RPGaDay 2015: Day 4

August 4th.

So, I had never heard of this before until I read about it at Casting Shadows. I missed Day One (Star Wars, Force and Destiny, FFG), Day Two (the upcoming Ghostbusters board game), and Day Three (D&D Attack Wing). This is such a great idea though, I want to be a part of it. Also, it forces me to write everyday – which is huge as I attempt to bring the Rhetorical Gamer back from the dead.

Most Surprising Game

I suppose that it makes sense I’d choose to jump in on a day when I have no idea what to say. What makes a game surprising? I feel like in the last year I’ve read a few games that I was surprised by – in the sense that they were more interesting (or disappointing) than I expected but I’m rarely surprised by a game. Most surprising game… well, it’s not from the last twelve months but I only discovered it within that time…

The biggest game surprise I’ve had was Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery from Gale Force 9. I’ve watched the Starz show. It was enjoyable. But I never expected to like a game based on it. First of all – I wasn’t sure what to expect and second, when I saw it in the game store, I assumed it would be just another half-baked tie-in game without enough development and simply taking advantage of the popularity of something else.

This game turned out to be a ton of fun though. There are multiple paths to victory, multiple strategies of play, and each is rewarding. In one playthrough, I did nothing but host the games and came within a turn of winning.

The game doesn’t just focus on the houses, or the gladiators, or any one aspect. It truly does the best of both. There is treachery, and, as promised in the title, blood. There are many different strategies one can attempt and reasons to do all of them.

The treachery portion of the game, where you are wrangling against the other players to enact your schemes is very well handled and causes a decent amount of give and take. The market phase is always tense. And the gladiatorial combat is quick, easy to resolve, and actually fun to play.

Despite my initial reservations, this is a game that it only took playing once at a con to drive me to pick it up for myself. I never expected a tv show tie-in game to have the kind of depth, interesting play styles, and quality this game does.

I’m also pleased that they continue to support it and that it was apparently cool enough that recently an X-Men game has been released based on the rules. It’s a very clever and enjoyable game I wish I could play more often.

So, that’s my most surprising game. Looking forward to day 5.

Thanks for reading.

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