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Subject: Review of Colosseum from a first time reviewer. rss

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Shawn Ross
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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I have decided to start contributing my 2¢ to the BGG community in the form of a few reviews. I am not a professional game reviewer and I have very limited free time so I am not going to go into great detail about how a game is played or have long winded accounts of every nitpicking detail like ‘I find the box hard to open’. While inconvenient, I honestly don’t think that a small thing like having to take an extra five seconds to open a box is going to prevent most people from wanting to play a game. My aim is to make my reviews relatively short and to answer one simple question. Would I spend my hard earned dollars on this game? There are two factors that I use in deciding to purchase a game; the quality of the components and the fun factor. I put more importance on fun factor however; I have noticed that I can be persuaded to buy a game if it looks nifty enough. One other side note: I am pretty cheap so I prefer to play games before buying them to make sure I am going to get my money’s worth. So, in my opinion, if I am willing to spend money on a game it has to be a pretty decent game. Okay, with that said here is my review of Colosseum.

Components: As with all of the Days of Wonder games that I have played, the quality of the components is top-notch. The artwork is beautiful and all of the various game bits (punch-out tiles, tokens, & coins, resin pawns…) are well made. The one thing that I see that has caused complaint is the dice. DOW has chosen to use roman numerals which can cause some confusion for some people, specifically the IV & VI. However, I think most gamers are pretty well educated and shouldn’t have many problems with that. Besides, it fits nicely with the theme and here in America they teach you roman numerals in the first grade. If you have any problems deciphering you can ask any grade school child for help. I did read in another review that there was a problem reading the dice because the numerals were painted on in white. I assume that DOW has since fixed that problem because the game that I played had black numerals.

Fun Factor: I thoroughly enjoyed this game. I think this is the type of game that I could play with both my gaming and non-gaming friends & family. We played the ‘Intense Auction’ variant & that seemed to me to be the ideal way of playing the game. It causes players to have to budget their money more wisely and it allows for greater player participation in the auctions. One of the complaints with the game that I have read pertains to the trading phase being, how should I say it? Too loose? While I can see the validity in that argument it didn’t pose a problem for our game. We were pretty selfish with our tokens and in general we had a take it or leave it attitude towards our offers. Trading rarely occurred in our game which definitely played a factor in trying to formulate a strategy. I know there are several gamers that complain about the ‘luck’ factor in games. There is that factor in Colosseum but it didn’t seem to be a problem to me. I think a lot of the luck can be offset by strategy. Sure, there was some luck in the fact that I ended up with two jokers from two different markets and two of the tokens that allow you to exchange them for emperors medallions, both from the same market by the way, but there was also some strategy in the fact that I had enough cash to outbid all opponents in those auctions. One of the things about our particular game that I thought was both frustrating and fun was the fact that my plans constantly had to change. Anytime I would try to plan on what program I wanted to buy I would end up having to change my plans because I would get a particular token stolen, I would end up with some tokens that I hadn’t counted on during the market phase or someone would buy that particular program before I had a chance to buy it. The game was in constant flux as I imagine real-life theater to be.

Summary: I will definitely buy this game. Not only am I going to buy it for myself but I will also buy copies for my non-gaming family members as I can see them thoroughly enjoying this game as well, maybe so much that they’ll become converts.

Okay there is my first review. Let ‘em rip…
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John W
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wahooshawn wrote:
Not only am I going to buy it for myself but I will also buy copies for my non-gaming family members as I can see them thoroughly enjoying this game as well, maybe so much that they’ll become converts.
Thanks for the review.
Welcome to the group of reviewers on BGG.

If I may make an observation....?
As I understand, Colloseum is a rather long game (over 2 hours) - non-gamers usually respond better to shorter games (and that might be more likely to convert them to gamers) - Ticket to Ride is probably the perfect introductory Days of Wonder game.
 
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Barry Siebenthall
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San Jose
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I played the game for the first time today at KublaCon and it was completed in well under two hours. I was playing with an experienced person who works for Days of Wonder and two others who had played once each. I found the game moved quite quickly. In fact, I was sort of surprised when the game was down to its last round as it actually felt like less time than it was. I guess it must have been fun! I ended up purchasing a copy.
 
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E J
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Tucson
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Great review Shawn. You just made me order my copy.
 
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Shawn Ross
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. John you are definitely correct about Ticket to Ride. I have converted 5 non-gamers to gamers within the last week with that game. Also, Colosseum can be a pretty fast game (45 minutes or so) but it does have the potential to last a couple of hours depending on how much 'analysis-paralysis' players get and how much debate goes into the trading phase. Those seemed to be the two main areas that slowed the game down to me. However, even in those extreme cases where the game lasts a couple of hours there is usually so much going on that you don't really feel like you are sitting on the side lines. For those of you who have decided to purchase the game I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
 
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