The Poison Rome map is designed on the layout of a family-tree based on the Julio-Claudian Family and pushes the boundaries of CC maps. The main bonus zones are based around having all members of an entire family and the bonus zones are noted as part of the marriage symbols between the parents. The four Roman Gods also have an autodeploy troop bonus. Although the map's layout and connections between family members may appear confusing initially, studying the legend carefully will reward players with an understanding of how to move quickly around the map.
The Poison Rome map is a very flexible map which works with any settings. It should be noted that the best strategies for standard, two player, and team games are all very different on this map.
Bonuses: Balanced. Complexity: Complex / Heavy - the bonus structure and pathways through the families are fairly confusing. Features Bombardments: Some regions bombard instead of assaulting. After the attacker wins a bombardment the defending region becomes neutral and the attacker may not advance. Livia Drusilla can bombard Marcus V Agrippa, Julia the Elder, Vipsania Julia, Lucius Caesar, Marcellus, and Germanicus. Livilla can bombard Agrippa Postumus. Agrippinella can bombard Britanicus. Starting Neutrals: This map contains regions that always begin with neutral troops. 5 neutral troops - Dictator Julius Caesar, Emperor Augustus, Emperor Tiberius, Emperor Claudius, Emperor Nero, and Emperor Caligula. 3 neutral troops - Ceres, Mars, Jove, and Juno 2 neutral troops - Julia Caesaris, Julia Major, Pompeia Sulla, Gnaeus Pompeus, Drusilla, Julia the Elder, Livilla, Livia Drusilla, and Octavia Minor How to play Poison Rome
show: Two Player
Each player begins with 15 regions, and neither will begin by holding a bonus zone. Therefore the first move should generally be to reduce your opponent to 14 regions in order to reduce his region bonus. Further, acquiring a bonus zone is highly recommended, with the following thoughts on the specific bonus zones:
If your opponent takes a bonus zone that you can see, by all means assault it if possible. However, the only time I would recommend assaulting through a neutral region to assault a bonus zone is if your opponent holds the +8 Julia the Elder bonus zone or the +3 Castor Drusus bonus zone. The Julia/Gnaeus Pompeus bonus zone (+1) is absolutely impregnable behind the 5 starting neutral troops of Dictator Julius Caesar if you control Cornelia Cinna or the region is occupied by neutral troops. If you can conquer this bonus zone, absolutely do so. The Julia Caesaris/Gaius Marius bonus zone (+1) is very strong if you hold Proconsul Caesar and can clear the upper portion of the map. The Julia Major/Marcus Balbus bonus zone (+1) is usually hard to hold early in a game because Proconsul Caesar can assault Julia Major and Octavia Minor can assault Atia Caesonia (regions being part of the bonus zone). The Gaius Julius Caesar/Marcia bonus zone (+1) requires holding Sextus, Proconsul, and Julia Caesaris (5 regions in total). If this is feasible without assaulting more than one region with neutral troops, it may be worthwhile. The Octavia Minor and Claudius Marcellus bonus zone (+1) is hard to hold as it can be assaulted from a lot of different regions. Antonia is usually a highly disputed region. The Castor Drusus/Livilla bonus zone (+3) can be a game winner under the following conditions: you hold Vipsania, Drusus, Antonia, and Germanicus and/or the regions are occupied by neutral troops. Otherwise trying for this bonus early is a mistake and may result in your opponent holding the bonus zone instead! The Drusilla/Lucius Longinus bonus zone (+1) is very good, but hard to hold unless you control Agrippina and Germanicus. The Julia the Elder bonus zones (with Marcellus and with Marcus Agrippa etc.) are huge in strength (+8 troops for Julia the Elder, Marcus V Agrippa, Agrippa Postmus, Vipsania Julia, Gaius Caesar, Lucius Caesar, and Agrippina; +1 troop for Julia the Elder and Marcellus), but unless playing with fog of war conquering them will prove difficult because Livilla and Livia Drusilla can bombard members of the respective bonus zones. The Gods (+2 autodeploy on each God) can be excellent bonus zones, but you have to be careful how you assault and conquer them, because it opens a path back to the region you assaulted from. Emperor Nero is the preferred region to conquer a God from because only Agripinella, Gnaeus Ahenobarbus, and Claudia Octavia (along with the other 3 Gods) are adjacent regions. In general, for two player games conquering a God bonus is not recommended because your opponent will know immediately (from the game log) that you hold the bonus zone and focus on assaulting it. The remaining bonus zones on the map do not come into play in two player games, as most involve Emperors or the Dictator. The map plays well with both fog of war and sunny (no fog of war) settings. Fog of war will make the game much more interesting but because of the number of starting neutral regions, is not a recommended setting until you are comfortable with the map.
You should assess your initial troop drop to determine what your strategy will be. Because of the variety of potential bonus zones, it is usually possible to conquer one early. If your initial troop drop permits it, go for the Julia/Gnaeus Pompeus bonus zone, as it likely will not be assaulted for many turns. Do not take an Emperor early in the game as these regions, if conquered, will draw assaults and make you more vulnerable.
Escalating: Try to conquer a small bonus zone initially in an escalating game; it will give you a small edge in round troop drop which can make a difference if elimination come early (as the map has many regions starting with neutral troops that block bonus zones). For the same reason, try to clear an area so that you are the only player in the area shielded behind regions with neutral troops. Especially when playing with the fog of war setting, this could give you a reprieve from elimination. Try to determine where the other players' last regions are located so that you can try for multiple eliminations (a "sweep") once the spoils bonus gets high enough. Regions with a lot of reach include all the Gods, the Emperors, Antonia, Germanicus, Agrippina, and Octavia Minor. Flat Rate: Flat rate is a fair setting for this map because the map is sufficiently large that an early mixed set of spoils will not end the game. A game with flat rate spoils will likely be a build game because of the variety of bonus zones and the abundance of bottleneck regions and starting neutral regions. Expand aggressively early in the game to try and conquer as many bonus zones as you can hold. Later in the game you will be trying to consolidate your control of different areas by putting up troop blocks and gradually expanding the areas that you control. No Spoils and Nuclear: Both are excellent settings for this map. This is because of the potential bonus zones you can conquer by taking a small bonus zone and expanding from in order to try to control one of the families. Having done this, you can then move on to trying for eliminations or additional bonus zones. Gods become extremely valuable due to the autodeploy bonus in both No Spoils and Nuclear spoils games. If you hold a small bonus zone and see an opportunity, try to expand gradually, saving Gods and Emperors for last because they can be hit from so many different regions on the map.
show: Team Games
Doubles games are an excellent setting for team games on Poison Rome. Each player will begin with eleven regions, which means that region count and bonus zones will usually be your concerns. A recommended approach is to have one of the players on the team try to conquer as many bonus zones as possible while the other player supports e.g. by assaulting the other team's troop stacks or by deploying troops on key regions. The Julia/Gnaeus Pompeus bonus zone is extremely valuable (as detailed in the single player section), so if possible focus on conquering that bonus zone first. A key battle usually develops over Germanicus, in order to try to control both the area below him and Antonia. The reason for this is the reach that Germanicus/Antonia exert over the map, constituting the only non-God or Emperor pathway between the top of the map and the bottom. Once you have established who is the weaker opponent, begin to focus on him but do not lose sight of his partner's region count. Always try to keep the other team's players at no more than eleven regions if possible, but definitely one region under the next troop deployment level (14, 17, 20, etc.). In triples games, each player will begin with seven regions. The comments for doubles games apply equally well for triples games, with one exception: bonus zones become less important and the protection of your team mates more important. In other words, begin to focus on elimination of one of your opponents early, and do not worry too much about region count - if one player conquers 12 regions usually the game is close to decided anyway. In quadruples games each player will begin with five regions. In some rare instances all five regions of a single player could be adjacent to one of the opponent's regions, meaning the usual elimination strategy of targeting that player would be used, but usually more strategic play is required. This includes a combination of targeting one player with having one player on your team seize a bonus zone or two to in order increase the troop deployment. Capturing regions should not be an objective in itself because you will not usually have 12 regions conquered and held by a single player. Therefore, focus on building up one of the players in the team to conquer bonus zones and then hunt down the weakest opponent. Other related strategy guides
Although this map is unique in its concept and execution, the following maps have somewhat similar features:
Battle of Actium - features bombardments, larger map at 96 regions. Castle Lands - features starting neutrals and bombardments, smaller map at 42 regions. Forbidden City - similar in presentation and in unusual routes between regions, features starting neutrals, slightly larger map at 81 regions.