Monday, March 21, 2022

Fond memories of The End of the Triumvirate

 The End of the Triumvirate is a game that left my collection a while back because, well, it just never made it on the table. The box says two-to-three but the game is really for three. It’s in the name. And I’ve found that any gathering of gaming that’s more than two is always more than three.

While I don’t regret it leaving the collection, I have nothing but good memories of the game. It managed to deal with some complex ideas with relatively simple rules.

The game takes place at the time when the First Triumvirate of the Roman Empire fell apart. This was a political alliance between Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus. As I understand it, they basically worked together in order to bypass the checks and balances of the Roman Republic. Since it was all about personal advancement, it was already falling apart when Crassus died. Caesar’s civil war with Pompey is where the phrase crossing the Rubicon comes from. So you know who won in real life.

There are three ways of winning: military, politics and competence. And, since money entirely fuels the politics, I honestly remember it more as military, economics and PR.

And what I really remember liking is that the starting positions give each player an advantage in a different area. It’s an asymmetrical war game with no special powers and everyone is using the exact same rules. It’s not unique in that but it’s good to see it done well. 

The End of the Triumvirate also shows how war is as much about politics and economics as it is about fighting. (I try to avoid talking about stuff outside of gaming and books but this is definitely being shown right now) And it does so with relatively short playing time and simple rules.

The End of the Triumvirate is terribly clever.  Glad that I got to experience it.

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