Do you have SPQR tattooed on your arm? Do you watch Ben Hur twice a year? Are you fond of racing games with a bit of violence in them? Then Chariots of Rome by Victory Point Games might be something you want to check out. It aims to recreate the chaos and brutality of chariot races from the Roman era.
Chariots of Rome is a game for 2-8 players that takes around 20 minutes per player. That is, if you have a four player game you should expect it to last 80 minutes on average. The game takes place on a large fold-out board representing a circus, a large open arena where chariots and other races took place in ancient Rome. Players can control one or two chariots, and they must manage their resources carefully; they have to keep their horses' Endurance Up, spend their Tactics wisely (either on attacks or defensive maneuvers) maintain their Speed, and avoid getting too Rattled.
Although a game of Chariots of Rome can end once someone crosses the finish line, it's just as likely that they'll slam into a wall because they took a corner too fast or suffered a devastating ram attack from one of their opponents. The bad things that happen to you are dealt out through Action Cards, each of which has four separate headings depending on what you're using the card for (Whip Attack, Ram Attack, Cornering, and Danger). Rarely, a player might take a Wound that renders their Charioteer completely unable to use their special ability for the rest of the game. A second Wound will knock that Charioteer out of the race entirely.
Chariots of Rome features a good bit of strategy, but luck is a factor as well. Players can amp up their speed by spending a Tactics or Endurance point and rolling a die, and the Action Cards have various different outcomes, some of which can spell instant disaster.
Victory Point Games is running a pretty straightforward campaign. A pledge of $39 (plus shipping and handling) will get you a single copy of the game alongside all unlocked Stretch Goals. Bump that pledge up to $74 and you'll get two copies of the game at a $5 discount, and a $105 pledge will get you three copies at a $15 overall discount. Retailers can pledge $258 to get twelve copies of the game for their store.
As for the Stretch Goals, $21,000 will add two new Fate cards to the game. $25,000 adds Faction Aurumati (which increases the number of possible players in the game by two) along with the Charioteer Telesphoros. $29,000 adds two additional Fate cards and the Charioteer Marcellus. Finally, the $33,000 mark will increase the number of players by 2 again with the addition of Faction Purpurati and also adds the Charioteer Acacius.
Shipping will vary depending on your region. A handy-dandy chart is featured in the Kickstarter campaign proper, so rather than replicate the whole thing, I'd ask that you refer to that to figure out how much you'd be charged; it varies by region and the number of copies you're hoping to get. European customers should take note that this is a Customs-Friendly project, so you won't have to worry about any customs charges.
If for some reason you'd like to get a refund, you can get 100% of your pledge back after the conclusion of the campaign for the first 14 days after the campaign ends. After those first 14 days, you'll only get 90% of your money back as Victory Point Games will have incurred some costs related to the manufacturing of the game. Once the game is being packaged at order fulfillment, you can't get a refund at all.
If you're concerned about them following through, they have a pretty good track record. Six of their eight campaigns met their funding goals and have shipped or are in the process of shipping. One campaign was canceled, restarted, and successfully funded due to feedback from Backers and the community. The last campaign was canceled outright for not meeting its funding goal. The core of the game's rules & design are done, and this campaign is mainly about funding the printing; if you'd like to get a bit more hands-on, Victory Point Games has set up a playable version of Chariots of Rome over at Tabletopia. They tend to update their backers frequently, with most of their campaigns having 30-50 updates in total at regular intervals.
As it stands, Victory Point Games has raised a bit over $9,000 of their $18,000 funding goal. If you'd like to get your hands on a copy of Chariots of Rome, you can check out their Kickstarter campaign and pick up a copy for yourself. Delivery is estimated to be in November 2017. If you'd like to read more about the game, you can check out our Preview. The crowdfunding campaign ends on May 18, 2017, at 2:00 PM EDT.
What do you think of Chariots of Rome? Does it seem like the kind of game you and your tabletop group would enjoy? How well do you think it manages to simulate the chaos of chariot races in ancient Rome? Let us know in the comments below!