The Games You Want to Play – Part XX…
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea
We had a chance to put this game, designed by Christopher Vorder Bruegge and Mark McLaughlin and just released by GMT, on the table and give it a quick try.
We had played another game earlier in the evening (a practice scenario of Blue Water Navy – I will update you on that one once we start playing the full scenario), so our goal for ACoIS was just to get it on the table to see what it looked like. However, it did not take long to setup and learn the basics, so we dove right in and started a six-player game.
As the name implies, you choose one of 10 civilizations along the Mediterranean – Troy, Egypt, Rome, Mycenae, Phoencia, Gaul, Celt-Iberia, Mauretania, Carthage, or Minos. Up to six players can play each game. Each player receives a number of discs and a civilization display card, which lists at least one unique ability for that civilization.
You start the game in your capital space (marked on the map) and your first allocation of discs is assigned to neighboring land and sea spaces. You earn future discs based on the number of sea zones (1 disc per 2) and land spaces (each “settlement” of 2 discs) you occupy, some special civilization abilities, trading partners (being adjacent to other civilizations), and from having built one or more certain wonders (each of which has its own unique advantages).
Each turn you use these new discs to expand into neighboring spaces and sea zones or to add discs to your existing territories. You can initiate battle to conquer the spaces of civilizations by placing your discs in their spaces. As a note, turn order can be very important in this game (there is a Wonder that helps with that).
Victory Points are earned each turn based on the number of cities and wonders you have. However, cities, unlike settlements, do not earn discs, so there is some balance required. The game is further divided into groups of turns called Epochs, which offer other ways to score.
This game is heavily card driven. The cards represent all sorts of calamities and events (some cards also help in combat and provide other benefits), there is an entire card playing round that goes until everyone passes, and each player has around a half-dozen cards. So here is a warning:
**Do not play this game if you get really upset when your plans are disrupted or take real offense at having bad cards played on you. It will happen constantly!**
We did not get too far into this game, but we spent much of the first Epoch inflicting various natural disasters, barbarian invasions, pirate raids, and other bad things upon the other civilizations. This can be a lot of fun when you have a group of people who can take a beating and bounce back.
Part of this was probably because we were still inching our way toward each other early in the game, so we were not quite to the point that we were in head-to-head combat.
We had a lot of fun with our first round of play and will be continuing the game this upcoming week.
Be sure to vote for this game for the cruise!
See you onboard,