Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Going back to Micro Rome

When I was recently looking at Micro Rome, I found out that it had gotten published some time in 2023. While the end goal of a lot of PnP games is to get published, that’s still pretty good for a game that originally showed in 2014.

(Every time I see a Print and Play game that I’ve played get published, I have to remind myself that I’m not an early adapter. I’m a Guiana pig. Which is actually more useful to the board game ecology)

My first rounds of Micro Rome were five or so years back, when my PnP interests were dovetailing with exploring solitaire games. Micro Rome wasn’t the game that changed my outlook in solitaire and PnP (that would be Autumn) but it was part of that initial game exploration.

Micro Rome is a tile-laying game that is themed around building Rome but is really about grouping symbols. One of the clever bits is that each card has to cover up at least three squares that have already been placed. And, oh yes, there are other restrictions. Buildings must be totally covered and water can never be covered.

Going back to it, Micro Rome feels smaller and simpler than I remember it. When I first played it, it was a step up in complexity from what I had been looking at. In the years since then, I’ve seen a lot more micro games. Orchard and its family, for example, I think are deeper and more interesting.

And, while I was always aware that only two out of the seven methods of scoring, could let you achieve the winning score, it feels more striking that the other methods feel divorced from them. I can definitely understand where the game is coming from a design standpoint, but it still seems awkward.

That being said, Micro Rome is a fun game. The mechanics do hold up and force you to make decisions, some of which you will regret later. I particularly like that scoring 41 points defines winning, not beating your earlier scores. And while that doesn’t seem as hard as it was five years ago, it still isn’t easy.

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