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Top 5 Games Set in Ancient Rome

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Rome is a popular setting for board games, and these are my picks for the best games set in ancient Rome.

1. Quo Vadis?

For 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Reiner Knizia, published by Mayfair Games.
Who can best influence outcomes in the Roman Senate? The answer to that question will determine the winner of this game. You try to maneuver your politicians through the committee structure and into the best positions. But along the way, you have to help other players because that's how you win all-important prestige points.

2. Ave Caesar

Ave Caesar
Image courtesy of Asmodee Editions
For 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Wolfgang Riedesser, published by Asmodee Editions.
Players trying to be the first to complete three laps around a track in ancient Rome. Each player has an identical deck of cards, drawing three to start the game. It then becomes a simple process of playing a card, moving your chariot forward that number of spaces, and drawing a replacement card. But with a track full of players trying to block your way on the narrow track, that's easier said than done. And if you fail to pay tribute to Caesar along the way, you cannot win the race. Ave Caesar, a personal favorite, is deceptively simple.

3. Clash of the Gladiators

For 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Reiner Knizia, published by Rio Grande Games.
Players enter the arena ready to fight to the death. First, assemble your gladiator teams from the available warriors. Then let the games begin. The nice feature of this game is that once your gladiators are eliminated, you control wild animals -- so no one is ever truly out of the game.

4. Caesar & Cleopatra

For 2 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Wolfgang Lüdtke, published by Rio Grande Games.
One player is Caesar and the other Cleopatra in this game. They work to win patriarchs to their side in a contest for power. Be warned that the theme includes material which is offensive to some players.

5. Battle Line

For 2 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by Reiner Knizia, published by GMT Games.
A kind of "capture the flag" game using ancient battle formations. Based on a previous game, Schotten Totten, Battle Line adds new options in the form of tactics cards. A game can be finished in about 10 minutes, but a good amount of strategy is packed into that short time.

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