Antiquity is the name of the collection of historical games about power struggles throughout the Roman period, containing Diadem and In The Court Of The Poison King. A third (currently undetermined) game will round out the collection.
The year is 270 AD. The Roman emperor Gothicus is dead of the Plague. The great general Aurelian had been chosen and been made ready to succeed the emperor, which would have been great if he hadn’t died hours before Gothicus, vanquishing barbarians in the Haemus Mountains. Those fool senators in Rome elevated the former emperor’s brother Quintillus to the office, but he has not the skill, influence, or will to do the job well. It is up to you, the high command of the imperial army, to pluck your next leader from your camp in the city of Sirmium.
If this were any other decade, maybe things would not be so urgent. The West seceded and formed the Gallic Kingdom, and the East is under the sway of the merchant empire of Palmyra, forming a wall between you and the warmongering Persians. In the South, the fields of Africa that keep you fed are defenseless, and it is all you can do to hold the North against the barbarian Germans. The cries of usurpers break out on a yearly basis.
If you choose wrong, you might lose even more - even Rome is not safe these days. But if you choose right, then maybe, just maybe...You might be able to take it all back.
Diadem is a game about a succession crisis in the Roman Empire. It fits on the front and back of a single page, and is about desperation, fear, ambition, and petty squabbling and maneuvering in a time when only unity can save the Empire. Though historical, no prior knowledge of Rome necessary!
It is a GMless game for exactly 5 players. It can work with 4, but it’s really better with 5. Loosely inspired by Ben Lehman's Amidst Endless Quiet.
Cost: $7 on The Store, DrivethruRPG, or Itch.io.
Get this game, plus many more, for $10/month on Patreon.
The Kingdom of Pontus, led by King Mithridates VI, has long stood strong against the Romans. No longer. The Romans are on the doorstep, and Mithridates can not stop them.
But even still, of all of our losses, the worst has been our King’s trust. Mithridates has heartlessly poisoned every member of his family, leaving him old and heirless, and providing an opportunity to his Court.
The Poison King’s paranoid eye now turns to the Court, and to claim the throne of Pontus, you will need to be the last one standing. Let the best Courtier win.
In The Court Of The Poison King is a game about four Courtiers, desperately trying to be the last one standing as the King’s eye turns on their closest advisors, all while the forces of Rome creep inevitably closer. It is a card game for print-and-play that takes thirty minutes in a round. A historically-inspired game, In The Court Of The Poison King is firmly in the realm of historical fiction, and requires no knowledge of nor adherence to any real events.
Cost: $5 on The Store, DrivethruRPG, or Itch.io.