This review is the 1st Review of Roman X: The Game of the Caesars. Usually, as can seen by my other reviews, I try to find the nugget of goodness of a game and bring it to bear on the community...some games it is easier to find the nugget than others; unfortunately, this wasn't one of those games. In fact, it was impossible. While, this is a negative review, it does serve to add valuable information...namely, don't play this game.
At first, one might think that this is a good game for the following reasons:
1. The board is somewhat interesting in that each side has the Roman numerals from I, II, ..., X on it.
2. There are no dice.
3. There are four little wooden discs for the playing pieces.
4. The instructions (on the inside of the box cover) have such headings as "Gladiator Card", "Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down", and "Bartering".
These four points make one wonder if an ancestor of modern Euro games existed in the 1964 and its name might have been Roman X. If I were to stop there, I am confident that any BGG user that reads this review could either imagine or invent a game that has potential to get published. Unfortunately, I was playing the role of geeky highschool kid at his first prom and Roman X was playing the role of the girl that neglected to tell me we were just friends---my hopes were dashed like the body of a man jumping to his death.
Let you share in my pain:
1. 4 wooden disks that are not used in the game at all.
2. 2 decks of poorly constructed cards. a numeral deck of 36 cards (I, V, and X) and a gladiator deck of 18 cards (16 gladiators, a thumbs up and thumbs down). Each deck has 4 suits matching the 4 wooden disks.
3. The board--nice to look at, but gamplay quickly ruins its appeal.
The goal of the game is to be the first to play all 4 Gladiator cards that match your color. Now here is when the instructions gets somewhat confusing....they are written in very terse and disjunct sentences. I have summarized below....
There are two ways to acquire a gladiator card: (1) barter for the gladiator with an X card that has been used to cap off a "Roman Run" (the numbers I thru X), or (2) play a "Roman Flash" (XXI) all of the players color.
Well play is based on trying to get sets and lay them down (much like a bastardized version of rummy). Each player starts with 6 cards. During a turn, if you play cards, you must play at least 3. If for any reason you have less than 3 cards, you must draw up to 3.
The player can either play the aforementioned Roman Flash or try to play the numerals between I and X using the combinations of I, V, and X from the numbers deck. The numerals must be played in sequential order. There is a very confusing discussion about how to slide previously played numbers down the game board in combinations if certain color schemes match---I will not elaborate as this only lends a veneer of complexity and I would feel like a used-car salesman if I gave you the impression that this adds any type of strategy to gameplay.
The bartering does not...I repeat, does not....imply player interaction. "Well, what could bartering mean then?", you may ask. Well, after you complete (1) or (2) above for getting a gladiator card, then you go into barter mode. Barter mode is just drawing from the gladiator card deck in hopes of drawing a gladiator that matches your color. No interaction, no bartering, just drawing randomly from a different deck.
Thumbs up card: Draw 2 cards from the gladiator deck.
Thubms down card: Discard an X of the player's color or keep it but become inelligible for a gladiator card until the Thumb's up card is played.
In the end, I am glad to review Roman X because I hopefully can prevent other geeks from spending any kind of currency (even the plunging American dollar) under the mistaken assumption that this game will add value to your collection.
- Last edited Sat Oct 6, 2007 6:46 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Oct 6, 2007 8:18 am