We haven’t talked about senators and merchants yet…
A senator is worth one vote in phase I (First Consul) and VI (Great Works), whereas a merchant yields one denier in phase IV (Revenue). So they both allow you to weigh on phases I and VI (votes being represented by untitled senators and deniers).
Anyway, if the Great Work of the current turn allows you to move an interesting marker along the Res Publica ladder, don’t tilt all your senators and merchants during phase III.
Here are three good reasons to choose the senators:
– Intimidate your opponents by raising your number of permanent votes and take possession of the game thanks to the advantages of being the First Consul. If you become First Consul in the first phase (which can be done without ruining yourself), you can be the first to choose a character and a building in phases II and III. If you aren’t the First Consul, you can at least make the prices soar.
– You can run a strategy based on legionaries and senators. Both types work well together since legionaries are used to counter the event which affects senators, that is Senate Purge.
– Adapt to the situation on the Res Publica ladder. Indeed, since you’ll easily become the First Consul, you can take a Res Publica token of any color in phase I! So, changes in the situation won’t be a problem for you.
Here are three good reasons to choose the merchants:
– You don’t have to fear that an event will affect your merchants, since no event results in turning over merchant cards.
– You can easily buy buildings that don’t yield deniers in phase III, viz. invest on Insulae, Taverns, Fields, etc. Think of the Private Temple as early as possible in the game, so that you can use it at each turn to get a Res Publica token of your choice against two deniers.
– Get more freedom of play, since deniers are not necessarily used as votes; keep your potential a secret since coins are hidden behind your screen (unlike charcater cards). Thus, in phase VI, you’ll be more likely to win the majority of votes and the prestige points that go with it.
What is more, use your memory if you want a majority in phase VI. Think of the votes your opponents can count on. You don’t need to spend lavishly on the current Great Work if you aren’t interested in its effect. Maybe you would rather concentrate on the next Great Work which is already visible…