For those of you who missed Part I of this article, you can find it here: Rendering Caesar’s COIN (Part I)
Welcome back to our answers to your questions about how our design Falling Sky adapts the COIN Series’ game system, originally about modern insurgencies, to depict the Gallic revolts against Caesar in the late 50s BC. In Part I , we attempted to address the larger questions you raised about the change in era, and about player roles, incentives, and capabilities. Now, as promised there, we delve further into the details of individual game mechanics, events, and aspects of war in ancient Gaul as explored in this upcoming COIN Series volume. Thank you for joining us once more! – Volko Ruhnke
How are Roman politics handled, when Caesar’s goal was power in Rome, and Gaul was just a way to achieve this? Can the Caesar player lose the game by losing the support of the Senate? If Caesar loses the Senate’s support, does it mean he has to go beyond the Rubicon?
Volko: As we touched on in Part I, the game treats Caesar’s exploits in Gaul as helpful to his power in Rome because they were an expression of Rome’s larger impulse to expand. So, the degree of Caesar’s success in subduing the Gallic and Germanic tribes will influence the degree of the Senate (and other Roman interests’) approval of Caesar. Each Winter, the number of subdued, dispersed, and Roman-allied tribes in Gaul—the Roman player’s victory score—can push Roman politics (a simple the “Senate” track in the game) from the usual intrigue to either adulation of or uproar against Caesar. Various events (for example, “Cicero”) can have a similar effect.
Andrew: It is definitely possible for Caesar to lose the game by losing the support of the Senate, although indirectly. Instead of loss of Senate support causing an automatic defeat for the Roman player, it instead causes several nasty, negative effects, such as decreased auxiliary forces and more limited access to legions. A Senate in uproar against Caesar will not take legions away from him, but will limit his ability to replace any legions lost.
We have also included an event card which, when played, will trigger a need for Caesar to cross the Rubicon and effectively end the Gallic War and the game and cause a final victory check. An effect this drastic will of course need a certain prerequisite to be met: that the Roman score exceeds a certain threshold. This represents significant opposition from Caesar’s political enemies and a slightly earlier than historical Roman Civil War. In this scenario, Caesar’s opponents have become alarmed enough by his military success to attempt to remove him as governor.