Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

A Visitor and A New Game

Posted by sodaklady on March 11, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I got an unexpected email from fellow board gamer, Rick Thornquist, saying that he would be traveling through Rapid City and asking if I’d like to get together to play a couple of games.  Tough question.  Hmmm, let’s see…someone in my house who is actually itching to play games; someone whose time I can monopolize talking about board games; someone with similar tastes to my own.  Well, I guess I can stand it for a couple of hours.  Oh, and if you need a place to stay, you’re welcome to spend the night in our spare bedroom.

 It’s a long day’s drive from Spokane to Rapid so Rick didn’t arrive until 8.  My husband, daughter and I were in the middle of a 3-song set on Rock Band so I explained to Rick that the games would have to wait until we finished.  He surprised me by saying that he’d been wanting to try Rock Band since he’s a fan of Guitar Hero.  So for the next half hour our band had an extra member as Rick tried out all of the positions including singing.  Now I’m not saying that Rick has a bad singing voice but consider yourself forewarned when I say don’t ask him to sing Juke Box Hero.  We all had a great time and it’s a shame that there wasn’t more time so we could have rocked out a little longer and still had time to play board games.

 I had received a new game just a couple of hours earlier, Glory to Rome, and it was set up on the kitchen table ready to play.  I had only had time to open it and play a couple of sample rounds but I had read the rules a couple of times, and stumbled through a passable explanation of the game play.  This is a card game with cards serving multiple purposes to select roles, build buildings, and collect money and prestige.  I would put it in the same family with San Juan and Race For The Galaxy (although I haven’t played RftG).  There are some very clever twists, though, which make it a unique experience.  Like San Juan, the start player chooses a role to play for his turn.  The twist is that even if you pass on playing a particular role and choose to draw cards instead, you can still take its associated action if you’ve managed to add that role to your list of clients.  Secondly, the cards that are played are not put into a discard pile but into a pool from which players draw for materials and clients.  Your prestige rises with each new building you complete (there are 40 different buildings), and you can then use the building’s special power.  Each rise in prestige lets you attract more clients and move more materials from your stockpile to your vault (this simulates your snitching materials from a building site to sell, and earns you points at the end of the game).  That’s a very quick explanation of the game.  I hope to write a full review when I’ve had a chance to play it again.

 Glory to Rome’s artwork is very light and cartoonish but the design of the components is excellent with all the information you need handy and easily understood.  Don’t let the graphics fool you into thinking this is a light, foolish game; it’s a serious game with plenty of tough decisions, and room for strategic and tactical plans.  I think I can say that we were all impressed with it after one play.  And if anyone’s wondering, Rick won by several points. 

 By now it was after 11 and my husband had to be off to bed so he could go to work in the morning.  Rick and I stayed up and talked board games for another couple of hours before calling it a night.

 Rick left this morning to finish is cross-country journey but my family and I greatly enjoyed his company and hope he can stop in again sometime.  (Same time next year, Rick? 😉  )   


7 Responses to “A Visitor and A New Game”

  1. Rick Thornquist said

    Ya, my rendition of Juke Box Hero was less than musical. I chalk it up to inexperience. After some practice I’m sure I can give Lou Gramm a run for his money. 🙂

    It was great seeing you and I also enjoyed Glory to Rome. I’ll be back!

    – Rick

  2. sodaklady said

    I’m glad to hear you made it safely across the prairie to your next destination. I’ve found that a long car trip is a good time to practice your musical skills without harm to others. 🙂

    Have a great trip.


  3. Friendless said

    Favouritism! Rick Thornquist never comes to visit *me*!

  4. sodaklady said

    It could be because they haven’t finished that bridge from Canada to Australia yet. Or maybe because you spell “favoritism” with a “u”. 😉

  5. Yes, I notice that North Americans seem to have a fear of that harmless little letter.

  6. sodaklady said

    Nuh-uh, it’s just superfluous. Persunully, I luv “u”s. 🙂

  7. Gerald said

    Sounds like you had a great time. And I always thought Rick was just a gamer’s legend — but I guess he’s a real person!

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