Review Roam: return to the Arziane lands

Who I am
Steven L. Ken
@stevenlken
Author and references

After Above and Below and Near and Far, are you ready to return to the Arzian lands? If you are curious about what new adventure awaits you, read the Roam review

Ryan Laukat, game designer and creator of successful games such as Eight Minutes for an Empire, once again takes us to the Arzian lands, the same setting as Above and Below and Near and Far. Like the three games just mentioned, Roam is also distributed in Spain by dV Giochi and is present in the news for May 2020.



For the uninitiated, the Arziane lands are the cradle of ancient civilizations. Inexplicable wonders occur in their territories and are populated by bizarre creatures and valiant adventurers.

The inhabitants of these lands have been hit by a disease that forces them to wander for kilometers aimlessly doing extravagant activities. Our task is to wake them from their hypnotic sleep and let them help us to find other adventurers to save.

What we find in the box | Roam Review

Inside the box we find: 

  • 24 artifact tiles
  • 6 coins of 5
  • 30 coins of 1
  • 96 exploration tokens (24 for each of the 4 colors)
  • 4 summary cards
  • 12 starting cards (4 sets of 3 cards each, marked with a colored flag)
  • 1 outpost card
  • 43 territory / character cards

Preparation | Roam Review

First of all, each player must have three Starting cards of the same color (they can be recognized by the colored flag they have as their mark) and Exploration tokens of the same color as the flag.

We must then shuffle the Territory cards and make a deck (the Territory card must be visible), from here we must draw six cards that we will arrange in a 3 X 2 grid in the center of the table and always with the Territory visible. We must place the cards close together, which must touch each other without spaces in between to form what will be the game map. On the bottom of the cards there are scrolls, these must be on the outer edge of the grid.



Each player must then line up his three Starting cards near one side of the map.

As for the coins, they must be kept next to the map in a general supply. The second and third players start playing with one coin, while the fourth player starts with two.

Finally, the starting player is chosen who will have to take the Summary card that has written “Starting Player” above, as well as the first player, the others also receive a Summary card.

How to play | Roam Review

Our Customers two game modes, That introductory and that standard. The difference between the two is that in the first, the artifacts (they are stored in the box), while in the second they are used.

The introductory game

During your turn you can do the following:

  • We choose one of the characters available (they must be face up), done this we have to turn the chosen character face down and place the tokens in the same way e orientation that comes to us indicated by the card. To place these tokens, the following instructions must be followed: the configuration must be entirely within the boundaries of the map, the configuration cannot be rotated and, if possible, all the tokens present in the figure must be placed. In the event that a space is already occupied by a token, ours or an opponent's, we must skip it and continue placing our tokens.
  • When placing a token in a space that contains one or more "coin" symbols, we must take one coin for each symbol from the supply.
  • At the end of the turn it may happen that a Territory card has all the squares occupied by the counters. In this case we managed to save a lost creature and the card goes to whoever has the most counters on it, in case of a tie the players start to bet coins to be able to win the Territory. Bets are made clockwise starting with the first player, you can only bet once and the bet must be higher than the previous one. The player who has made the highest bet wins the card, his coins will go to the common supply and the others will keep theirs. It's possible pass without betting, bet zero, but It is not allowed bet more than the coins you own. 

The won card must be placed in front of us turned to the side of the character who becomes part of our group and we can use it whenever we want. We must give the opponents their signals and replace the missing Territory card with one taken from the draw pile.



For each card that we don't win, but on which we have at least one token, we take a coin from the supply.

The standard game

Here we will go to use artifacts. We need to shuffle the artifact cards and place four face up next to the map.

At the end of the turn it is possible to buy one of the artifacts (the cost is indicated above the card). The missing artifact is replaced with a new artifact. You can have as many as you like, but you can only buy one per turn.

Artifacts give you special powers, you can only use them during your turn and you can use as many as you want.

The points of the artifacts that you have are counted towards the end of the game.

End of the game

The game ends when a player has a total of ten characters, the current turn is finished and then the points are counted and whoever has the most wins. If there is a tie, whoever has more coins wins and if the tie persists then the victory is shared.

Varianti | Review Roam

There are two variants:

  1. The outpost: we place the outpost card near the map. Our goal is to be able to surround an opponent's token to win the Outpost card that will give us 3 points in the final tally. The card cannot be taken away from whoever won it.
  2. Double marker: on the same space there can be two tokens at the same time that must be stacked one on top of the other. The card is always won by the player with the most counters on it, as in a normal game.

What I think of Roam

About Roam I like the fact that for some it is the return to a world already known and for those who have not yet played Above and Below and Near and Far, I think it is the right starting point to explore a part of the Arziane lands.



It is a simple game both in setup and in the actual game. Personally I found that the regulation was written in a too convoluted and at times repetitive way, which makes it difficult to schematize it to make it more understandable. I tried a couple of two-player games and liked it, but I think 3 or 4 is better and the game has more bite.

Technical details

  • Name: Roam
  • Creator: Ryan Laukat
  • Spanish distribution: dV Games
  • Players: 2-4
  • Age: 10+
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Price: 24,90€   
7.5 A pleasant return to the Arzian lands

Points in favor

  • Simple setup and play
  • Quality illustrations and materials

Points against

  • Rules written too convolutedly
  • The double token variant does not add value to the game
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