Most of regular readers to my blog will probably observe with ease my fascination with ancient warfare, especially the Roman era. One of my favorite, light, exciting and intriguing games describing that subject is definitely Time of Crisis. The first time I had a chance to see / test the game was during the Essen 2017 fair and since that moment I fell for that title.

Good things cannot get better? Well, once the expansion was issued – The Age of Iron and Rust – this position improved further! With the new set of alternative cards, new emperor characteristics plus fantastic bots – truly, hardly ever I have seen such a good solo mode design – this is now a true masterpiece. So it is not a surprise that when Brent asked me if I would like to take part in PBEM game of Time of Crisis, at the same time play-testing some interesting new game mechanics, I could not resist.

More articles about the game - click to open in the new window:
- [UNBOXING] Time of Crisis
- [REVIEW] Time of Crisis + expansion
- Time of Crisis – how does it play with Bots? (solo mode analysis)
- Mid-week madness with Time of Crisis 
- Time of Crisis – first game with expansion

About the Game

Before going straight to the session report, let me spend some time explaining the game in more details. 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.

New game mechanics

Now, let me tell you about a small tweak on the rules which we were supposed to test. That was the possibility that you can trash from your Available pile, in addition to your Discard pile. It is something the designers expressed an interest in with an eye to the next edition of the game; so we could do some more play-testing and provide feedback on it. You can find more background in the following BGG thread:

Session Reports

Time for the main part of article, so our games. All of them were run using Vassal (for actual moves) and Discord (for file exchange). That proven method is probably one of the fastest and we introduced this broadly also for other campaigns. I also experimented a bit with the presentation part, using – instead of static images – animated gifs. Hopefully you will like it!

First game

Here we played in following set-up:

  • Michal
  • Brent
  • Mark
  • James

Below – as mentioned earlier – the animated report of our game; below standard, regular summary of the main actions.

Click on picture to enlarge in new window

Highlights of our first session: Well, what can I say? Brent crushed us! And he did it with Populace Emperor. He got to Rome as early as third turn, pretty heavily discarding form available in the second part of the game. The most impressive was his attack in last turn, when he took my Africa!

Well, not that the other players did not have a lot of issues for themselves. I got hit by Nomads, Franks (massively!) and Postumus. Sassanids as always were a true scourge of the earth, razing to the ground James‘ Galatia. Not to mention poor Mark, confined to Aegyptus and Syria for most of the game. Still, finishing game in Turn 7 seemed for most of us (except victor!) a bit premature!


  1. Brent – 74
  2. Michal – 35
  3. James – 34
  4. Mark – 29

Second game

There was only one answer to so quickly finished first game. We immediately started the second one! The set-up for it was following:

  • Michal
  • Michael
  • Mark
  • Brent

Below again the animated report and some highlights:

Click on picture to enlarge in new window

Highlights of our second session: That was a completely different session. First of all, Michael substituted James. We did not know at the onset, but that really changed a lot of game dynamics due to his game tactics and strategies 🙂 Secondly, our champion – Brent – was mercilessly but of course after result from first game, deservedly, mauled turn after turn by the barbarians. He tried to keep to the North Africa, but it was constantly attacked by Nomads and (!!!) Sassanids who went even as far as Aegyptus.

Definitely, that was good game for me. I trashed from Available heavily, invested whatever I could in military cards and was able to take emperor seat in Turn 6 – but not from neutrals but from Mark. Oh, we had so many fights on Gallia / Italia / Pannonia border between us but heavy investment in red cards allowed me to prevail.

I admit, Michael proved to be is a very devious (:)) player; using massively his Demagogue, he forced us to discard cards almost every turn. That gave him a pretty strong second position.


  1. Michal – 81
  2. Michael – 52
  3. Mark – 41
  4. Brent – 26


There are games on my shelf which I played 2-3 times, enjoyed, but due to constant inflow of new titles, did not play later on. And there are positions which – no matter how much novelty I recently acquired – will always find a place to be brought to the table – be it digital or analog one 🙂 Time of Crisis is definitely among such titles – I enjoy it immensely both from theme and mechanics perspective. And tests of “discard from available” proved that it can become even better!