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Subject: Ten Things to Like - And Five Things to Dislike - About Glory to Rome rss

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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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Glory to Rome is a card-based resource management game for two to five players in which the players are competing to rebuild Rome after the city's destruction during Nero's period as emperor. Players do this through careful play of the cards in their hand, each of which have several different uses. Cards can be used to choose a particular action for the turn, to represent victory points stored in a player's vault, to represent a building material for a new building, or to represent the building itself. Having cards with so many different uses makes Glory to Rome a very intriguing game. Glory to Rome was designed by Carl Chudyk and Ed Carter, is published by Cambridge Games Factory, and plays in about an hour, depending somewhat on player count.

Ten Things to Like About Glory to Rome

1. Every turn provides interesting choices.
There is not a turn of Glory to Rome that feels like an automatic play. There is not a turn of Glory to Rome where you're not making a difficult, interesting choice. Every single turn of Glory to Rome presents you with an interesting choice, something that can't be said for the vast majority of games out there.

2. The many uses for each card force you to think differently about the game.
That sense of always having interesting choices comes from the fact that the individual cards have at least four different uses. A single card can be a building, a resource, a role, or a number of victory points. If you use a card in one of those modes, you're likely losing the chance to use that card in one of the other modes. This makes even the simplest choices much more interesting than they might otherwise be.

3. The building powers are varied, interesting, and combine together well.
The building cards introduce special powers into the game, and those special powers are usually very powerful and very entertaining. Sometimes, the combinations of those powers, when they synergize well, can seem unstoppable. The only thing that keeps such "broken" combinations in check is the fact that there are so many of them. In most games with reasonably experienced players, everyone will have a chance to pull off something incredibly powerful at some point during the game.

4. The game is very interactive.
The Legionary, one of the six roles in the game, is directly interactive, in that it lets you directly take cards from the hands of the other players, but the other roles have significant interaction as well, such as denying others the cards they need from the Pool or hogging all of the available Jacks. The gameplay decisions you make have a strong impact on the other players.

5. The game scales really well.
Since the game scales the number of foundation cards in direct proportion to the number of players, the whole game scales quite nicely. A five player game does take longer than a two player game, but it doesn't feel like it takes longer. Many games aren't enjoyable with very low or very high player counts, but the enjoyment of Glory to Rome is pretty consistent across the possible player counts.

6. There's enough depth here to satisfy almost any gamer.
The multitude of meaningful choices available at every opportunity creates an impressive amount of depth for a card game. Because of the wide array of choices, the luck element of the random card draw is completely dwarfed by the value of creative and thoughtful plays. A good player will begin to see patterns that escape other players and will be able to take advantage of them.

7. It has many paths to victory.
You can attain victory with a mountain of influence. You can attain victory by stocking your vault with tons of marble and stone. You can attain victory by building victory point buildings, or ushering in a sudden end to the game with a special building. Each of these paths can be engineered in different ways, too, whether through brute force or through finesse thanks to a clever building combination.

8. There's very little downtime.
You have the chance to lead on your turn, and you have the opportunity to follow the lead of others on their turn. This is a game with very little downtime, meaning you're going to be engaged in the game from beginning to end. What little downtime there is winds up being filled with careful planning for your upcoming turns.

9. The cards are of excellent quality (in the Black Box Edition).
The cards are very sturdy in the Black Box edition. There are some minor complaints about card chipping if you scour the forums, but I would have no qualms shuffling this deck and playing with it many times if I were not already a neurotic card shuffler. The components inside the box are quite pleasing.

10. It's compact and travels well.
I often throw a couple rubber bands around the box and toss this game into a backpack. It's a wonderful game that you can easily travel with, pull out almost anywhere you can find a bit of space, and get in some wonderfully deep gaming.

Five Things to Disike About Glory to Rome

1. The theme isn't very strong.
Glory to Rome could have almost any theme painted onto it. You could be racing to build the first interstellar engine quite easily, or be the first civilization to chart a path through unknown space. All it would take is a renaming of the game components while leaving the core game the same. If you're looking for a more thematic sojourn through ancient Rome, you're not going to find it here.

2. It has a steep learning curve.
The rules themselves will take you a game to comprehend, and a reasonable and coherent strategy of any kind will take you another couple games to pick up. This isn't a game that you can sit down with as a new player and fully grasp because, although the concepts aren't hard, it takes some mental work to get your hands around what's actually happening and the many uses of the cards.

3. The Black Box rulebook is unclear in places.
I had difficulty learning the game from the Black Box rules, and I only achieved a full understanding after reading several reviews, watching a few videos, and actually reading the rulebook from the earlier edition of the game - a rulebook which I consider to be more clear than the new one. If you're learning the game without a teacher, don't just rely on the rulebook or you're bound to get something wrong.

4. The first round is too random compared to the rest of the game.
In the first round of the game, you're more or less stuck with the cards you have in hand. As the game progresses, you're going to have a chance at getting a lot of different cards, but at first, that card selection is limited. Unless you have a clear, strong plan in hand, your best bet is to simply spend your first turn or two drawing cards until you do have a plan. Players who randomly get a strong combo might actually be moving forward with their plans while you're just twiddling your thumbs. This problem vanishes once the card flow of this game starts rolling along.

5. Gameplay can be spiteful.
The Legionary role in particular can allow spiteful players to simply enact revenge on others or to play kingmaker (to a certain extent). I've seen games where players have been completely shut down mostly due to the spiteful gameplay of their neighbors, which doesn't make for a whole lot of fun.

Who Would Like This Game?
I deeply enjoy Glory to Rome. It's a wonderful game that plays out differently each time, with players constantly putting together seemingly broken combinations of buildings only to find the combos aren't as broken as they thought. You're constantly making decisions, and those decisions are interesting and they matter. I'll happily play Glory to Rome every time it hits the table, and it's a definite keeper for me.

People who will like this game include:

Gamers who enjoy deeper games - There is a lot of things going on here for an active gamer's mind to chew on. If you enjoy the process of thinking through a game's possibilities, you'll like Glory to Rome.

Gamers who like games with varying card powers and combos - I think there is some appeal here for people who enjoy games like [thing=][/thing], Dominion, and Innovation. The unique powers of the buildings give a strong sense of combo-building.

Gamers who enjoy tableau-building games - Players of games like Race for the Galaxy will find a lot to love with Glory to Rome. In both cases, you're building up a collection of cards in front of you that allow your powers to grow steadily over time.

A Video Review
I also posted a video review of this game, which touches on many of the points described above in a reasonably short package. If you want a good glimpse of the game components, this is worth watching.

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Wally Jones
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Nice review and fairly true on all points.

My favorite thing about Glory to Rome.........................

I have an original copy and did not need to go through all the Black Box/kickstart/pre-order madness.

I feel badly for everyone that had put up with all the Black Box crazy stuff.
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mojo shivers
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In all aspects--complexity, variability, length, and fun--Glory to Rome is simply the best game on the market. Pound for pound I'd rather play this game than any other out there.

Great review.
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Gerald Rüscher
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mojo shivers wrote:
In all aspects--complexity, variability, length, and fun--Glory to Rome is simply the best game on the market. Pound for pound I'd rather play this game than any other out there.

Interesting.

I'd rather play Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Stratego Star Wars (in a row) before even considering to touch this exercise in frustration which Glory to Rome is.



PS: Just for the record: I LOVE Race for the Galaxy
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Jonathan C
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All your reasons to "dislike" GtR, with the exception of your opinion that the rules are poorly written, could just as easily be taken as reasons to like this game.

The rules are actually pretty well done. Quite polished in my opinion.
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Samuel Hinz
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gruescher wrote:
mojo shivers wrote:
In all aspects--complexity, variability, length, and fun--Glory to Rome is simply the best game on the market. Pound for pound I'd rather play this game than any other out there.

Interesting.

I'd rather play Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Stratego Star Wars (in a row) before even considering to touch this exercise in frustration which Glory to Rome is.



PS: Just for the record: I LOVE Race for the Galaxy


Exercise in frustration? I must be playing a different game.
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Kathleen Nugent
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"Like" 8. There's very little down time.

Excellent aspect of the game. The only thing that bothers me about Following is that sometimes you have to wake up some of the other players to get them to pay attention when it isn't their turn. To avoid delays or AP, everyone has to pay attention all of the time.

"Dislike" 4. First round is random.

I disagree. 99% of the time, when it's my turn, I Lead some action, any action, rather than Thinking. Even on the first turn. I've got the chance during every other player's action to draw cards. Why waste my own turn Thinking. On the first turn, I have a Joker. So every action in the game is possible. There's got to be something productive to do.
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george atkins

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I just picked up the game and have played it 3 times with my gaming buds. Overall, we do like the game. I agree with most of your statements about what to like and dislike. Actually, I have v1.4 and, contrary to several reviews and/or comments, I think the artwork is more enjoyable than what is used in the Black Box edition. Sui suum, I suppose.

However, I think your first criticism (The theme isn't very strong.) doesn't go far enough. It isn't only that the theme isn't very strong. It's often wrong in details. For example: Clients were not "hired", nor were they the equivalent of hired hands, as the game suggests. Perhaps it is the terminology, overall, that I have issues with.

The Noble and Ignoble Jack - Why a jack? OK, it is Latinized, but so what? It's made up. If you're going to have a wild card, why not a Joker/Jester, for which there is a proper Roman term (Ioculator)? In fact, why not use Latin versions of the 6 roles? Mercator (merchant), Operarius (laborer), aedificator (architect), faber (craftsman), etc. I'm not a Latin scholar (though I played one in grad school), but I think putting in a few extra minutes with a good Latin dictionary would have helped out a lot.

Other goofy terms: Think. Where did the designers come up with this one? Of course, it only means "draw cards", but apparently they wanted to create a special name for it. Again, if you are going to push a Roman theme, how about finding a useful Roman term: cogito (1st person sing) comes to mind. I'm sure there are even better Latin words.

Site cards - This confuses people, because the cards are not sites, per se, as much as types of materials. But...oops!...the Orders Cards aleady function as building materials. Perhaps "Resource Sites" would be a clearer term, since the function of these cards implies the economic principal of allocating scarce resources.

Anyway, in spite of these concerns, I think the game is really fun and interesting. The development of the multi-functional Orders cards is an especially clever feature, as you pointed out. It really forces you to take stock of your hand and building status before you decide how to play any card.

We have not yet played the game using the special building powers on each card (and why didn't the designer put the power at the top of the card, since you slide the card under the Player Mat?!). My initial thought is that, if these powers can be used over and over (in most cases), the game would dissolve into chaos. You wrote that they blend together well, so we'll be giving them a try next time.

TIP: I attached small rubber cabinet stops underneath the corners and center of the Player Mats, so they sit 1/8" or so off the table. That provides room to more easily slide cards underneath.
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James Cheng
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georgekatkins wrote:
However, I think your first criticism (The theme isn't very strong.) doesn't go far enough. It isn't only that the theme isn't very strong. It's often wrong in details. For example: Clients were not "hired", nor were they the equivalent of hired hands, as the game suggests. Perhaps it is the terminology, overall, that I have issues with.

The Noble and Ignoble Jack - Why a jack? OK, it is Latinized, but so what? It's made up. If you're going to have a wild card, why not a Joker/Jester, for which there is a proper Roman term (Ioculator)? In fact, why not use Latin versions of the 6 roles? Mercator (merchant), Operarius (laborer), aedificator (architect), faber (craftsman), etc. I'm not a Latin scholar (though I played one in grad school), but I think putting in a few extra minutes with a good Latin dictionary would have helped out a lot.

Other goofy terms: Think. Where did the designers come up with this one? Of course, it only means "draw cards", but apparently they wanted to create a special name for it. Again, if you are going to push a Roman theme, how about finding a useful Roman term: cogito (1st person sing) comes to mind. I'm sure there are even better Latin words.


You criticism of the theme is good, but I don't think GtR needs more harder term for new player to grasp. The present name for each action might not be thematic, but it's easy to understand what they do.

Quote:
We have not yet played the game using the special building powers on each card (and why didn't the designer put the power at the top of the card, since you slide the card under the Player Mat?!). My initial thought is that, if these powers can be used over and over (in most cases), the game would dissolve into chaos. You wrote that they blend together well, so we'll be giving them a try next time.


You only slide the "site" card under your playmat. The building will stay on your board after completion.
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george atkins

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eunoia wrote:
You only slide the "site" card under your playmat. The building will stay on your board after completion.


Thanks for your follow-up, James. Well, your quote about the site card really cleared up that concern. I reckon I misread the rule. I could say it happened because I was reading that folded-up set of rules that comes with 1.4, but that would be a fib!

As for using more thematic terms, I'm not sure I agree with your assessment that they might make the game harder to learn, especially as roles are explained on the Player Mats, and have simple capabilities, anyway. While not familiar, I think the more "authentic" terms are less obtuse than some of the actual game terms, such as "Think" and "Site Cards"!
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Jonathan Harrison
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georgekatkins wrote:
The Noble and Ignoble Jack - Why a jack?

I believe this was explained as "jack of all trades".

georgekatkins wrote:
Think. Where did the designers come up with this one? Of course, it only means "draw cards", but apparently they wanted to create a special name for it.

Because when you do this, you're thinking about what you really want to be doing? It's like an interim turn where you regroup.
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Jonathan Harrison
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georgekatkins wrote:
We have not yet played the game using the special building powers on each card (and why didn't the designer put the power at the top of the card, since you slide the card under the Player Mat?!). My initial thought is that, if these powers can be used over and over (in most cases), the game would dissolve into chaos. You wrote that they blend together well, so we'll be giving them a try next time.

Just in case—are you confusing the individual power of individually named cards with the general role-power of colors of cards? Because that's what we did until we started playing.

For example, until you finish a building, you won't get that building's power. When you do finish it, that building simply changes the rules for you.

But if you're talking about clients, then when, for example, someone leads a Craftsman, then if you have a Craftsman client, you get one extra Craftsman action. You don't get the "individual" power of the card you're using as a client—that power is only available to you if you had built that card as a building. Otherwise, it's just an additional chance to follow the role that was led.

Not sure if this is what you're talking about, but it confused us at first.

So:

From your hand, each card can become a role or a building.

From the pool, each card can become a stockpiled material or a client.

In your clientele, each card represents an additional chance to use its matching role when that role is led.

As a completed building, each card permanently changes the game's rules, but only (generally) for its owner.

In your stockpile, each card is a building material.

In your influence repository, each site (placed there when its building is completed) is influence.

In your vault, each card is points.
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Patrick Riley
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While I like the many paths of victory, I dislike the Catacombs building. The ending it causes is too abrupt and too random.
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Stephen Sanders
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Numbers 2 and 3 were actually negatives to me in my one, long first play. Don't really feel like I want to try this again, but would if it was the only thing chosen. Good review.
 
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Mark Paul
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Well, the fact that it is "Spiteful" is not a con for me. I don't think the black box cards are made all that well. I see in your video you have sleeved them. I had to because the cards with the black backs were chipping. Not really bad grade of cardstock, but it isn't good enough to put it as a strongpoint. I thought the rulebook in the blackbox edition was well done. Good examples were given and buildings explained. The playmat is also helpful for beginners and veterans who haven't played for a while. (Is it the Craftman or Architect that lets me build from your hand? Oh, it's right on the playmat.)

It's simply a very good game. The theme aligns with the mechanics better than many games, so I have no issue with that.
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Linda Baldwin
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Glory to Rome » Forums » Reviews
Re: Ten Things to Like - And Five Things to Dislike - About Glory to Rome
HuginnGreiling wrote:


So:

From your hand, each card can become a role or a building.

From the pool, each card can become a stockpiled material or a client.

In your clientele, each card represents an additional chance to use its matching role when that role is led.

As a completed building, each card permanently changes the game's rules, but only (generally) for its owner.

In your stockpile, each card is a building material.

In your influence repository, each site (placed there when its building is completed) is influence.

In your vault, each card is points.


I like this; it would make an excellent handout for new players. I play this all the time, and I STILL try to take clientele from my hand. Oh, and thanks to the OP for the video, which showed me one thing I'm consistently doing wrong. We've been putting used building materials back in the pool instead of staying with the building. That's going to make a big difference, and I think Rome Demands a game tonight!

Edit: from the hand, a card can also be a building material (with Craftsman rather than architect.)
 
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george atkins

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HuginnGreiling wrote:
[q="georgekatkins"]
Just in case—are you confusing the individual power of individually named cards with the general role-power of colors of cards? Because that's what we did until we started playing.

For example, until you finish a building, you won't get that building's power. When you do finish it, that building simply changes the rules for you.


Actually, I was talking about the building's special power after it is completed. I was mistakenly under the impression that the finished building is placed under the top of the mat, though it is really the foundation/site card that is put there. So the building's power explanation is not covered up by the mat at all. However, you do have to find a place to put the completed buildings. With a 5-player game, this makes for having quite a large table top to place everything!

But thanks for the additional info, Jonathan.
 
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John Gallant
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Do you have a list/link to the resources you found most useful to learn the game?
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