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Roman Emperors - Map

Roman Emperors - Map

Roman Emperors – Turn Summary
The Map

Some time ago, in this forum, a post about the Cairo tiling draw my attention. I was so dazzled by its beauty that I swore then I would use it in one of my games somehow. Well, the opportunity aroused with the Roman Emperors board.

The map comprises different provinces. The Senatorial Provinces (with SPQR) are your starting ones and they collect taxes for the Emperor every turn. The Imperial Provinces (with Resources) are progressively conquered by the Emperors during the game, and yield the resources required to build Wonders in Rome. The barbarian (outer) provinces are hard to conquer and will yield no resources, but can score you some victory points with a successful military campaign without leaving the next players more resources in their hands (let them do their own dirty work!). Finally, there are also maritime areas in which you can place fleets, so your Legions can reach the farthest regions in your turn.

After seen many games set in the Roman times, but with their boards pasted over actual maps, I began to wonder if they had such an exact cartography at that time, or if borders were so clearly drawn. Anyway, the map could have being drawn in hexes, and that would look less shocking to usual gamers, but I’ve being drifting towards disliking hex patterns the more I look at them (and I get way too many chances to…). Maybe the publisher will finally decide against this board, but I don’t mind. As for playtesting concerns, it presents info in a clear way and allows comfortable placement of tokens in the board. There is no “does this province borders that one?” issue, or the pesky tiny provinces so common in area-(something) mechanics. The rules also help to avoid clustering, as there can be one legion and one building at most in every province (or just one fleet in a maritime region).

Regarding the board, I think the key notes about the build-over-previous mechanic used in Roman Emperors are two: first, the map is simpler; and second, it helps balancing. You may easily figure out on your own why that is, but let me point out something as an example. The first player is presented with the possibility to invade 17 different provinces. That’s 2/3rds of the map to choose from! If I had to present that same amount of choices for four players in different factions, well, my map must have been 3 or 4 times bigger (else I would have to add some sci-fi wormholes or fantastic teleportation spells!). As for balancing concerns, the provinces function much like the squares on a chess board. Even if some look like more favorable than others at first; that changes constantly. It depends what you and your opponent(s) do in turn. Can you say a chess board is unbalanced? Well, you’ll find out that even if this board is much more complex, it cannot favor you or jeopardize your opponent unless you use it wisely.

Thanks for reading. All feedback so far has being constructive and much appreciated.
More to come. Keep thinking!

PS the Cairo tiling thread here


a pentagon map! fun!

a pentagon map! fun!

Isn't it cool? :)

I had the same first thought myself. I'm not sure how a real asset that would be... but I like it nonetheless! :) thanks

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image | by Dr. Radut