Barbarians at the Gates

First, a couple of links. (A nice write up a large scale Vietnam game).  And the mega game people in the UK are doing a Zombie game:

Recently I read Edward Luttwak’s Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, which gave me a few new ideas about how to do a Decline & Fall game.  The Byzantine’s had a strategic problem, of having infinite enemies.  If they wiped out a group of barbarians, they risked losing the entire army  in battle, were down coin and soldiers if they won, captured nothing of value, and got to watch more barbarians migrate into the space where the old barbarians used to be a few years later.  This led to an operational strategy of avoiding combat, and using diplomacy to play the barbarians off against each other.  Not a bad strategy, as it worked for the best part of a thousand years.

So for this “At The Gates” game, the players are the barbarians invading the Empire.  Some possible objectives for the players:

  • conquer or build seven monuments
  • destroy more stuff than anyone else
  • capture some specific regional capitals (that are not in close geographical proximity)
  • capture the Imperial capital and any other three capitals.

So part of the game is trying to figure out what objectives the other players have, and trying to interfere with that where possible.

Players start on the frontier, with their horde.  Some specific Imperial defences/monuments are placed on the map, then each player places an Imperial defence unit and a monument.  As Imperial defences are destroyed, the player that destroyed them can reset the defence unit in front of one of the other barbarian hordes (a mechanic used in an old WWII Pacific game called Hit the Beach).

As players advance, they gain loot from capturing Imperial territory.  Each turn they can gain some recruits from frontier zones they control, and continue the invasion into fresh Imeprial territory where more loot awaits.  Or they can stop movement for a turn, and spend loot to recruit forces, including special capability units.  When they stop to build like this, they also get to repair damaged Imperial defences (the ones in front of other players of course).

Potentially the Imperial defences could get quite hard to penetrate towards the end game, so doing some building should be a good chocie at some point during the mid-game, although I think the early game will be all about grabbing as much as possible.

As a twist, their are two (or more) piles of Imperial loot, which increases by one token of loot a turn.  A player can choose to take the Emperor’s coin for a turn, and take one of these loot piles.  During that turn they are a Warlord recognised by the Empire, so they cannot attack the Empire and score extra points for attacking other barbarians.

… tomorrow night, I should find time to post about the next set of ideas for the Bucjets Grand Strategy (in summary, no dice, and change agents into barbarians).

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