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2.6 out of 5 stars
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2.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 1 January 2011
At it's basic level - this is a game where you move your pieces from one part of the board to another - and the first to reach the destination wins. You start in the Colosseum, with 2 gladiators. The idea is that your gladiators escape from the colosseum, past the strategically placed, and moving, soldiers, and to one of the 6 country destinations. You roll dice to move both gladiators (white dice) and soldiers (black dice) in each turn, and try to pick up resources, such as weapons, armour, disguise, in order to make your escape, or fight. There are also two packs of cards, from which you take the top card when you roll an F/1 (Fate card) or R/1 (Resource card).

The Horrible Histories idea can be found in the fate and resource cards, when Nero can summarily kill a gladiator, you can be arrested, your food stolen, your opponent has to go into the arena to fight a tiger, or you can get help to fight.

The game is complicated. It's recommended at 8+, but I would suggest that the 8 to 9 year olds should, ideally, be familiar with board games, and understand a little bit about the Romans - understanding what a gladiator is, for example. That said, once you get into it, it is a good game. It takes a couple of go's to get the hang of the game. Our first version featured a whole different game play which my kids simply made up to fit the board! It was quite a fun version though - and the board does lend itself to making up your own games, if you enjoy doing that.

The game is educational. The art work on the Board game is lovely - and great for those with an eye for finding the details. As a whole, the game does give an impression of some aspects of life for a gladiator, when your fate is entirely at the whim of the ruling Roman elite. It also conveys the sense that gladiators came from all over the world.

In our family, my 10 year old daughter rated it highest, at 9/10. My 7 year old was less convinced, giving it 5/10. I enjoyed playing it with them - it certainly held my interest as an adult far more than many of the other board game offerings around at the moment for their age group. So on that basis, I would recommend it - if you are looking for a game to sit down and play as a family. But if your child has just finished reading the book (as my 7 year old had), then I'd be inclined to leave the game for now. In my experience the books are enjoyed by a younger age bracket than the game is designed for.
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on 31 December 2011
this is definitely not your average game. A few minutes spent reading instructions will be needed and a couple of trial runs but now we have got it we are up and running and everyone enoying it. Bought for 8 yr old who loves the HH books and tv series and has been perfect for him.
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on 26 December 2013
Agree with others that this is almost impossible to play. We were playing with four adults and one nine year-old. The maximum number of players is five. It may be better with a smaller number of people - each turn takes quite a bit of time as there are several stages and you need to look at the possible routes and plan ahead. The instructions are brief and, as others have said, open to interpretation. The circles on the board are too small for the counters. You can only move to circles touching the one your piece is on, and it is often hard to work out whether circles touch or not.

No educational value really - it is based on a gladiators / soldiers context, but I can't see that it would teach anyone anything about history.

Best for people who have a lot of experience playing strategy games. Or play "Logo" instead, which is what we did - much more fun!
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on 15 September 2013
Rules too obscure. Circles on board too small for playing pieces. Soldier pieces move backwards and forwards too much. Disappointing.
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on 12 February 2010
Not sure it if it is us - but we found it very difficult to understand - did allow us to explaine to our bright 8 year old about slaves and gladiators but that was it really - It was a Chirtmas gift and I had a good look at it before and decided to wait till there where at least three of us with an hour or more. We may try again (mum, dad and son) or may deliberatly (parents that is) loose it. The moving circles are so small, close together and faint, the playing bits too big, it mentioned areas we couldn't find - like where is the toilet window dad was supposed to excape through. Our son usally loves board games, but none of us where clear after 1 1/2 hours. The rules seem very complecated.

Just done some surfing and looked at a game geek site - had three ratings - two of which where 2 out of ten the third was a designer who gave it 7.

Should say though Amazon says for age 10 the box says 8+.

Be interested if people are playing it and enjoying it as there maybe something we are missing.
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on 8 September 2013
We have tried to play this game on 4 occasions and have never finished it. Where to start??

I can only assume that the board was originally half again as big and got shrunk late in the design process as the pieces don't fit on the spaces and you have to keep picking other player's pieces up to see where your pieces can move to. It is not clear which spaces join to which.

The instructions are almost useless, full of ambiguity and just confusing as everyone will have their own interpretation. Consider for example setting the board up. All player pieces have to start in one specific area on the board. That area consists of a number of spaces so who gets to decide which pieces start where in that area. We just end up making up our own rules.

During the game you might have to pick up cards to tell you to take some action. These do not contain enough information to be clear. For example soldiers move according to the values on two black die and gladiators according to two white die. If a card tells you to take an action for a soldier based on the total of rolling 4 die does that mean the total of the two black and two white or do you roll one or other color twice?

This game is a piece of junk and will be given away to the next good cause.
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on 1 January 2012
We got this game for our son for Christmas on the basis that he loves the Horrible Histories programes on CBBC, and the whole family enjoy playing board games together. It is however, the worst, most badly designed game we have ever played and is not worthy of the 'Horrible Histories' name. I have never written a review before on Amazon but given how annoyed we feel with this product it has spurred me on to write a review.
The game is deeply flawed and whilst the concept is good the actual game, pieces, board and instructions are very badly thought out. I could go into great detail about why the designer should go back to the drawing board: The board is too crowded and when there are 4 people playing it is very difficult to see where to move the pieces; the base of the gladiator pieces are too large for the spaces where they are supposed to move; the gates to the home countries are very obscured; the instructions are contradictory about crucial elements of the game for example what to do when soldiers and gladiators meet. I could go on and on. We have attempted to play this game twice and won't bother again, what a disappointment. I strongly advise you to steer clear of this game. It is a complete waste of time and money.
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on 30 June 2011
The concept of this game is quite a good one. Gladiators collect 'equipment' from places in Rome which they then use in their escape to surrounding countries. They are obstructed and pursued by soldiers who they evade or fight. So this could teach you about places you would find in a town and what they were for.

Unfortunately the concept is poorly executed and results in a game lacking playability. Too much depends on the throw of the dice, or which card you draw. Some cards can make victory or defeat inevitable even if your strategy and luck with the dice have been good up until late in the game. It is over complex, but unlike say chess, the complexity adds nothing to the game.

My eyes may be giving up, but the circles on the board which denote the spaces are very feint, and the writing over the top sometimes makes it difficult to tell which joins to which.

A real frustration is that the rules seem to allow some ambiguity, and my eight year old and I have engaged in debate about how the game is played and even though I think a particular intrpretation makes the game better, or makes more sense there is nothing in the rules to clarify what you do.

Sometimes you can hardly believe that the designers have played the game and certainly never watched a family play it from scratch.

I came on line not to write this review but to see if there was a site where I could get answers to my queries.

So probably a game to avoid. Another defeat in the battle against the Playastation and the Nintendo!
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on 8 October 2010
i am surprised reading the other reviews. My 7 year old really enjoyed playing this, as did I. It wasn't overly complicated and was good fun. Each to their own I suppose.
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on 1 November 2012
For the record we love Horrible Histories in this house, though if this game was your first experience of HH you'd be put off.
The aim is to get your gladiator/slave out of the colliseum in Rome and home to one of 5 lands (Persia, Gaul, Africa, Britannia & Germania). Some are further from the colliseum than others so for example nobody chooses to go home to Africa in our house, we all go to Persia or Gaul! The board is badly designed with the spaces being circular and very faint against the HH illustration, and the pieces oval (!). There is no set path around the board, you can pretty much go anywhere so long as the circles touch which leads to arguments with 7 yr olds and their daddies. There are a few item spaces to pick up specific things like rope, key, water etc. there are also corresponding spaces to lose those items, but precious few opportunities to use the items you have collected.

This COULD have been a really good game but it is so easy to play without having to take/use any of the cards and to avoid dangers that it's almost pointless. No need to do anything other than roll the dice and move.
(Not wanting to ditch this game tho i added walls that players can't cross, walls they can cross only if they have certain items, more chances to pick up Fate or Resource cards, multiple areas to start from, and allocation of home country to reach by throwing a dice (all done with coloured stickers lol). Made it more interesting).

So unless you are going to modify this game i certainly don't recommend wasting the money.

Terry Deary we are disappointed!
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