Last weekend saw the final game in the Pennine Megagame calendar: the Last Romans, designed by Paul Howarth. Set around the Mediterranean during the reconquest of the west by the Byzantium general Bellasarius. My role for the day was the control for the Sassanid empire, I was lucky to have a great team of players to watch over. Other teams covered the various outposts of governors of Justinian’s empire, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks as well as a separate court and Constantinople game; making for a 50 player game.
Play started with the eternal peace between Justinian and the Sassanids in force, for which the Byzantiums were paying gold every year to keep. This meant for quite initial turns for the Sassanids which allowed them to build up their army. Some combat experience was gained by attacking the Arabs to the south and the barbarians to the north. One general went incognito to lead a barbarian army to gain some experience in the rules system.
Most of my day was spent checking the administration of the portion of the Sassanid empire that was in the game, using a simple control panel and a worker placement system and also deal with any public works that were being built, competition to out do other teams in both quantity and gaudiness (much glitter was used) was very much in evidence. Other than that is was the usual round of adjudicating on rules queries and making sure battles ran smoothly once the fighting between the Sassanids and Romans started. It was the Romans that broke the eternal peace first and then the counter attack by the Sassanids proved quite strong. Their ambassador player, was so silver tongued that he managed to exact heavy reparations from the new emperor for breaking the treaty even in the face of ongoing counterattacks. A plague event, that even killed Justinian, did mean that the Roman provinces at the eastern end of the Med suffered badly, so much so that by the end of the game they were looking to be subsumed in the Sassanid empire as vassal states, such was their neglect by Constantinople.
My duties to the Sassanids meant that I was pretty ignorant as to what was happening in the rest of the game, I couldn’t tell you anything, for example, about the very popular Chariot races and entertainments that were a big part of the Constantinople game. However, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves so it was a good way to round off a very good year of Pennine Megagames.