A few weeks back, Emil Larsen, creator of Burning Rome, sent over a copy for me to check out. Burning Rome came to life on Kickstarter and fully funded last year, on August 6, 2017. As Sun Tzu Games’ describes, “Burning Rome is a quick tactical card game about the warfare, soldiers and tactics deployed on battlefields throughout the ancient world.” The game sounded intriguing to me, as card games that can be resolved fairly quickly have become more appealing to me over the years – adult life doesn’t always allow the luxury of an all-day gaming marathon.
Let’s start with the aesthetics. Burning Rome comes in a small box. The box and components are of nice quality and feel sturdy in your hands. One thing that immediately caught my eye was the game’s logo – a burning Roman laurel wreath. The tasteful logo’s imagery summarizes the game’s theme appropriately. The game’s components (primarily box, books, and cards) exhibit bright artwork (by Lukas Banas) that compliments the game nicely.
Burning Rome is a deck-building game consisting of four different factions – Rome, Carthage, Gaetuli and Celtiberia. Each factions has 54 cards of various tactical units. These units are used to create each players’ deck. A deck is built on a point system. Each player begins with 50 points to spend on various cards to build their deck. There are some basic parameters, like each deck must have a general and at least 12 cards, and the rulebook provides some samples builds. Each card has four stats: Attack, Defense, Skirmish, and Siege. These four basic stats generally govern the strength and interaction of the units.
Gameplay consists of head-to-head battles made up of attacks and defends. One characteristic of the game that I found interesting was the reliance on historical themes. The game even includes an “Ancient Battles” book that sets you up with builds for famous ancient battles, such as the Battle of Bagradas and the Siege of Aracillum.
All-in-all, Burning Rome is a pretty fun and unique game. With easy to digest game mechanics and lots of variability (for example, Burning Rome strongly encourages and promotes game customization and modification), Burning Rome is a fun game to have on your shelf. With a short play time and simple rules for combat and deck building, the game is ready to pick up and play for any level of gamer. This game appeals to a variety of people: those looking for a quick game, deck-builders, and historians to name a few. This game is worth a try.