Here is a look at why we thought Falling Sky deserved an Ariovistus expansion, what comes in the package, and how we chose what to include. (Quotations from Caesar’s Gallic War are translations by Carolyn Hammond, Oxford University Press.)
The COIN Series is similar to Card-Driven Games (the CDG System) in leveraging event cards to bring political, diplomatic, economic, and other non-military aspects into a wargame without muss. (Consider, in this regard, the lineage from 1994’s “We the People” by Mark Herman to today’s Liberty or Death.) Falling Sky,is no different. Here we preview a few of the events in the deck that help depict the politics and diplomacy of 1st-Century BC Gaul. Background notes are from the game’s Playbook (thanks to additions from Marc Gouyon-Rety). Citations are from Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War in the format [book.chapter] with quotations as translated by Carolyn Hammond, Oxford University Press, 1996.
COIN Series Volume VIII, Falling Sky, casts players in the roles of great leaders during the Gallic revolts against Roman occupation: Ambiorix of the Belgae, Vercingetorix of the Celts, and of course Caesar. But the next tier of great personages appears in the game also—in the Event cards. Here we present just a portion of the cards that showcase the individuals of each faction in Gaul that help propel the drama of Falling Sky. To the card images we add historical background notes from the game’s Playbook (with thanks to Marc Gouyon-Rety for his assistance), citations from Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War in the format [book.chapter], and sometimes quotations (as translated by Carolyn Hammond, Oxford University Press, 1996).
We arrive at the final of four looks into the player factions in COIN Series Volume VI, Falling Sky. Here follows the counsel kept among the fierce northern warriors of Belgica….
Falling Sky—The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar depicts each of its factions’ personalities in war and diplomacy—as in the all the COIN Series volumes—mainly through its diverse menus of commands and special abilities. But the card deck adds more such personality to each player role. Here we present just eight Falling Sky events that display particular ways and means of the Gauls to combat the Romans and, of course, one another. With each card, we add background from the game’s Playbook, which provides historical notes on each of the 72 event cards (with thanks to Marc Gouyon-Rety for his assistance there and in suggesting several of the events that are in the deck). Citations below are from Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic War in the format [book.chapter], quotations as translated by Carolyn Hammond, Oxford University Press, 1996.
Falling Sky leverages the COIN Series system to highlight Caesar’s triumph of “divide and conquer”. In the third of our four peeks into its faction roles, we hear of the strengths and weaknesses of the Celts who personified the local propensity alternatively to side with or against the invader….
We continue our glimpse into the diverse personalities of the player roles in Volume VI of the COIN Series, Falling Sky. In this second of the series, druids advise a powerful Celtic tribe on how its young king might lead all Gaul in revolt against the Romans….
Here is a peek into the character of each role in Volume VI of the COIN Series, Falling Sky, that also will get you a step ahead of the competition when you sit down to play. In this first of a 4-part series, anonymous ancient authors presume to advise Caesar on his strategy for the reduction of Gaul….
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.