• JW

The short life of an emperor in 193 A.D.

This month's Solitaire Select goes to the Donning the Purple: Votes & Virtue expansion, that is currently on Kickstarter. It adds fun new ways to die as a Roman emperor. As if the base game wasn't hard enough for solo.


I made a Print and Play version of the prototype, to check out the new Senate phase of the game. And mainly because I was desperately in need of a specific new card for my plays. The event card "All is quiet". It says: "Enjoy it. This is the only break you will have!"

You face 5 event cards every single year, on top of the usual invading barbarians in all your provinces. Also every year one of your regions will see their harvest fail, leading to famine. Which means less grain and income for the emperor. But you still will have to feed your population.


Today I survived the first year, with these events on top of the usual tribulation:

  • A Plague, leading to extra famine in a region

  • Hordes of enemies, an extra invasion of barbarians

  • Preatorian Guards demanding more money (and they killed my predecessor, so it's best to pay)

  • Severe Weather conditions, making travel by sea almost impossible

  • Enemy movement, all barbarians moved closer, some of them regrouping

Then, in year two:

  • Grain shortage, while I did not have much to begin with

  • Famine, an extra region starving over the usual one per year

  • Severe Weather. Again.

  • An Earthquake, destroying my aquaduct and killing legions

  • A Plague. Again.

No lucky break for me. But I made the best of it and raised an heir. That I really needed as I was dead at the end of my turn.

Then the Senate started voting on state matters. I had been so focused on feeding my population and raising an heir, that I only had one Senator that sided with me. Four of them couldn't care less.

Senate decided to appropriate some of the dwindling grain supplies for themselves and raise the price of grain so my heir could not import it either. The people revolted and killed him. I lost.


The game is brutal. But thematic. 193 A.D. is known as the Year of the Five Emperors. It would be unrealistic to win the game by surviving for four years. I managed once with the base game. The expansion rectifies this.


#DonningThePurple #VotesAndVirtue #Olsen #TompetGames

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