Roman Taxi is one of those light, fun games that has some initial attraction, but likely won’t hold your interest for a lot of repeat play.
The game is based on the idea players being Roman chariot taxi drivers. You pick up passengers, and get them to their destination to score points. The most points naturally wins.
There are passenger cards with assigned destinations, and travel cards which affect movement and event cards which impact the game in some fashion, most often scoring additional points. With three decks of cards influencing the game, the card draw becomes paramount in this game. As a result you have quite limited control over game play. You simply draw a card and do what it allows.
The game has a social aspect, allowing two to five players, but game play is rather restrictive.
The game board, while well made, is rather busy in its design. A road system of small, brightly coloured squares is at times a bit much, although it does have a sort of 1970’s appeal.
The small squares though are a problem in that the player tokens are too big for the squares. That just seems like a detail production should have been able to handle.
Therein lies the problem with Roman Taxi. Everything about the game seems to promise a fun game, but somehow falls just a little short of achieving the level of expectation.
The limited game play options, draw a card, move, wait for your turn again, can make multi-player games drag on, without a feeling of impacting the outcome past drawing cards. Even in Monopoly, the world’s most boring game in my opinion, at least offers decisions on what properties to buy, when to build houses, or to wheel and deal a title trade.
If Roman Taxi had just a few ways to change one’s fate, it would be better.
The basic idea of competing cabs, with the pasted on Roman theme is intriguing, but there are just far too many better games out there to suggest this one should take up shelf space, and that is where it will likely end up since it will rarely see the gaming table.
The game was designed by the team of Dan Tibbles, Jeremy Holcomb, Joseph Huber (II), and Stephen McLaughlin. It is a new game being released only this year from Bucephalus Games.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Dec. 2, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada