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Players are vying to take over leadership of Rome from Sylla, otherwise known as Sulla or Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who is stepping down from his position as dictator after reforming the legal system and the Senate.
To win the right to rule Rome, you'll need to earn prestige by showing strength in the areas of civic spirit, leisure and health -- but the value of each of these areas will depend on the actions taken during the game as well as the events that you need to confront.
To increase your standing among the public, you'll use support from Senators, Legionaries, Merchants, Vestal Virgins and Slaves to construct buildings (each with a special ability), stave off attacks on and negative events in Rome, and receive revenue to spread among the Plebians or pool with other players to build great works. (In some ways, the great works resemble the sacrifice element in Knizia's Amun-Re as players either contribute to building them and earn points, or give their money away to lower the total amount given.)
You'll be fighting ever-increasing famine, which costs prestige to those who can't support the people. Decadence is a constant threat, lowering the spirit of the public through their own besotted behavior. Your choice of Vestal Virgins or Legionaries will determine your influence on the event chart and your ability to protect the value of civic spirit, health and leisure. Of course if someone else will protect those values due to their own holdings, so much the better for you.
Events, great works, and various player actions raise and lower the value of civic spirit, leisure and health in the minds of the citizenry, which affects the prestige point value of each at the end of the game. If one of these concerns bottoms out on the value chart during the game, those politicians who show the least interest in this area lose prestige while the big boosters gain it. After five turns, the game ends and players find out who will now be in charge.
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com
Vestal virgins, slaves, merchants, legions, senators; these are the cast of characters at your disposal. In a fiercely competitive political arena, your ambition is to fill the shoes of the legendary Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix, or Sylla, as he was known. In the vacuum created by the demise of his powerful dictatorship, player’s play the part of Roman senators striving to take the reins of a government poised between the end of the aging Republic and the beginning of the epic Roman Empire.
Ystari is renowned for deep strategy, gamer’s games, where resources are at a premium and needs at a must! Sylla does not drop the ball in this regard. There is a LOT going on in a single game turn, but most of the mechanics should be familiar to Ystari enthusiasts and will not overwhelm. We liked that there is plenty of room for differing strategies in Sylla, ranging from an extreme of powerful concentration to having an iron in every fire.
There is a lot to do, in a game of Sylla, and a lot of ways to do it.
I think what I like most about the game (if I had to pin it down) is the managing the characters. You start with a couple and gain more as the game progresses. Each character has different capabilities to proxy your auctions bids, provide income or vote on laws. Revenue is generated in different arenas and there are a number of differing currencies. We enjoyed the brain burn of the game and felt like the many choices were pleasantly painful, while play flowed smoothly around the table. The board does a yeoman job of providing a beautiful and at the same time, highly interpretive game hub. The rule book quickly became vestigial.
Rio Grande Games does it again!
3-4 players, Age: 12 & up, 60-90 Minutes