The election game is essentially a battle to control the Roman state, with the winner of the battle being whichever faction is able to dictate the distribution of the benefits of that control. The following are the lists of benefits that I am currently planning to include in the game:
Imperium: To gain imperium, the command of a province in the Roman empire, is one of the most lucrative of the benefits available in the game. With imperium, the senator gains the chance to levy taxes from a province (with all the money not used to maintain the province or sent to the state treasury going into his own pockets), and recruit and lead armies. Wars provide opportunities for glory, while gold provide the means a senatorial family requires to advance its political career. Imperium usually comes in two variants: Praetorian and Consular, with the latter being strictly limited in number (but usually carrying with it more power). The most ambitious senators will hope to get to serve in both capacities. In the game, imperium will tend to be renewable every two to five years.
Censor: A Censorship is the pinnacle of a Roman senator’s career. Only Consulars (senators who have ruled a Consular province) are eligible for the office, and only one such office becomes available every three to five years. The most important power of the Censor is to administrate the public finances; in game terms this corresponds to setting the tribute levels expected from each of the Roman provinces, a power that can be used both to enrich ones own faction as well as “attack” (to a limited extent) a rival faction. The other duty of the Censor is to select the Princeps Senatus from among the former Censors of Rome; the Princeps being the first citizen of Rome, and thus a position of enormeous prestige.
Urban Praetor: The Urban Praetor is the commander of Rome itself; he defends the city in case of sieges, and otherwise administrates the home region of Rome (Latium). He is also the magistrate (in the game), that has the primary ability to convene the Senate, giving the faction controlling the Urban Praetor a significant advantage in terms of distributing the benefits of the next election.
Peregrine Praetor: The Peregrine Praetor is the praetor charged with investigating the administration of the provinces; in game terms, providing the faction owning the Praetor the ability to investigate and prosecute former governors.
Pontifex Maximus: The High Priest of Rome – gains the Senator who is appointed to the post additional prestige. The Pontifex has a number of priestly powers, as yet TBD (balancing issues). One possibility is to have the PM function as a limited tribune of the plebs. Only available upon the death of the previous Pontifex Maximus.
Tribune of the Plebs: The faction gains a “Tribune of the Plebs”. Tribunes can be used to call for an election (the benefit of the UB office is that he does not need to use a Tribune in this way), veto an election (useful if another faction got in ahead of you), or veto a prosecution. There are a maximum of 10 tribunes in play at the same time; they do not return to “election” until used.
Legislation: Individual senators will frequently propose legistlation in the Senate; the player determining the distribution of benefits determine whether the laws are accepted or rejected. The senators proposing the laws will obviously be unhappy if their proposals are rejected (making them potentially harder to recruit); even more importantly, the senators of your own faction will be unhappy when the player votes for legislation running counter to their interests (e.g., a Populist will not be too happy to see his faction allowing Conservative laws to pass). Of course, the player will have the chance to propose his own legislation, and it is the intent that any “Laws” which change the “game rules” will work through this mechanism. Not sure whether I will have the time/chance/ability to implement this, though, as this sort of thing obviously has potential to play havoc with the AI.
Next installment: something on the game mechanics.