Colosseum is the new game from Wolfgang Kramer and Markus Lübke and published by Days of Wonder. It arrived on Tuesday so having spent an evening punching out the numerous bits and reading the rules, this was a dead cert to be the game we played this week. Four of us tried it out.
The game is about putting on the most spectacular shows for the fee paying public of ancient Rome. Each player runs their own colosseum and competes to acquire the relevant resources to put on a programme of events. The game is played over five rounds, during each of which one show can be put on by each player. At the start, relatively simple shows requiring few performers/resources can be produced and these attract small numbers of spectators. However, by expanding your colosseum and buying the rights to put on more complex programmes of events, greater numbers of spectators can be attracted. After five rounds the person who has put on the single event attracting the greatest number of spectators is the winner.
In our game, after a bit of a stuttering start where most of us misunderstood one of the key auction rules, Nige took the plaudits for the first round of events. He also looked like taking the second round as well, until I persuaded Mark K to overtake him. I had decided to duck out of competing on that second round hoping to pick up a useful charitable donation from the leader. Unfortunately Mark K’s resources were much less useful to me than Nige’s would have been – I should have kept my mouth shut. The third round saw me put on a wonderful medium sized spectacle, attracting a very healthy 49 spectators and gaining the podium tile for the round. This allowed me to invest 36 coins in a large event programme in the fourth round, ready for the big push in the final round. Nige and Mark K used this round to expand their colosseums to the maximum but this meant they had to repeat an earlier event programme and my third round total remained the best also in round 4. The final round looked like being close. Nige and Mark K got the event programmes they had both been working towards but I managed to manoeuvre three nobles including the emperor to my final spectacle of spectacles and cram 93 visitors into the heaving colosseum.
Colosseum is a very good game of developing your capabilities and growing your rewards. It is somewhat similar to Princes of Florence and we all enjoyed it. It took quite a bit longer than the suggested 60-90 minutes but there was a fair bit of time used up in negotiating trades. Nige wondered whether the trading element detracted from the game and it might be cleaner and quicker without it. I’m not sure but I didn’t feel the game was unduly long and it may well play quicker with familiarity. I think Days of Wonder is going to have another winner with this one as the theme is very appealing and the rules are pretty straightforward and logical. Good stuff.