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Republic of Rome is a board game published in 1990 by Avalon Hill. It is based on the history of Rome from 264BC to 43 BC. It is relatively unique in that in requires some cooperation between players, since all players can actually lose, if they fail to defend Rome from wars, especially the Punic Wars. It is best played by 4 to 6 players, although there are rules for 2 players as well, or you could add a 7th player without needing much extra game material.

In comparision to other games, it is a bit like the Illuminati board game and like Junta. That is, in addition to the board, which is mostly used to represent the status of Rome, each player is leading a faction, formed by members of well known families of Rome. In some families, prominent persons from history will appear, like the Cunctator, Scipio Africanus, Sulla, Caesar, the Gracci, Crassus, Cato, and Cicero.

Some persons have special abilities in war, some do well in talking to the public and in persuading families to join their faction, other get more votes in the Senate, only a few have special options. There are several dimensions you can improve your faction in: A larger faction, more income, more popularity or more voting power("experience"). One source of wealth are concessions, and as the game progresses, to be governor of provinces.

One source of power is to hold one of the offices of: Roman Consul, Field Consul, Dictator, Censor or Pontifex. The first three of these officials have to fight and win the wars that threaten Rome, or a rebellious player, who threatens to win the game by leading an army towards Rome. Fighting wars does not involve moving lots of little tokens around the map, it is a straightforward act of determining the number of legions and fleets to send on a campaign, and if the battle is won, giving gold to Rome and popularity and experience to the Field Consul or other leader of the army. There is also the office of Master of Horse, who will support the Dictator in a battle, but will not benefit from winning a war.

The game needs some time till it gets to the climatic point when lots of wealth flow and when players have good chances to win. Usually you should expect to play up into the 2nd deck of cards, representing the "middle republic". If you only play the first deck, your primary goal will be not lose the game (together), by failing to handle the wars or state bankruptcy ("beating the game").

The most fun part is to haggle for offices, concessions or provinces or getting sent as the leader of an army to fight a war, since all of this is determined by voting. Some role-playing happens when as a head of state you have to convince the other players that what you propose is not only good for you, but good for Rome as well. While the other players might vote against you in one round, do not worry, eventually they will support you in order not to make others too powerful. All elements of the game play together. While there are a lot of game rules, all frequent activities are easy to execute, and the rules make sense. Add to that the historic background, and the only thing that should keep you from playing Republic of Rome is that it might take around 2-3 hours to play the game, and that the game is open ended - it might end early, in the first deck, or later, in the 3rd deck.

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