In keeping to the Roman theme, this updated edition is I.V (or 1.5 for anyone unfamiliar with Roman numerals or just plain didn’t get it).
In Glory to Rome you’re tasked with rebuilding Rome after the fire of 64 A.D. You hope to gain influence and wealth (Victory Points) by completing structures and selling building materials that you’ve filched.
This is a role-based card game, each role giving its user a specific action. The starting player (Leader) chooses a role, then each player in clockwise order decides if they will also choose that role or Think (draw cards). Starting with the Leader, each player uses that action if they’re able. That ends the first player’s turn and the Leader passes to the next player. This will sound familiar to many but the difference is in the details.
Let’s start with the cards. Each card represents a Role and a Material (6 different types, color coded), a Value (1-3, represented by coins), and a Building with an ability (40 different types). Each building is built using the same colored material; the number of material cards needed is represented by the Value. The Value also represents Influence when you finish a building, and Victory Points at the end of the game. There’s also 6 Jacks, which are wild cards, and a start player card for the Leader.
The Patron role (purple) lets you hire Clients from the card pool. Each Client you hire will allow you to use their action even though you have chosen to draw cards rather than follow the Leader. This is a unique way to let you choose the direction in which your strength will lie. The number of Clients you can have is limited by your Influence, which starts at 2 and increases with each building you complete.
The Laborer (yellow) role lets you take one material from the card pool and put it in your Stockpile. These materials will be used to build Buildings, of course, but they can also be moved into your Vault (which simulates you taking them to sell for personal profit). The number of cards you can put in your Vault is also limited by your Influence but your Stockpile has no limits.
The Architect (gray) and Craftsman (brown) are both used to build. They can both be used to take a card from your hand to lay the Foundation for that Building. The Building’s Value is the number of Materials you need to finish the Building. The Value is also the amount of Influence you gain when the building is finished, and the Victory Points at the end of the game. Either role can be used to add materials to the building but the Architect takes cards from your Stockpile, the Craftsman takes cards from your hand.
The Merchant (blue) lets you take a card from your Stockpile and move it into your Vault, face down. The Value of the card will count as Victory Points at the end of the game.
The Legionary (red) lets you Demand Materials, both from the card pool and from the players on either side of you. You must have the material you want in your hand since you have to place it face up on the table when you make your demand. You can then take one card from the pool and one from each player next to you that has this material in their hand. These materials go into your Stockpile but the one you placed on the table with your demand is placed back into your hand. This makes it vulnerable to the demands of either of your neighbors if they take this action, too.
All of the information you need to remember is beautifully laid out for you on your player mat, which also keeps track of your Influence, Clients, Stockpile and Vault.
Now that you have the basics, let’s look a the details of play.
The Leader chooses to either Think or Lead. If he Thinks, he draws cards to fill his hand or takes a Jack. The Jack may be used as any Role when Leading or Following. The Leader’s turn is then over and Leader card passes to the next player.
If the Leader Leads, he plays a card from his hand as a Role. Each player then decides if he will Think or Follow. Thinking lets you draw cards or a Jack. Following means you will play the same Role from your hand.
Finally, all players starting with the Leader take one action for the Role that they played and one action for each Client that they have in that Role. Even if you chose to Think rather than Follow, you can take an action for each Client you have hired. Now you see how the Clients you choose can have a big impact on the game play.
When all actions have been taken, the Role cards that were played are placed into the card pool to be drawn later as Materials or Clients. The cards in the pool will never become Buildings so if you have a card in your hand that you want to use as a Building, you won’t want to use it as a Role. This is where the Jacks become important, allowing you to keep a card in your hand for later use as a building or materials or to deny it to another player but still letting you Lead or Follow.
End game scoring includes one point for each Influence, the Value of the cards in your Vault, any points given by a Building you’ve finished, and a 3 point Bonus for each Material to the player with the most of that Material in his Vault.
There’s a lot of game here to investigate and experiment with considering 40 different building abilities and the unique rules for role selection so I do not feel qualified to give a detailed opinion right now. My initial impression is very good. I love that you can choose your strengths via the Clients you hire, and that you can collect cards and still use these roles’ actions. I’m impressed with the draw pool concept as opposed to discarding cards to a pile as it gives another layer to your decision of which cards to play as roles. I enjoy managing multi-purpose cards, which also has a positive influence on my opinion. My initial instinct is to say that if you like role-selection games like Puerto Rico, San Juan and Race For The Galaxy, I think Glory To Rome is different enough and deep enough that you would like it.