Instead of roleplay, we had a game night with Stan and Kristina to try out their new Spiel games. First up:
The Ancient World
The Ancient World is a game about building up your ancient civilization enough to do battle with the wandering titans and so gaining favor with the nomadic desert tribes. The first thing that hits you is how beautiful this game is. The artwork is just stunning and very evocative. The entire game has a very distinct style that really sells the theme. It’s like the computer game Journey got a board game brother.
The artwork did trip me up once, when I failed to distinguish between two different types of tribe banners that were both kind of similar in color in shape: more artsy than distinct, if you know what I mean. Still, I’d be happy to give an extra warning to new players if it means putting a mirage of a game in front of them.
Anyhow, game play! The Ancient World is a worker placement game with a lot of card drafting where your end goal is to collect sets of favors for the different tribes. The worker placement has a small twist: multiple people can visit the same field, but you can block it for others or heighten the price with clever placement of your workers, who are numbered from 1 to 5. Some fields can only be visited by workers with the same number, and some only by workers with a higher number. So it’s a clever puzzle to see how you can get the most of out it, and disadvantage your opponents the most. Still, it’s only a minor part of the game and it still safely stays in the “euro zone” of player interaction.
Mostly you are building up your military so you can go out and conquer Titans. This is a bit of an arms race, but there are usually enough Titans for everyone to go around. Though someone might beat the Titan that would have gotten you the most favor with your mountain tribe of choice.
I quite like it. It’s fairly straightforward to explain, it’s fun to play and fairly quick even with four. You do end up recounting your military power over and over again, but that can’t be helped, I think. I wonder how it plays with two. Either way, I think this is a winner!