The game is played in rounds, each round consisting of five phases (except the last round, when phase 5 is not played). In each round, one player is the first player, who does every phase first. The first player changes every round.
Each player has an arena where the events are performed, and starts with two possible events to perform. Every event requires a different combination of asset tokens, small squares depicting various people, animals, and objects that would be used in a performance; players start with some of these and can acquire more during the game.
In the first phase, players can invest. There are four choices:
- Expanding the arena, which allows better events to be performed and increases the chances of a noble landing there.
- Constructing an emperor's loge, which allows the player to roll two dice instead of only one when moving nobles.
- Buying a season ticket, which is worth five additional spectators.
- Purchasing a new event, all of which require the arena to be expanded at least once. Some require two expansions.
Buying Asset TokensEdit
There are five markets in the center of the board, each containing three asset tokens. Each player has a chance to initiate auctions for markets; however, no player can win more than one auction.
Trading Asset TokensEdit
Players can trade, buy, or sell asset tokens at this point.
The player rolls a die (two dice with an emperor's loge) and moves any noble clockwise. If two dice are rolled, they can be combined or split between two nobles. Any noble in a colosseum is worth additional spectators. If a noble ends on certain spaces, the player receives an emperor medal, which can be used for various purposes.
At that point the number of spectators is counted. The player receives that many coins. Like in many Days of Wonder board games, the score is marked around the edge of the board with small wooden pieces. A player's score is the maximum number of spectators attracted to one event.
Every player must discard one asset token used in the last event. The leading player earns a podium, worth three additional spectators in every later round. The losing player requests from the winning player one asset token.
- Colosseum website at Days of Wonder.