Today, for my birthday, I visited an old friend: Machiavelli. My wife graciously arranged the game for me. For those unfamilar, this is a game like Diplomacy, only taking place in Italy in the late 1300-1400s. In other words, it is a game where you write orders for your pieces, and then move simultaneously. There is a strategy element to the game, but there is also a negotiation element.
We had a four player game using “The Expansion Of States: 1385-1425” scenario. I hadn’t played this one before. It was fun, but over too short. I think that is because the scenario was unbalanced… and I got the most powerful country (Milan).
This is the only scenario that uses fortresses, and I discovered the rules are inadequate with respect to fortresses (i.e., when they are used, are they the same as cities: can you build there? Do you get income for them). We treated them like cities, primarily because they had autonomous garrisons in them, and if they weren’t cities, there was no point in having the autonomous garrisons.
We had four players: me (Milan), nsshere (Venice), ixixlix (Naples), and Jeff (Florence). I tended to have the largest income, and I also had the most easy pickings nearby. So I expanded rapidly, with predictable effects. With fewer players, there was very little negotiation.
I think the 8 player scenario (“The Balance of Power: 1454”) provides for more negotiation and conflict. Hopefully, we can get more the next time we play and use that scenario.