Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Micro Rome - it’s a dandy little game

Okay. Let’s talk about Micro Rome.

I’ve been exploring PnP solitaire games this winter. Could end up being this year but let’s see how the year goes :D And so far, I’ve been focusing on very short, simple ones. Games I don’t have to plan ahead for but just play when the opportunity comes.

Micro Rome, being just sixteen and a half cards, is still pretty short. However, it’s a definite step up in complexity from other tile-laying games I’ve been playing like Ambagibus.

Micro Game came out of a contest back in 2014 and I looked at it a bit back then. However, being a solitaire game, Micro Rome didn’t interest me. (And now I’m working on making copies of Do Not Forsake Me and Maid in the Forest from the same contest :D) However, it is something I’m looking for.

Here’s the elevator pitch. Micro Rome is a tile-laying game where you are trying to score points with symbols of Ancient Rome. (I like the game but I can’t really call it a city-building game. The end result doesn’t look like a city) 

The cards are double-sided and you get to pick which side you use (you draw from the bottom of the deck) but you must always cover at least three squares already on the board. There are other restrictions. You can’t cover water or barbarians (who are worth negative points) and if you cover architecture, you have totally cover it.

After you place the last card, which is always the Coliseum, you figure out your score. There are seven different ways of scoring points and one way of losing points with a score of 41 or better being a winning score.

And let me tell you, it’s hard to get a winning score. Michael Bevilacqua did a good job designing the tiles so that you have to make some tough choices. And you will be cursing out the water areas by the time you are done.

The biggest quibble that I have with the game is that, while there are seven different ways of getting points, there are only two, runs of senators and temples with lots of Romans, that will get you big points. So you have to focus on making those work while trying to keep the barbarians under control and picking up other points when the opportunity arises.

Still, if there is a magical, repetitive pattern to make senators or temples work every time, I haven’t figured it out. 

Sometimes, I play solitaire games to get my mind in a zen-like place. Micro Rome, though, is a game I play to do some thinking. It’s become one of my go-to games to reach for when I have a few minutes. Even if I quit and never play again if I break 41 points, Micro Rome will have done good by me.

Micro Rome is a game with simple mechanics and _relatively_ complicated scoring. It has definitely made me think. It’s also a free print-and-play that fairly simple to make. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to make a little solitaire.

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