Republic of Rome Strategies

I. Initial Intrigue Phase

1. If you are dealt a Statesman that you are unable to play you have essentially three options:
a. Contact the player who controls the Family Card and offer the Statesman in trade, either for cards and/or money. You might also be able to get a promise for something else (like a Consul nomination) but make an Open Deal in order for such a promise to be upheld. Be careful of telling anyone you have the Statesman card if you only have one or two cards in your hand - a player could play Influence Peddling and steal the Statesman from you.
b. Keep the card in hand. If the Family Card is not a Faction Leader then there's a chance that he will end up in the Curia after death. Once in the Curia, you can play your Statesman.
c. Discard it. You can discard any Red Cards during the Revolution Phase. If you control Pompey and have Caesar in hand - you might want to prevent any chance from Caesar coming into the game - so just Discard him.

2. If you are dealt a Family Card that has an associated Statesman you nearly always want to make that Family Card your Faction Leader. You get to keep the Family Card if the Senator dies (unless he was a caught Assassin, etc...), preventing someone else from playing the Statesman. Also, you may not want to play all your Concessions if you don't have the Statesman - you might be able to trade some of your Concessions in hand to another player for the Statesman.

3. You might not want to play all your cards right at the start. If you look weaker than you are - you might stand a greater chance of getting an Office during the first Senate Phase. Also, keeping cards in hand allows you more bargaining power since you can't trade cards that have been played.

4. If you are dealt a Province with decent Personal Income, you probably want to set the Governor's Term to 1 (first term) so that you have more time to cash in on it. If you get a Province with low Personal Income you're probably better off setting the Governor's Term to 3. Usually, you want your low Oratory Senators as Governors so that you will have more votes in the Senate but sending your low Loyalty senators can protect them from Persuasion Attempts. Beware of foreign wars, you will sometimes want to start with a high Military Senator as Governor in a Province at risk of being attacked.

5. If you have a Family Card with an associated Statesman, make him your Faction Leader; otherwise the choice for Faction Leader is up to you. A high Oratory Senator is usually the best candidate especially if it's 4. Since there are usually no Persuasion attempts of aligned Senators on the first turn there is no need to protect a low Loyalty Senator by making him Faction Leader. Give an important Concession to your Faction Leader or high Loyalty Senator or perhaps better, a Governor.

II. Revenue Phase

1. It's good to build up your Faction Treasury. If possible put half of your Income into it. There's nearly no reason to put money in a Governor's Personal Treasury - the only thing he can do with it is Sponsor Games. Don't forget that all your money gets redistributed eash Revenue Phase. Plan ahead as to what you will use your money for (persuasions, knights, games, bribes) and distribute money accordingly among Senators in Rome (or Governors who are returning to Rome this turn). Take Personal Treasury from a Province if it pays well - once you've taken it there's little point in not taking it on succeeding turns. Once corrupt - always corrupt. Also, see what the other Governors' Terms are at. If 6 Governors are scheduled to return to Rome on the same turn, the odds are less that you will be the one prosecuted. In many cases, Personal Income increases dramatically when the Province is developed - in this case don't take Personal Income until after you develop it since an Honest Governor has a 33% chance to develop - a Corrupt one only a 16% chance. Don't forget that if there's a Drought you can take extra income from a Grain Concession - Popularity is not that important for someee Senators.

III. Forum Phase

1. Don't spend too much money on Persuasion Attempts (spend as little as possible) - especially against aligned Senators. Any roll above a 9 and you automatically lose  - and to make matters worse all that money will end up in your enemy's Faction. Spending 5 Talents on a Knight on the first turn (or even later turns) is not a bad idea. It will pay back in 5 turns or less, if you pressure the Knight for dr Talents. The extra vote can be very handy plus there's nothing worse than spending 4 Talents and rolling a 1. Make sure you protect an important Senator by making him your Faction Leader.

IV. Population Phase

1. If the Late Republic deck is in play and the 2nd Catiline Conspiracy has yet to be drawn, it is extremely important that the HRAO have a high Popularity; otherwise you could easily be looking at a People Revolt or No Recruitment, etc... On average the HRAO will lose 7 Popularity when this card is drawn and since he plays first he will not be able to sponsor Games after the card is drawn. Have the HRAO sponsor Games during the Forum Phase or make sure that a high Popularity Senator is made Rome Consul/Dictator during the Senate Phase.

V. Senate Phase

1. The HRAO's faction should usually try to create a coalition that includes the fewest number of Factions with the most combined votes. If the coalition controls the majority of votes in the Senate it can exclude all other factions from Offices and Concessions. That usually means that the Factions with the most votes will be part of the coalition (Knights are important to give a Faction an edge in getting into the coalition). Bribes are not very helpful since they can only be used for one proposal - and they are lost, so a faction with lots of money in Personal Treasuries can usually be excluded from a coalition. However, the HRAO may not want a Faction with lots of votes that is getting too powerful to be part of the coalition - that's when diplomacy becomes trickier.

Here's a good plan for the Temporary Rome Consul on turn 1 of a 4 or 5-player Middle/Late Republic Scenario:
a. Hopefully, your faction has a decent number of votes to begin with. During Initial Intrigue, determine which other faction will have the most votes. This is not always easy since you need to take into account possible statesman plays but you might get an idea by checking which family cards are out. If you have an unplayable statesman consider trading it to the other faction in the coalition if it would increase his vote tally.
b. Communicate with the other faction before Initial Red Cards are played and tell him your plan. Both your factions should set your Governors to their last term so that they return to Rome this turn and maximise the number of votes you both have.
c. Both of your factions should place all or most of your money in Personal Treasuries for bribes in the upcoming Senate Phase. Be careful spending this money for Knights on turn 1 - you might need a few talents to control passage of proposals.
d. Hopefully after all this, when the Senate Phase begins you and the other faction in the coalition will have more votes than the other 2 or 3 factions combined - you might need to bribe a talent or two to pass proposals. During the Senate Phase, propose one of your senators and one of his senators for Consuls. Your senator will become Censor.
e. Prosecute 2 opposing senators with concessions. This might be harder since they get to add their influence to their vote tally. This is where bribes become handy. With two Minor Prosecutions you can get 2 concessions into the Forum. You will assign these later - one to each faction in the coalition.
f. There will be some provinces in the Forum. Assign the low income provinces to opposing faction senators with the most votes. By sending these senators away from Rome you cement your control of the Senate. The high income provinces are trickier - assign them to a coalition faction if the coalition can maintain control of the Senate.
g. The two factions in the coalition should now be able to split up all offices and awards between them - until a key death occurs or one of the two factions starts getting too powerful. The coalition will then likely break but in the meantime both factions have benefited greatly.

On the flip side, if you don't control the Temporary Rome Consul and believe that you will have a large number of votes (i.e. you have Cato for instance) then contact the Consul with the above plan.

2. The Presiding Magistrate should always vote last, especially if he has bribe money available or a Tribune. A Faction being Prosecuted should always be made to vote first. Also, wealthy Factions that are likely to be opposed to your proposal should be made to vote before other Factions.

3. Combine Concessions into one proposal among factions with lots of votes to ensure passage. A Faction will usually not vote against a Concession proposal if he is slated to get one of them.

4. Governors can be recalled during the Senate Phase by electing a new Governor in his place. This rule is usually overlooked. This can be used to get around the Prosecution of a Corrupt Governor since Prosecutions occur earlier in the Senate Phase - however, the Governor in question will only get to take Personal Income at most twice instead of the maximum three times (since he won't be serving his full three terms). If a Province is in danger of being attacked and has a Governor with a low Military Rating, send a high Military Rating Senator in his place - on the flip side, sending a very powerful Senator with a weak Military Rating off to govern a Province that is about to be attacked by a strong war is a good way to have him killed if that is desired. Only a Senator who has just finished a Governorship can decline to govern a Province forced upon him. Once the Vatinian Law is in effect - this strategy can no longer be used. You also might want to send a CFL candidate off to a Province so that he can't be voted CFL.

5. If you have a candidate that is a candidate for CFL and you control the HRAO you might want to propose him for CFL even if there's no chance of the vote going through. Since only one CFL proposal can be made per turn - you are effectively preventing someone else's Senator from making such a proposal. Think ahead if it looks like you will have enough to elect a CFL, pressure your Knights for the necessary bribe money during the Forum Phase. You can turn 1 vote into 1-6 votes for the one imporant proposal.

6. Be wary of one Faction controlling both a Commander in the field (ex. Dictator) and the next Office in line (ex. Rome Consul) especially if the Unrest is high. If the Commander rebels, the Faction can use the Rome Consul to aid the Rebel. For instance, before the Dictator goes off to fight, the Rome Consul may  sponsor a Land Bill Repeal - he can lose up to 4 Popularity by being Sponsor. When the Population Phase comes around, if the Rome Consul (HRAO) has very low Popularity a People Revolt might be rolled giving the game to Rebel.

7. Save your Tribunes, it's not very easy to get a proposal through the Senate especially if you don't control the Voting Order. The player playing the Tribune does not control the Voting Order - the Presiding Magistrate does. Tribunes are usually best for Vetoes against Prosecutions against your Senators and for CFL nominations when you have enough votes for passage.

8. Prosecutions: There can only be one or two Prosecutions each Senate Phase. The best senators to prosecute are those who have at least 21 influence since they can be nominated for CFL and potentially win the game! However, if they have decent popularity (>3) then that becomes risky due to Popular Appeal. Note that it's very important that a Senator with at least 21 influence be assigned a concession so as to make him liable to prosecution. The next best senators to prosecute are those with concessions, especially the grain concessions, because if successfully prosecuted the concession is returned to the Forum where it can be reassigned to a new faction. The HRAO and Censor can usually arrange a deal where one faction gets to be prosecutor and the other gets the concession. Returning governors are typically pretty low on the list of senators to prosecute unless they have high influence or a concession to strip them of - there are usually much better candidates in the Senate to prosecute. This means, that a governor should really be taking Personal Income at all times unless the province is undeveloped and generates very little revenue.

9. Land Bills: When unrest is an issue it is best for the Land Bill sponsor to be the Rome Consul since he will be the one making the Population Phase speech next turn; otherwise, sponsor and cosponsor should be senators who hold concessions or have high influence.

10. Calpurnian Law: I have not tried this but it seems like the Censor should make open deals with all factions that have at least one corrupt governor. The open deal would be that instead of fining the senator, the senator's faction would give the Censor's faction say 2 talents next revenue phase. Since the average fine is 7 talents, the fined faction might be better off just giving the Censor's faction 2 talents instead of losing 7 talents to the bank.

VI. Combat Phase

1. If the Senate has enough forces, send two separate armies to attack a War. Disaster/Standoffs are voided in the second battle if the first one achieved a Stalemate/Standoff. Strengthen a Province by sending it one or more Garrison Legions. Provincial Armies are only counted at half strength unless they are accompanied by a Legion. A Provincial Victory against a War could make it Inactive or return it to the deck in case the army the Senate sent to attack the War rolled a Disaster or Defeat. Be careful of sending too many Legions to a Province - or else you might have a Rebel on your hands.

2. Utilize Provincial Forces. Consider attacking a war with a Province instead of with a Consular army so that you can take advantage of the Province's strength. For instance, instead of sending a very large Consular army to attack the Germanic Migrations, reinforce Cisalpine Gaul (if it's being attacked) with many legions and assign it a high military governor. Note that Provincial armies/garrisons can attack more than once per turn in certain cases. For instance, if there are two Spanish wars attacking Nearer Spain, the armies/garrisons in Nearer Spain will get a shot at attacking both wars in the same turn - if you were to send legions with a Consul those legions could only attack one war.

VII. Revolution Phase

1. Have a weak Governor in a weak Province revolt. Since there can only be one revolt at any one time, by having a weak non-threatening (except for the 20 talent drain on the treasury) Province revolt you prevent a much stronger Commander from revolting on a later turn (only one faction can be in revolt at any one time). Of course this Commander's Faction will want to defeat the Province Revolt but this will require passage of a vote and if the Commander's Faction does not control the Senate may not be possible. Be wary of attacking a Rebel Senator in a Province if he has at least one Legion. You risk desertion of some of your Legions to him if you don't roll a Victory. Note also that your weak revolt can win the game for you if the State goes bankrupt or there's a People Revolt.

2. When preparing a Rebellion. try to get a few Provinces with many Provincial Armies (especially with a Printed Fleet Strength of 0) to become Secondary Rebels. Not only can you use the Province Income (Personal, State, Local) to help finance the revolt (i.e. force maintenance) but you can easily reinforce the Rebel in Italy on later turns if the State keeps getting a Stalemate result against you.

VIII. Early Republic Strategies (for the good of Rome)

These strategies are primarily useful when playing an Extended Game where a triple-strength War can be a big problem. When playing just the Early Republic, it might be possible to ignore the Punic Wars altogether.

1. Play Scipio

If Scipio can be played right at the start, he should be played. If another player controls Scipio but not Cornelius, then he should trade or give Scipio to the player controlling Cornelius so that he can be played during the first Revolution Phase. Though Scipio can't be elected Consul on the first turn (if Cornelius is in play as well) he can be appointed Dictator if the situation arises. It would be a shame to not make use of his abilities on the first turn. In my opinion an Active 1st Punic War is enough to activate a Dictator as I would add the Land and Fleet strengths together (a 10/5/10 war is more dangerous than a 20/0 war in my opinion and the Dictator is there for emergencies). Fabius Maximus and the other Military Statesman would also be very helpful if played ASAP like Scipio.

2. Prosecution of Cornelius/Scipio

A Cornelius/Scipio who becomes Censor during the first Senate Phase should be prosecuted on turn 2 with a minor prosecution. If not his influence could easily rise over 21 causing a very bad political climate at the time when Rome cannot afford one. He can propose to target himself for prosecution. He can select as prosecutor one of his own low-military Senators so that he gets to keep the Prior Consul marker and loses only 2 net Influence. A Cornelius/Scipio who is Dictator should probably not be prosecuted unless the players want a possible -5 to the next Population Roll!

3. Contributions

All players should contribute generously to the State during the first Revenue Phase. A total of 28 to 38 talents is recommended in order to get the State Revenue to 220 or 230. If the players like they can make an enforceable Open Deal at the beginning of each turn stating that no Censor will prosecute a Senator that controls a Concession if all the money generated by that Concession is contributed to the State. I would suggest that such a deal last only for the current turn.

4. 1st Punic War

If no Wars were drawn on the first turn (or maybe only minor ones), and Scipio can be sent to fight it; I would suggest attacking the 1st Punic War with as many forces as can be mustered, spending the entire treasury if need be! Which War to attack is really dependent on lots of factors so you can't really plan ahead.

5. Provincial Wars (Advanced Game Only)

Defeat of these Wars create Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum. The 2nd Punic War can attack Gaul and the Macedonian Wars can attack Illyricum. This could be bad or good depending on how strong the province is. It might be possible to attack these Wars using the Province (a Victory would make the War either inactive or reshuffled). The Provincial Forces and Printed Strength will add to the Roman Force sent to garrison the province. One problem is that the Governor could revolt since all the garrisons are automatically loyal to him (no legion loyalty roll needed) though they do require maintenance.

6. Force Size

Always try to attack with a +11 combat bonus since that would *guarantee* a victory without taking into account D/S numbers. Some of the money spent for the extra legions will be reclaimed by the Victory. For instance, Victory against the Syrian War or 2nd Macedonian War will result in a positive 65 talent swing in the state's treasury. Buying lots early will also help lessen the effects of a Manpower Shortage.

7. Armaments and Ship Building

Don't look at these cards as being bad for Rome. They should be played ASAP! The revenue generated from these cards can be contributed to the State giving an effective 20% discount for Legion Purchase and a 30% discount for Fleet Purchase. Make an Open Deal if you are worried about being prosecuted for playing one of these cards.

8. Matching Wars

It's pretty important to defeat at least 1 Punic War and 1 Macedonian War before you enter the Middle Period. Otherwise, you risk facing triple-strength (or quadruple-strength) Wars fairly easily!

9. HRAO Popularity

In the Early and Late Republic scenarios on turn 1 - it's a good idea to make an open deal during the revenue phase in which each player gives 1 talent to the Temporary Rome Consul on condition that it's spent on sponsoring Games. You want the HRAO  to get at least a -1 on the Population Roll to lessen the chance of Manpower Shortage and reduce the effect of 2nd Catiline Conspiracy.

IX. Pontifex Maximus

It seems to me that the Pontifex Maximus is a break-even office. The Influence gain is kind of pointless especially when assigned on the first turn of the game since there's really no difference between a Senator with say 3 or 8 Influence. Other senators have the potential to gain at least 5 influence every turn and they don't lose it when they lose the office, unlike the PM. Battle Votes might come in handy every once in a while and Priests are not more than game chrome. The extra dr revenue is on par with that from a Province and though there's no corruption involved the PM can still be prosecuted each and every turn because of his office. The Veto is the PM's main power - it really overshadows all the other benefits which are rather minor - but again, the Veto can be negated every turn because the PM can always be prosecuted.

The negative side is pretty huge, the PM needs to keep 20 talents in his Personal Treasury or risk losing 10-30 Talents from his Faction Treasury (plus a possible additional Major Prosecution against his Faction Leader) from an Evil Omens. One problem is that those 20 Talents are tied up when they could be put to better use. The second problem is that it's always risky putting large sums of money in a Senator's Personal Treasury. It's usually done only in preparation for bribing an important proposal during the Senate Phase. Such a large sum is better kept in the Faction Treasury where it cannot be lost due to death.

So basically we have the Veto vs the financial restrictions. Which is better? Which is more important? It's hard to say. I think the best candidate for the office is a faction that has or will get lots of money - like say from the Armaments concession. I'd rather see that money sitting in the PM's Personal Treasury than in his Faction Treasury. In fact it seems like the PM was designed specifically to restrain the benefits of the Armaments concession. Another good candidate for PM (on turn 1) would be the Senator that was Temporary Rome Consul (note that this would make all Senators eligible for Censor on turn 1). The new Rome Consul would make the proposal and that would leave only 2 Senators with a Prior Consul marker on turn 2 - a greater chance for the Rome Consul to become Censor.

X. Evil Omens

The Evil Omens event has some unexpected effects to the game:
1. Assassinations are more difficult. This might be a good time to propose a Land Bill with both of your senators as Sponsor and Cosponsor since the free Assassination attempt against you is harder to pull off.
2. The Popular Appeal table is less effective. It's easier to prosecute senators with high popularity.
3. Revolts are more difficult because Legions are less likely to ally with a Commander.
4. The Julian Law has less of a negative effect on the playing faction.
5. The Graft card is easier to play successfully and less Popularity is lost due to Murder of a Tribune.
6. The 2nd Catiline Conspiracy is less effective.

More Strategy Pages:

Rebellion Strategies