Monday, August 07, 2006

I was at WBC (World Boardgaming Championships) the first week of August. I watched 22 B2 games in the tournament (and a bit of one pickup game) as well as having B3 played one and a half times, and a few B2 scenarios as well.

What I had resigned myself to, came to pass by the semi-finals: in the last five games, the Romans maxed their Round 3 points in four (80 points), and missed max in the fifth game because one territory was missed and the Roman failed in a 2-1 attack on Boudicca and one army (both Romans died!). I believe in that game the Picts did not submit; in all the other games, all eligible submitted. In many cases they put up a decent fight (Brigs killing three Roman armies and a fort in the final), but they submitted. The difference is how many the Romans get in R5, and how many points the non-Romans score.

The Romans do not have to take a lot of chances to achieve this result. If they did, the result would not be so consistent.

I am not thrilled at this result, though it does illustrate historical Roman power. If I had it to do again I might reduce the number of Romans back to 15, though more likely I'd give the Picts (and maybe the Brigs) the option of revolting if the Romans leave no garrison up north (as is often the case). At WBC many of the English players refuse to expend armies in raids on the Romans unless a fort is undefended by an army. If more armies had to stay north, there's be more targets further south.

OTOH, I read about people who have so much trouble with the Romans, that it might be bad if I'd made it even harder. There is definitely a learning curve here, and some people assume that if they have trouble the first time, then the Romans must be at a big disadvantage ("hosed"). I only saw the Romans achieve this max once in the preliminary three rounds (17 games), but people were learning. Many had not seen B2 before.

In B3 I already have the Welsh (with Caratacus) moving after the first half of the Roman MI; I may include revolting opportunities (double meaning there, from the Roman point of view) for Brigs and Picts as well.

I will also venture this: any Roman who does not take Devon in his first move, and does not take Downlands before the Belgae submit, has Screwed Up BigTime.

The tournament had 45 participants, up from 34 the last two years. Apart from two games at Origins, this was the first time I'd seen people playing the published version of B2.

More in the next couple weeks.

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