10 March 2013

Spartacus 2-player experimental session

Showed Spartacus to a friend this weekend, initially it was intended to be a 3-4 player session but since everyone else was busy building terrain for Market Garden the two of us had improvise. The game is ill suited and not meant for 2 players since you miss out on a lot of features. But we managed to play through the basics by drafting house rules for random bidding at the market for the 2 NPC factions and randomly determined who controlled which NPC faction at the start of each turn so they shifted back and forth.

Now perhaps the most interesting thing in this short story is that my friend is an extremely picky person when it comes to wargaming and boardgames - however he really liked the direction of Spartacus. We will try to get a 3 player session together this week.

As for the experimental house rules:

Both players pick a faction they want to play, the remaining two factions are randomly assigned at the start of each turn and the players who end up handling them treat them as a separate faction and resolve them as if they were played by a real human player in terms of paying upkeep, playing intrigue etc.

The only thing you can't do in the intrigue phase is "support" another player.

Then you have the open market phase where each faction is resolved separately, again you can't sell things to other players due to the awkward 2-player restrictions. The auction phase is resolved such as you turn up one market card at a time - the two human players make their hidden bidding - show their hand and then roll 1D3 for the NPC players and see what they are bidding. If you roll 3 you roll 1D3 again, but only once so a possible total of 6 gold can be paid by NPC players for market cards.
Bidding for hosting the arena battles is done in a similar fashion, both human players bid first then roll 1D6+3 for the NPC players (who will pay between 5 and 9 gold for the honor of hosting). If an NPC wins the bid then the player controlling the NPC decides which factions he wants to invite - here the host may invite his NPC faction and his "human controlled" faction to the same game.

So it's a bit tricky, and not really optimized, you miss out a lot playing it with 2 players only, but if you want to see how the game flows this may work as an emergency solution.


  1. Säg gärna till nästa gång ni funderar på att spela det igen, då jag gärna är med och testar det här spelet. Det låter suveränt att det inte endast är ett fighting-spel, utan de har tagit med saker som att man måste sponsra sin gladiator mm.


  2. I will probably bring it down to the club next time as well.


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