The Roman Empire is expanding, and you and your fellow players are sent out by the emperor to a newly conquered province. Your task is to build cities and impressive monuments, and help spread the emperor’s influence in this newly acquired region.
1-4 players, ages 8+
Playing time: 30-60 minutes
Designer: Andrei Filip
Artwork: Andrew Dorland
Publisher: Inside Up Games
City Builder: Ancient World can be played competitively, cooperatively or solo. Here you can find an overview and my thoughts on the competitive mode.
Players take the role of magistrates, growing the province in order to meet the demands of the people settling in the cities, and at the same time building monuments to please their emperor.
On their turn, players place one of the three tiles in their hand next to another tile in their city, trying to complete districts. Once a district is completely surrounded by streets, players can choose to build a monument if the district fits the right shape and size of the monument, or gain settlers from the settler tracks between them and their neighbours. The color of the settlers shows what landmark they require to be present in the district before they want to move in.
As the tracks are between players, settlers will be taken from both sides until one is left on the track, that one will mark the separation between the players and the open spaces will score points at the end of the game, in addition to the bonuses from the monuments you managed to build in your city.
The game ends when every player has added 18 tiles to their city, and the player with the most points wins!
I’ve already played quite some city-building games, but City Builder: Ancient World managed to surprise me in a pleasant way. At its core this is a basic tile placement game, with the challenging part coming from closing up districts: trying to match the landmarks required with the right settlers on your side of the tracks is a puzzle that I really enjoy making.
One minor complaint is the artwork: the landmarks and houses on the tiles sometimes can be hard to distinguish, but apart from that this is an excellent game that I can highly recommend!