Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Rome-City of Marble

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Rome

Producer– R & R games

Price– $31 here https://www.amazon.com/Rome-City-Marble-Board-Game/dp/B015QGG7PO

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-60 minutes (2-4 players)

Type- Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-An excellent intro eurogame with no randomness. 94%

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Basics-   Rome WAS built in a day!  In Rome-City of Marble, each player takes the role of different Patrician family in Rome.  Through public works you demonstrate your power and influence in the city.  Who ever ends the game with the most victory points is the most power family.

This game is pretty simple.  Each turn a player can the following actions twice: draw tiles, play tiles, recall a magistrate, and expand an aqueduct.  When you select your action, you place a marker on your board over that action, and you can take the same action twice.  

Drawing and playing tiles is the lifeblood of the game.  The most simple action is drawing tiles.  When you draw a tile, you draw two of the four types of tiles: temple (green), baths (blue), theaters (yellow), and arenas (red).  You can not draw the same tile type twice in one action.  But, if you use your second action to get tiles, you can draw more of the types you drew the first time.  You can not use the tiles you gain this turn on this turn.  

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Playing tiles is where the game gets interesting.  The game board is divided into a number of triangles.  Player must set tiles next to other tiles or one of the three random starting locations in these triangles, and they may play one of their three magistrates down when they play a tile. The goal of setting down the tiles is to complete a hexagon between the tiles.  Each tile has two triangle colored sides and two colored rhombus sides.  When the colored sides form a hexagon, game pauses as the players see if they formed the correct color and who has the most influence.  Temples can only be made from three tiles,so only the colored rhombuses can form the hexagon.  Arenas can only be formed from six tiles, so they can only be formed from the colored triangles.  Baths require four tiles, and theaters require five tiles.  If you build a temple with six temples, then you don’t score for that building.  If the correct types of buildings are in the hexagon, then the players may score for that site.  Here is where magistrates come into play.  Magistrates are placed on a tile when you place the tile.  If the proper number of tiles is in the section, then the players count who has magistrates on the right type of tiles.  If someone builds an arena, but doesn’t have any magistrates on red tiles, then they have no influence.  Whoever has the most influence on the right types of tiles for the construction then builds that type of building by placing a marker on the tile to claim it as his or her own, the also earn victory points depending on the structure with arenas worth the most, and temples worth the least.  If there is a tie or no one has influence from magistrates, then a fountain is built and no one gets points.  Once the construction is done, every player who helped build the construction, with the right influence or not, may remove a magistrate and put it on the imperium space of the building just constructed.  If you built a fountain, you can still recall your magistrate, but he goes to the treasury instead.   At the end of your turn, you recall all magistrates from the imperium or treasury space and take one imperium or coin from the space they came from.  Imperium can be spend during your turn to take an extra action on your turn, or saved till the end of the game.  The player with the most of imperium of each type earns extra victory points.  Each coin is worth one point at the end of the game.

The next two actions are not as complex as building, but are equally as important.  If a player builds a tile next to a aquaduct, then they get to place three aqueduct pieces without spending an action.  As an action you can extend the aqueduct as well.  When you extend an aqueduct to a fountain, you score a point.  At the end of the game, each building that has an aqueduct to it scores two points.  Recalling a magistrate is simply moving a magistrate from the board to your player board that can be used this turn.  This way you can recall magistrates from tiles you know will never score.

After three of the four stacks of tiles are empty in a round, the next round each player gets only one action where they can’t use imperium to take more actions.  Then players score for coins and aqueducts.  The player with the most points is the most influential family in Rome!

Mechanics-I love the way this game plays!  After five minutes of explaining, you will master the game and can deep dive into the strategy.  It a euro, but not one that will destroy you mentally or takes five hours.  Honestly, a hour might be the longest you will play this game.  It’s deep for its simplicity, and it doesn’t overstay its welcome.  My one weird complaint is there isn’t resource management, but adding a subgame where you have to earn tiles might make this one a bit too complicated.  4.75/5

Theme-This game feels like I’m building in ancient time.  Each player gets to build Rome, and I do feel like I’m trying to out maneuver other players as the best moves reveal themselves through play.  If you see a small opening where you can drop two tiles  and earn an arena while your opponents never saw this coming, it feels awesome.  Other games have ruined me though as I wonder why I can’t hurt my opponents than peacefully coexist and build with them.  4.75/5

Instructions-The instructions are deceptively long, but that’s because they are four different versions of the rules in one book.  The book is short when you read the language you need.  And it does well by showing lots of pictures.  As you can see above, it’s hard to describe polygons and shapes with words!  I like how this book is written and how it teaches the players.  5/5

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Execution– I love what’s here, but I do have one semi-small complaint.  The parts all look nice and pretty.  It’s chunky cardboard so I get nice tiles to play with and feel.  What I hate is the player board that don’t have spaces for all your stuff.  I hate having to set stuff to the side like with your tokens.  That’s my own small level of crazy, but if you can put my neuroses aside, it’s a fantastically made game.   You can see all the pieces in our unboxing at https://youtu.be/eCUn3hVJzg0 4.5/5

Summary-Rome-City of Marble is an amazing intro game.  It teaches itself well.  It’s parts are nice,and the rules are slick.  If you want five hours of math on Saturday night, then this is not the game for you.  It’s a great game, but not that game.  If you want a tight hour of fun or want go get new players into the hobby, then this is the game for you. 94%

Blurbs from the Booth-The Games We Play

Note- I love my wife, but this one might seem a bit down on her.  It’s not.  She’s who I most often game with-either because she loves the games we play, or (more likely) it’s because I drag her into my insane adventures.  Love you my dear.

 

I’ve been thinking about the games I play most often.  Once a month, I get a game of Pathfinder Society in as well as some Shadowrun and DCCRGP.  But weekly, I get a game of DnD in as well as the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.  Why so much love for DnD and the Card Game?

Well, I think it’s because of WHO I’m playing with as opposed to WHAT I’m playing.  Most often around dinner, my wife and I will cook and then set up the Adventure Card Game.  It’s fun, and it’s better than just staring at the TV while we eat.  So, I play that game a ton.  What I don’t play is the Shadowrun Crossfire game as much.  It’s not a bad game, but my wife doesn’t like it as much.  Since Jackson’s gaming scene is pretty small and I like my wife, I choose to play with her.  So, no Crossfire on the weekly schedule.

This also goes out to non-cooperative games as well.  My wife hates games like Agricola.  It’s far too much stress as you NEVER have enough time to do all the things that you want to do.  I enjoy the frustration a bit, but she’s of the opinion that gaming shouldn’t be a stressful as life.  Also, she hates games like Magic: the Gathering and Sentinels of the Multiverse.  Both of those are games where you have to read a ton of information on small cards.  She love games like 7 Wonders as they play quick, have good strategy, and don’t make you read a novel each time you play a card.

I’m a pretty universal gamer, and I hope that the blog posts have shown you that.  So, how do I do that AND play games with my wife?  Well, I have to actively seek out other opportunities to game.  Cons are a great way to find the random games to play.  This is a great way to get new games to the table and to meet new gamers.  Also, buying the equivalent of a board game a week can get expensive, so cons give me a chance to play a game and not have to buy that full thing!

I also game online.  OCTGN, Board Game Arena, Board Game Geek, Roll20, and Boiteajeux also give me a chance to try new games, meet new players.  I don’t have to drive cross-country to play some new awesome games, and I get to see what else is out there.  Bonus-all of these are free!  Check them out if you get a chance.

And, as a final way to get new games out there, I game at my local store once a week and twice a month at a local groups clubhouse.  At these places I bring whatever games I want as I drag my friends into whatever strange Euro-card-dice-3D game hybrid I bought of some strange backwoods website.  It’s a blast when you can meet the crazy gamers out there who will enjoy whatever is brought to the table.

How about you?  Who do you game with, how do they shape the way you game, and what do you do to play different games?