So, I’m meant to be in Rome this week but that is not to be. It is a time to stay at home and stay safe, but that’s not to say that I’m not disappointed about not being able to go on the holiday.
This means that I have more time to play boardgames at home, which can’t be a bad thing and a chance to get some more content up on the page, which is an even better thing. This week I have been playing Pandemic: Fall of Rome by Paolo Mori and Matt Leacock and brought out here by Z Man Games.
This version of Pandemic sees you as ‘Rome’ and it’s leaders trying to stop the invasion and Fall of Rome from angry hordes. Much like other Pandemic installments, there are numerous roles that you can play with different skills which will impact the way in which you play. Pandemic: Fall of Rome is a cooperative boardgame so can be played as a group or also as a solo only.
The game ends when you have successfully made peace with each of the invading tribes, or once they have successfully sacked the city of Rome (or when you can’t place any more Invaders).
What I liked
Firstly, like with any Pandemic game, the solo game is pretty on point. I love that the solo game utilises several roles but maintains a single hand of cards, which you can alter through the use of a face up market which you can swap cards in and out of.
The second thing that I like about Fall of Rome is that Terry the Norseman can’t accidentally end up in Rome or any other region where there isn’t already a steady flow of Norsemen. To compare: When Infection cards come out in Pandemic they can pop up anywhere on the board, thus the nature of viruses that can be spread by humans who travel across the world via plane. However, Terry the Norseman cannot board a plane and end up hundreds of kilometres from his home so despite what Invasion cards you draw they can only place Invaders in places that follow on from locations that have already been Invaded.
This leads to a sense of flow and allows the player to test their luck. Do you think that you can get away with letting some of the invaders push on so that you can build your status with another? It’s great that you know where you can be cutting invaders off and allows forward planning, rather than the randomness of other Pandemic Infection cards. This ties in with the theme as in other Pandemics, you can fly to chase the virus whereas here you are (mainly) land bound.
What I don’t
Sometimes there are times when there is nothing that I have a problem with in a game, but it just doesn’t blow me away. That is what I feel about Pandemic: Fall of Rome. Now I think that may be a little biased as well as I am also playing through Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 which is absolutely incredible, so maybe my views don’t do Fall of Rome justice.
I can say, however that this game will definitely stay on my shelf and will remain a mainstay of particularly my solo plays.
Other game recommendations
If you are looking for European theme, one of my favourites is Orleans.
If the Pandemic system works for you (moving around, coop, beating threats) then the real standout here is Pandemic: Legacy Season One, however I don’t believe that there is a weak offering in the Pandemic range.