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I suspect my rating will go up after a couple more plays but a couple things worked against my first play of this beloved and hard-to-find Chudyk: -Played with atrocious-looking first version. -Bad shuffle meant that I didn't see any Purple (Clientele) Cards or Yellow (Laborer) Cards despite having over 10 cards in my hand. I had to resort to Jacks for the majority of the game. -Being hamstrung prevented me from getting any kind of engine going so I got steam-rolled. Clear to say I prefer Mottainai more. I need more plays of GtR to make a more informed decision.
Glory to Rome is a fascinating beast. It's a little hard to wrap your head around the systemic flow at first, but during your first game it should dawn on you how each role interacts with the others (though some role pairings, like Craftsman and Merchant, don't interact at all). Glory to Rome is, first and foremost, a game of synergies. It's about constructing buildings that give you special powers and leveraging those special powers together with other buildings to do wonderful things. Some buildings you'll look at and say "That's lame, why would I want to build that" only to see it pair with some other cards and be blown away by how it actually plays out. Due to the impact of these synergies, each game plays out differently and has a different feel to it. You think different thoughts and approach the game in different ways based on the cards you have built. You're also very concerned about what your opponents have built and how you might possibly work to counter it. It's a fun and thoroughly engaging game.
The unattainable grail status gives it a grander reputation than it deserves. It's frustrating to watch an opponent just slaughter everyone because they happened to get dealt Road and Scriptorium first. People obsessing over getting a copy of this should really just buy Mottainai, which is a tighter, balanced filler version of GtR. Or better yet, just play Race for the Galaxy, which is the actual role-selection card game masterpiece that fans of GtR seem to claim about it for some reason.
Rebuilding ancient Rome while skimming off the top to create your own personal fortune. Cards are used as patrons (i.e. what action you take), clients, buildings, building materials, and points. The game centers around constructing a powerful combination of buildings and trying to fill your personal vault with as many valuable materials as possible before the game ends. Sometimes compared to Race for the Galaxy (cards with multiple uses, role selection, building cards with special powers) but I find that it's not quite as deep in terms of variety of strategies. Feels very reactive, hard to plan.
(10/16) 8. (10/17) 8. I've only played this Grail game once, but looking forward to doing it again soon. The "follow" action is fantastic and I love the idea of building such differently powered structures and all the different player roles and card powers. So much game in such a small package.