During the time of forced isolation – which gradually is lifted in Poland – my main baordgames opponents were Vassal friends, bots in solo games and… my 5 and 7 year old sons. It might surprise you, but together we played Cataphract, SPQR, Empire of the Sun South Pacific, SpacerCorp and many more. Yes, these were a fully competitive games and often Nathan and Jacob played as bots but still this was great fun!

With that in mind we decided to give a try to another title – Enemies of Rome.

The Game

Enemies of Rome is a very light and pretty short game in abstract way presenting the Roman empire and its struggle for survival against barbarians. It is not so deep as another light wargame with similar theme – Time of Crisis from GMT Games –  and much more random but should be played also with appropriate mindset. You cannot control the inevitable collapse of the Roman world – what you can do is to carve out decent amount of fame, glory and riches in the process. Prepare for great time, tons of unexpected events but do not expect grand strategy or subtleties – this is struggle for survival!


Below short photo-session report. Best way to depict the dynamics of our game and main developments on the board.

Nathan (blue) starts in Spain, Jacob (black) in Africa. I will lead from Macedonia (red) (click to enlarge)
Jacob loved the idea of steamroller – he build large army and started to travel across Norther Africa (red catapult should be black:)) (click to enlarge)
Eventually he approached Eastern Mediterranean where his brother was already occupying Syria! (click to enlarge)
The inevitable almost happened as Nathan decided to abandon the rich Syria province and flee to Taurus Mountains (click to enlarge)
Situation mod-game (click to enlarge)
Then my dear sons started to play the tricks on me; I was reading to them possibilities on cards and they usually had chosen to land some barbarians on me! (click to enlarge)
After Philip in Athens I also received Mithridates in Asia Minor. What a fun 🙂 (click to enlarge)
Last but not least, Jakub landed in Rome (yes, too many cubes moved, but that is minor detail) and declared Civil War. Which he won against my forces (click to enlarge)
End of game situation. We finished in the middle of the third era as boys evidently get tired and their focus faded away 🙂 The points were not so much important as the fun from the time spent together!  (click to enlarge)
One last look at Mare Nostrum (click to enlarge)


My learning from that play is that you should not hesitate to introduce Wargames even to young children – they love to spend time with their parents and are very interested in all those things adults are occupied with. Still, for a game to have a  great appeal to young adepts, it cannot bee too abstract. The wooden cubes from Enemies of Rome are too distant simplification of Roman Legion for my 5 and 7 years old ones. They need elephants (see our SPQR Bagradas Plains game), warriors with axes (see our Cataphract Casilinum scenario) or tons of planes and ships (see our Empire of the Sun South Pacific gameplay). Anyway, boardgames with children is not only quality time spend here and now but also an investment into the future 🙂