May 19, 2024

Unboxing Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil, 235-284 AD

Michael Eckenfels, 23 July 2020 ~ #UnboxingDay

I’d been interested in Time of Crisis (let’s call it ToC to avoid the alphabet soup of a title) for a while, for a variety of reasons. The main reason was, it’s an approachable, lighter strategy game, with some Euro-gaming feels to it via abstract government systems and troops, as well as deck-building. Though, luck plays into it quite a bit via die rolls and to an extent, card draws.

My knowledge of the game, in-depth as it is, comes from a pair of YouTube videos from a channel named JPlay. I highly recommend them if you’re interested in the game, because he lays out the basics well and plays through a few turns. Here is the first video in the series:

In any case, here’s a close look at the components.

click images to enlarge


The box arrived and yet felt disproportionately heavy…though I believe this is just because GMT components tend to be much more durable than other company’s components (especially in the area of mounted boards).



Opening these boxes is always a Christmas-like time!



Yep, Time of Crisis, just as I ordered. Coincidentally, I have the game’s expansion (Time of Iron and Rust) coming too, from a different seller. That expansion allows solo play as well as added cards and components. Go figure, I bought an expansion for a game I’d not played yet.



There’s a better shot of the box.



Flipping it over, you can see the usual impressive GMT back-cover layout.



The game says the solitaire suitability is ‘Medium,’ though JPlay goes through the game single-handed and makes it look like a lot of fun. If you’re willing to play each side yourself, it is definitely soloable, though many have said the game really shines with four players.



Opening the lid, the first thing you see is the rule book.



It’s very small – about 12 pages of rules, plus an example of play and additional notes.




These two cards represent a Crisis Table of random events that are rolled for each turn. These can include a random event or barbarian activations. The one you utilize (either one of these, or the one pre-printed on the board) depends on the number of players.



The four Player cards give places to put available and discarded cards for that player, game pieces, and a good overview of costs in the game.



Three counter sheets are included, with various Governors, Generals, Improvements, and many other markers to fill in the game board.



Speaking of, here she is – mounted and in the usual GMT ziplock bag. Lots of people discard the bag but I keep it (hell, I keep the sprues from punched-out counters).



The only one blemish out of everything is the insert is dented. Not too big a deal, though a bit of a bummer. No damage to the box or any components, so I can only think this must have happened in the warehouse while the game box was packed. A shame, but again, not too big a deal.



And speaking of that mounted map, here it is – it’s big, clean, and inviting, I think.



Included also are two card decks, the ubiquitous bag of baggies, and dice.



The smaller red deck includes Events. These can happen when they are rolled on the Crisis Table, and can be persistent – not to mention trouble.



The big deck of blue cards includes three different suits – red, blue, and yellow. Each represents a certain effort the player’s side makes (red is military, and so on); a player starts with small-numbered cards, then slowly builds their deck as they purchase new ones as they can afford them.

I like the simple system as well as the quick play. Should be fun to put this through its paces.


Age of Iron and Rust Expansion – Unboxing

This expansion to Time of Crisis arrived a few days later.





I knew that this expansion didn’t come in it’s own box, but instead in a large Ziplock bag. The seller, Little Big Wars in North Dakota, packaged it nicely within an interior envelope and included a cardboard piece to stiffen the package.



Unfortunately, even their well-packaged intention was no match for my scissors slipping and cutting the bag. This was totally my fault of course, but that’s not too big a deal as this is designed to fit within the large Time of Crisis box, with the base content.



Here is the expansion in all its glory…



Out of the box (so to speak), it includes a lot of content. All I know is it utilizes automata/bots that can take the place of any of the available player spots, so you can play the game solo without having to play multi-handed.



The rule book is fairly thin so it’s easy to get through, and it’s the usual great quality from GMT.



The expansion also includes several tokens, some of which look like head honchos. I wonder if these are avatars that can be captured?



Here are the player mats for the bots. Looks like there’s three historic figures here, each of which has their own ‘preferred’ method of play, such as Maximinus Thrax here preferring military influence.



And there’s more bot guidance in the form of four player aids to help drive their behavior.



Most important of all, as I mentioned, it all fits in the main box!


Thanks for joining the Armchair Dragoons for our monthly #UnboxingDay; we hope you get a kick out of checking out the regiment inspecting their new games.
You can always leave us your feedback in our discussion forum, or in the comment area below.
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