Got to try Sword Of Rome with my Dad and son (home for a few weeks from University) and to find out what a fun and interesting game it is.
I had the Etruscan/Samnites, Dad had Greeks and Steven had the glory that is Rome.
In 3 player game the Gauls are abstracted as a 2d6 dice roll each turn which can effect each nation or the current leader.
They proved to be the absolute bane of the Estrucans (especially as the favoured roll of 7 effects Etruscans) causing a constant drain of combat units and political support.
Greeks have their own nemesis in Sicily in the form of Carthage which can be controlled by either opponent on player of requisite card. Rome of course are tough and can generate a lot of reinforcements if not stymied but are in slightly vulnerable central position.
Their leaders (Consuls) can change each turn being a mix of the mediocre, poor and decent. With each nation having its own card deck you are pretty much able to do something of value each card play/impulse well at least whilst you have some combat units in play.
During our game Greece suffered at hands of the Carthaginians losing hold of Sicily in short order.
Dad did manage to get Phyruss into play quickly but just as quickly saw him poisoned ! Rome played a sort of waiting game building up Walled Cities (thereby enhancing reserve count) leading to an overwhelming superiority in strength as game wore on.
The enfeebling of Etruscans by Gallic raids aided them as they ended up able to Etruscan victory locations easily.
My claim to glory came with Samnites who fielded a reasonable leader in Pontius in their mountain stronghold.
He fought a whopping 8 battles in the game losing only 2 and managed to conquer Capua and hold it for several turns.
This included an epic battle against the Romans in turn 7 with Rome playing a Campaign card and flanking the Samnite capital space, thankfully they were beaten off and suffered ignominious 5 lost combat units and a big hit in Political Support.
However their losses were easily replaced and Rome went on to win an auto victory the following turn.
A great game this and I can see how it would really shine with a fourth player in control of Gauls.
Etruscans suffering after Isolation phase as populace lose faith
Sicily firmly in stranglehold of Carthage
Greek ponders next move