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Ron McClung
United States
Fort Mill
South Carolina
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Glory of Rome
From: Cambridge Game Factory
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Glory of Rome is a new card game from Cambridge Game Factory. It is a card-based resource management and city building game, set in ancient Rome after the devastating fires of 64 A.D.

In 64 A.D., a great fire originating from the slums of Rome quickly spreads to destroy much of the city, including the imperial palace. Upon hearing news of the fire, Emperor Nero Caesar races back to Rome from his private estate in Antium and sets up shelters for the displaced population.

Reporting directly to Nero, you are responsible for rebuilding the structures lost in the fire and restoring Glory to Rome (from the introductory page).

From the front cover:
“Citizens of Rome. Caesar demands Action”

Glory of Rome is a fairly involved Euro-style victory-points-building game that has somewhat of a learning curve. This game is not for someone not accustomed to Euro-style games, although with time, one can get the hang of it. For a game to come across so light-hearted in its presentation (art and packaging), it is definitely a multi-facetted game. I can say that I am not a big Euro-game player, but I enjoy them on occasion and this one was a challenge to me. It took a few times of really reading the rulebook and playing a few mock-rounds, but I got the hang of it.

The Orders Cards (the primary cards of play) are pretty intimidating at first, with a variety of interrelated information on them. Cards can represent a number of things in game play - buildings, patrons, raw materials, or valuable resources. This is one of the intriguing and elegant aspects of the game mechanic behind Glory of Rome.

Each player has a Camp card (one can also use the playing area mats if he/she so chooses). The Camp card (and playing mat) defines the four playing areas of each player - Influence, the Vault, Materials, and Clientele. These are the areas cards can be allocated in the process of the game.

Play flows in turns starting with the leader. The leader plays a Role card. A Role defines what can be done that round and each are different. Roles include Laborer, Craftsman, Legionary, and Patron (one of the aspects represented on the Orders cards). Once the leader plays his Role, each other player play according to that role as well or they can choose to play a Jack or to "think" (pass and draw cards). Once all players have gone, the results are tallied, cards are allocated, and the leader card is passed to the next player. Cards are allocated to different play areas around the Camp card, helping each player to their goal. The game is a challenge in making the difficult decisions behind how each card should be allocated.

Much of the action centers around what can be drawn from the central discard pool. This is fed by the previous Role cards played. There are chances for serious back stabbing here because sometimes there are not enough cards for each player in the pool. Through the advent of a Thinker role, the player can pass and draw cards instead. This can cause a shortage of cards for the next round.

One aspect I liked was the considerable amount of competitive interaction between players. There are several ways to back-stab and competitively impede your opponents progress, and that always makes a game lively. One can use the Legionary role to steal material from other neighboring players, or with a Prison a player can steal other neighboring players' buildings (a Foundry, specifically). Also there is the Coliseum that allows you to steal (kill) Clientele from other neighboring players and convert them to material for your Vault. There is a whole separate book describing each building function in detail. It is easy to see why you learn to hate and fear your neighbors throughout the game

The goal is to allocate the proper roles and material cards to build structures. There are 40 different structures or buildings one can build. From latrines and bars to temples and circus maximus, each structure gains the player influence and certain abilities. To build a building, one must use a Site. The number of Sites are limited by the number of players. The game ends by one of five things happening, including the draw deck emptying or all the Sites cards having been claimed. Victory points are calculated from 3 sources - influence, your vault, and the Merchant chips.

The strategy in the game is in decisions of what cards to play, what roles to take, what abilities each building gives you, and watching for the signs of endgame. The strategy is amazingly complex simply because of the multi-functionality of the cards. What you do one round effects the next in ways you do not necessarily think of. Also you are always on the alert for the signs of the end of the game because there are multiple options for that. So many options for so many strategies make this game an amazingly multi-facetted game.

Game time is a little underestimated but people I game with tend to draw games out anyway. The quality of the components are average - could be better and could be worse. The art reminds me of work done by Phil Foglio, giving a cartoon-ish feel.

In conclusion, this is my first review of something from Cambridge Game Factory and I am very impressed. This is a very good game and I would recommend this to all my gaming friends. The strategy is hard to grasp because there are so many options and so many ways to victory, as well as so many ways to end the game. Its replayability factor is very high because of its multi-facets. It's a well done game.

For more details on Cambridge Game Factory and their new Card Game “Glory of Rome” check them out at their website http://www.cambridgegames.com, and at all of your local game stores.


Glory of Rome
From: Cambridge Game Factory
Type of Game: Card Game
Game Design by: Erek Slater, Carl Chudyk
Art by: Ed Carter
Number of Pages: 24
Game Components Included: 180 playing cards, 5 oversized Camp cards, 1 oversized Rome Demands... card, 6 Merchant Bonus chips
Retail Price: $ ?? (US)
Number of Players: 2-5
Player Ages: 12+
Play Time: 1 hour+
Website: www.cambridgegames.com


Reviewed by: Ron McClung
 
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