Friday, January 20, 2012

Trajan: A Boardgame About Ancient Rome

I spent yesterday evening with the local boardgaming group, a very pleasant group of folks who are devotees of some very interesting and off the beaten path games. This blog is not usually about boardgames, but it was an interesting game and I thought it was worth describing.

Last night I had the chance to play the game Trajan with two other folks. Trajan is published by German publisher Ammonit Spiele, and is designed by Stefan Feld. Trajan is a development game in which players engage in construction, commerce, politics and military activity in order to score points. There are several clever mechanisms in the game, including an ancient system called a mancala to determine how a player's actions are determined each turn.

Here are some pictures I took last night:

And here's a YouTube video of the game being explained.

I found Trajan fairly easy to learn and within a few turns I felt I had the basics. I opted for a military based strategy, and while that netted me a good number of points, the other two players seemed to do better with commerce and building strategies.

The game components and artwork are beautifully designed and quite attractive. The game went by fairly quickly - we finished it in two hours. As a strategy game it is simple and challenging. As a teaching tool, I am not sure it offers a lot of education about ancient Rome. If you know about the period you will appreciate the atmosphere of the game, but you could play it as a strategy game without knowing the first thing about who Trajan was. Still it is a fun and clever game, and I would certainly play it again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Interesting. How do you find BlogPress? I've been trying to use the official Blogger app without a great deal of success.

  2. Mr. Kinch:
    I have only used BlogPress a few times but find it useful, especially as my employer has deemed Blogspot a pernicious influence. BP is useful when I want to throw up some ideas on one of my blogs during the day and then fine tune them at home. Also useful for uploading photos straight from my iPhone to the blog without faffing about with imageshack or flickr as an intermediary.

  3. Padre, this boardgaming malarkey is all fine and dandy but do not let it distract you from what really matters in life: The Bluffsburg Campaign!


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