Published on March 12th, 2014 | by Across the Board Games Staff


Beware the Ides of March

Our Favorite Roman Themed Board Games

Wear your togas and keep your friends in your sights. Across The Board Game authors have a list of their Favorite Roman Games to celebrate or the Ides of March. We have resource management, civilization sims and all the opportunities for you to say ‘Et Tu, Brute?!”.

 Colosseum Board Game

1.  Colosseum – Richard:

Days of Wonder’s “Colosseum” is a resource management and negotiation game that gives you control of your own arena and tasks you with putting on great performances for Rome’s elite as a part of the 100 day inaugural celebration of the wonder’s completion. Every player begins with but a single small performance, but through skill and guile, you can build your way up to a true Colosseum- one that is capable of putting on the greatest spectacles of entertainment the world has ever seen. You will accomplish this by bidding against one another for precious resources for your shows, vie for the best shows and performers, build your arena to house more patrons, bigger spectacles, and become more appealing to the Emperor and his men.

Colosseum is a great game for social purposes and also serves as a great introduction to resource management games. And at only 90 minutes, the short play time, fun theme and design, and a good ratio of player interaction to personal management make this an ideal casual game for groups looking for a new addition to their rotation. Make a name for yourself Impresario, and celebrate as the Romans did by bringing glory to yourself, the arena and the republic!


through the ages board game

2. Through the Ages – Nicole:

Through The Ages isn’t specifically a Roman-esque game but players begin the game during Age I: Antiquity which showcases many significant Roman leaders, structures, and culture. In this game players are building up their civilization from its infancy beginning at the First Age. There are various levels of difficulty and length of play for this game which let players choose how much time they’d like to invest. The Simple game includes Age I: Antiquity and Age II: Middle Ages; Advanced continues through Age III: Discovery and Full games continues through the modern era, Age IV: Elvis. The gameplay is complex at first but players can easily understand the pattern and method of gameplay after a first play through. Make sure to set aside an entire day for Through the Ages as even the Simple game can take 1-2 hours.

Through the Ages has all those civilization simulation goodies players expect and love: managing resources, building memorable statues, researching science, waging war, propagating religions and keeping their population fed and happy. What I find most unique about Through the Ages is the corruption mechanic where as civilizations become more advanced and produce more goods, there civilization will be corrupt and will cost the player extra resources. That is one of the many details that makes Through the Ages my favorite Roman game. It encapsulates as best it can what it’s like playing god and trying to build and sustain a civilization while navigating real challenges like political upheaval, famine, and general decay in a board game.

glory to rome board card game

3. Glory to Rome – Raj:

Glory to Rome is a card game centered around building structures in the Roman empire. At its core, it is a role selection game where the object is to sell cards as goods or convert cards into buildings to get points. It is kind of a race to get an engine up and running to construct buildings. And that is when the fun really starts– every building somehow breaks part of the game, so the goal is to break it in a way that benefits you. For example, one building increases your
hand size, another lets you construct buildings with any materials you want, and so on. Each card has four functions (a role, a building, a material, and as a good to be sold) so the information can be overwhelming at first. Glory to Rome is a difficult game to learn, and to teach for that matter, but I would classify it as one of the most clever designs out there. That being said, the theme is virtually non-existent, but since it’s ostensibly about Rome it’s on this list.

On behalf of The Senate, people of Rome and of course the authors here at Across The Board Games, we thank you for checking out our favorite Roman-themed games! Do you have a favorite Roman game not on our list? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook and Twitter.

 *Featured image art is by Miguel Coimbra, a prominent artist whose work is featured on many board games including 7 Wonders, Cyclades Smallworld and Cargo Noir.

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Across the Board Games Staff

We are a diverse group of gamers who mostly live in the Seattle area and we have been playing games together for several years now. What you see here is our collective knowledge of and feelings towards board games. We are working to make an awesome space where people of all stripes can share their love of all things board games. Please join us!

6 Responses to Beware the Ides of March

  1. By chance have you all played Tribune? I’ve only played a few times, but it’s a fantastic Roman-themed game.

    • I’ve heard of Tribune before but haven’t had a chance to play it! I’ll be sure to check it out. You also reminded me about Trajan-I don’t know if it’s Roman related other than having a guy in a toga on the box cover. Have you played Trajan?

      • I was pleasantly surprised by Tribute, and I’ve found myself wanting to return to it (and maybe even license it and give it proper art!). I’ve played Trajan. I had very high expectations for both the art and game design after seeing that awesome box and great reviews, but I must admit that I really didn’t like it. I think think the mancala mechanism was brilliant, but beyond that it was the most fiddly game I’ve ever played. Eh, I feel bad saying bad things about it–I think I’m in the minority–but I would definitely play Tribune over Trajan. 🙂

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