Glory to Rome
List Price: $25.00
Your Price: $19.99
(Worth 1,999 Funagain Points!)
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64 A.D. Rome is in turmoil -- the city has been devastated by fire. Emperor Nero is racing back from Antium to start rebuilding structures lost to the flames. Caesar expects your aid in his historic effort to restore Glory to Rome.
Cambridge Games Factory
Players: 2 - 5
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 500 grams
Language Requirements: This is a domestic item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. Game components are printed in English.
- 187 cards:
- 144 order cards
- 36 sites
- 6 jacks
- 1 leader card
- 5 player camps
- 1 oversized Rome Demands... card
- 6 merchant bonus chips
Average Rating: 4.8 in 2 reviews
A lot of terrific games have appeared on the market in recent years, some of the more well known ones being Puerto Rico, San Juan, Race for the Galaxy, and Dominion. If you enjoy games like these, or even the CCG type combos in card games like Magic: The Gathering, then you owe it to yourself to find out more about Glory to Rome. It might not have the most attractive box or artwork, but don't let that stop you trying to discover for yourself whether this ugly duckling is just a duck with dreams of greater things, or whether there really is a beautiful swan lurking beneath the somewhat ugly packaging and somewhat garish looking components. It first appeared in 2005 and has gone on to be one of the most popular card games among strategy gamers.
So how does it work? It's a card game, so as you'd expect the majority of the components are just that: cards. But cards are used in multiple ways: you can use them as buildings which give you extra benefits, as building materials, as money, or as `clients' which give you still other benefits. The role selection mechanic will be familiar to people who have played Puerto Rico, and it works excellent here. There's tough decision about hand management, as you try to build buildings that will make you even more efficient, and certain buildings and abilities work together in crazy and powerful combinations - and here's where the fun especially lies!
So why do I like it? One reason is because the play time is quick - the game can easily be played in well under an hour - and it gives a good amount of meat to chew on in that time, without getting on your nerves or causing indigestion from too much tension or complexity. In Agricola, another popular modern game, I find that there are so many options and there is a great amount of tension because you can only do a small fraction of all the things you want to do; in contrast, in Glory to Rome you get to build the things you want, and have fun reaping the benefits of them for the rest of the game. Agricola features agonizing choices about creating a miniature garden, and just when it's right the game ends; Glory to Rome is more like building a park that you get to romp around and relax in for a good while. People with experience playing Magic the Gathering will especially enjoy the range of crazy card combos possible, and the potential for creating synergy.
The rules are not too hard to learn, although the game is probably easier to learn if explained firsthand than trying to figure it out on your own from the rulebook. But the real depth of the game isn't the complexity of rules, but optimizing your game-play and making good choices; this comes with experience and with good decision making. Sure, the packaging is ultra-budget, although a new edition is in the works with more professional artwork and packaging. But there's more than enough positives to make up for that, including quick play time, depth of play, fun combos, alternate win conditions, high replayability, solid theme, and good humor.
If you are a fan of modern strategy card games (like Race for the Galaxy, San Juan, or even Magic the Gathering), then give Glory to Rome a try. Just like Rome wasn't built in a day, I think you'll find that you won't have exhausted the enjoyment you can get out of Glory to Rome in one day either!
When I first played Glory to Rome (Cambridge Games, 2005 - Carl Chudyk), I was initially overwhelmed by the rules but struggled through to find a tremendous game - one that has easily made my top 100 list, and a game that I'm always eager to play. There were many comparisons to San Juan, although Glory to Rome makes San Juan look like a kindergarten game when compared with complexity.
Today the game will likely be more compared to the phenomenally popular Race for the Galaxy, as both games have a similar feel. The themes are wildly different, of course; space and the Roman empire aren't tremendously similar, and I think it's safe to say that they occupy different parts of my collection. Race for the Galaxy has a very polished feel, while Glory to Rome seems a bit bloated - although in this case I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
I bring up the game only because a new version has been released, denoted the I.V. edition. The game has basically remained unchanged, but enough has been updated to bring it to your attention. Interestingly enough, the company is doing an amazing exchange feature for those who bought the original game (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/282257). The new edition has better components, MUCH better rules, and several changes among many of the cards.
The original Glory to Rome came in a bag, which while functional, was not as nice as the plastic box the game is now packaged in. They've also rounded the corners of the cards, which are included in three tuck boxes in the bin, keeping them easily organized. The chips are unchanged; but the real change, the most important thing by far, is the fact that they've included reference sheets. On my first playing of the game, I recommended that they provide them, but these are light years ahead of what they originally made available on the net. Using pictures and arrows to easily denote what cards go where, this is a HUGE improvement and helps the game flow very smoothly.
And on that same note, the new book has major clarity improvements; it's accessible and will allow players to quickly pick up the game. Cambridge Games has taken both the rulebook and building summary book and combined them into a very clear understanding of the rules. The game is still going to take a while for new folks to absorb how it works, but they'll have a much better shot at it with this edition.
A few rules changes have occurred:
- Players now use all six Jacks, rather than one per player. This allows players more options in smaller games, since one player can't grab all the Jacks quickly and hold them for the entire game.
- Out of town sites: The extra resource cards can now be used to build an "out of town" building. These buildings require two Architect or Craftsman roles but give players the chance to build a building of an extra color. I enjoy this change, since it's nice when you get a handful of extra cards (specifically brick) and want to build another building of a certain type.
- Petition: Players can discard three cards of the same type as a Jack. This allows a player to reduce their hand if it's clogged up with "useless" cards.
- Over twenty of the building's functions have been changed - a few minor; several have had complete overhauls. This hasn't changed games much that I've played but does seem to help balance everything out a little more and help clarify what exactly some of the buildings do.
I recommended that players get the game when it first came out; I doubly push that recommendation now. The components are drastically improved, the rules more so, and the entire game plays in a tight, engaging fashion. Don't put off checking out this deep, strategic card game - a tremendous value for the price.
"Real men play board games"