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My friend and I have played about a dozen games of Roma, and it seems pretty consistent that the player with the most forum cards wins. They're just the fastest way to collect victory points. Has anybody successfully fought back against a player who has more forum cards?

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Mercator is usually a sure fire way to beat a forum machine, but there are defenses against that too. (Siccarius and Gladiator both do very well.) If you Haruspex the Mercator and you have a Consiliarius and/or Scaenicus in play you can usually win handily against a forum machine. This will usually force your opponent to play offensive with Legionarius and the like. (The money you use to buy VP can quickly turn against you if your opponent gets decent draws - but they have to realize it and stop spending their action dice on VPs and draw cards or else they will likely lose.)

The Mercatus though isn't so good since you only get points for the # of forums your opponent has, while your opponent is typically generating more VP than they have forums on average. It could be good in some situations but I personally have never seen it shine.

(Forgive my spelling of card names, I don't have them at hand to verify.)

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  • We thought Mercator seemed to be the best option, but combining it with Haruspex, Consiliarius, and Scaenicus makes it more effective. Thanks for the advice.
    – Don Kirkby
    Commented Nov 3, 2010 at 5:15
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I played hundrets of plays with a friend in Roma and we propose: there are too many Forums.

The perfect number of Forums is 4. Then is the balance:

  • they don't appear so often,
  • you're usually prepared if opponent puts down the Forum,
  • it is also much more common to try to beat the oponents down to 0 VP,
  • The game is much more versatile.

If you play with 3 or less Forums:

  • Then usually one tries to eliminate opponent's VPs.
  • Game is much more agressive
  • One always think twice before laying down the Forum card.
  • Usually it ends on one use of Forum, because the opponent usually crushes Forum with:
    • Machina (+Essedum)
    • Legionarius (+Essedum)
    • Centurio
    • Nero is always sure. Also delays the oponent before lying down the Forum.

If you play with 5 forums is also ok, but it tends to be biased to the Rush-for-all-VPs side. 6 is, as you noticed, mainly about getting all the points.

So I highly recommend 4 of the Forum cards.

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