Factionís special skills). This will also assign the "clockwise order" around the table. At that point I'll report initial conditions to the Forum (including which Player's senator got randomly drawn by lot as the temporary Consul), and provide some snapshots so players can be introduced to their factions.

00.) Turn Zero: Running clockwise from whoever holds the temporary Consul, each player will choose one of your Senators as your Faction Leader (Iíll explain why thatís important) and decide whether to hold or play a few types of Faction cards to buff your Senators early. (Most Faction cards canít be played until parts of the Republican system have been established, however. In the first several turns Players will be Ďbuildingí the Republic.)

Those two Phases wonít be repeated. Each Turn will consist of 7 other Phases, with Turn 1 having a few special rules which Iíll explain at the time.

1.) Mortality Phase: an entirely automatic phase, this randomly checks if any senators die from indirect causes (even on the first turn!). It also advances some Imminent Wars to Active. If the temporary Consul dies then (unlike the example above) I'll probably just randomly draw another active family.

2.) Revenue Phase: a somewhat automatic phase, where all the normal money generation and billing happens. Previously exchanged money among Factions gets activated here, and similar exchanges can be made without delay. Players can also move money between senator and faction treasuries, and direct senators to donate to Rome's treasury. A GAME LOSING PHASE if Rome canít pay its bills. (But on the first turn it's impossible to lose this way.)

3.) Forum Phase: This is where Scenario or else Random Event cards are rolled, drawn and played, one for each Player (all of which is automatic one way or another). Each Player, one after the other, will also spend a round working out a sequence of four or five relatively simple choices for your Faction (early in the game more like one or two choices), while Iíll do some potentially complicated automatic stuff behind the scenes.

4.) Population Phase: a short entirely automatic phase, dealing with civil unrest. A GAME LOSING PHASE if Players havenít been successfully managing the slings of outrageous fortune. (But on the first turn it's impossible to lose this way.)

5.) Senate Phase: a highly regimented player interaction and choice phase (with some automation). Each Turn, Players must vote Senators into various offices, and vote on some Republic administrative choices. Assassinations can be attempted here, too! The Senate Phase is the meat of each Turn. Early in the game there isn't much specific business to vote on.

6.) Combat Phase: wars play out now. Usually entirely automatic. A GAME LOSING PHASE if 4 or more Wars remain Active after the Combat Phase. (But on the first turn it's impossible to lose this way.)

7.) Revolution Phase: Players each take a round to buff up their Senators with Statesmen and Concessions; discard (or donate) down to <=5 Faction cards; and (if valid) decide whether to rebel (which can't happen on the first several turns anyway.)

After that, the next Turn starts with the automatic Mortality Phase.

To recap: each Player has a few choices to make in the Revenue Phase; a few choices in the Forum Phase; a number of things to hash out together and vote on during the Senate Phase; and a few choices to make in the Revolution phase. Most of your choices and actions will be during the Senate Phase; and I take care of all the automation.

Tomorrow I'll list and explain the 8 Faction types.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 22, 2018, 07:04:00 AM

Specific player Factions are pretty new to the game, and haven't been officially adopted yet. The TTS module I built from, included notes for the now-official four "bot" factions, plus notecards suggesting another four factions; so I worked up the idea that the first senators to team up together would naturally create political parties based on their personal interests, and so create the Players in effect.

The Factions only have positive extra capabilities, not special restrictions. They also create the clockwise player order around the table, based roughly on my guess about when certain factions would emerge and/or how important they'd be to the Republic. Who actually goes first on any round of player actions, is based on which player currently has the highest ranking available officer, so Player One doesn't mean this player goes first. It's only a relative marker to designate play order: player 2 will always be to the left of player 1, and so follow him in play order, etc. (Some action sets however will be simultaneous in effect, and in the case of voting the HRAO totally decides the order of polling players for votes.)

Three of the 8 Factions have been introduced already but I'll recap them here for convenience. Since these are works in progress, I reserve the right to tweak them further for game balance. Where there are ties on criteria, I'll just move on to creating subsequent Factions until I deduct all but one of the tied players, who will then get the Faction you were tied for.

THE ARISTOCRATS will be Player One: this Faction is created by the senator group with the oldest families (lowest family numbers). Their long-standing connections allow them to slowly farm Influence, which is the ultimate scoring factor of the game, and then to consolidate votes in the Senate with their influences. Thus, if a senator in this Faction receives any additional amount of Influence, the Player will receive 1 extra Influence which you can assign, as soon as you wish, to any one of your other senators. (If you only have 1 senator, he gets the extra point.) Then, so long as the Aristocrats are the faction with the most Influence present in Rome, your senators' knights will bring double extra votes on any topic, for or against. This is the most powerful voting buff in the game, but it naturally depends on the player keeping his senators in Rome rather than off doing other things.

THE MILITARISTS will be Player Two: also known as the Imperialists later in the game. This Faction concentrates on military victories, and is created by the senator group with the highest remaining total Military ratings. Their knights don't get more than the usual 1 extra vote in the Senate, but instead they act more like what we think of as "knights"! -- they add 1 point each to their senator's military rating. This "Mil" rating represents the senator's organizational and logistic skill in managing legions and fleets, increasing the fighting power of each unit up to the limit of his Mil skill. (So a senator with Mil 4 leading 6 Legions will let 4 of those 6 add another point to the combat.) That's true for every Player's senators, but the Militarist's knights allow your senators to effectively manage more forces in a fight. (So that same senator with 2 knights can buff all 6 Legions, not only 4 of them.) Militarist senators also gain 1 additional Influence and Popularity, beyond the normal amounts, for Victory in a War.

The Militarist player basically farms influence by other Players being a little more willing, especially in military emergencies, to elect your senators to the highest offices (Consuls and Dictator, with their Influence rewards) so that you can go fight wars for the Republic; which you're more likely to win; which earns you Influence and Popularity rewards more often for Victory; plus a little extra Inf and Pop. This also means your senators will be less likely to be in Rome itself for Senate proceedings, and your knights don't get special voting buffs, so you're more dependent on other players to advance your Faction along. (Which makes trying to bypass the Senate and seize ultimate power for yourself, and for Rome's protection of course, proportionately more tempting.... which other Players will know and so be leery of wanting to give you powerups by siccing you on Rome's enemies.... this game, y'all.  >:D :D :smitten:)

Perhaps most importantly, the Militarists are one of the three Last Ditch Factions! As long as a Militarist senator is the Highest Ranking Available Officer, Rome cannot lose from having more than 3 Active Wars still remaining at the end of the turn! -- the idea being that people remain confident when the Militarists still have someone in reserve who can pull Rome's hash out of the fire. But of course, that means keeping an Officer still in Rome (to be HRAO) rather than off actually fighting a war. (It also means the other Last Ditch Factions might not be able to use their safety nets to preserve the Republic in disaster.)

More Faction introductions later.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 22, 2018, 09:33:21 AM
THE PLUTOCRATS will be Player Three. This Faction concentrates on making money (duh), and is created by the senator group with the highest remaining total Influence ratings. The Plutocrats are one of the only two Factions to start the game with an advantage: you're the only Faction who starts with any cash in your Faction Treasury! Aside from 2 starting cash, you're also the only Faction to start with a free knight whom you can assign to any of your senators on Turn Zero. Plutocrats rely heavily on your knights, who each get 2 talents of income instead of 1 during the Revenue Phase. But your knights don't provide any special voting buffs (just the usual 1 extra vote per knight). Also, your Faction Leader always generates 5 talents for your Faction instead of the usual 3. (Your other senators generate 1 each as usual.)

The Plutocrats will usually be one of the strongest Factions in the early game, and they have the tools to come back from factional disaster. Also, their senators tend to have a lot of personal cash which makes them proportionately resistant to other Players persuading them to switch factions. But cash, and the wise use of it, is their only advantage.

Perhaps most importantly, the Plutocrats are one of the three Last Ditch Factions! As long as a Plutocrat senator is the Highest Ranking Available Officer, the Republic can survive any expenditure going below zero! -- the idea being that people remain confident when the Plutocrats have someone in power who might still pull Rome's financial hash out of the fire. But that means such a senator cannot leave Rome to go do other things which might earn cash; and it also means the other two Last Ditch Factions might not be able to use their safety nets to preserve the Republic in disaster. (Rome can survive simply having a budget debt with another Faction's HRAO, however, as long as a new expense doesn't go farther in debt.)

This catches up the Factions already introduced in the demo Turn One snapshot. More later.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 22, 2018, 07:16:48 PM
THE CONSERVATIVES will be Player Four. This Faction is created by the senator group with the highest remaining total Loyalty ratings. They're the other of the two Factions who start the game with an advantage: they get one additional family Senator during Setup! This often makes them the strongest single Faction for at least a little while, and each of their knights adds +1 to their senators' Loyalty, making them usually the hardest to persuade away throughout the game.

Moreover, if one of their Statesman has a family card beneath him, the family Senator instantly inherits all chips upon the Statesman's death, creating an immediate replacement. (Usually family Senators under Statesmen go to the Curia on the gameboard, which is the temporary discard pile, to be semi-randomly respawned back into play, and not necessarily or even probably back to the family's former faction. This ability means a Conservative Statesman will usually be able to train an inheritor -- although sometimes Statesmen show up in a faction and happen to die before their families come into play, in which case this Faction ability doesn't trigger. This problem happens a little more often in the Latin, Italian, and Early Provincial Eras, which helps counterbalance the Conservatives starting with an extra random Senator.)

Last but not least, since Conservatives guard against what they judge to be mistaken change, their senators' knights count as double when voting against any Proposition in the Senate. (Most votes are on Proposals, but not all of them, so for example this ability doesn't affect Prosecution votes.)

The Conservative Player will usually be focusing on collecting Statesmen and family Senators, and while you won't receive special buffs to their positive abilities you'll tend to have a larger team cooperating together than other Factions, with some extra ability at scotching other Factions' plans. Which you might be able to leverage into considerations along the way.  ^-^
Post by: JasonPratt on August 23, 2018, 12:35:19 PM
THE POPULISTS will be Player 5. This is the only faction whose knights grant no special buffs, just the regular 1 extra vote and 1 talent per knight. You also have no specific way to pick up extra influence; and you have no starting advantages. What you do have, is a popularity score vote buffing totally independent of your knights! -- for every point of popularity, your senator gets an extra vote. (It doesn't strictly buff your Oratory skill but the effect is similar.) So the more effective your senators are at being more popular than average, the more power you have in the Senate on any topic!

Relatedly, any time one of your senators gains popularity for any reason, you can assign one more Pop point to any other of your senators. Unlike any other vote buffing (including the Aristocrats which have a similar power), these votes always factor in regardless of any other circumstances -- as long as your senator is Pop 3 or better. So you have to work for it, and you have to work to keep it, but the results are a little easier to keep in effect than the influence buffs of the Aristocrats. (On the other hand, there's an inherent limit of +9 Popularity, so none of your senators can have more than 9 extra Senate votes this way. I'm still polishing this ability for game balance, so if the Populist seem way too overpowered later I may nerf their pop-vote ability a little. Not sure yet.)

Perhaps most importantly, the Populists are one of the Three Last Ditch Factions: if a Populist is HRAO when opening the Senate with the State of the Republic speech, the Republic can't lose the game to a People's Revolt. Nor will a Populist senator with any positive Popularity be slain by any mob riot (from that speech, or otherwise such as prosecutions.)

Like the Aristocrats, whose abilities they resemble, Populists tend to do better later rather than sooner, as they slowly but steadily work on winning popular support. They can be important swing voters, especially when opposing the Neutralists on a topic, since your extra voting power isn't tied so much to your knights.

As you'd expect, this Faction is created by the senator group with the highest remaining total Oratory ratings.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 24, 2018, 06:17:16 AM
THE EXPANSIONISTS will be Player 6. They're created by the senator group with the highest remaining influence (again). This Faction sees Rome's future being built on expanding off the Italian peninsula to take over the worrrlllld muahahahaha!  >:D

Your senators' knights count double when voting for any senator (even from another Faction) to be Governor of a Province. They also count double when voting for sending a Force to any War where victory creates a Province, or helps protect a Province, or recovers a captured Province, or recovers a Revolting Province... you get the idea. (Later in the game that's most Wars.)

Expansionists are better than usual at Developing Provinces when the Senate assigns them as Governors, and they get double rewards for successfully doing so. With your senators as Governors, Provinces also add +2 to every gain result in a Province -- so thanks to your superior management you can pick up more personal profit (if you want to risk that) but Rome itself profits more, too, and you can more efficiently add provincial fleets and troops for Province defense. Relatedly, your Governors gain twice as much reward for successful Victories as Governors against enemies of the Republic. But they aren't really combat-minded, so your senators don't get extra Military skill or other combat bonuses. Which is why they get more rewards than Militarists, for successfully stomping out a War from the launching point of their Province. Expansionists get x2 results; Militarists get 1.5 results + 1 extra point, but Militarists with their knight headquarters are much better at leading the Legions and Fleets to kick ass, and are more likely thus to pick up Veteran allegiances. No one really expects a Provincial governor to beat a War, so he gets extra reward for a heroic defense protecting Roman territory.

Provinces always have an inherent defense anyway, but the Senate can assign Legions as Garrisons, and Governors can build up local province defenses, including at sea where applicable. While inherent defense always stays with the Province, provincial troops can be added to help rebellions march on Rome! -- but Provincial units, unlike Garrison Legions, fight at half strength.

So Expansionists are super-Governors, who help out Rome and themselves thereby. But there are two big catches: your senators are more effective when they aren't in Rome, and thus not in the Senate voting with their minions; and your Faction has no special abilities for the first several turns of the game -- because there aren't and can't be any Provinces yet. You won't start playing according to your abilities until (some semi-random time in) the Early Provincial Era. Specifically, not until the Republic faces the first War that creates a Province.

So your Faction can improve quickly, but not until all other Factions are (probably) ahead of you. Until then, you're a purely generic Faction. And, more than any other Faction, your special abilities rely more on other Factions. So this is a tricky Faction to play, maybe the most difficult in the game, and arguably the most diplomatic.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 25, 2018, 01:25:18 PM
THE PROGRESSIVES will be Player 7. They're created by whichever of the remaining senator groups has the highest oratory (again).  Like the Populists, your Faction appeals to the people of the Republic, but rather more specifically than the Populists do: you protect the people against corruption in the Senate (even in your own party occasionally!)

Your senators' knights count double when voting for (not against) land bills, and when voting for or against any Law. Moreover, your knights count double when voting against another senator's gain, or for another senator's harm! (For example, against a senator gaining office or gaining a concession; or for a senator's conviction in prosecution. The former example may often team you with the conservatives, ironically!) Most importantly, each of your senators winning in a vote where their knights counted double (exercising your abilities), gain 2 Influence! -- and if they win a prosecution vote against one of your own senators, they gain 4 Influence!

Thus, Progressives tend to farm influence by being the spoilers or trolls, or if you prefer the internal affair investigators, of the Senate. Using your special abilities can be very powerful, and advance your Faction in Influence quickly; but naturally this comes as the expense of being the overt enemy of practically every other Faction. And usually your ability will also be at the expense of the actual progress of the Republic, making it less able to defend itself and grow and stay in existence. Unwise use of your abilities can easily lead to EVERYONE losing -- including yourself. So, this Faction requires careful subtlety to avoid self-destruction.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 25, 2018, 02:02:07 PM
THE NEUTRALISTS (or Neutrals) will be the 8th and final faction: obviously created by the last remaining senator group left over. ;) The Neutrals aren't activists, which is why naturally their Party forms last. But this refusal gives them a reputation of honesty and simply focusing on getting the job done. This renders you somewhat beloved by the common, invisible senators, who see you as something like the non-Faction, and therefore like themselves.

Consequently, your own knights count twice (convincing their friends) when voting in favor of your senators being granted concessions, plus 2 more general faction votes; and the same is true when voting against the conviction of your senators in any prosecution. (The 2 extra general votes, notice, remain true even if you have no knights at the time.) The idea here is that your reputation deflects charges of mismanagement and corruption, so you're more likely to be trusted with major offices and, ahem, extra income generations. ;)

Moreover, the knights of other factions don't normally vote AT ALL against your senators' gain, nor for your senators' harm! -- thus rendering other Factions less able to combat you! But, other knights will still vote with their normal and special abilities for you or against your harm; and they'll vote with their normal and special abilities when opposing you in favor of their activist interests.

Specifically: the Aristocrat general double-knight voting power will always affect you, so long as their Faction is the most influential (which triggers their activist ability, which in their case affects all voting topics pro or con). But if their faction isn't the most influential, then their knights won't oppose you.

Conservative knights still oppose you, and at double power, if voting against a Proposition that gives gain to your senator. But their activist ability doesn't affect other votes, including Prosecutions, so their knights will never vote for your conviction if you're prosecuted.

Progressive knights still gain double votes against your senators gain or for their harm, because that's their activist ability against everyone. So the Progressive knights are always essentially immune to your neutralizing power. Meaning, you had either better team up closely with the Progressive player, or he's going to be your nemesis.

Expansionist knights are only activist voters (bringing double votes) in situations which don't involve opposing anyone's senators anyway, so they're always affected by your neutralizing power. And Militarist knights aren't activist voters are all (concentrating on management of wars instead). But while Populist knights aren't activist either, and so are always affected by your neutralizing power, Populist senators gain extra votes by a totally different method which your power doesn't affect! -- and so those extra votes (from Popularity rating) will always affect you.

So there's still a lot of balance involved. You aren't simply nerfing all other knights from voting against your senators' gain or for their harm.
Post by: JasonPratt on August 26, 2018, 09:54:21 AM
I have just updated the post with the rulebook, clicked back upthread here (, to feature the doc file flow-list that I would be using to run the game. This includes all patch-ins for the prologue and epilogue Eras, plus house-rules for asynch, and some rule updates I've invented to work out some kinks in the April '18 living rules; printed in a flow-list somewhat like a computer program, so that I can follow the rules in a sequential order.
Post by: JasonPratt on September 06, 2018, 03:44:41 PM
Okay, the Crisis Grogs have finished out Falling Sky game, and now we're going back to the start of the Republic to see if we can return to the end of it!  <:-) Or words to that effect!

So far, I've got slots reserved for Barthheart, Dave, Larry (aka ArizonaTanks), and Rich.

Windi expressed an interest upthread, and "IncompetentIdiot" seems in (sorry, I thought you were "Iconoclast"). That's six, so two slots are nominally open; but players might withdraw or change their mind, so if anyone wants to sign in, go ahead. (I don't know whether I'm insane I MEAN SKILLED enough to run two games simultaneously, but I won't rule it out...!)

Anyway, players should confirm by posting below, and if you have any faction preferences let me know. I'll do my best to slot people in according to the initial random draws.

Edited to add: eh, I created a thread specifically for signup instead. (
Title: Re: Infothread for THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: JasonPratt on September 17, 2018, 04:06:40 PM
I have now created the gamethread here ( at that link. I won't be posting further to this thread, except perhaps to update the rules occasionally.
Title: Re: Infothread for THE GROGPUBLIC OF ROME
Post by: Ethel the Frog on September 19, 2018, 09:04:37 PM
Sorry for the delay. 

I will give each Senator 2, and they will not contribute to the republic treasury.   (You have indicated that the republic treasury can go negative without problem as long as I am in charge, so I see no need to throw any money away.  Plus the treasury seems to have money.)