My wife and I purchased this game after our wonderful experience with learning it at Origins. Read about it here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22965 On our drive back we talked about how excited we were to play this game as I lovingly punched out the pieces. (Q#1 Does anyone else get a special joy out of punching out pieces or is it just my psychological issue?)
When visiting another couple we brought this out, expressing our love for it. What followed was two very interesting games that only further kindled my adoration for this game. I will describe each game and pose different questions to you the reader among a variety of topics, such as the question above about my irrational sense of joy in removing cardboard chits.
Explaining the Game: After listening to a long explanation when I learned the game and being slightly overwhelmed. My intention was to give a brief explanation and then play a sample turn. Unfortunately my brief explanation starting getting less and less brief and more and more questions were asked and at some point I gave up and explained all the rules. Then we started in and found out what I failed to explain. The first auction turned out a little wacky as they didn't realize they could only get one block of tiles and it was just a mess, we offered to reset, but we plugged along regardless.
My initial plan for a model turn would have been much better. I just needed to give a 30 second intro and than play a fake turn 1 and then completely reset the game, I believe this is the best way to learn all the facets of this game, but have yet to do it successfully (Q#2 What has been the most successful way you have explained this game)
My Strategy: In this game my strategy was to try to do a 10-20 medium event by round 2 to get a jump on gold and podiums. I expanded turn one and turn two I underestimated how much the program cards cost and was unable to buy one, not having a very successful event turn 1, which sent my whole game into a downward spiral. (Q#3 Has anyone been able to pull off a "medium" event round 2?, this seems the only reason to expand the Colosseum on turn one)
Interesting Strategy: My friend made an interesting move, instead of pushing a noble or two into his stadium on turn four he got three nobles, one of each, right outside his stadium, all set up for turn five. I thought this was a good move as getting a few more points on turn four really doesnt help you and actually it seems really bad to win turn four. He was then able to move the consul and emperor in on turn five.
Winning Strategy: My wife was the winner of this game. She won the game by getting 2 star performers, a podium, 2 season tickets, 2 nobles and scoring a large event with all the tiles and scoring somewhere in the low eighties. She won by simply making sure she got all the tiles for her big event having a little bit of everything.
Fun Factor: Everybody had a great time. Like a said in my geeklist, my favorite part about this game is the events. How they have a title and a number of tiles and leave it to your imagination on what your event looks like. We had several funny discussions about what could be happening at some of the events. I won't go into too much detail but let's just say jokes were abound, few things are funnier than gladiators. ("Do you like Gladiators, Billy?") I asked if people were in for a second game and everyone quickly agreed...
My Strategy: I started this game with two events both needing musicians and my draw happened to contain two musicians, I felt this was a very fortunate position. My strategy seemed quite obvious to get the musician star performer and then continue to develop and get the largest musician event, (event #28)
Positions: We drew randomly for positions, something not mentioned in the rules, but something I feel is very important. As different colosseum positions can seriously change how you play in the game. I drew the first position. Which in my limited experience I feel is the strongest position. I feel that way because you are starting player on the first and last round. You get to perform first which I feel makes it easier to get and keep nobles for your events, especially important in round 5 and you get to be near the emperor to start.
I do like the fact going first is balanced by a auction disadvantage, so there are arguments for wanting to be in the fourth position, but it seems the nobles dont move that far in the game (this obviously depends how many loges people buy) and I have yet to see the emperor get around to the fourth position. Perhaps this is a strategy consideration for the person in the fourth position, to buy a loge.
But being in the first position, if the other players get good rolls, to get medals and nobles it is likely they may leave your emperor alone. This has happened in two of the three games ive played. However this could be just due to our inexperience. (Q#4 What is your favorite position ... in Colosseum?)
Interesting Strategy: My friend ended up on turn three with something like four gold and two medals for the auction. He then proceeded to bid people up at auction using the potential gold he could aquire from his medals, a mentioned I thought this was unfair, and found out the designer disagrees with me. This is discussed here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/1603085#1603085 Regardless I will probably house rule that you need to have gold "in hand" to place bids that high. (Q#5 Your opinion on bidding on potential?)
Winning Strategy: My musicians proved to be unstoppable. Mostly because nobody else really cared about getting musicians. I got the first three podiums and had the emperor for probably longer than I should have. I like most of the tiles but I find the musicians somewhat bland, I felt like the game was missing a feminine component to the tiles and starting referring to my green tiles as something like, "entertainers," okay maybe I didnt use that word, but you get the idea.
The only thing that worried me about this particular game, was that it seemed like my path was relatively scripted for me for this game and I can see it happenening in a similar way in other games. For example If I get lots of gladiators I am going to get more gladiators get gladiator events etc. (Q#6 Do you see this "pre-scripted" strategy issue like I do? Is it a problem?)
Game Length: Our first game with rule explanation lasted 2 hours 15 minutes, Our second game lasted only 1 hour 15 minutes. It is a game that moves very quickly once understood and that is a wonderful thing.
Replayability: This is another concern of mine. (Q#7 Will this game be fun after twenty more games? Will it be different enough?) But who cares... really. Games are relatively cheap entertainment. As much as I like it now I cant see tiring of it until at least 10 plays... Do the math (37$, $3.70 per play, 92.5 cents per player)
Fun Factor (again) : This game is so much fun, as I said before this game has everything I love in games. Strategic, Interactive, Tense, Beautiful, Thematic, Fun.
I think I've about covered it, what a great game night. I look forward to hearing your comments.
Waldorf on BSW
Great session report and great questions about the gameplay.
I've got a feeling that going first is a bad spot to be in - as well as being the player whose colosseum is just behind the Emperor at the start.
I think this could be addressed by possibly giving everyone 5 more sesterces at the start of the game and actually auctioning off player position around the board...
With 3 people, there's a lot less crowd movement (even if everyone has a loge) somuchso that I find it unlikely that the Emperor would actually make a complete circuit and reach the last player's colosseum unless he made a concerted effort to move him there (possibly at the detriment of other actions).
I'm a wee bit concerned about a scripted feeling, especially if your hand of starting assets happens to hit a starting show and one of the advanced shows really well - then it becomes a job of earning just enough cash to lock up that next show, and less a balancing act of bringing together disparate elements and crafting a strong strategy around them.
I've commented on the thread you link to above about "bidding with potential" (re: uncashed Emperor's Medals) and I strongly feel they should have to be cashed in to be leveraged like that - as one poster points out, to allow otherwise is to allow them to be used as something beyond the discrete list of options shown in the rules (IMO).
Q1. I've been bored on a Saturday and go buy a game just so I can open it, punch it out and read the rules. I try not to do this too often.
Q2. Give a brief overview of what you are trying to accomplish with special emphasis on the way scoring works (i.e. getting a large attendance each round will not neccesarily win the game) Then play one dummy round in which nothing is actually done, just simulated.
Q3. Haven't produced a medium event in Rd.2 yet. I like to try and insure that I get in last place in one of the first two rounds so as to steal a tile from the leader. Medium events pritty much dictate this can't happen. Although I guess you could hold a medium event without the full compliment of tiles to score low... hrmmmmm...
Q4. Haven't decided on favourite placement as the nobles have done some crazy things in our games. i.e. Emperor went around the board twice in one round.
Q5. undecided. I like to plan ahead though.
Q6. I don't think this game has a pre-scripted problem unless players let you do what you want. I guess one of the aspects of Phase III - trading is that you can win tiles you don't want to try and barter with people who might want them. There is no doubt (as with most Euros) that players are somewhat at fault if one person has an easy victory. Not to worried irregardless... This is one game I just have fun with.
Q7. I definitely see this getting a lot of play but again, if you pull this out 20 time in a month, it may wear. But bring it out here and there, I can see this becoming a gem of my collection.
Cheers, thanks for the review!
- Last edited Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:38 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:36 pm