Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Author: unknown

Publisher: Avalon Hill 1986

Awards: none



Peter (Germany) writes about the game:

Playing time: 4 hrs for the standard game, though with practice and some score counting aids (small maps with the VP values on it for each scoring round) it may well be done in 2 hours. There is also the short three player game which should not take more than 2 hrs.

The game ´broadly depicts the wars in, and migrations to, Britain in the centuries from 45 AD to 1085 AD, from the Roman invasions to the Norman Conquest.´

The game is won by scoring the most points in the course of the play. Most points are awarded for occupying specified areas on the map during certain rounds of play. In the four player game each player controls one color of playing pieces: red, blue, brown and violet. There are seventeen nations in the game though initially only six are on the playing board, the others appear as invaders in later game turns.

Through a variation of initial size, appearance timeline, maximum size and through different mean scoring areas the game gets its fine balance. Each color in the four player game has its potential for success, though experience seems to indicate that the red force has a slight advantage.

The game is played in 16 turns.

The nations have a set order of play. The Romans for example play first, while the Normans come last in the sequence of nations. The first action is to Increase Population, which is based on the amount and quality of controlled areas. Second is the arrival of Reinforcements from overseas. Third is the Movement Phase. Fourth is the Battle Phase where results are taken from dice rolls, normally a ´5´ or ´6´ kills one opposing piece but as battle is simultaneous it still gets a shot back. Wipeouts can happen.

Most important of course is the Victory Point Count Phase, where corresponding Victory Point Cards tell a player if his nation did score in this round or not. Most points can only be computed after all the other nations have completed their turn.

Winning is mainly based on knowing when to attack and when to fortify and sit tight. Luck helps of course, for it is not very likely to survive and win a 3-to-1 attack in an area, even if it is a highland or swamp.

The success, or lack of, the Roman player can shape lot of the game, but more often than not the winner is determined in the final turn. A score total of 100 can be seen as average. A player who scores above 110 points should have won unless it was a highly unbalanced game which is rather rare. If someone wins with 95 points it was most likely either a very unlucky game or more likely a game punctuated by personal vendettas costing both participants.

All colors have a prime point supplier.

  • Violet: Romans & Romano-British units good for 50+ points
  • Brown: Welsh units good for 41+ points
  • Blue: Angles good for 40+ points
  • Red: Saxons good for 42+ points

The three to four other nations for each color have to supply the rest, that averages to about 15 to 20 points per nation.

To fully enjoy the game you should have three players beside yourself and the willingness to play it two or three times before you get the knack on it and all the beauty unfolds before your eyes. There are other games out there which are more complex, more sophisticated or funnier, but few can be considered better.

Playing Britannia once, then ordering some pizza and then playing it again, that´s how I and three friends of mine spent not so few a saturday evening. We even made some statistic records about our plays. I´m hooked. After playing it perhaps 40 times in the course of two years it still offers fun and new insights into the game strategy.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany