Date of Review: 2/2/15

Current personal ranking: # 15

Time to play (in my experience) 20-30 minutes (a little longer for the first game)

Difficulty Level: 2 (5-10 minutes to teach, less than 90 minutes to play). The only thing that makes this slightly complicated is that there are a lot of symbols to learn at first. It is basically “language independent” so you have to take a little time at first to learn what the different symbols mean.

Age Level: I think children as young as 6 or 7 could play this.

Type of Game: Roman bingo. Seriously. You draw tiles out of a bag and put your markers on the matching symbol.

Game setting: Ancient Rome.

Brief overview of the game: One person is the “caller”. He/she draws a tile out of the bag one at a time. All players (including the caller) may play one of their legionnaires (little red wooden markers), on a matching symbol on one of their 3 objective cards. When all the symbols of an objective have been covered, the player calls out “Ave Caesar” (instead of “Bingo!”), he/she carries out any special actions of the objective, puts it to the side, and takes another objective from the pool of available objectives. The game ends when one person completes 7 objectives. At that point, all players count up their points and the person with the most points wins. Thus, it’s not necessarily the person with 7 objectives who wins. Also, the caller will change every time a “wild tile” is drawn from the bag. At that point, all tiles are put back into the bag, and the bag is passed to the left.

 

Here are a few examples of the objective cards. Notice the symbols on the left. Those are the ones that will be called out.

How do you win?: Have the most points through completed objective cards and bonus tiles, when the end of the game is triggered.

How many players does it play? 2-6

Ideal number: Probably 5 or 6. There’s more competition for the bonus tiles at that number than at 2 or 3. Plus it’s one of those games that plays 5 or 6 without really increasing much to the play time at all.

Why do I love/recommend this game?

1) It’s Bingo, but fun!: Seriously, bingo isn’t that bad, but it’s just a game of pure luck. With this game, you use the mechanism of bingo, but you have to make some strategic decisions on how you will play. There’s something really fun about everyone waiting for that one tile to be drawn. I make it a practice to say to the caller, “okay draw a chariot please" (or whatever it is that I am lacking at that point).

2) Wicked fast: Once you get the hang of the game, it goes so fast. I think I’ve played it in about 15 minutes before. And yet, you still feel like you are playing a game with strategic depth.

3) Simultaneous play: Everyone plays at the same time, so it is “always your turn.” The only pauses in the game are when someone (or several people) completes an objective. Then you have to wait for a few seconds while they carry out the results of their objective and choose a new one.

4) Lots of different ways to play: There are many different strategies to try. You can try to collect a bunch of land cards. Or you can try to collect a bunch of different types of symbols. Or you can try to get a whole bunch more legionnaires. Or you can try to attack other players. Or you can try to get the best bonus tiles. You can try to get a bunch of little cards for a few points each or you can try to get the bigger objectives for more points. You can try to get a little synergy going with different cards. So many possibilities!

5) Language Independent: There are no words really necessary in this game. This can be handy for those who might be playing with people where English is not their first language. And it could be a good opportunity to learn some new vocabulary in another language (how do you say “shield” in Spanish?) 

Is there anything offensive in the game? Anything at all? Nothing that I can see.

Final Word: This is a fantastic, quick family game. The only “barrier to entry” is that you have to learn a few symbols at first. This is a great go-to game for the more “casual gamer”, but who would like something a little more than “No Thanks”.

 Amazon.com price at the time of this posting: $27.37

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