I’m sure that many of you heard of Age of Mythology PC game designed by Microsoft, it was a great game at the time. I loved playing it, but when I saw a board game version, I had to switch to play with (against) my friends.
Eagle games never spared on their games, there are many components in it. All the famous units were made in plastic, it is really plenty of everything.
There are board pieces for every player, unlike many other classic boards, where there is only one board. Boards are very interesting designed, they have few areas: Holding Area, Production Area and City Area. Holding area serves for holding units player possess and storing resource cubes. There are four different kind of resources: Food, Favor, Wood and Gold (as there are three cultures in game: Egyptian, Greek and Norse) different culture uses mostly different resources for hiring their units.
What this game excels in is the production and building aspect. In production area, players will put producing tiles from the ones that are available. Thing is that different cultures have different set of terrain types on production i.e. Egyptians have lots of desert terrain, but not so many forests… Player must choose carefully what tiles to put on available terrain, because once he put a tile on that terrain, it can’t be taken off. Best production tiles gives player two cubes of some resources, but there is always a question what specific culture needs most, so sometimes is better to take less cubes, but from the type you need for buildings and units.
Each player has two decks of action cards; there are seven common actions for every player, and there are random actions, which are basically same actions as the common ones, but they do that better and sometimes even give some other bonuses. There are limit how many actions can be taken and is based on what age is player in. There are four ages: Archaic, Classical, Heroic and Mythic Age. Higher their age is, players can draw more cards from either deck. Except for that, certain age give player opportunity to hire some heroes, potent fighters. On a turn, in a clockwise order, every player plays an action card, and that repeats three times.
There are two all-player actions: Explore and Gather.
Explore gives one player to draw randomly from the production pool certain number of production tiles, written on the card. Then he chooses one of those tiles and places it on adequate terrain type. After him, player to his left chooses one and put it in the same manner. After last player do that, then he takes another tile and this proceeds counterclockwise until either there are no tiles or every player passed on taking any tile left.
Another action is Gather. Player selects terrain or resource type, and based on the number of cubes on tiles, he put that many cubes in his holding area. Resources are in limit supplies, so clockwise order is strongly respected, as when there are no cubes left for some resource, they can’t be gathered.
Other five actions are for a specific player only.
Let’s start with Trade. Any player that takes trade may change any cubes from his pool to any from the bank. There is usually cost of two or less cubes for doing that.
Next age. It allows player to advance to next age. I already covered what Age gives to a player. Playing that action costs between 3 and 6 of each resource cube.
Build lets player to make buildings, and each building costs number of resources shown in Holding area. Some of them improve production, or give bonuses for battle, and ultimate building, The Wonder, gives option to buy victory points for Favor (blue resource). Limit for buildings are one per player, except House, which improves production and can be taken up to 10 times.
Recruit action is taken when player wants to hire new troops. Each unit has a resource cost and for each culture is vastly different, some prefer more wood, other gold… Heroes can be hired only when player are in specific age. When player pays for unit, he places a plastic mini of it in his holding area.
Attack. As simple as that. Player chooses one opponent and attack him. Combat system is a bit rudimentary, but I find it interesting. On that action card there is number shown, it tells how many units can be taken in battle from each side. Once the troops are determined, players take unit’s cards and put one of the cards face-down. Those are first combatants. There are few creature types, and there are some troops that are great in killing specific creatures. There is also strength number on card, it represent how many dices creature uses in combat. If a creature is good at killing opponent creature, it gains additional dices. Only 6 on the dice means hit, and if anyone gets more 6es than his opponent, he eliminates opposing unit. Ties are rerolled. There are few units with special rule, like Medusa, who wins on ties. Once the unit is eliminated, there is a chance for retreat on either side. Player who attacked also chooses one of the following: city, countryside, or holding area. If he wins combat, he takes 5 resources on holding area, one production tile on countryside, or destroys one building in city.
Winning the game
There are actually five ways how to gain victory points in this game. There are 30 VP in the bank at the start of the game, and each turn players put one VP on any of the four cards: Won the last battle, The most buildings, The largest army and The wonder. Only the first card will give points on it in the game, other three are given when the last turn ends. It is pretty obvious who’ll get the point from cards i.e. if you have most units, any cube on that card will be your VP.
If you have “Great Temple”, when you play “Trade” action card, you may trade 8 blue resources for a VP from the bank.
Game ends on turn when the last VP is placed anywhere from the bank, or when any player builds a Wonder. VPs are gained, the one with more points than the others is winner. If there is tie for VP, the one who have more resources wins.
My thought on the game
I love this game. I even bought another one, just to be able to play in 5-8 players (because you can only play 2-4 without additional cubes) but that is the downside of the game. It lasts too long in more than three players, and the combat is a bit too long.
I really recommend this game as something that is a wargame, but a wargame that will like the whole family (cause if you don’t like to fight, there are many other ways to be victorious). Try it, especially because it is on sale at many online stores at the moment. You won’t be disappointed by this one, I promise.