Updated: Dec 4, 2019
This is an exciting game set in the Classical world. Asymmetric powers use resources to expand their empires, gather more resources, invade neighbours and add 'leaders' or 'wonders' that give them special powers. The particular feature of the game is that to use to buy anything, resources have to be unique (no duplicates) and so all powers are dependent on trade with each other in order to exchange resources.
In every play of Mare Nostrum, every player feels they are just a hair breadth close to winning but victory remains just out of reach. This is because , even after trade, you always seem to be just one unique resource short of what you need. The leader and wonder powers are quite literally game changers and, as the available leaders and wonders varies in each game, subsequent plays can have very different dynamics.
We are playing here Academy Game's 'deluxe' edition of Mare Nostrum, with a large neoprene map, plastic buildings and camels replacing the cardboard tokens, and heavy poker chips replacing the cardboard resource tokens and currency. We also made use of the space available to introduce a 'diplomacy' phase, with players going off in huddles to plot with and persuade rivals over their strategies and actions. A great game.