When in Rome – Sensible Object – Review


When in Rome - Sensible Object - Review 1

Publisher: Sensible Object

Game Type: Trivia, World Travel

Designer: George Buckenham

Initial Year of Release: 2018

Designer: Alex Fleetwood

Artist: Steve Bachmayer

Theme and What is it?

When in Rome - Sensible Object - Review 2Proof of concept does not have to be a bad word in the gaming world. WIR is very much a work in progress in a good way. Not all games are made to build Rome in a day. See what I did there?

The idea behind WIR is that you are playing a trivia game, which gives you points, and you can only get points from each city once. This leads to some interesting flight decisions but it is by and large a trivia game with a bit of distance management thrown in for good measure.

Where this all changes is the Amazon Alexa. Amazon Alexa has become synonymous with Soccer moms in many homes. “Alexa, play Josh Groban.” I personally never ask for Josh Groban, I ask for blues or jazz, or Josh Groban.

Gameplay Mechanics

When in Rome - Sensible Object - Review 3

During your turn you can travel, and/or answer a question. It is that simple.

Alexa has become the focal point of this game, which is at this point structured like who wants to be a millionaire multiple choice questions; A, B, C or D. Much like the trivia game so mentioned, the answers are not necessarily easy. Even on easy level, and knowing I’m full of useless information and music, there were quite a few answers that I felt I knew, but that I did not.

There are bonus’ in the form of trinkets that net you bigger points that are randomly strewn about different cities. This is pretty cool, and allows for a slightly deeper overall strategy.

Initial Impressions

When in Rome - Sensible Object - Review 2

I am a tech nerd. There I said it, tech and Kenny G, and I’m in heaven.

I was thrilled at the idea that we are moving in a new direction with the tech available. There have been some games done on Alexa, but nothing with a well thought out “mapping”. I know and understand this is an actual map, but it gave a tactile feel to an otherwise soulless Alexa device.

Game Build Quality

I’m going to spare you additional photos, as they are all quite similar due to the nature of the game.

The pawns are all simple, the board is simple. the cards are functional, the game therefore is acceptable. Where this analysis changes is the game is not entirely forthright. It is not a game that is compatible with Alexa, it IS a game that requires an Alexa device. This is not a shortcoming of the game, but rather the main feature. Believe me, I tried to make the game work with my Amazon Alexa app on my android phone, it did not.

There is no rule book to speak of, and that bothers me. The tech nerd in me understands, it is not necessary with Alexa telling you how to play, but I like something tangible. I do see this is going to quickly become the future of games, as the cost to program them, is so much cheaper than printing them. This is not negative towards the creators of this game, just an overall commentary.

Ideally this game should be bundled with an Alexa Dot, as it is an integral part of the game. As a user, I would not be excited to get this game, only to find out I should have ordered an Alexa at the same time. We can hope that Sensible Object is working on such a bundle with Amazon, as it is the first to market device like this.

Artistic Direction

The art is a stunning waterpaintesque world scenic “map”. It drew me in immediately. Only after talking with Sensible Object did I realize it was the game I had read about being the first TRUE Alexa board game.

I love the graphic design, and think it is very appropriate for the title.

Fun Factor

Trivia, you might guess, is one of four things; A) Loved, B) Hated, C) Tolerated, or D) Banned. Assuming your answer was A, this is a solid effort, by a new company that has the capacity to be something special.

Age Range & Weight

13+. I’d say this is pretty accurate, as the game asks some tough questions. Anyone younger can, and did get quite angry at not knowing the answers… I speak of course of my unpaid 6 year old play tester.


When in Rome - Sensible Object - Review 5This game merits taking a look at it. It could easily be continually updated by Sensible Object. It could easily be made better as well. At this point later summer, 2018, it is a proof of concept, that is done quite well.

I can see what is on the Horizon for Sensible Object, and you, like me, should be very excited. It’s only a matter of time before they’ll have you guessing what’s next.


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