The Republic of Rome

The Republic of Rome Board Game – Guide to Rules, Instructions & Strategy


The Republic of Rome is a complex and engaging board game that simulates the complex political landscape of the Roman Republic. It’s a game where players take on the roles of various factions, each trying to gain control of the Senate and, by extension, Rome itself. The game is known for its depth, requiring players to manage resources, negotiate with others, and navigate the treacherous waters of Roman politics.

The Republic of Rome was first published in 1990 and has since become a classic among strategy game enthusiasts like me who appreciate Rome for the endless intrigue it can generate as a setting. It’s a game that combines elements of diplomacy, resource management, and historical simulation, making it a unique experience each time it’s played. The game’s historical accuracy adds to its appeal, as players can relive and reshape the events that shaped Roman history.

The game does take a lot of elements and inspiration from the excellent board game John Company, so check out my guide to that if you’re looking for alternatives.

Quick Tip for The Republic of Rome

Always keep an eye on the strength of Rome itself. If Rome falls, everyone loses, so balance your ambition with the need to keep the Republic strong!

Rules for playing The Republic of Rome

Understanding the rules of The Republic of Rome is crucial to playing the game effectively. I find the rulebook that comes with the game to be needlessly dense, but it’s also not actually that hard to play. The game is played over several turns, each representing a period of time in Roman history. Players control factions that compete for influence in the Senate and various other political arenas. The goal is to become the most powerful faction by the end of the game, but if Rome falls to external threats or internal chaos, all players lose.

The game is divided into several phases, including the Mortality Phase, where senators may die, the Revenue Phase, where players collect income, and the Forum Phase, where players can recruit new senators and deal with random events. The Senate Phase is where the core of the game takes place, with players debating and voting on various proposals that can affect the game’s outcome. The Combat Phase involves military campaigns against Rome’s enemies, and the Population Phase checks the mood of the Roman people, which can lead to revolts if not managed properly.

Players must manage their senators, who have various attributes like influence, military skill, and popularity. These attributes affect how effective a senator is in different aspects of the game. Players also need to manage their faction’s treasury, as money is needed to fund campaigns, bribe other senators, and deal with random events that can occur.

Equipment and Setup for The Republic of Rome

To play The Republic of Rome, you’ll need the game board, which represents the political landscape of Rome, including the Senate and various other locations. You’ll also need cards that represent senators, factions, and random events, as well as tokens for legions, fleets, and other resources. The game comes with all these components, but if you’re missing something, you can use DIY elements like coins or paper cutouts to replace them.

The setup involves placing the board in the center of the table, shuffling the decks of cards, and distributing faction cards to each player. Each player starts with a set number of senators and a starting treasury. The types of tiles in the game include provinces that can be governed by senators, contributing to a faction’s income, and enemy tiles that represent Rome’s adversaries.

How to Play The Republic of Rome and Game Mechanics

The Republic of Rome is played over a series of turns, each with several phases. Here’s a brief overview of each phase:

  1. Mortality Phase: Draw from the mortality chit pile to see which senators die.
  2. Revenue Phase: Collect income from senators who govern provinces and other sources.
  3. Forum Phase: Draw cards from the forum deck, which can include new senators, concessions, and events.
  4. Senate Phase: Propose and vote on laws, elect officials, and make other political decisions.
  5. Combat Phase: Send out generals to fight Rome’s enemies and deal with wars.
  6. Population Phase: Check the people’s support for the current government and deal with potential unrest.

Key game mechanics include negotiation, resource management, and strategic planning. Players must work together to ensure Rome’s survival while also competing for power and influence.

How to Win at The Republic of Rome

Winning The Republic of Rome requires a careful balance between personal ambition and the welfare of the Republic. Players must accumulate influence points, which are gained through successful military campaigns, passing laws, and holding offices. However, if Rome falls due to bankruptcy, military defeat, or unrest, all players lose.

Beginner strategies involve focusing on building a strong economic base and understanding the importance of cooperation. Intermediate players should start to engage in more complex negotiations and political maneuvering. Advanced players will need to master the art of timing and opportunism, knowing when to strike for power and when to hold back for the greater good of Rome.

Best Strategies for playing The Republic of Rome game

To win at The Republic of Rome, players should aim for a mix of short-term tactics and long-term planning. Here are some strategic plays to consider:

  • Form alliances with other players, but be ready to break them when it benefits you.
  • Invest in provinces early to secure a steady income.
  • Use your senators’ abilities wisely, placing them in positions where they can have the most impact.
  • Keep an eye on the military situation, ensuring Rome is protected without overextending your resources.
  • Be aware of the game’s end conditions and position yourself to have the most influence when it concludes.

Sneaky tactics can include bribing other players’ senators, plotting to have rivals’ senators accused of crimes, and manipulating the Senate to pass laws that benefit your faction.


Common scenarios in The Republic of Rome include dealing with wars against foreign enemies, managing food shortages, and handling political intrigue. To turn these scenarios to your advantage:

  • Use wars to gain military glory for your senators, but don’t let Rome’s armies become too weak.
  • Address food shortages by proposing laws to import grain, which can increase your popularity.
  • When faced with political intrigue, use your influence to outmaneuver your opponents and protect your interests.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing The Republic of Rome game

Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: How long does a game of The Republic of Rome typically last?
A: Games can last several hours, depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the rules.
Q: Can you win by military conquest alone?
A: No, military success is just one aspect of gaining influence. Political maneuvering is equally important.
Q: Is it better to focus on internal or external affairs?
A: A balance of both is necessary. Neglecting either can lead to Rome’s downfall.
Q: How do you deal with random events?
A: Adapt your strategy to the situation, and try to turn events to your advantage whenever possible.
Q: What’s the best way to manage your treasury?
A: Invest in income-generating assets and be cautious with spending on military campaigns and bribes.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are some extra tips to help you master The Republic of Rome:

  • Pay attention to the historical events that can occur during the game. They can provide opportunities or challenges that you’ll need to address.
  • Communication is key. Talk to other players, form plans, and be prepared to adapt as the game progresses.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the people. Keeping the populace happy can prevent revolts and ensure a steady flow of income.

For more information on The Republic of Rome, check out these resources: