Glory to Rome

n 64 A.D., a great fire originating from the slums of Rome quickly spreads to destroy much of the city, including the imperial palace. Upon hearing news of the fire, Emperor Nero Caesar races back to Rome from his private estate in Antium and sets up shelters for the displaced population. Reporting directly to Nero, you are responsible for rebuilding the structures lost in the fire and restoring Glory to Rome.

Glory to Rome is a card-based city building and resource management game with a novel mechanism. Each card may act as a building, a client, a raw material, or a valuable resource, frequently forcing players into difficult decisions regarding how each card should be used. In addition, much of the game is played from the discard pool, giving players some control over what cards are accessible to opponents. Actions are triggered by a form of card-driven role selection — the active player leads a role, and other players may follow if they discard a matching card from hand (to the pool). Players who don’t follow may ‘think’ to draw more cards. There are thus strong interactions between the different uses of cards. Scoring is a combination of completing buildings and storing resources, with end-of-game bonuses for storing a diverse assortment. Game length is player-controlled, and is triggered in a few different ways.

The lighthearted artwork of the original editions was replaced by minimalist art in the ‘black box’ edition, and both have been the source of great controversy. Many of the non-English editions use more conventional artwork.

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Your Introduction to… Carl Chudyk!

Ava: Welcome to an occasional series introducing you to a single, storied game designer. Today I want to tell you about the games of a man called Carl.

Certain designers have a set of obsessions that shine brightly when you put all their work together. There’s a pattern of passions that unite their work. Carl Chudyk is my my board game design crush, and it’s because he ploughs a furrow that nobody else could. His games are relics from a weirder, smarter world. He builds layered puzzle-systems where possibilities multiply at every turn. They’re challenging to learn, but a delight to wrangle.

It’s odd though. I struggle to recommend them to people, even though they’re my favourites. I don’t like to push people into an experience that might feel horrible the first time round. It’s like asking someone to dive into a river that will be cold until they adjust.

But I want to talk about Carl Chudyk anyway. Once you’re swimming with him, you’ll find something you couldn’t get anywhere else.  You’ll open tiny boxes and find yourself tucking ideas under possibilities and watching your table turn into a sea of systems. You’ll still be finding surprises on your hundredth play.

You’ll get stories. Stories of the time a game felt different to anything else.

These aren’t reviews. There’s no time for that.

Instead I’m going to dissect a few games, pull out a few gutsy details, and see if I can read in the entrails why Carl is the way he is. Why he fills me with wonder and what makes me scream. Take a deep breath. It’s a fast river, you might not be able to get out.

Read moreYour Introduction to… Carl Chudyk!

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Tempted by games in shiny little boxes? This week we review 10 Oink games, in just 10* Minutes! How is that even possible? Science remains unsure. youtu.be/2hcqQZWM5Pk pic.twitter.com/7IENcy41cJ

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