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The Games You Want to Play – Part XXII…

Ancients Civilizations of the Inner Sea – Part 2

We started a second game of ACoIS (see the TGYW2P – Part XX for an introduction to the game) this past week and finished it! Apparently, there are some game mechanics via the cards that can allow for early resolutions of the game, which will impact some play styles.

One of those play styles is driven by the number of mandatory Event Cards that unleash barbarian hordes upon civilizations or large-scale civil wars. Determining from which board edge the hordes arrive is done by the civilization with the lowest Victory Point total. So, after the first play, we had seen that there could be some value to holding back in last place and knocking down the leaders, while slowly building your base. That gave us some concerns about long-term re-playability, if each game became a race to stay in last place until the end.

However, that strategy becomes a little riskier with these cards that can cause the game to end earlier, since you could find yourself so far out of position that there is not enough time to climb back into the race. Also, the stacking limits do put some limitations on how many times a single civilization can be hit during one turn with the invasions (these first two games saw the invasion cards hitting in clusters, which can be a bit overwhelming).

Lastly, we discovered that a little game experience goes a long way in being able to fend off these invasions. A prepared civilization will be able to apply its talents (money in the game that, in this instance, allows you to buy what are essentially mercenaries to absorb losses during a competition) and armies (adding additional discs to an area) to beat back many of these invasions and avoid a total disruption of its plans. Most invasions, though, will slow the civilizations ability to score Victory Points, since these are earned from cities and losses may knock those down to settlements.

We also learned about the importance of balancing between settlements (two-high disc stacks that allow you to move more discs from your supply to be deployed) and cities (three-high disc stacks that earn you Victory Points). You also “earn” a disc for every two shallow sea areas you control. As in most games, racking up the Victory Points makes you a bit of a target and your fellow players have some real tools to bring you back down to earth. Also, too heavy a focus on cities and the associated Victory Points slows your ability to grow and reduces the discs you have available to face invasions. However, too many settlements keep you from scoring and quickly empty your supply of discs, leaving you able to react to invasions (from your neighbors, not just barbarians).

Wonders are great, but they reduce the supply of discs (many call for you to place discs on the Wonder card, removing them from your supply), thereby reducing your ability to expand or respond to invasions (though some Wonders help during the competition phase and some help with expansion, but may be limited to only one play per turn).

This was a good game and we are looking forward to more plays soon. We still found turn order to be very important (NOTE: There is a Wonder that lets you switch order with another player!) The one thing we have not seen much of yet, due to both our games being relatively short, is a real war between two civilizations. There has been some skirmishing on the edges and a lot of covert warfare (card play), but not a real battle for control. The limitation on the supply of discs may keep that from being a major element in the game, but we will see how that plays out once we have a longer session.

Do not forget that you must be willing to take a beating when playing this game, since there are a lot of cards being played every turn and most of them do something bad to another civilization! And, even if your fellow players are not after you specifically, those mandatory event cards are out there and the lowest-VP player is not playing them on his board edge!

Be sure to vote for this game for the cruise!



See you onboard,

#boardgamingcruise #boardgaming #historicalgame #civilization #acois #ancientcivlizationoftheinnersea #gamingbysea #gamingbyseacruises #gamingbyseacruise

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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,

#boardgamingcruise #boardgaming #ancientcivilationsoftheinnersea #gamingbysea #gamingbyseacruises #gamingbyseacruise #ACoIS

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