End of the Triumvirate is a natural three-player game: one player is Caesar, one is Pompeius and one is Crassus. Unlike in real history, the triumvirate couldn’t stop their fighting at the Luca conference, but started a full-blown civil war. Each player is trying to dominate the other two.
The battle is fought on three ways. One is military conquest: the board is divided into 15 regions and each player starts controlling five of them. Conquer four more and you win a military victory. Second way to win is political: game lasts for four years, each one ending in the election of the consul. Become consul twice and you win. Third victory is the competence victory: players advance in political and military competence tracks, get those to maximum and you win.
No extra space
It’s a tight fight. There’s no useless space on the board, but the players start in full contact. The mechanics are simple: provinces produce either money or legions every other turn (unless a civil servant is present to whip them). Players move around with their characters collecting resources from their provinces, moving legions with them. Step into an enemy province and a fight begins.
War is also simple. Both sides lose as many legions, defending character kills few more and random spice is provided by weapons drawn from a bag. They are cubes that might affect the battle in one way or the other — it’s a random element, but the contents of the bag are public and thus you know the odds beforehand.
Each turn ends in actions. Actions cost gold: more actions you take, more gold it costs, and if you’re not leading in competence, you pay even more. Political actions move voters in the consul election, either to you or from other players. Military actions add weapons to the battle bag. You can also increase your competence.
It’s a three-way tug of war, pretty much. Anything you can get is taken from another player. Players must form temporary alliances to beat down players close to winning. Games like this can get messy and drawn out, but End of the Triumvirate prevents that. First of all: after four years, someone is voted as consul twice and will win. Probably sooner. Also, when people get more competent, it’s rather hard to drop their competence down (it can be done, but it’s not easy or fast).
I think the game is rather neat. I’d love to like it, but in the end, I’ll have to say it’s cool, but not my cup of tea. If you like euro war games with perfect information and lots of interaction and are looking for a game for exactly three players, End of the Triumvirate is an excellent choice.