The year is 66 B.C. and gladiator games are at their most violent and bloody. Craving more political power, you excite the masses by announcing Gorus Maximus: Exceptionally bloody games.
You approach the owners of five gladiator schools to recruit their strongest gladiators and most ferocious beasts. These games will also allow you to do away with the criminals, deserters, and nay-sayers standing in your way.
Unfortunately, you are not the only one with such schemes! As the games draw near, you hear of political opponents with similar plans: to sacrifice gladiators for crowd favour and political support. Each of you will dispatch gladiators, ensuring the most exciting and gruesome games.
You are confident great things await you… And it will be well worth all the blood on your hands!
-Inside Up Games Site
Gorus Maximus by Inside Up Games is a trick-taking card game for 2-8 players with a gladiatorial combat theme. What makes Gorus Maximus different from other trick taking games is the ability for the trump suit to change at any point, as opposed to just at the beginning of a round. Trump will only change when a player “challenges,” by matching the rank of the last card played in the trick. Each card has a point value as well which can be positive or negative. At the end of each trick, players add up their points and the player with the most wins a token of favor from the crowd. The first to three tokens will win the game. I got to sit down at Origins Game Fair and play a round with the creator, Conor McGoey and friends and I really enjoyed it.
Gorus Maximus was fully backed on Kickstarter in under 12 hours and after playing the game, I can understand why. Trick taking games, specifically Euchre, are a big go to for our larger family gatherings where not everyone is into the big box board games so the rules of the game were fairly easy to pick up. The biggest problem we usually have with Euchre is the player requirement as sometimes it’s harder to get 4 people together or, just as often, we find ourselves with someone having to sit out when we have too many. Gorus Maximus takes care of this problem by having a player count of 1-8. The gameplay is fast paced and the basics can be taught in under a couple minutes so you can get right into playing.
We played a couple of rounds and the point system is what got me at first. As I said earlier, some of the cards have a negative point value so when you play them you are trying not to win the trick. I was thinking with a Euchre mindset and won two tricks with an 8 card and ended the round in the red. After that though, it was pretty easy to understand the mechanics and I liked that it had more than just a “win all the tricks!” vibe.
I was really impressed with the artwork as each card in a suit can be put together to build a mosaic of a gory coliseum battle. It’s vibrant and while there is obviously violence, it has a lighter cartoonish vibe that wouldn’t give me too much pause in playing it with the kids. Currently reaching stretch goals on Kickstarter, Gorus Maximus is expected to release in October of 2018. If trick taking card games are your thing or you’re looking for a fun game to play with up to 8 players, I highly suggest checking it out and getting in on the Kickstarter where you can currently pick up a copy of the standard version for only $15.
Let me know what you think! Have you already backed this game? Comment below!