The Ancient World

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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Morels

I bought Morels (also known as Funghi) on the cheap at amazon.de a while ago. It had a reputation of being a great two player game, and that’s enough for me to order it blindly. It the first game by a designer couple who love two player games.

Their new company’s gaming creed is so lovely that I have to share it with you even before saying anything about the game

  1. Games teach in under 15 minutes, play in under 45, and beg for a rematch.
  2. Games are continuously strategic without being paralytic.
  3. Games will lead you to believe you are sitting fireside in an 18th century tavern. 
  4. Thinking will improve your chances of winning. Having a beer won’t hurt them…much.

I’m not sure what’s up with the fireside 18th century tavern line, but all the rest I heartily agree with! I can’t wait see what new game these people will come up with. Anyway, Morels!

Morels is a cute little game of set collecting with a beautiful theme.The objective of morels is ”to collect the most delicious mushrooms and roast them gently in a pan”.


(picture by Death by Monopoly)

You try to collect the most high scoring sets while cards rapidly move about, making it very challenging to plan ahead very far. Challenging, but definitely not impossible. Figuring out how to do that is much of the replayability of the game, I think.

It’s a nice intellectual challenge, and one game takes 20 minutes or so. I like it! I ended up kicking Jan’s ass quite severely, so his opinion on the game will have to wait until after a rematch…