Glory to Rome
Cambridge Game Factory
Designed by Carl Chudyk
The Spin: “The seriously strategic strategy card game”
The Story: Players of Glory to Rome take on the roll of Patricians who are hoping to play a large role in the rebuilding of Rome after it has been burned down in the great fire of 64 A.D. Through the course of the game, players recruit patrons, gather material, build infrastructure and increase their wealth and influence in order to come out on top.
The Play: The rules to Glory to Rome are not particularly complex. There are a small number of options available each turn which are further limited by the cards the player has in hand. Those cards, however, are complex in that each card can serve multiple functions according to what the player wants to do. Assuming the player doesn’t simply pass in order to draw more cards, he or she can choose to play a card that represents one of the game’s six roles (patron, laborer, architect, craftsman, legionary, or merchant). The other players, in turn, decide whether to follow the action (assuming they also have the matching role card) or pass and draw cards. Then, starting with the lead player, each player takes the action associated with the role. The starting player card is then passed to the left and the next round begins.
My Take: Glory to Rome can be a hard game to wrap your mind around. There are forty different buildings, many of which can interact in complex ways. Once a player has a couple of buildings and a few clients in play, turns can be complex and confusing, especially for new players. On top of the combinations, Glory to Rome features a number of different paths to victory. It can be a lot to wrap your head around. That said, the game is filled with interesting, meaningful choices. Each game feels different. In other games of this type, one broken (read: too powerful) card can ruin the game. Glory to Rome has dozens of cards that can be broken when combined with another card. Really, every card could likely be part of a three-card combo that would seem abusive. Given this, the game isn’t for everyone. For me, trying to find combos for the buildings is a blast. I love winning by fielding some ridiculous combo, and, more importantly, I enjoy the game even when it is my opponent that puts the powerful combo into play. If you like tactical games and don’t mind a bit of chaos, Glory to Rome is a must-own. If, instead, you like your card games to be perfectly balanced, I’d play GtR before buying it.
Similar Games: Glory to Rome will remind players of San Juan and Race for the Galaxy. It has many more combinations that San Juan and is far more chaotic than Race. Huge fans of either of those games should definitely check out Glory to Rome.