Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Author: Martin Schlegel

Publisher: QUEEN GAMES 2005



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Do you still remember Drunter & Drüber, the SPIEL DES JAHRES 1991? Simpletons tried to build roads and water ways through their town and sometimes this resulted in a big mess and blockade. In Aqua Romana this idea of building and blocking in a limited area of space was taken up und combined with a modern scoring mechanism. The story takes place in good old Rome, where sophisticated civil engineers supplied the folk with fresh water with the help of mighty aqueducts. As the owner of one of these aqueducts, the players compete to build the longest aqueduct.


The gameboard consists of 84 spaces, where the aqueduct tiles are placed during the game. Starting from individual points at the edge of this board, the players build their aqueducts in several directions with the help of 3-4 workers, depending on the number of players. In a turn a player may place one new aqueduct tile. This tile must be put next to a worker and has to fit to the aqueduct on which the worker stands. Generally there are four types of aqueducts: straight lines, bends in two variants and crossings. But you normally can not freely choose between these types. Engineers at the very edge of the board must be in a line or row of your worker and these engineers only can build one of the different types of the aqueduct.

If a new tile can be placed, it may finish (block) another aqueduct on the other side. This is allowed and gives the player the possibility to interact with the opponents. Once a new aqueduct tile is put on the gameboard, the worker of the player goes to this new tile and the engineer at the edge of the board must be placed to the next free field clockwise. So the engineers go around the board during the game.

All aqueducts that were finished in the turn, either by blocking or by reaching the edge of the board, come to a scoring. The worker of the aqueduct is taken away and has to be placed on the scoring table. The length of the aqueduct, i.e. the number of aqueduct tiles, gives the place on the scoring table. The worker is being placed on the pedestal (there are pedestals with the scorings 1-20). But beware! Only two pedestals (for length 3 and 7) have room enough for two workers. All other pedestals may only be occupied by a single worker. If now your pedestal is already occupied, your worker must be placed on the next smaller and free pedestal. So finishing an aqueduct quickly can be a tactic to win the game.


Also, finishing an aqueduct has another advantage. All players whose aqueducts were finished may draw another engineer from a reserve. In the next turn the players must place these engineers on a free field at the edge of the game. One of these reserve engineers is a kind of Joker, who allows drawing all different kinds of aqueduct tiles.

In the end all workers of a player on the pedestals are summed up and the player with the highest scoring points wins the game.

Aqua Romana has a nice and fresh design. Although the game mechanism is not completely new, the game develops a particular character mainly due to the scoring mechanism that brings some finer tactics into the game. It is for family and friends equally good and can be played without much of explaining and learning. The scoring points are visible and easily countable for everyone during the game. So it can be controlled whether it makes sense to further lengthen or finishing an aqueduct during your turn. If you do not possess Drunter & Drüber, Aqua Romana should be your first choice. The rest of you should perhaps have a deeper look into the game before buying it.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany