At boardgame convenitons, everybody tends to play a lot of everything, and miniatures conventions aren’t that different in spirit. For every diehard Napoleonic miniatures game going on at a minis convention, there’s a nook somewhere filled with the same chaps who play minis playing Descent, or The Hell of Stalingrad, or the Haunting House, or even The Republic of Rome. High ticket, gorgeous multiplayer games with great artwork have been a staple at the HMGS Conventions I regularly attend. I certainly understand this. Who knows when you’ll find that mix of people again, really?
Republic of Rome is a sentimental favorite of mine. I can’t admit to playing it more than a handful of times– it takes a large time commitment I don’t have any more, and it is a very unique game design that might not appeal to everyone. For one thing, to see it get lumped in with “war games” is misleading. I’d call Republic of Rome a “Peace Game”.. a game not primarily focused recreating a historical battle. Battles and military actions are part of things, yes, but they are played out “offscreen”. The main focus of Republic of Rome is power and politics within the Roman Senate. Within this framework, the players use diplomacy, alliances, persuasions, prosecutions, graft, bribery, murder and even conspiracies to advance their cause. The subject matter and mechanics will always turn someone off. After all, this game doesn’t come with a map, or little army counters to move around capturing land and killing each other. Many of my gaming buddies would sneer at gaming the edge of the seat action involved in gathering votes for a consensus in the Senate over the opportunity to flatten some Guards Tank Army ringing Moscow, for instance. Different strokes for different folks.
It’s been a long, long time since I played Republic of Rome, a game design that dates back more than 20 years. I wonder if the passing of time would diminish or enhance my interest in games from my own past. Frome what I hear, the game itself has not changed much, but the components in new version are simply gorgeous. RoR is one of those games that figured prominently then but not so much more than a memory now. I’m intrigued, but maybe not enough to shell out what Valley Games is asking for it. I guess I’ll have to play it one of these days, and find out.