Players assume the role as a Roman patrician — a member of the ruling class in the empire — and fight to win the favor of the city's seven sharply-divided factions. Utilizing these alliances, players must take control of the city to emerge as Tribune; the most powerful citizen in Rome.
At the beginning of the game, each player receives an initial hand of faction cards. Players select a color and take their wooden figures, or Followers. The number of wooden figures used in the game as well as the requirements for victory depends on the number of players. When all players are ready, choose or randomly select the game's victory condition card.
Once a turn begins, faction cards are placed on the board at each location. Players then strategically place their colored markers across the city to gather up allegiances with the seven factions. Gaining an alliance can bring the favor of the gods, laurel wreaths, legions, scrolls, and other items which may be necessary to triumph in the game.
If a player wishes to gain the support of a faction which has already been claimed by another player, the first player must collect more of that faction's cards to show that they have gained more favor with the group. If the challenge is successful, the winning player is entitled to all of the privileges and items associated with that faction.
The Game Board
A stylized of a map of the capital city of ancient Rome comprises the game board, complete with thermal baths, catacombs, the Pantheon, and the Forum. The various factions of the city are arranged across the top of the board, and act as a political battleground for players who wish to challenge the alliances of another player.
- Gladiators — A group of professional combatants who fought one another in spectacular battles for the entertainment of the free citizens of Rome.
- Legates — Roman diplomats who sometimes acted as governors in the outlying provinces. Legates commanded Roman troops with the blessing of the Senate.
- Praetorians — An elite group of skilled soldiers who were used by Roman emperors as personal body guards.
- Plebeians — The common people of the Roman republic, this faction was composed of farmers, artisans, and craftsmen. Though they were of a lower class status than the patricians, they were still citizens of Rome and commanded the largest percentage of the population.
- Patricians — The ruling class of Rome; members of the most wealthy and privileged families. They exerted social control over plebeians and slaves.
- Vestal Virgins — Roman priestesses of the god Vesta. They tended the eternal fires of the goddess's temples and enjoyed many special privileges not afforded to other women of the time.
- Senators — Comprised up the most important and influential political body of Rome, Senators determined the course of the Roman state.
Winning the Game
A player wins Tribune as soon as he or she has met all of the conditions specified out by the victory condition card chosen at the beginning of the game.