Gangs Of Rome



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Review: Rome is the mob

June 28, 2018 by avernos

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Gangs of Rome is a skirmish game, for two or more players, set in ancient Rome.

The premise of the game is that you are a Dominus, the leader of a house and the goal is to ascend to the senate.

To do this you recruit your gang, each fighter blister includes a unique fighter card and set of four coins. The coins represent equipment that you have available to equip your gang with. You can buy extras from Warbanner, or use the ones they come with, working out how best to use the resources available is one of the most interesting things about the game.

Activations are random based on blind draws and the game itself is played on a 3' x 3' and it is here that it really comes to life. Warbanner has worked with Sarissa Precision to build a frankly astonishing amount of Rome. The small board means you don't need to spend a fortune to fill your table with terrain and the game itself is played on multiple levels. No matter how you want to create Rome, Sarissa have you covered, temples, workshops, shops, stalls and slavers auction blocks, even a massive amphitheatre.

Unlike many other skirmish games Rome is a character itself. These games aren't played in an empty sterile board. Your fighters have to deal with both mobs of citizens and Incola. The mob reacts to what you do, all of a sudden running up and stabbing your opponent doesn't seem quite as easy if a mob of ordinary people may rip you apart, or even stampede another of your gang in an attempt to escape. But this can be used as a tactic in your favour, stampede them over your opponent instead with a well timed strike 😉

The Incola are (in)famous denizens of Rome, they can help or hinder and can change up the game massively, they can be healers or will indiscriminately attack anyone who comes within range.

The game is supported by a healthy community on their website and has stories, articles and additional downloads available. The rules are a free download and there are additional scenarios that is constantly being added to. If anyone is wondering where scenario 3 is the answer is simple. It's in the current starter set, Blood on the Aventine. This box comes with a large piece of terrain, a temple being constructed. It's guard an Incola and two sets of three gang fighters. The scenario is included gives a great idea of the game and encourages you to use the levels of Rome. Simply by adding mobs it totally changes the feeling of how it plays.

So far the sculpts have been courtesy of three excellent sculptors Steve Saleh, Paul Hicks and Stavros Zouliatis. Jody Lundy has been responsible for the cover art of the rules and the art direction on the fighter cards. Sarissa have made the laser cut coins and the buildings, which are decent for a quick paint job but can easily be up detailed. This has been shown off to great effect by both March Attack who have shown the construction and painting in a series of videos and also various community members like Dicky Boyd who has gone out of his way to individualise and convert the buildings to show what can really be achieved. All of this and more can be found on the Gangs of Rome facepage.

I feel I've barely scratched the surface of this game it's been a refreshingly different change of pace from a lot of other skirmish games your gang doesn't evolve, instead your ability to use what you have and to tailor it to the scenario in hand is what is important.

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Great review Gerry, spot on, this is a great game and the components are excellent

Paul Mullis

I’ve bought and painted up the Blood on the Aventine starter set and am hoping to get an intro game in in the next couple of months. What initially put me off was the requirement for a decent amount of terrain which I didn’t have any of to start with – i.e. urban Roman stuff. However once I realised you only needed enough for a 3×3 so a couple of buildings with the judicious addition of the odd non-background-specific tree/rock/fountain would do, I was sold. What particularly attracted me was that is was a “pick-up-and-play” skirmish game rather than a campaign system. Personally, campaign systems bore me and are what put me off many gang-sized skirmish games like Necromunda, Mordheim and the like as I like to get my fun in the moment-by-moment decisions on the tabletop rather than lots of intra-game plotting and planning, and this game sounds balanced more to my preferences in that regard.

Gratuitous plug for my PLOG so far: