With people arriving in dribs and drabs, we started with a practice first round of this neat game. Abraham, Peleg and I tried out some different strategies, while Asaf tried to work out what was going on. He picked up the basics, which set him up nicely for the full five man game after Hilik joined us.
Peleg – who won the previous week’s game of this – seemed to get off to a slow start. Abraham went on a roll of green cards and continued in the same vein all the way through. Asaf was still, unfortunately, trying to master these damn fangled new ideas of games, and struggled a wee bit. Hilik, who took a few military losses in the last session, went into revenge mode and loaded up with red (military power) cards. That meant Asaf and I were on the receiving end of the losses. I swear the cards I received were awful, and I knew from round 1 that I was out of it.
Abraham’s winning total of 56 points came, mostly, from his green (Science) cards: a whopping 41 points. Peleg, improving his score with each card, was in second place. After that, it was Hilik, me and Asaf.
While this is quite a quick game to play, we are nowhere near mastering it; we do not know the cards and combinations well enough. However, maybe it wouldn’t be as much fun if we did. It might then be like a game of Magic when only one player knows the cards, and the result is pretty certain defeat for the other.
With Ilan joining us, we had 6 for this “rondel” game. Unfortunately, two of the players had to drop out early, leaving the last four standing to fight it out for the last couple of victory points needed. I could get one of the points, but not the other. (I was one ship short, damnit!) Abraham could see a couple of temples to destroy that would give him victory. Asaf was concentrating on keeping his empire together and would have needed a bit more of a military threat to be in with a chance. But it was Hilik who grabbed the win with, as is often the case in this game, a well timed twin assault.
This game falls into the (large) category of games I like to play, but rarely win. Either I get aggressive too early, and am swatted down. Or, I mount a military threat too late to get anywhere. Yehuda made the astute comment that inexperienced gamers look at the Antike board and think “Risk”. So they then go on to think things like “crush”, “kill”, “destroy” and they want to wage war. But in this game, you won’t win with a purely military strategy. You have to build an economic powerhouse first. You will need to have a bit of the “crush, kill, destroy” mentality, but the trick is in the timing.
I have now received Navegador – which is by Mac Gerdts, the Antike designer. It’s another “rondel” game and looks interesting. If the BGG ratings are a guide, we will want to play this one soon.