Published by: R & R Games
# of Players: 2 to 4
Rome: City of Marble is a tile laying game with each player having a player board and a central game board. The game is very colorful and the cover box art is attention grabbing. The box is very thick and will stand up to a lot of abuse. Plastic baggies are provided for all the different components and are the right size to hold them. The cardboard tiles and tokens are thick and punched out without flaking. The rest of the components are wooden cubes, meeples, discs, and sticks. Each works fine for gameplay and each player color is easy to tell apart. The instruction book looks daunting at first but only 8 pages are for the English edition. Other languages included are German, French, and Dutch. The gameplay requires no reading comprehension and can be played by any language speaking person. The rules are well written and explain everything in detail with colorful illustrations. While Rome has good quality components, the true quality is in the game's gameplay.
Rome: City of Marble is a abstract strategy, tile city building game. The goal is to have the most points when the game ends. Players earn points from completing hexagons to build buildings, connecting aqueducts, from Imperium tiles and coins. Each player has 2 action discs that they will use each turn to select actions and 3 Magistrates that will determine influence in construction. During a player's turn they will take 2 actions and they are allowed to pick the same action for both action discs. The main action that players will take is to place a neighborhood tile on the board. Three starting spots will be randomly chosen on the board that players can place tiles next to. When placing a tile at least one side of the tile must touch a side of another tile. This means you can not place a tile that only one of it's points touching a tile or not touching anything at all. Once the tile is placed you will have the option of placing a Magistrate on the tile. Magistrates will decide who commissioned the building that is built and will be explained in detail a little later in the article. You can draw 2 tiles from the neighborhood tile stacks. There are 4 colors of tiles, each represents a different building type. You must take 2 different color tiles from the stacks. Another action you can do, is to recall a Magistrate. That Magistrate is ready to used for your next action if you would like to use him. The last action is to expand the aqueducts. You can only expand an aqueduct once it has been started. To start an aqueduct, a tile must touch the aqueduct on the outside of the board. Once started, any player can add additional aqueduct pieces to extend it further into the city. Each aqueduct piece must be placed a tile edge and connect to the end of the aqueduct. They can not branch, loop, or come into contact into other aqueducts.
My first impression of the game was looking at the board with all the triangles and rhombus tiles causing my eyes to glaze over like I was in geometry class. Once we started playing I really got into it and Rome reminded me of Carcassonne. By the end of the game I enjoyed it a lot more than Carcassonne, which is considered by many as their favorite or quintessential tile laying game. The tension of trying make sure you gain influence for a building and having to think ahead of what building most likely will get built is at the heart of this game. The decision on when to use Imperium tiles for extra actions and when to hold them for bonus points is a tough decision to make at times. The aqueduct part of the game felt like a game of snake in how you are winding the aqueduct in the city to hit your buildings. Looking at how cities are designed, I am starting to think this is how real cities are built. Players need to pay attention all game to what their opponents are placing and where. I like that you know how many points you have for buildings, but that final scoring can and probably will make some surprisingly close games. The only issue I had with the game is that you are constantly having to fix the tiles as they are always moving due to other tiles, building and other things being placed on the board. I found Rome: City of Marble to be an excellent tile laying game. Players who enjoy tile laying games will enjoy the new level in strategy and depth. Like many tile laying games, I find Rome to be good for a wide age group and skill level. I would recommend everyone to try it out and if you love tile laying games, this may be an essential game for you.
+ Good quality components
+ Higher strategy tile laying game
+ Rules explain everything
+ Appeal to wide age and skill level
- Art while colorful was bland otherwise
- Coins feel pointless compared to rest of the game
- Tiles will move around a lot during the game