Friday, July 14, 2006


The first new game I played at ConVic was Antike - Brendan, Gerald, the woman whose name I never learned, and I played. It's one of those Civ-lite games, a bit like Vinci, I suppose but more based on economic development than rampaging hordes. It has a quite cool way of deciding what you can do next - there's a ring of possible actions, and each turn you are allowed to move to one of the next 3 actions for free, or pay for each extra movement step. You get to do things like mine marble, gold or iron, build temples, advance technology, build armies, or move armies. Each province you conquer provides marble (used for temples), gold (used to advance), or iron (used to build armies). Temples provide bonus resources and defence, technologies provide all sorts of bonuses, armies are used to occupy empty territories, beat up on enemies, or destroy temples. There is not usually much beating up until the end of the game as there is almost enough space for everyone.

Now, despite the economy which you can grow, and territories which you can occupy, and opponents which you can beat up, this is actually a game about getting victory points. I sort of knew that when I was playing, but it didn't sink in. Here is a photo of the end of the game, taken by Gerald. I was green, and due to starting with some iron I pursued a strategy of conquering a large portion of the board. Indeed, I received 3 victory points for occupying 5 cities (i.e. I had 15 cities at some point). VPs are also awarded for 3 temples, having fleets on 7 seas, destroying a temple, learning technologies, and maybe other things which I forget. Although I built a large empire with a large economy and lots of temples and armies, by the time I achieved the conditions under which VPs were earned, a lot of them were already gone. Gerald and Brendan, who understood the tempo of the game better than me had already taken them.

There was very little combat in the game. Gerald's cunning strategy was to build no temples at all so there were no VPs to be earned by attacking him - that was how he managed to survive in the middle of the board. Gerald did attack Brendan to destroy a temple, but that was business, not malice. So it is not really a fighting game, as much as it might look like one.

I enjoyed this game a lot, but that was maybe a function of the players as much as anything. I think we completed the game in 90 minutes, which is under the 120 minutes suggested on BGG. Given that two of use were newbies to the game, that's impressive. I think we just all had some sort of plan, executed it efficiently, and nobody spent ages overanalysing. That made for a very good game. I liked this game a lot, and if I can think of whom I will play it with I will get a copy for myself.

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