12th December - Kampf um Rome
The last session before the festive season for me, next week I shall be really busy so very unlikely to have time for gaming. Anyway tonight we had a full compliment to play Kampf um Rome, the new Settlers of Catan variation. In this game you have a fixed map of the Roman Empire with hidden counters on each city. There are 5 resources, wheat, ore, horses, oxen and gold. Each player has 2 tribes, horsemen and warriors, these start in the NE corner of the board, and basically you move your tribes across the board looting the cities for the counters which give some benefits, gold, resources or development cards but also in most cases cause you to lose a man which weakens your armies. When you have at least counters in three different colours you can start to conquer the cities, when you do this your tribe stops moving and then conquers cities within one arrow away. You have to have an army equal in the strength to the number of watchtowers in the city.
It is an interesting decision when to stop pillaging and when to start conquering. I got the required 3 different colour counters for both my horse tribe and my warrior tribe, I had a development card which let me move anywhere on the board, so I moved my horse tribe to the middle of Spain and started to conquer cities from there. My warriors settled in Gaul and started their expansion there. One interesting thing is that once I had settled I had no gold and the only way I could get any was to do nothing in the build phases and either pick up 2 gold or a resource of my choice. I think I was the first to settle and start conquering, Richard started next, Steve third and Garry seemed to be quite happy to carry on looting!! With rules explanation the game lasted just on 2 hours which was OK. The scores where really close, with Steve just nicking the win.
I must say I enjoyed this Settlers variation a lot more than some of the others I have played. I usually get really useless die rolls and so not a lot of resources, in this game that didn't seem to happen, although I think Richard suffered in this respect a bit. There definitely wasn't as much trading between players in this game and my progress did stall a bit just after I started to conquer cities, you have to place a wagon and tribe member in each city as you conquer them, so you need to keep building them, and I didn't have the correct resources for a couple of turns.
Final Scores (money is the tiebreaker)
Steve 10, Richard 8(2), Garry 8(1), Colin 8 (0)