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Subject: Gloria Mundi as a cooperative game - are we having fun yet? rss

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Bruce Bernard
United States
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My first experience with GM was last night in a 3-player game. I have read a lot of the posts and discovered that we made a common mistake of not starting out with the initial 3 production cards per player. So we got off to a slow start but ultimately that did not affect the outcome. We had some destruction early on as we each jockeyed to gain a slight advantage over the other. But as we continued to get discouraged about not being able to buy any building cards, we more or less decided that there were some similarities to games like Vanished Planet or Republic of Rome where the players have to band together to some extent against the common enemy or they all lose. So we all started paying tribute on a regular basis, making sure we played the right production card to have the appropriate resources to appease the Goth. That continued until the Goth was nearly to Rome, and Marc, who was furthest from Africa, figured that he had nothing to lose at this point so he let the Goth move, literally destroying everything. At this point Bill was in the lead and I was second, and there would be only 2 more turns until the Goth reached Rome. Of course now we were all flush with resources, so at this point it just became a question of who could buy the most valuable card. Bill bought a card that gave him 3-steps, leaving him 4 steps ahead of me. There were no 4-step cards available to buy. The last turn came to me, so my only chance to win was if luck allowed me to turn over a 4-step card that I could purchase, and I still had enough resources to beat Bill on the tie breaker. No such luck; I bought a 3 step card to finish 2nd; Marc ("The Destructor") still finished 3rd. So while Marc did what he had to do, ultimately it did not change the order of finish.

While I agree that there are situations where you can gain an advantage by moving the Goth, to me the mass destruction that he wreaks takes away from the "fun factor" of building up your production. For example, I prefer the mechanism in Caylus where your buildings may not produce, but at least they aren't burned to the ground.

That said, my initial assessment is that the rules aren't as bad as some people say. They are concise. Everything you need to know is there, although the card explanations could be a little better. The components are great. The artwork is superb. The plastic pieces are a little different and add some uniqueness. The game does a good job of simulating what it portrays - trying to get enough resources so you can boogey out of town before the Goths get there.

But is it fun? I don't know if its fair to judge after one play; our consensus is that we will give it another try, but there are so many others we would rather be playing with our available time. I think this has more to do with the inability to develop any real type of strategy since the cards you will have a choice of buying are extremely limited. As a result of this inability to have a cohesive strategy, it lacks the tension that one feels in other similar games. I rated it 6.5, giving it the benefit of the doubt due to our intial setup error and our willingness to try it again.
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