Spartacus A Game of Blood and Treachery

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Spartacus A Game of Blood and Treachery

Post  Kes on Sat 07 Sep 2013, 00:29

I've recently bought this game and played it half a dozen times so I thought I'd do a quick review.

The Positives
The game is set into three basic rounds with each round consisting of different types of actions. The first round you are drawing and playing cards to gain money or influence, the second round you are bidding on gladiators, slave and equipment for the arena and in the third round you fight.
What I like about this game is that each round is as important as the others and if you focus on one, you will do worse on the others. Early on in the game you might focus on buying a powerful gladiator but never get to use it because you ran out of money so you didn't get invited to the battle. This balance of different elements means that there is a whole load of strategy to how you play. There are so many different way of increasing you rank and your gold that you can pick whatever method you like or work around what everyone else is doing.

The game is designed as a trading and backstabbing game which I love but some people don't enjoy so much. If you are playing Catan, it is written into the rules that you cannot lie about a trade and give someone the wrong thing; not so here! Trust becomes an actual commodity in the game. Maybe you tell the truth all the way through and then in the last round, screw someone over and take all their cash or perhaps early on you ruin your reputation and struggle to make deals the whole rest of the game. Gold can change hands at any time for any reason, no restrictions on when it can be done. This opens it up to a whole loads of semi-exploits that are actually entirely in-keeping with the theme.

I also really like games where each player has a different power or special ability which this does in a fair significant way. Most of the game I have seen, people have suffered from not playing to the strengths of their role. Some people may not like essentially being handed a certain play style at the start of the game but I like how it forces you to adapt.

For me, this game has a lot of great elements that combine player interaction, multiple strategies and luck in a satisfying way and I look forward to playing it more.

The Negatives
I mentioned a few things above that were all positive for me but could be negative for the wrong person but there are a few issues I came across that affected the game.

The game has options for short, medium or long games and basically the short game is just to get people familiar with the rules because it remove a huge amount of game. I've played this a few times and you can really feel that something is missing. I've played the long version twice and it is much more satisfying, however it can last a long time. With 5 people it took us about 3.5 hours and although I was having a great time because I was doing well, I think the majority of the players got a bit bored at least half way through because they didn't feel they had any way to make progress.
As with playing the short game, playing with only 3 players makes for a much more limited game so really it's not worth playing unless you have at least 4 people and can spare at least a couple hours.

This is also a game where there's no reason not to get the expansion. It adds new cards and houses as well as the ability to battle 2 vs 2 without adding extra complications to the game.

http://spartacusboardgame.com/
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Re: Spartacus A Game of Blood and Treachery

Post  Aneurin on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 11:42

But the 2 Vs 2 battles don't really work as by the time you reach the dizzy scoring heights to play them... it would be easier to win 1 Vs 1...
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Re: Spartacus A Game of Blood and Treachery

Post  Kes on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 13:00

Yeah, but they are fun! Also you can activate them earlier on with card effects.
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