Gloria Mundi is an interesting game. Ok interesting is a bit vague. It’s got a neat theme. The goths are coming from the north (represented by a big plastic el diabloesque counter). They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore so they’re stomping towards Rome all “Kill! Burn! Pillage!” Once they’ve wound their destructive way through the thirty odd provinces and reach Rome its game over man.
Meanwhile you are trying to get out of dodge and away to the relative safety of Africa. The player who gets as close to Africa before the game ends is declared the winner (the others become goth be-atches).
To power this headlong flight, each turn a player plays a resource card from their hand (they start with a dozen plus) . This is of three possible colors and when they do any color of that type in front of any players pays out that resources machi koro style. Resources are used to buy buildings that firstly move you a couple of steps towards safety and secondly give you a special action of which there are many (or legion if you prefer)(see what I did there). Actions can be as simple as gain three gold, change one resource type for another, pay two green resources to get three white, pay one gold to move one space on the escape track) ecetterra ecetterra
The other thing resources are used for it paying tribute to the goth. This will delay them from their stomping for a turn but will store up trouble for the future. When the tribute cannot or will not be paid by a player the goth gets thick, hoovers up the tribute already laid before him and welshes on the deal, running amok and destroying what he was paid not to destroy earlier.
Destruction is ever present in this game. The goths path to Rome is littered with cities, farms and legions (gold, green, white) sometimes more than one in each space. When the goth moves into them starting with the current player they have to lose a card in front of them of one of those colors stomped on. Once the current player has paid up (if they can) the remaining items stomped on have to paid up for by the next player and so on. A clever player will allow the goth to destroy resources they don’t have in front of them so other players further along with that type showing will have to pay up “skin that one pilgrim” style.
It’s a very interesting game. The rules appear to have been translated from Native American to German then English via Google translate but they’re not overly complex and you can piece it together. It plays pretty quick. We played four (it will accommodate six) and had it done and dusted in an hour and a half or so.
It is very chaotic. You could sit and figure out the patterns of what can happen from what’s in front of the goth, what players have in front of them and what resources they recently acquired and good luck with that. Checking goats entrails might be more accurate (and thematic). Under no circumstance let this game near an overanalyser it will slow to a crawl.
I picked this up at the last knavecon for a song and it’s definitely worth a look. I like it. I like the theme and I like the art work of the hefty Roman fiddling while Rome burns (methapor). Like a lot of games this will require more plays. No bad thing