We became acquainted with Maurice Suckling with his game Freeman’s Farm 1777 from Worthington Publishing in 2019 and really enjoyed the different mechanics of that game and how they all came together to create an interactive and interesting look at the Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolution. Since that time, Maurice has designed several games that have went onto successful Kickstarter campaigns including Hidden Strike: American RevolutionChancellorsville 1863 and 1565 Siege of Malta all from Worthington Publishing. He is now codesigning a game with Daniel Burt called Rebellion: Britannia that is the first entry in a future series from GMT Games and we agreed to host a series of Event Card Spoiler posts here designed to give our readers a look into how the game works.

If you are interested in Rebellion: Britannia, you can pre-order a copy for $52.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-989-rebellion-britannia.aspx

*Please keep in mind that the artwork and layout of these cards is not yet finalized and is only for playtest purposes at this point. Also, as this game is still in development, card details may still change prior to publication.

There are 18 cards in the full Event deck, but only 12 are ever used in a single game, so it’s not certain which cards will come out each game, and in which order. This means it’s not possible to predict with certainty not only which order events will occur, but also whether some events will occur at all.

There are 12 rounds in each game of Rebellion: Britannia – unless an automatic loss condition for Rome is triggered (she has 2+ Forts and 6+ Settlements burnt at the same time, or has all 4 Legions destroyed) in which case the game ends immediately. The Events deck, then, functions as a kind of game clock, marking the number of remaining rounds.

At the beginning of each round the top card of the Events deck is revealed. Each card has two or three effects, and each of these effects modulate play in a variety of possible ways, either for the turn, or for the remainder of the game. In each Event card all the effects are implemented.

Card #1

Roman Supply Lines Tested

We decided to model supply in such a way that it was present, but didn’t bog down the pace of the game. There’s no supply step – no turn-based injunction to test supply lines. But every so often an Event Card will show up that forces Rome to test their supply lines. In such a case Rome is penalized for having Legions in rough terrain, for being in regions without a Fort or Settlement, or for having more than one legion in the same region. This approach means Rome can’t ignore supply, but nor does it really slow the game down, and we’re pretty happy with it as a way to handle supply in a game of this kind.

We know supply is a concern for Roman armies, but there’s no specific history behind this aspect of this card.

The Tribes Bristle

The Event deck is the system through which we make the play space dynamic through the shifting totals and locations of British Tension pieces. Some of these changes affect player factions – the faction leaders themselves don’t always get to control when their support increases or dissipates. Some of these changes affect non-player British tribes. Although this game models three major British tribes and gives players the chance to control them, there were numerous other British tribes of note in this century, and we model them too. We have a non-playable conglomerate ‘faction’ we call ‘Other Britons’. These tribes can grow and shrink in power over the course of the game, and they can be influenced to join alliances with the players’ factions. (We know that the Trinovantes tribe joined Boudica’s rebellion, and we also know that Rome also tussled with the Ordovices tribe in what today is north east Wales – so this allows us to reflect this part of the history in the game as well.) Rome loses VP if any British tribe (including the conglomerate faction of ‘Other Britons’) cannot place a Tension marker when either an Event Card or their own card requires it. This represents Rome’s compulsion to keep the Britons in check – if there’s too much Tension in Britannia then Rome is failing at its overall task of suppression. This maintains pressure on Rome to keep the situation in check. It also incentivizes the Britons to keep agitating and to make life difficult for Rome.

The color of the Tension (the owning faction) is determined by the region itself. Either that region will belong to a player or it won’t. If it belongs to a player that player receives a Tension token they can use. If the region doesn’t belong to a player it uses the color corresponding to the color of the region’s outline.

Throughout the period the game covers (47-61 CE) the British tribes were seldom placid. The system in the game that generates tension in the regions on the board is a way to depict the constancy of the problem for Rome, and the opportunities for the British tribes. The tension arising from other British tribes can also be as much of a problem for players controlling British factions as it is for Rome – those other tribes can restrict their own movement. One of the ideas behind this tension system is that there are many elements outside of the control of the players – even if they are in control of factions, there are other factions they cannot control – as well as other elements too.


This element concerns indigenous British culture. It’s a later addition to the design and something we are still exploring in development. Early playtesting exposed the possibility that we weren’t giving the British factions enough interesting opportunities to earn early VP’s. We also had a concern that we weren’t representing enough of indigenous British culture within the design – there was some reference to the destruction of it through the rise in British Tension as a result of Roman buildings and roads – ‘Romanizing’ the British landscape and scarring and irretrievably altering it – but no real reference to its growth or sustenance. These were omissions we sought to address through a new system. This system would incentivize a more pliant approach to Rome and discourage military resistance. British factions would now have a reason to focus on non-military actions, and to therefore highlight other strands of their cultural identity within the framework of the game. It would theoretically be possible to win without ever fighting, but through careful management of cards to secure hegemonies in trade, agricultural production, the generation of crafts, the protection and development of ceremonial sites and customs. But this system would need to have a light design footprint – meaning it would be easy to learn and to integrate into the existing game.

All Briton Faction Deck cards belong to one of four suits:

  • Agriculture
  • Crafts
  • Ceremony
  • Trade

Each of these suits reflects a key aspect of British culture at the time. At the end of the game the Briton player with the highest sequential run of each suit in their discards wins that suit (i.e. unbroken by cards of a different suit) and is awarded the number of VP’s equal to the sequential run.

This incentivizes British tribes to prioritize cultural concerns over making war. But then, for Rome this could be bad news as immensely stable and culturally successful but placid tribes might ultimately be a threat to Roman hegemony.

There will be more card spoilers to come in the near future with at least 8 total cards being spoiled. In the meantime, if you are interested we recently posted an interview with the designers and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2023/01/09/interview-with-maurice-suckling-designer-of-rebellion-britannia-resistance-against-rome-in-1st-century-britain-from-gmt-games/

If you are interested in Rebellion: Britannia, you can pre-order a copy for $52.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-989-rebellion-britannia.aspx