Gaming > Table-top Games

Ostia - The Harbor of Rome


Wednesday, 2014-08-20, we played Ostia for the first time. This is a little auction/bluffing game that my brother, Tim, gave to me a couple years ago. I believe that he had originally purchased it as a game for himself, but when he got it home he decided it wasn't quite what he was interested in. When he gave it to me, I didn't have much hope for it either, but tonight we gave it a shot. After reading through the rules and explaining the game to Beth and Isaac, we got started. We were concerned, at least Beth and I were both secretly concerned, that the game was going to be boring. However, as the game progressed, we found that we really enjoyed it. The rounds were close in score, probably with much due to the fact that there were only three of us and scoring for the Senate donations gives 1, 2, or 3 victory points and we were all winning and losing favor in the Senate pretty evenly. The final round was quite intense, with Beth in the lead, followed by Isaac. Nathaniel jumped ahead at the end with the largest Senate donation and the most money. The final score was Nathaniel: 15; Beth: 14; Isaac: 12. I'm looking forward to playing again.

Ostia has been a surprise favorite for us recently. We played the game 3 times within the past month, which is noteworthy because we have so many different games that we could choose from that many times we play a game once in a while and then pick something else even if we enjoy the game. This month though... this game really clicked. When we played earlier in the month, Beth and Isaac enjoyed the game enough to play immediately after the first time.

The first game on August 13th, Isaac won with 15 points, while Beth and I tied at 13. We played this first game without Ivory, which is suggested for first-time-players, figuring it had been long enough since our last time to make it almost like our first time. The second game on August 13th, Isaac and Beth tied with 14 points and I got 12. We played the second game with Ivory and prices were higher since we understood payout better. The final round was so close, with all of us making good use of our situations to make the most of where we knew we could each benefit. The game played quickly, but unfortunately we didn't realize what the tie-breaker was before discarding the cards. We think it may have been Beth, but Isaac had just grabbed a few cards and compared them saying that Beth might have won in the tie-breaker because they both had the same number of storehouses at the end.

When playing today, I decided to use poker chips in place of the paper money that came with the game. The paper money in this game sticks together so much that it's very annoying to pick up and move around, and as we've experienced with other games, having coins or poker chips just seem to give a better playing experience. Since I have a set of poker chips with 4 colors, I used the chips for 1, 2, 5, and 10 Denarii by setting 1 chip on a piece of the paper money that it was replacing, while continuing to use the paper 20 Denarii when it was needed. 

Today, once again our scores were close and I tend to think that it might be necessary that they have the tie-breaker rules as often as it has come up with as few times as we've played the game. In the end, Beth and I both had 15 points, while Isaac ended the game with 14 points. I won the tie-breaker, since I had 3 storehouses and Beth only had 2. I thought at first that the goods were the factor in the tie-breaker, but once again we had forgotten and had discarded our cards before determine the final score before realizing the storehouses were checked first. Still an enjoyable game that I hope we remember to bring to the table more often in the future. 


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