About game:

Third century AD was not the happiest era for the Roman Empire. Actually, it was almost end of its might. Torn by internal squabbles as well as external barbarian invasions it was at the verge of collapse.

The game uses well-established deck-building mechanics, as well as a hand management. It covers all important elements of the epoch: Praetorian Guard, civil wars, barbarian invasions, angry mobs, rival emperors, pretenders, etc.

Players take role of one of the Roman dynasties building – via influence cards – its power in military, political and public approval areas. They can construct huge public buildings, fight with other families (for glory) or with barbarians and foreign leaders (for even more glory!) Thanks to the superb expansion, there is also a possibility to play solitaire.

The game is easy to learn, can be played in 2-3 hours and is a great introduction – as a light option – to the world of wargames. On top, GMT stood to its reputation and made sure that the components of the highest quality were used.

So can your dynasty rise to be the new leaders of the Roman Empire? Are you ready for the challenge?

Number of players: 1-4 – the perfect set-up is with four human players but the expansion brings very easy to learn and intuitive bots, so you can play with less then full coverage or even solitaire.
Playing time: In a full game – to 60 legacy points – it would take around 2-3 hours to finish the session. There is also introductory variant (to 40 legacy points) but I suggest starting with full version as the real fun is really obvious only once you get those powerful, 4-points cards at the end of the game.
Complexity: Light wargame with some twist of luck and deck building mechanism, can be explained in 15 minutes to start enjoying the game.
What I like:
  • Deck building mechanics – that is really great and interesting – a real puzzle within the game; from level 2 to 4 cards have not only more points to spent but also special event to use. And you need to be very careful not to buy too many of them – as you dilute your hand. And how to leter get rid off one of those 1  point trash cards. Really enjoyable dilemmas.
  • Quality of components – GMT really shines in that area and I am very satisfied with the pieces created for the game.
  • Bots – rarely you have such a good, intuitive, easy to learn and fast bots. See more here.
  • The game is very thematic and you can really feel the Roman Empire being torn apart by internal and external dangers.
  • The expansion brings not only bots, but new cards and emperor traits. That makes game much more fun.
  • Last but not least, there is a great vassal module and the game is very well suited for play by email.
What I do not like:
  • Replayability – it is already increased thanks to the expansion and the new cards plus possibility to play with different bots. Still, some additional ways to make the game different each time would be great.
  • Some luck factor – you cannot escape it when you draw event cards or roll a dice. It is limited, but there are times when it can be annoying.
  • The game finishes after fourth player made his/her moves (plus some more conditions, but this is not important here). I understand that the order of the game has to be set somehow. However, that also means that the fourth player can do some crazy moves in the last turn of the game, not bothering about the reaction of other players.
For whom? That is one of the best games I see as a perfect fit to introduce new players into the wargaming hobby. It is reasonably light and fast, well produced and thematic. That would bring fun and enjoyment also to seasoned grognards, wishing to play something lighter but still quite deep.
More about the game:

And now let us have a look at the components – all pictures from my session reports.

The board with gaming pieces (click to enlarge)
All the tokens used in the game (click to enlarge)
Some of the event cards (click to enlarge)
The battle in Africa with Barbarians (click to enlarge)
Bots playmat (click to enlarge)

VERDICT:

ocena_4

In my humble opinion, Time of Crisis should find place on the shelf of every GMT Games fan. The game is really interesting, thematic and fast, has expansion extending its replayability, allows for play with intuitive and easy to learn bots. On top of this, the position has some nicely incorporated luck factors and events, which influence game in unpredictable way from time to time. Highly recommended!

Great job, thanks!

See you in another game review!