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 Post subject: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:25 am 
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Before reading any further, three things first:
1. Unlike Battlestar Galactica, Spartacus features beautiful women! (and handsome bare-chested men if you're into that kind of thing)

2. The review is divided into 5 modular parts (about the game, theme, mechanic, weaknesses, and who should/shouldn't buy it). You can read one of each part independently and in no particular order. Confusion and lack of sensible information that you experience during your odd way of reading is in no way a fault of my writing.

3. My expectation when buying it was low. I was prepared to sell it on 3L at a loss. The only reason I bought it was because every reviewers said it's a sleeper hit on Essen 2012 and is usually on a top 5 of recommendation. So.. after the first game, did it surprise me like it surprised others?

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SPOILER ALERT!!! wrote:
yes


ABOUT THE GAME
Spartacus is what you call a pure ameritrash game. There is not even an ounce of one of those elegant euro mechanic implemented within the game. It's really simple and very easy to learn and teach. The mechanic also relies very heavily on the theme to make sense. Fortunately, everything works and there is not even a slight hiccup that could pulls you, the player, off from being the head of an ancient roman aristocrat house vying for control over Rome through blood and every other dirty trick you have in your evil playbook.

THEME
Like Tom Vasel use to say, it oozes theme. It's so rich that you can easily immerse yourself into the game. You don't even need to watch the TV series. I don't. In fact, I kinda hate the series for being overly violent and sexual without any plot worthy of following.

All you need to know about the game is that in Ancient Rome, rich people are dicks. They have slaves in their home and Gladiator show like WWE Smackdown of modern time.

If you like the theme in Battlestar Galactica, you're gonna love this.

MECHANICS
The game is basically divided into four phase:
1. Upkeep is simple administration phase.
2. Intrigue is the phase when you scheme and plot against your opponents.
3. Market is when every wheeling and dealing happen
4. Arena is when two gladiator fight for honour or whatever agenda you have.

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Included in the game are:
- Take that element within Intrigue phase. You play a card you have to get an advantage or to make your opponents life harder. The interesting part is not only that it cost gold to use, it also cost influence and sometimes, you don't have enough of influence. You need others' support to use those card. However, other than pledging support, none of the deal are legally binding in the rule of the game. Expect douchebaggery and asshattery to happen very often.

- Free market trade. Each tradeable asset you have (gladiators, slaves, equipment, and guards) have default price in them. But, when you trade with each others, their cost depends on how you negotiate with others and it usually higher. You can even auction your asset if there's enough demand to do so.

- Auction. Aside of running your own auction, the market (the game) will also run a silent auction for players to acquire more asset. If you like hanging around on eBay in the weekend bidding worthless stuff for kicks, this is the perfect game for you.

- Bribing, Blackmailing, Extortion, Backstabbing, and the whole shebang. Have I told you how evil the game is? Very.

- 1v1 PvP dice rolling game. You like DnD? Descent 2e? Miniature game? This is exactly it! You pin your gladiator against the other using a handful of dice to roll. While it can be mitigated a bit with equipments and special skill, it still relies on your luck. The good thing about the PvP mechanic is that when your gladiator take damage, he become less efficient fighter. So there's definitely no instance when a dying gladiator one-hit kill a fresh gladiator with one lucky roll and overpowered combination of equipment.

Note that this mechanic is so tense, those with bad heart or those who can't handle the pressure of having the fate of all your household over your hand should avoid the game altogether.

- Betting. Now you know why it has mature rating. You can bet for three things: Victory, Injury, and decapitation. Yes, your gladiator can get his head chopped off during the fight. Even if he yield, when the spectators wills it (or the host), decapitation can still happen.

Have you watch oscar winning Russel Crowe's Gladiator? yes, the difference between the life and death of your Gladiator is as simple as a thumb down.

Note that you could get overly attached to your Gladiator or slave. Just remember that it's just a card with picture in it, it's not real. It's just a game

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COMPONENTS
The material quality is industry standard. The real human photo is good. It lets you emotionally invested with your slaves and gladiators, that you will feel sad when your Gladiator lost his head. or when you have to choose which slave to drink the poison.

The problem is the art direction. The game use promotional photo and stills from the TV series. So there are three very different approach with the the design and this unwanted mixmatch is really just a mismatch. On one side you have one of those hi-def shopped foto with sharp texture and lots of gray colours, which i personally hate, then on another you have stills taken from the film and some of those are badly shopped, really bad photoshop work, then you have the softone ones with good colour balance that look good, but doesn't exactly fit with the whole blood and sweat, and gritty design of the layout.

PRICE
Bang for the buck! It's cheaper than most AT game out there of the same class (medium)

APPARENT WEAKNESSES or why it doesn't get a perfect 10 from me.

1. As previously mentioned, the art direction is bad
2. There's fairly limited variety of stuff in the game. You only have four well balanced asymmetrical house to play. While you have lots of Gladiators and slaves, the equipment available for them are fairly limited.
3. 1v1 gladiator fight is not enough. I want 2v2 or even handicapped match, or match against exotic animals like in real Gladiator fight, or royal rumble fight to the death.
4. it can only be played with 4 players max. The game will benefit from more players.

HOWEVER, there's an expansion coming adding variety of stuff and 5-6 players variant.

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WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
- TV series fan
- Ancient Rome/Gladiator fan.
- Ameritrash fan.
- People who like highly social game with lots of interaction and conflict
- if you like really tense dice rolling
- PvP fan
- Douchebag and asshat

WHO SHOULDN'T BUY IT?
- Nice people who like to play nice
- Those who have difficulty adapting to ever changing situation. You can have a grand scheme of things to follow through, but things will change and you need to be able to make changes with your plan quickly.
- Those who get hurt easily
- Those who won't even hurt a fly
- 12 years old or younger, seriously. There's blood, killing by decapitation, and gambling. It's bad influence for kids.

AS A RULE OF THUMB:
When playing Spartacus, always remember: What happen in the game stay in the game.

and please, no table flipping allowed.

CREDIT:
all images are taken from http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1286 ... -treachery

Question and stuff is welcome. I will answer the best I can.


Last edited by yontory on Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:34 am, edited 13 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:43 am 
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maap ga nulis pake bahasa indo (padahal inggrisnya masi ngawur2). kosakata indo gw lebih terbatas lagi dan gw uda nyoba nulis pake indo tapi kesulitan ngelewatin paragraf kedua. so.. :P


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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:31 am 
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So out of 10, what score would you give it?

yontory wrote:
2. There's fairly limited variety of stuff in the game. You only have four well balanced asymmetrical house to play. While you have lots of Gladiators and slaves, the equipment available for them are fairly limited.


Kalau limited variety, menurutmu bakal cepet stale dan monoton nggak?

Pingin punya game tentang roman gladiators tapi ragu2 mau ambil ini atau Munera:Familia Gladiatoria.

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Adhikayev wrote:
So out of 10, what score would you give it?

Probably an 8 or 8.5 if you're into decimals :)

note that the only 10 I've ever given was for AGOT 2e. The lowest was 3 for Monopoly Deal.

Adhikayev wrote:
yontory wrote:
2. There's fairly limited variety of stuff in the game. You only have four well balanced asymmetrical house to play. While you have lots of Gladiators and slaves, the equipment available for them are fairly limited.


Kalau limited variety, menurutmu bakal cepet stale dan monoton nggak?

well, karena most of the fun yang gw rasakan kemaren berasal dari interaksi antar player dan combat gua rasa longevity gamenya lebih ditentukan ama temen main daripada variasi komponen. Walau terbatas, kemarin blom semua tipe equipment, gladiator, slave, maupun intrigue card keluar. Deck-nya masih tebel gamenya uda keburu selesai.

Tapi kalo ngeliat harganya yang cuman 25.99 $ di CSI, worth it banget konten-nya. Kalo kurang puas bisa beli expansionnya. Gua kayaknya bakal beli karena mo nyobain variant 5-6 player dan 2v2 combat. :)

Adhikayev wrote:
Pingin punya game tentang roman gladiators tapi ragu2 mau ambil ini atau Munera:Familia Gladiatoria.


Ga pernah mainin gamenya, tapi kalo dari info di BGG dan review-nya Marco Arnaudo...

Theme
- Spartacus tentang aristokrat family yang berebut influence lewat scheming dan gladiator fight.
- Munera itu simulasi gladiator school.

Art design
Sama-sama jelek. Tapi gue lebih milih Spartacus karena:
- Fotonya lebih jelas. Cewe2nya lebih cakep
- Jumlah warna abu-abu di Munera lebih banyaaaaak

Historical correctness
- Spartacus diadaptasi dari tv series yang mana bukan merupakan penceritaan akurat dari ancient rome jaman dulu
- Munera rasanya lebih akurat mensimulasikan kehidupan gladiator school di roma jaman dulu.

Complexity
- Spartacus itu simpel. Semua rules-nya straightforward.
- Munera lebih kompleks, dan harus ngapalin iconography-nya dulu di first game.

Gladiator Combat
- Spartacus itu tactical miniature combat with dice-rolling. Kayak maen 1v1 oversimplified warhammer game aja.
- Munera itu turn-based simulation combat yang sepertinya juga lebih kompleks, cuman yaa itu... no miniatures, no tactical movement to do. Just rolling dice, shifting numbers...and only one dice? :(

Player Interaction and Viciousness
Spartacus kayaknya lebih banyak player interaction dan sepertinya juga jauh lebih ganas daripada Munera.

Hope it helps :)


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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 9:51 pm 
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Thanks for the thorough comparison!

Duh, kyknya dua-duanya worth having nih... Spartacus for "take-that, backstabbing interaction" (and at 26 USD its a steal :) ) and Munera for historical-sim nerdiness.

Unfortunately, Munera lebih pricey dan lebih rare, cuman di ebay yang harganya rada mendingan.

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:23 pm 
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itu minisnya fan made atau bawaan bro?

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:28 pm 
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thinkbeyond wrote:
itu minisnya fan made atau bawaan bro?

nanya2 minat y? :lol:

sikattttttt james

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:29 pm 
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dniel wrote:
thinkbeyond wrote:
itu minisnya fan made atau bawaan bro?

nanya2 minat y? :lol:

sikattttttt james


ow, definitely..
abis THR :ngakak:

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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:34 am 
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thinkbeyond wrote:
dniel wrote:
thinkbeyond wrote:
itu minisnya fan made atau bawaan bro?

nanya2 minat y? :lol:

sikattttttt james


ow, definitely..
abis THR :ngakak:

sorry for the late reply.

selain gladiatornya semua fanmade. digambar yg satu lagi ada yg ngeliatin semua komponen out of the box. walau ga terlalu susah buat arena sendiri, gw rada males bikinnya karena storingnya repot.

oh iya, ada plastic tray-nya juga di box yg masih banyak space kosong. mungkin memang dari awal uda disiapin buat expansion


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 Post subject: Re: [review] Spartacus: Blood and Treachery (17+)
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:20 pm 
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nebeng threadnya ya.. ini ada kickstarter buat arenanya spartacus.. hehe https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hu ... ccessories

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