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Subject: Almost one year in, I still like it rss

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Jacob Pong
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Colosseum is a game I bought at last years Gencon. I wanted to write a review after a year of playing.

In Colosseum you are trying to build up your colosseum so that it can play the biggest, best show. The game is played in 5 turns which is broken up into five phases.

The first phase is building, you spend money to add to your colosseum, or buy a bigger show. You can usually only do one build/turn in this phase, but can acquire another build later in the game.

The second phase is bidding on the resources you need to fulfill the requirements of your show. My gaming group had a hard time gettingtthis phase right, becuase it is a little confusing, but there are several threads here that help to understand the mechanics of this phase. Once we figured it out, it is a lot easier than we were making it.

The third phase is trading, you will need to trade tiles with other players, especially in later rounds to have what you need to put on your show.

The 4th phase is where you roll dice to move nobles around the board and score your show. Getting the nobles onto a medal spot give you a medal which are very useful (one of the ways to get another build is to turn in two medals). Also, getting nobles into your colosseum adds to your score for the turn. You gain gold based on how much you scored for the turn, and place your score marker there. Your score is not cumulative, but whatever your best score is/has been. On occasion, someone will score less than they did the previous round, their score does not go down, they simply get less money based on their score for that turn.

The last phase is a clean-up phase, where the highest scorer for the turn gets a bonus for the rest of the game. All players have to throw away one tile that they used in the show for the turn (gladiators die, show elements break). Finally, the lowest scorer gets to steal a tile from the highest. The winner of the game is the player who has the best single turn score

The final phase, and the auction and trading are what really drive the strategies of this game. You need to plan ahead some, but still give yourself options if the tiles you need are being used by another player, or do not show up. Also, you can not win turns 1 through 4, and then win the game. You lose too many tiles to be able to compete at the end. On the other hand, it is hard to win the game if you have not won a round or two to get those permanent bonuses for coming in first. So it's a difficult balancing act of when to score big, and when to hold back.

Overall this is a fun auction game that has a lot of strategy and some luck. The components and board all look great, as is usual for a Days of Wonder product. Some drawbacks, this game can be a bit overwhelming for new players because there are so many options, and they do not know how to progress in the game. I also think this game does not play well with less than the 5 maximum players. With fewer players some of the players will get better positioning in the auctions, and fewer tiles get into play limiting what shows will be able to score well.

With all that said, Colosseum is my first choice for an auction game if I have 5 players.
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matt tolman
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someotherguy wrote:
I have never liked this game much. I think it's basically sound, and I like most of the mechanics, but it seems too easy to put on the very big shows, meaning that the win comes down to bonus points (at least this is the case in the several games I have played). Inevitably, it seems that the winner is the guy who had the most dudes in his theater at the right time, and getting dudes in your theater is too dependant, IMO, on turn order considerations and other-player chaos. In other words, I think that among several competant players, the lucky one wins, not the one who played best on that go.


I agree, and the game also can punish new players not able to see the long term consequences of action they take on the first or second rounds. I'll take Princes of Florence over this anyday. It's almost the same game, but is better in every way, including playtime.
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Christopher Dodge
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This is the only auction game I own or have played but I really enjoy it! We have had some very competitive games that came down to the final player of the final round to determine who had won. I do want to try out Princes of Florence but that will need to wait for another day. Until then I am glad I have Colosseum!
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Driver 8
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I'm sure there are better auction games than Colosseum. And OK, Princes of Florence might be the better game. But does it have the Days of Wonder bling bling effect? No.
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Chris Ferejohn
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mopeymatt wrote:
someotherguy wrote:
I have never liked this game much. I think it's basically sound, and I like most of the mechanics, but it seems too easy to put on the very big shows, meaning that the win comes down to bonus points (at least this is the case in the several games I have played). Inevitably, it seems that the winner is the guy who had the most dudes in his theater at the right time, and getting dudes in your theater is too dependant, IMO, on turn order considerations and other-player chaos. In other words, I think that among several competant players, the lucky one wins, not the one who played best on that go.


I agree, and the game also can punish new players not able to see the long term consequences of action they take on the first or second rounds. I'll take Princes of Florence over this anyday. It's almost the same game, but is better in every way, including playtime.


I disagree with that. I like Princes of Florence better as well, but it is hardly "almost the same game", given that trading is allowed in Colesseum. Actually, this let to the biggest problem I had with Colosseum, the trading plus open points led to some serious kingmaking problems in the couple games I played. One player, who could not win, could decide via what trades he made and with whom, which of the two contenders would win without it effecting his place.
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Jacob Pong
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That's a big strategy in this game, the denial factor. You can bid up an auction that someone needs so they're short of money later in the game to keep them from getting a double bid. Also you can make a sweeter trade to a willing player to keep another player from getting that final piece for their show, or that third guy to get the star performer. That's the major difference from this game and the princes of florence, which is also a good game. This game there's a lot more action between players trying to jockey for the right pieces and shows.
 
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