Sunday, June 15, 2014

AAR: Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery


My buddy, Nick, played Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery (henceforth called "Spartacus") while at TwisterCon.  He enjoyed it so much, he bought both the base game and the expansion (it allows for up to six players).

When I proclaimed 5/29 to be "Board Game Night" at my house, he asked to bring it for the group to play.  Side note:  Nick loves games with backstabbing as an integral part of the theme.  With our group that can either be okay, or not go over so well.  With that in mind, I gave him the nod, but with some trepidation.  Also, since Nick doesn't blog, I can write up the evening's events!  Yay!

Without making this a review of the game, I'll give a very brief overview of the game.  You are the head of a Ludo (one of the six from the TV show).  Your mission is to be the most prestigious ludo in Rome.  To do that, you have to make your house (slaves, gladiators, money, etc) more powerful while keeping the other houses down via bidding, timely card play, alliances and old-fashioned cheesedickery.

For those who watched the TV show, you already know it was full of violence, vulgar language, intrigue and sex.  This game captures the feel of the show to perfection.

The gang, mid-game.  Kenny looks intense, doesn't he?
There are a lot of cards in play, but essentially it is easy to track.

An arena battle is commencing.  Absolutely brilliant combat mechanics!

The end of a large, 4-gladiator spectacle.  Oh, the humanity!

If you follow the show, phrases like these ring 'true' to the theme.  For those who aren't, then they seem a bit...wrong.

 About halfway through the night, I looked at Nick and said "I like this game".  Yes, there was skullduggery, but there were also a lot of strategic moves to make to counter those moments.  A couple of heated rivalries emerged, but ultimately the night ended before the game.  Nick, Kenny and I were all on the cusp of winning, with the other players close on our heels.  Another round and I think Nick would've taken the honor of 'top ludo', but we'll never know for sure...

Spartacus.  If you like these sorts of games, buy it.  You'll be happy with the choice!

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