Author: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

Publisher: AMIGO 2004

Awards: none



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Anno domini 79: The prospering roman city Pompeji has attracted a great number of citizens. Numerous Roman merchants, gladiators and patricians have moved to this city. The last eruption of the Vesuv in the year 63 is long forgotten, and so they all have no idea of the approaching catastrophe...

The new game from Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (Carcasonne) has a very interesting playing mechanism, dividing the game into two halfs. In the first half the players try to place as many of their own citizens in the houses of Pompeji as possible and in the second half they have to rescue them from the erupting Vesuv by running out of the town.

The game comes along with a nice board, a lot of wooden pieces and several cards. It could be a very attractive game indeed, if there wasnīt the very bad designed vulcano which is made out of pasteboard. I do not wish to know how this piece will look like after the twentieth time of playing. Obviously Amigo itself is not very happy with this, because in the rules it is explicitly said to be very cautious while setting up the vulcano on the board. Some piece of plastic would have been much better.

The gameplay itself is quite simple, but nevertheless itīs very attractive. In the first half, the players can set their pieces in the houses by playing a card showing the house number where the new citizen will be placed. After this a new card from the stock pile is drawn. When someone draws the Vesuv for the first time, the game mechanism changes a little bit. Whenever a player places a citizen in a house with other citizens, he then may set as many additional citizens in other houses as there were citizens in the first house. To prevent a chain reaction, this rule only is valid for the first citizen that is placed with the card.

When the Vesuv card is drawn is drawn the second time, the gameplay changes totally. All cards are put aside and the Vesuv begins its destructive eruption. Each round the players then draw a lava marker and place it on a square on the board. Every citizen on this square is a victim of the vulcano and for the rest of the game this square cannot be crossed by any other citizen. There are six start points for the lava. Each lava card has a mark of one of these start points and must have a connection to the specific start point when placed on the board.


After the player finished this destructive part of his turn, he must try to save his own citizens by running out of town. But as it is common for an ancient town, there are town walls everywhere and only a few town gates give way to freedom. Only two different citizens per turn can be moved by exactly as many squares as there were citizens in their start field. So for example a black citizen on a start square with another black and two other fellows, may move four squares. Only if a citizen is alone on a start field, he may be moved twice in a turn. This gives the player some tactical elements since it requires a bit of advance planning.

The game ends, when the last lava card is placed on the board. This normally should be after about 45 minutes. The winner is the player with the most rescued citizens. In the case of a draw, the player with the fewest citizens destroyed by the vulcano wins the game.

With Der Untergang von Pompeji Klaus-Jürgen Wrede once again has created a well balanced game with easy rules and a lot of fun. Especially the break in the middle of the game is something very attractive to me. Itīs a quick game without strategic, but with enough tactical elements to prevent boredom. Especially for families with children and for players who dontīt like complicated and extraordinary long rules the game could be very interesting. Whatīs really an offence in my point of view is the cheap and not very long-lasting design of the Vulcano as mentioned before. But as far as the rest is concerned, it is really a nice game.

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2004 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Trier, Germany