Spartacus Board Game Review

Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery

I bought this game purely based on two things; liking the show and some vague positive comments I read online.  After playing our first game last night I wanted to write out a review for anyone else who might be interested in it.

I should start by saying that my gaming resume consists of the classics and popular stuff like Axis and Allies, Twilight Imperium, Settlers of Catan and Power Grid.  Spartacus fits in among those and will be a regular for gaming nights from now on.

The game will not be an easy one like Settlers of Catan that I can bring out with older family, non gamers and most girlfriends but it's nowhere near as 'gamy' as something like Axis and Allies.

My friends and I loved it though.  The game breaks down into 4 main phases, a healing and income/upkeep phase, then scheming, then market and finally combat.  The scheming allows you to do underhanded or helpful things and usually with the help of other people.  Being all alone seems very hard to win with but making a deal with someone and helping each other out will quickly help the two of you rise to victory (well one of you will have to break the allegiance at some point).

The market phase is all done by secret bid and you only get one chance.  Put your bid in your fist and everyone reveals at once!  Many times I ended up overpaying for something I thought would be a high priced item in fear that I'd lose it to a lower bid. 

Then comes combat.  One of the best parts of this is that you can gamble on the victor and the degree of victory.  We all lost a lot of wealth in an attempt to get rich quick.  The combat is also cool.  I've read some complaints against it but if you're good with numbers (like any warhammer player ought to be) you should figure it out pretty quick.  Gladiator speed for example is by and far the most important stat.

Without explaining everything in super detail I'll tell you that this is a definite good game for so many reasons.  It has diplomacy, auctions, combat and gambling; things that many games choose 1 or 2 of as a focus yet Spartacus blends the four making each equally important.