18 March 2022
Et Tu, Brute?
All roads must lead to Rome, and that’s our job here – we’re laying tarmac across Europe in the hope of appeasing Caeser’s desire to put be able to walk be-sandaled anywhere in his empire. Or something. This is a classic network builder where we take turns claiming new cities for their hidden point allocation, their treasure, and scoring the route back to Rome.
It’s a light and quick game, even at three players it only just clocks in at 20 minutes for a learning game – which is to say that there’s not much to do on the surface. Connect a new city and count back the number of roads (amusing looking marching romans straight out of Asterix and Obelix), and give points to everyone who contributed part of the way back.
The treasure tokens go on to a personal map, where they are scored for the number of the same type, and also the number of individual sets. Gold gets its own track, and when a city with gold gets taken the route back to Rome gets double points – even for your competitors. The scoring feels like it should be more meaningful because of the way the board is laid out.
The main tactical fun of the game comes from short circuiting others’ routes. As the scoring for a road must always take the shortest route back to Rome, adding in an annoying junction can mean another player’s expansion can be cut short, and redirected. Equally, swooping in and taking the treasure, which previously had the potential of netting your opponent a bunch of extra points for adding to their set, is another kind of pleasing interruption.
The scoring at the end can feel a bit arbitrary, if only for the fact that the city points can feel a bit random. It does nothing for those of us who are quite used to network builders, but for those who are maybe introducing younger players to the hobby, then it might be a good way in.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? MAYBE
Designer: Matthieu Podevin
Publisher: Holy Grail Games
Time: 30 minutes
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