Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Updated Game Review - Glory to Rome

Cambridge Games Factory is kind of an interesting little game company. For a publisher with such a small library, they have some surprisingly good games,especially considering the fact that their art has traditionally been gleaned largely from bad clip art collections that were overused in 1997. The jewel in their crown is a smart, engaging game called Glory to Rome, a game that was actually less fun because of horrible design and hideous art. It's actually very impressive that a game this unsightly grew such a loyal fanbase.

And that loyal fanbase has been amply rewarded. Last week, Cambridge Games sent a candy bar to every person at BGG who ever got really angry at people who pointed out how ugly Glory to Rome was. If you didn't get yours, don't write to CGF. Send an email to Octavian at BGG and demand your candy. Throw in some harsh language. He responds well to that.

As an additional reward, Cambridge Games also went back to the visual drawing board and completely reworked everything about Glory to Rome that didn't work. There's new art, a new design, and it's all printed on really nice linen cards with giant playing boards. It even comes in an actual box, as opposed to the crappy plastic clamshell they used to use,which was probably leftover when a manufacturer of feminine hygiene products went belly up.

And the result is pure dead sexy. The box is larger, mostly black, and features an imperious Roman eagle. Every card now has original art that, unlike the original, does not interfere with the way the card works. The different ways you can play each card are obvious and easy to see, with clear color differentiation and big symbols where they need to have big symbols. Not only is this an exceptionally attractive game (and not just compared to the original, which was seriously coyote ugly, but it's objectively attractive), the new design makes the game easier to learn and easier to play.

Speaking of play, the graphics aren't the only thing that got attention. The rules to Glory to Rome worked great already, but there were some people who wanted to see a little more throat cutting. Cambridge heard those people and added a few cards to the new game. These cards are clearly designed to make Glory to Rome far more interactive and bloody, and the best part is, if you liked the old game, you don't have to play with the new, blood-in-the-water rules. The cards that you remove, and the ones that replace them, are clearly marked and easy to find, so it's simple to just swap 'em out and play the way you like.

There's no point in rewriting a full review of Glory to Rome. I already reviewed it once, and I loved it. Basically, this new version is great, and a massive improvement over the original. I still kind of wish they had nabbed the art off the Italian version, but this does look really, really good, so I can't really complain. And neither should you, if you want your candy bar.


2-4 players

Looks amazing
Far better material for the cards
New rules options allows for more spirited game play

Still pretty Euro

Still might be a little unbalancing at points, if you're a sissy

Noble Knight Games is sold out of the Black Box Glory to Rome, but if you watch for it, they'll probably get more.



Anonymous said...

Odd. I saw a copy of the 'Black Edition' that a friend of mine purchased via Kickstarter and it looked horrible. 'Bubbly' box was a mess...manual was still wet when it was placed in the mess of a box and most of the cards came 'pre-marked' with chipping along the black edges.

Anonymous said...

While I enjoy the game, I have to say that I actually prefer the old, cartoony, garishly colored artwork to the new minimalist look.

Matt Drake said...

Wow, I had opposite things happen in both cases. I hated the old art. I love the look of the new game. It's cleaner and easier to play, not to mention looking like they actually hired someone to make it.

And my copy looks great. The cards are nice, the rules are crisp and clean, and the box looks great. I'm sorry to hear about those problems - if I had encountered them, I would have talked about them, but my copy is A-OK.