Designer: Yan Yegorov
Publisher: Moaideas Game Design
Player Count: 40-60 min
Play Time: 3-6 (plays best at 4 to 6) 3 player is not recommended by me
A copy of Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome was provided by Moaideas Game Design for review.
Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome is a social deduction game where players take the roles of Senators who are part of the Liberatores. The Liberatores have one goal, to kill Caesar and restore Democracy to Rome. Within your ranks is the Competitor player who wants to take over as Dictator after Caesar is out of the picture and the Agent who is loyal to Caesar and will stop at nothing to see the Liberatores fail.
- Social deduction
- A little take that
- Role play
- medium weight filler
There are Two Sides to a Conspiracy….Right?
The heart of the gameplay is based on your role in the conspiracy to assassinate Caesar or protect the throne. Depending on player count, players will blindly draft one of the three identities to start the game:
The Republican (Liberatores)
The Republican players want Caesar dead! Since Caesar is in power, Republican players must pay to bribe citizens and hire servants to gain enough influence before the end of the game. The Liberatores strategy is to play the long game and keep the influence track on their side during the game. Republican players need to figure out who their allies are as soon as possible and work cooperatively to drive the influence track in their favor. The Republican and Competitors win if the influence track favors the Liberatores side (blue) at the conclusion of the game.
The Competitor (Liberatores)
The Competitor players also want Caesar dead. The Competitor will work semi-cooperatively with the Republican players to carry out the assassination plot and convert citizens to join the side of the Liberatores. Secretly, the Competitor has their own agenda to take over after Caesar is assassinated. The Competitor has a difficult task of helping the Liberatores win the game. IF the Liberatores side wins the game, then the Competitor has to have more personal influence tokens than the Republican with the highest personal influence tokens to win the game and become the new Tyrant leader of Rome.
The Agent (Caesar side)
The Agent have one goal in the game, save Caesar at all cost! They are the ONLY player in the game who is completely loyal to Caesar. This is probably the most difficult role to play, because everyone is against you. If Caesar gains 15 plus influence before the “Day of Action” card is revealed, the game is immediately over and the Agent wins. The Agent has the ability to take advantage of other players endorsing citizens to Caesar. As the influence track rises, the Agent has an opportunity to keep the influence track on the Caesar side. The Agent player can’t give up their identity too early because the game can become a bit one sided quickly. I mean, it’s a party of one situation.
Hiding in Plain Sight
The gameplay for Liberatores is fairly simple. The strategy relies heavily on players cooperating, and a bit of risk taking to identify each players roles. On your turn you have three choices:
- Endorse a citizen to Caesar: On the bottom of the board there are three always Citizen cards. If you choose to endorse a citizen, you move the rightmost card to the Caesar side of the board and raise the influence by the number shown on the top left of the card on the card. This is a free action cost wise and it activates all cards with the Caesar Ability symbol (red). The acting player receives $7 and 1 influence token, while each adjacent player gets $1. Endorsing a citizen to Caesar is the only way to receive a significant amount of money in the game and every player player in the game has to walk that line just to get money. The Agent player has a chance to take advantage of this action as multiple Liberatores players have to grab money in the same round. This move would be risky for the Agent player.2. Bribing a Citizen: To bribe a citizen, you pay the bribe cost (knife and gold icon) and move them closer to the Liberatores side (blue). Bribing citizens helps Republican and Competitor players make their big push to dominate the influence track but, it becomes quite costly. The benefit of bribing is quickly identifying allies, which makes future turns more efficient and less guess work.
- Hire a Citizen: In order to hire a citizen, you pay the cost in gold on the card. The citizens can be added to their own player board or to someone else (they cannot deny them). Some citizens have instant abilities (bolt icon) which active when hired. Other citizens have a passive ability that stays with themselves or an opponent. This is one of the highlights of the gameplay. Some citizen cards have a red tint on the bottom of the card and they cause negative effects to the player they are assigned to. The effected player might to use the endorse a citizen action and pay $4 to remove negative effect citizen card. Depending on the player’s allegiance, they may have to keep the card until later in the game. Hiring citizens and handing them off to other players slowly uncovers the role of other players.
Minor Actions and Servants
Hiring servants is a minor action that takes place after one of the main actions above. The “Wife” action displayed on the player board, allows you to hire an Informer or Courier card to the active player or another player’s board. Both servants cost $2 to hire and have passive abilities that have impact on the end game influence. The Courier card simply adds one influence to either side. The Competitor doesn’t want too much influence to be given to the Liberatores. Remember, the Competitor wants to have the most personal influence tokens once the Liberatores side wins the game. The Informer servant is what I call the “That dude is the Agent player” card. The Agent player wants to rid themselves of Informer card before the end of the game,otherwise the Liberatores players gain two influence towards victory. The “Pincerna” action on the player board is a Caesar ability, which is activated as a benefit of endorsing a citizen to Caesar. The Pincerna action allows the active player to pay $4 to discard a negative citizen or servant from their player area.
A Game of Influence
Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome is a game of influence. Since direct table talk about roles isn’t allowed, players must discover the roles of others by making risky decisions and watching how others respond. As one of the Republican or Competitor players, you have to find crafty ways to pull influence in your favor just enough to irritate the Agent into overreacting and exposing their identity. Something as small as hiring Informers and putting the card on a random player, may help you locate the Agent or maybe not. The Agent player has to pounce on the moment. Hiring a citizens such as Lena, who stops the Wife or Pincerna action of the opposing player might expose The Agent player’s identity, but it buys them time set up distractions for future rounds.
When the Day of Action card appears, the game enters the final stage. The Agent player cannot win by raising the influence track to 15+. Now three major characters, Cassius, Mark Anthony, and Brutus are add to the line of the remaining available Citizen cards, to make a line of six. When all cards are played, all player identities are revealed. Both sides tally up their total influence by adding the influence numbers of all the citizens on their own side of the board. The servants card influence is distributed to each side as indicated on the cards. The side with the most influence at the end of the game wins. BUT WAIT! If the Liberatores side wins, the Competitor player have a chance steal victory. If the Competitor player have more influence than the Republican player with the highest personal influence tokens, the Competitor wins. If the influence marker is on the red side at all, The Agent wins.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how much gameplay is in Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome. I was a bit worried that frustration or boredom would set in during my playthroughs which ended up in the 50 minute range with 4 players (couple rule checks included). That didn’t happen! My play group was equally surprised by how much player interaction and how the strategy ramps up around the midpoint of the game. The only hang up with a game like this is the crowd you play it with. This is not a party game or a light weight deduction game like The Resistance. It’s geared towards more advanced gamers who want a medium weight social deduction experience. I would suggest this game as a 4 to 6 player game experience and definitely not a 3 player game. In the three player mode, the roles are limited and this is the type of game that needs at least four players to enjoy the mechanics of the game.
I recommend Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome with caution. If you have a gaming group with an open mind to a longer social deduction game, go for it. If your group is into a little take that and role play, buy this. BUT if you struggle to find at least four or more players, this is not going to be the best game or purchase for you. Liberatores stays in my collection because it opened my eyes to medium weight gameplay in the social deduction genre, which caught me off guard in a good way. I enjoyed playing the Agent and also was totally fooled by the Agent player in the next game, which sold me on the player interaction. If you are interested in purchasing Liberatores: The Conspiracy to Liberate Rome, please click the link here.
Edit: I changed the language a bit to reflect the game as a medium weight deduction game. It’s definitely not a filler game as previously described.
I hope you enjoyed today’s review. If you have any questions, please leave comment below. If this is your first, second, or fifteenth time stopping by, please follow the blog and join the conversation. Helps me a lot. I can also be followed on Twitter @jambapg. Lastly, thank you for your time!