Enemies of Rome (Worthington Publishing, 2017) is not a complex game. Personally, I rate it a 2 out of 5 in terms of Weight on BoardGameGeek. This lite wargame gets played a fair bit in the RockyMountainNavy home in part because the RMN Boys enjoy it. I myself have mixed feelings about the game, but I do rate it a 7.0 (Good, Usually willing to play) on BGG. After last nights game, I may have to reappraise the rating because I discovered, after all this time, I missed a simple (but subtle) rules difference that, when played right, makes the game a better expereince!
Movement in Enemies of Rome comes in four types. It should be obvious, the rules sections is even titled, “4 Types of Movement.” Legion and Enemies of Rome both have Land and Naval Movement. The subtle difference I missed before last night is that Legion and Enemies of Rome Land Movement is NOT the same. Specifically, Legion Land Movement comes in two flavors (again, obvious in the rules…if I paid attention):
LEGION LAND MOVEMENT
A. Movement from an area you control to an adjacent area that contains another color cube in which case you must stop, even if you have movement remaining. A battle will occur after all movement is completed for the card play.
B. Move from an are you control through adjacent land areas you control ending in an area you control. A cube that moves more than one area may not enter an area with opposing cubes.
On the other hand, the Enemies of Rome Land Movement specifies:
ENEMY OF ROME LAND MOVEMENT
Enemies of Rome units may enter an adjacent area with enemy of Rome units in it. This does not cause a battle.
Enemy of Rome units may enter an adjacent area with legions. This does cause a battle.
The subtle difference between Legion and Enemy movement actually has a major impact on the game. The difference is mobility; Legions have it (move across multiple friendly adjacent areas) while the Enemies of Rome can’t (move to an adjacent area only).
Another rules subtlety I missed before is in the first part of the Movement rule. It states, “When an area has 2 different color cubes present no units may move from or into that area.” This prevents “multi-axis” attacks.
Now, it would be easy to say that the rule book is poorly written and blame the designers Grant and Mike Wylie. It is written in a more conversational style that can trip up gamers (Root, I’m looking at you!). In this case, I think the cause of the confusion is more my own grognard hubris. I have been playing wargames, some very complex, for nearly 40 years and a lite wargame like Enemies of Rome appears easy. In turn, I tend to skim the rules catching concepts over details. Looks like I have to slow down and pay more attention, even to “simple” games. The end result will likely be a more fun game – and that’s worth alot!
Featured image courtesy Worthington Publishing.