That’s where the next phase comes in – you bid on a number of market stalls that each contain 3 tiles used in putting on a program. This is where you balance your need for cash to make improvements versus how badly you need to get the right elements to mount your production. After the bidding is over (each player will get a chance to win one stall), players have a chance to barter and trade with each other. Are you willing to sacrifice your extra gladiator to help an opponent, knowing that you’ll be getting that precious priest in return? There are also bonuses when you have the most of one kind of tile – you are blessed with a star performer! That gets you some bonus points when putting on your show.
At this point each player has the opportunity to put on his or her production. You begin that by rolling the dice and trying to move any nobles into your colosseum. Then depending on how many tiles you have that are required for the program, you score the corresponding number of points.
To end the round, there is a “closing ceremony.” The player with the highest scoring program earns a special podium (worth more points next time around), and then all players discard one of the tiles they used in the program they just produced. Finally, the player in last place gets the chance to steal a tile from the player in the lead. Intrigue!
The game continues in this manner for all five rounds, and the player who scored the best program over the course of the game wins.
As you can see, the game offers the player a lot of options, and can be great fun for your inner theater geek! But I do find there are a couple of downsides to this game. First of all, the roll of the dice to move the nobles adds a significant luck element which can defy even the best strategic player. If you are continually unlucky in rolls, you can be losing out on some good bonus points. Also this game can suffer from “Monopoly syndrome” – you may have people playing that are unwilling to make trades, stubbornly sticking with what they have, even in the face of a really good deal. That can frustrate a player who is behind and desperate to get ahead. All that being said, I do find I can really get lost in this game, and want to play it whenever anyone is willing!
Colosseum is a good match for players with at least moderate experience in gaming. It is designed for 3-5 players but I think it works best with 4 or 5. This is a longer game, which can take from 1 – 2 hours depending on how much players agonize over their choices. Colosseum is another winner from Days of Wonder.
I’ve still got a lot more games that I’ve received recently, so stay tuned for more reviews!