Menu

CATAN HISTORIES: STRUGGLE FOR ROME

Reviewed by Chris Kovac

(Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49)

 

The first thing do be done in a turn is the starting player, who goes first in all phases, rolls the dice to determine what resources are generated this turn. Four resources are rolled each turn and the number has to be unique. If a seven is rolled, he gets to move the Legionnaire (who acts like a thief in the original Settlers game i.e. blocks a resource and you get to steal a resource card from a player adjacent to this resource) to a resource hex. In the next phstruggleromeboxase players trade for resources with other players and build units.

The units are men (one for each tribe per build) to increase your tribe’s strength, wagons which get you gold when you plunder a city and are used to help conquer cities and finally development cards which can give you things like extra gold, instant victory points or special movement. You can trade resources at a 3:1 ratio to the bank for a resource card of your choice or, once per turn, spend three gold for a resource of your choice. Once this phase is done, players move their tribes starting with the mounted one in one phase and the unmounted in a second phase as well as performing plunder and build city actions if they wish. You move along the edges of the resource hexes from dot to dot (cannot end your move on a city hex) and you can cross one land or sea movement arrow for free. For every subsequent land arrow you have to pay a wheat or three gold. For every subsequent sea arrow you have to pay a gold piece. If you wish to plunder a city you have to be next to it and have a strength equal to or greater than the number of towers on the city. If you meet these conditions, you get the plunder chip, flip it over, take any loses and get the loot (gold, resources or development cards). It should be noted that this is the only way to get gold in the game. As well, the player puts the plunder chip on his appropriate tribe resource box . You can only plunder two cities of any color and cannot found cities until you conquer at least three cities of different colors. Another option is that you can start a kingdom when you have looted three different cities by moving onto a city hex meeting the same strength conditions as for looting a city. You then place your wagon on this hex with your tribe marker. From then on, this tribe is fixed and cannot move except by expanding to adjacent cities again using the strength rule and having to put a figure and a wagon on each conquered city. Each city “conquered” is worth a victory point. You get special victory point cards if you meet the following conditions:struggleromeboardScourge of Rome (2 vp) – If a tribe plunders at least one city of each color

Diplomacy (2 vp) – This is a special resource card and is similar to the army card in the original Settlers in that the person who has the most of these cards over three owns it. Also, diplomacy cards act as a thief roll making you to move the legionnaire to a new resource square.

Heir to Rome (2 vp) – This is the toughest card to get since each of your tribes has to have conquered four cities. If you win this card you win the game since conquering eight cities plus this card will give you the necessary victory points.

Finally you rotate the starting player (hand him the dice) and go through these game phases again until someone has the winning number of points.

This game is more a race game than previous games in the Catan series. Plundering cities not only gives you extra resources but also counts towards the Scourge of Rome card (2 points) and provide you with gold. However, you have to get all five colors of cities to get the Scourge card and not everyone will be able to do it so you must plan your routes carefully. You also have to build up your tribe’s resources so you can expand your kingdom when you decide to “settle down”. The game is really a balance between a) keeping your pieces moving and plundering to get resources but not points with b) founding kingdoms in good resource areas to get points and win the game. This tension, along with competition with the other players, make it an interesting game. The Mayfair edition substituted very nice plastic figures and coins for the wooden pieces normally found in Settlers. Unfortunately, they also provided player aids on very flimsy and thin paper instead of the mounted cardboard in the European edition. The rules are well written and illustrated as you have come to expect from these games. In addition, there is a
n online tutorial at the Catan website (http://www.profeasy.com/StruggleForRome/index.html) along with a small expansion which can be downloaded to add another special scoring card. I beleive Catan Histories: Struggle for Rome is a worthwhile addition to any Settlers fan’s collection. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – Chris Kovac


 

Have feedback? We’d love to hear from you.


Spring 2007 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Days of Wonder, 2 players or teams, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $70) The following review carries my name – but is actually a collaborative effort between me and my gaming friend – Scott Brooks. Scott is more of a hard core war gamer than me, while my preferences lie closer to typical Euro games (though I love conflict in ...
Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49) The first thing do be done in a turn is the starting player, who goes first in all phases, rolls the dice to determine what resources are generated this turn. Four resources are rolled each turn and the number has to be unique. If a seven is rolled, he gets ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Jax Ltd, 2-6 players, ages 6 to adult, about 30 minutes; $7.99) Games are generally categorized by genre and there are plenty of genres in the World of Games. You have your wargames, your sports simulations, abstract games of all kinds and, of course, this is merely scratching the surface. Somewhere, in this glut of genres, are dice games. But for ...
Read More
BOOK TO MOVIE OR MOVIE TO BOOK It's interesting how this works. You go to the movies and see a film that captures your imagination, thrills you, excites you, gets those juices flowing. Do you leave that darkened theater to rush out to buy the book that served as the basis for that film? If you've just seen The Godfather or Harry Potter, you might ...
Read More
GAME CLASSICS: TYCOON [Since our early days, we have enjoyed highlighting great games that, for one reason or another, only lasted for a relatively short time on the gaming stage despite exceptional qualities. In some cases, we've reached back decades to shed some light on great games but greatness is not the sole province of the distant past. Sometimes, it's much more recent - ...
Read More
by Philip E. Orbanes (Da Capo Press, 262 pages with photos, $26) Reviewed by Herb Levy In the World of Games, no proprietary game has reached the pinnacle of success enjoyed by Monopoly. Which begs the question "Why?". Where did this phenomenon come from? Why did Monopoly, out of all the boardgames released into the marketplace, connect so strongly with generations of consumers? What accounts ...
Read More
Reviewed by Pevans (Mind the Move/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $39.95) Like football (soccer), Hermagor is a game of two halves, as the saying is. Actually, it’s more a game of two parts since the two sections are anything but equal halves. The first part is a clever and highly competitive auction. The second a logistics/delivery challenge. Emanuele Ornella’s ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy HEROCARD: RISE OF THE SHOGUN (Tablestar Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $24.95) Tablestar Games has come up with an intriguing concept: a series of games all using a battle/duel card game imbedded into a boardgame. Each game in this series use a different setting. In HeroCard: Rise of the Shogun, designed by Alexei Othenin-Girard, the setting is ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Temple Games, 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, about 40 minutes; $34.95) A decade ago, I reviewed the then new Cheapass Game of murderous intentions designed by James Ernest called Kill Doctor Lucky. In addition to the often interesting ideas to be found in the line, Cheapass Games were known for their, well, cheap presentation. Whatever the merits of their games, ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) You could make a convincing argument that the Vikings were the premier plunderers and pillagers of history. With a culture lauding battle and bravery, Viking warriors certainly impacted greatly on the shores of Europe. Those days of lusty combat are back as players become chiefs of various Viking clans vying ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (MindWare. 2- 4 players, ages 6 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) A "gateway" game is one of those rare concoctions - a game able to introduce players with only the most glancing relationship to games to more challenging play while able to engage the more seasoned gamer. The desire for a definitive "gateway" game seems eternal and is certainly a ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Blue Orange Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 20 minutes; $29.95) If you think you've been going around in circles, you may not be confused. You may simply have been playing Ringgz, the colorful abstract from Blue Orange Games. Ringgs is a pretty package, its large, square box filled with lots of wood: a sturdy wooden board, four sets of ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (SAS Games, 2 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $29.99) The great philosopher Mary Poppins was quoted as saying, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down". Although Mary is better known for her childrearing skills, there is little doubt that these words of wisdom ring true. As though inspired by those words, we came across a game ...
Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $29.95) The exotic South Seas provides the setting for Taluva, the new game from Marcel-André Casasola Merkle. Taluva represents a volcanic island and players, through the placement of volcano tiles, will create the island and attempt to successfully expand their presence by creating and expanding settlements to win ...
Read More

If you enjoy games, then Gamers Alliance is right for you!