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User Rating Comment Status
The root of all evil... but you can call me cookie.
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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10
Aug 2009*
I have had a chance to play this game many times now in 2, 3 and 4 player mode. This is a great game! I love it. I really had originally thought it might rise up the coveted rank of 10 but after many plays I think it really sits well right here at 9. If there were a few more decisions to make each turn it might go up to a 10. There is NOTHING wrong with this game do not misunderstand what I saying here. PLAY JvT!

UPDATE: Queen Edition of the game plays just as nicely in all honesty. It's a bit more "user friendly" if you will with the new exhibits even if they are not quite as "Cool" once you figure them out. You simply MUST play with the 2nd edition rule of pulling 7 random chips out of each bag and not looking at them until the end of the game. Hell so much fun is derived from checking out what got discarded! Moving this game's rank to the coveted '10' spot. I'm feeling generous today but in truth if I still like this game THIS much it deserves it!

2009-09-13
Chris Brua
United States
Michigan
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10
Feb 2008*
Awesome archeology game -- it is great fun running around Europe trying to dig up items of value and show them off. I love the balancing aspect of spending time to improve your digging capabality vs. digging as often as you can. Very cool game and the game length is perfect (60 - 90 minutes). HUGE random elements, but that just adds to the charm for me. Definitely works better if you structure the deck so that the exhibits are only in the bottom 2/3rds of the deck - gives you time to get the first few digs in.
2010-12-13
Owned
For Trade
Roland Winner
Germany
Frankfurt/Main
Unspecified
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9
Jun 2005*
Excellent game. Working well from 2 to 4 players.
2005-06-04*
Owned
Joseph Cannon
England
Burgess Hill
West Sussex
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9
Nov 2005*
Whilst my fellow players were slightly underwhelmed (one objected to the notion that digs might be a bit hit and miss) I thought it was smashing. A really strong rendering of an engaging theme, and the time/turn mechanic is very satisfying.

Likely to be my best purchase from Essen 05.
2005-11-05*
Trond Meistad
Norway
Drammen
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9
Nov 2005*
The game may look dry, but whence you've played it, you're hooked.

This is one of the game with lots of randomness that I actually like.
2005-11-15*
Owned
Peter Jones
United Kingdom
Wrexham
Wrexham
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9
Nov 2005*
I managed to get my hands on the 2nd Edition printing via pre-order at Essen. My fellow gamers are jealous that they missed out on this little gem of a game.
2005-11-25*
Owned
Vincent Batori
Australia
Melbourne
Victoria
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9
Jan 2006*
Yes there is luck, but it should be there. Like the feel of it, suits the theme well.
2006-01-09*
Owned
Gregor McNish
Australia
Melbourne
VIC
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9
Oct 2007*
Fantastic game; theme deeply integrated, yet rules very straightforward.

Another case where luck is integral to the theme and play; this turns some people off.

Haven't tried the new edition, but he rules look like they remove some of the luck-- a mistake in this case.
2007-10-27*
Owned
Scott Alden
United States
Dallas
Texas
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9
Jun 2006*
Played with some variant rules made it quite enjoyable.
2006-06-29*
Owned
Jerald Block
United States
Portland
Oregon
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9
Dec 2006*
Very inventive gameplay. A calender determines play order, with different actions using more time. Thus, players further back on the calender can have multiple turns in a row. Well balanced and always fun. Very highly recommend.
2006-12-19*
Owned
Brad Fuller
United States
Virginia Beach
Virginia
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9
Mar 2007*
excellent game, can't wait for the reprint
2007-03-04*
Andrea Pasquinelli
Italy
Unspecified
Unspecified
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9
Apr 2007*
queen version 2007
2007-04-05*
Owned
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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9
Oct 2008*
WOW! What a great game. I love the time investment aspect of action selection/resolution. I love reaching in and digging out artifacts & dirt from the dig sites. I love the variety of resources you can leverage in the different cities. I love the production value. Yes, there is a LOT of luck involved based on which cards are available on your turn, and how well you draw from the bags - but the game plays quickly, offers some nice push-your-luck decisions and is an enjoyable experience. Very impressed, and a game I will purchase as soon as it is available.
2007-07-09*
Owned
Karl Deckard
United States
Seattle
Washington
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9
Jan 2008*
Wow, what a brilliant representation of a theme. Players are archaeologists competing for artifacts buried under five different dig sites. At the end of the game, players earn victory points for the artifacts they have found, the knowledge they have gained, and the exhibitions they have won, which then determines the winner of the game. Each turn the player can take one of four actions: move to another location, choose a card that corresponds to the current location, start an excavation, or pass. Much like Neuland, each action will take a specific number of weeks and the player furthest back in the timeline is always the first in turn order. This presents some interesting situations, because when one person goes for a high value card or a lengthy dig, they will move to the front of the queue, which gives other players potentially multiple actions before catching up and then passing the leader. Players collect cards at various European cities to gain knowledge of each dig site and to provide various special actions. If the player has the proper knowledge cards, an excavation can be made. During an excavation, the player cross-references the number of corresponding knowledge cards they have to the number of weeks they want to spend in order to determine the number of cards to pull from a random assortment. Cards will either provide Artifact VP cards or garbage that gets shuffled back into the deck, which means that each successive dig has a higher chance of pulling up garbage. Whenever an Exhibition card is drawn, it is placed on the timeline by the specified number of weeks ahead of the trailing player. Any player at the proper location at the specified time can exhibit their Artifacts. Players add each of a particular type or types of Artifacts with the roll of a die. The player with the highest total gets the Exhibition card, which is worth victory points at the end of the game. As I stated earlier, I think the game mechanics support the theme quite well; the timeline usage, the diminishing returns for excavations, and the exhibition of artifacts. Once you manage to decipher the rules, the game itself clips along at a good pace. The artwork and production in the Prinz Spiele version of the game that I have leave a little to be desired, but the new version looks to be an improvement. The game is innovative, well thought out, and it plays quickly. This is a really solid design and I highly recommend it. It is one of my top ten favorite games of 2004.
2008-01-24*
Owned
Mike Siggins
England
Cambridge
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9
Jul 2007*
Excellent game. Best theme to mechanism link for many years.

Have both editions.
2007-07-18*
Owned
Mike Jones
United States
Gainesville
Florida
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9
Nov 2007*
Wow, this was a surprise. It's week mechanic where one person may be doing fewer turns because they are doing longer things, while another person is doing more things on a shorter time frame is very fun. Not sure the exhibits add a lot to it. Rating with only one play. May go higher.

(Thoia thinks I should point out that it is well worth the $27.84 I paid for it on eBay)

[2nd edition]
2007-11-08*
Owned
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
Virginia
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Plate of Shrimp.
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Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
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8.5
May 2006*
Wow, this one really impressed me. Initially, I was afraid that even with the "advanced rules" this game would be too random. I was pleasantly surprised to find a high degree of control here (with the "advanced rules"). This really captures the theme perfectly, and it has a wonderful sense of movement and time. Many differing paths to victory make this a real joy. I love the action/turn order system.

Next time I play, I'm going to have to seed the exhibits into the the deck so that they come out a little later and a little more even. (Split the deck into four divide the exhibit cards so that they go even shuffled into two decks. Place one exhibitless deck on the top and one at the bottom).
2006-05-01*
Owned
Scott A. Reed
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
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8.5
Jul 2007*
This is a solid little game. I really like the mechanisms of travelling to various places to acquire the special items and the knowledge about civilizations for research. Also really liked the use of the time scale around the board. Based on one play with two, though I would like to play it more with a larger compliment of players. This would be great if a US publisher could pick up the rights and re-print it. I think it would do well in a broader market.
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After and 2d and 3d game, I realized that so much of this game is luck, but the game itself is so very entertaining that I don't care.
2007-07-29*
Owned
PvdR
New Zealand
Lower Hutt
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8.5
Apr 2007*
2nd Prinz Edition. This game is great fun, and the theme goes with the mechanisms so well. A lot of luck, but who cares. We play with a coupld of the author's suggested variants, namely clearing the cards after an exposition, and the extra card draw after an exposition. We tried the different mix of excavation cards, but that made it just a race to be the first to dig at a site - whoever was first reaped huge reward and then after that it was quite easy to work out your odds of getting something (and they weren't that good). So we stick to the original excavation card rules, and enjoy it much more that way.
2007-04-21*
Owned
Shawn Low
Australia
Footscray
Victoria
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8.5
May 2007*
2nd Edition. A home-made effort by Peter Prinz. The components are laser printed and are quite uniform in quality.

Players are archaeologists travelling around the Greece and the near east trying to dig for valuable artifacts. These give VPs. Along the way, they can pick up equipment to help their digs.

The gameplay features innovative 'time' movement mechanics that are reminiscent of Neuland (Eggert). Players move their 'time' marker along a scale for taking actions (travel, digging, picking up equipment).

The latest set of rules have optional rules to reduce the luck factor.

Gripes:
There is a little AP towards the end when players are trying to calculate the best time to spend on digs.

It's slightly fiddly; all the site cards are too small and clutter the table. The spread between the value 1 and 7 treasures can make or break the game.

But I love the theme and mechanics. Good stuff.

Also own new Queen version.
2007-05-30*
Owned
8.5
Aug 2007*
Probably the game with the "richest theme" I've ever played. Theme is well tied to the game mechanics. Can't wait to play it again.
2007-08-18*
Owned
Uisge Beatha
Scotland
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8.5
Jan 2008*
Fun treasure hunting game which incorporates the time dimension exceptionally well (only 'around the world in 80 days' comes anywhere close). There's a lot of luck in the digging phase but it fits the theme and still works. We use the hard digging tables and a house rule that adds one week to the length of an expedition for every treasure discovered - that seems to even things out a bit without fundamentaly changing the game and fits well thematically - if you haven't found anything just pack your bags and leave, but if you have you'll need to spend a bit longer extracting the artifacts. [second edition]
2008-01-01*
Owned
Michael Novean
United States
Valencia
California
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8.25
Jan 2009*
Awesome use of theme. I really like games where you "feel" the theme and this is one of them. The game is also a lot of fun. Yes there is luck involved but I think it goes with the theme-- this pyramid was already hit by grave robbers so you didn't find anything, the next player goes to a different pyramid and finds a bunch of artifacts. And there is enough luck so that the game is fun rather than a showdown of who can do more quick analysis in their head.

All of the mechanics work. Dig vs learn. Move around vs. wait to show your stuff at the exhibition.
2006-01-14*
John Squires
United States
Brooklyn
New York
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8.25
Dec 2007*
I'm most impressed by how well the gameplay fit the archaeology theme. Players compete in a two year span to uncover the most ancient relics. Movement and actions take time in weeks and time is managed in a mechanic similar to that in Neuland. One can travel around the major European cities go learn more about the ancient digging sites (improving efficiency, etc). Once a player goes to a site to dig they can decide how long to dig for. Time spent digging added to modifiers determines how many cards they turn over. Each card will either be bunk (dirt) or contain an artifact. The dirt cards are added back to the deck for that particular site (making the odds tougher for the next player hoping to find something there). Victory points are earned by gathering relics and by displaying the best relics at exhibits: players who arrive at the city where the exhibit occurs, on the day it occurs, with the artifacts that match the exhibit's theme can compete. The advanced rules help clean up some of the luck players found fault with in the original rules.
2007-12-05*
John Palagyi
United States
Hebron
Kentucky
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8
Jul 2013
Quick playing for an action point game. The luck in digging for artifacts will put off some, but I think it fits the theme perfectly.
2004-11-10*
Owned
Pedro Lisboa
Portugal
Oeiras
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8
Oct 2005*
A game about turn of the century archaeologists? I'm in! The game is lighter than I thought it would be, and I'm usually not one for light games. However, this one is a lot of fun and the theme/mechanics meld perfectly together. I really hope it gets picked up by a bigger company, as I think the game would greatly benefit from a professional production. Excellent work nonetheless!
2005-10-18*
Owned
Nicolas le clodo
Belgium
Unspecified
Unspecified
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8
Oct 2005*
A fun mid-long game. Mechanics are not too difficult. Only played with 4, but one my gaming group will gladly play.
2005-10-27*
Owned
Brian Leet
United States
Montpelier
Vermont
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8
Nov 2005*
An excellent game setting the mood and capturing a time when archaelogy consisted of picking up neat stuff off the ground and showing it off to your friends. Lucky heavy, but for me a nice blend of strategy and experience gaming.
2005-11-17*
Owned
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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8
Nov 2006*
Very nice archeology game. Strong in theme and with some clever mechanics.
I agree with some of the comments that the real issue with this game is the huge variance between the values of the artifacts. I like the additional 'showmanager' rule that addresses the endgame problem with the board filling with useless shovels and assistants. I think the alternate deck setup rule doesn't really reduce the luck of the draw; it only favors the first player who digs in each location (which might be thematically correct).
2006-11-07*
Owned
Alan How
United Kingdom
Bromley
Kent
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8
Dec 2005*
Polished archeology game where the game and them fit well. Lost of good ideas in the game and one of the special games to come out of Essen 2004. It crept in unannounced and surprised everyone. 2nd edition has slightly revised graphics but the same good gameplay.
2005-12-10*
Owned
Mike Ruffhead
United Kingdom
Orpington
Kent
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8
Dec 2005*
Who would imagine a game about archeology could be this much fun? Brilliant.
2005-12-30*
Owned
Fiske Warren
Australia
Perth
Western Australia
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8
Jan 2006*
A very satisfying game with an excellent time mechanism. The luck fits the theme perfectly.
2006-01-01*
Owned
Kara O'Bryon
United States
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
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8
Jan 2008*
Played the self-published version about two years ago, one of my most memorable gaming sessions, and I still have a little sheet of choice quotes to remember it:
CT: "I'm equally adept at both places."
CB: "Glad to know about it."

CT: "You have very little general knowledge."
CB: "Well, F off."

Unknown: "I could spend my whole F-ing turn in Palestine getting nothing."

Finally played the 2007 release in November at GASP Con and loved it again.
2008-01-06*
Eric Brosius
United States
Needham Heights
Massachusetts
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8
Apr 2006*
Although this edition is an enjoyable game, the reworking into Thebes smoothes a few rough spots and makes the game easier to teach.
2013-05-24
Owned
For Trade
Tony
United States
Wyoming
Michigan
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8
Oct 2007*
I especially like the play order mechanism - very unique. Quite a bit luck involved with the digging, but it can be mitigated somewhat through smart play. Current rating may be adjusted upon further plays.
2007-10-09*
Owned
For Trade
Tyler McLaughlin
Canada
Medicine Hat
Alberta
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8
Feb 2008*
Initial impressions very good...
2008-02-13*
Marc P
United States
Seattle
Washington
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8
Feb 2008*
I really enjoyed my two plays of this game. The use of time as currency appeals to me, for some reason. I also enjoyed the exploration of the stacks, the race against the clock for the purposes of travel, and the special abilities on the cards. The cards offered tangible benefits that were certainly worth seeking without overtly unbalancing the game in someone's favor. The only factor that initially gave me pause was the luck of the draw in the stacks. Although increases in technology (ok, more shovels) and research as the game goes on will enhance your odds, you can still invest heavily (in terms of time) in a dig and come up empty-handed. I see this as thematically consistent, however, and it is therefore a good kind of luck (even if it's bad).
2008-02-09*
Tim Thomas
United States
Oceanside
California
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8
Jan 2007*
I can dig it! (had to say that) Probably would work best with three. A little too much downtime with four.
2007-01-10*
Jonathan Takagi
United States
San Marcos
California
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8
Jan 2007*
Very fun game - the luck element of the archaeological excavations meshes with the theme. To me, the luck is not overwhelming and does not decrease my enjoyment of the game. It seems like a game that is best meant to be played quickly and lightly, without pondering too much about the best move. I'd like to play this with three. If we could finish in 40 minutes, I think that would be ideal. It will be nice to see this rereleased with higher production values - it certainly deserves it. Still, there are a lot of fun choices to make, weighing your options between acquiring more knowledge and going out to dig stuff up. The added time pressure of the exhibitions makes this really fun.
2007-01-12*
Owned
David Brown
United States
Virginia Beach
Virginia
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8
Mar 2007*
Very enjoyable game. It feels like there's not enough time to get anything done but time is one of the game's primary resources to manage. I look forward to playing this one again to try out diffent strategies.
2007-03-05*
Mik Svellov
Denmark
Copenhagen N
EU
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8
Apr 2007*
Better looking and of much higher quality than the original, the new Queen edition has kept all the good bits of the original and streamlined a few of the quirks to create a wonderful family game - which is still too random for most strategy gamers. But I love it!
2007-04-30*
Stephen Jones
United Kingdom
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8
May 2007*
Queen version: I like this a lot. There *is* a deal of randomness in the tile draws, but for me that's part of the flavour of the game, and adds to my fun - waiting with bated breath to see if I (or an opponent) pulls out a decent haul.

After a recent game, a certain published game designer of my acquaintance expressed concerns over the randomness and we briefly discussed ideas about how to partially mitigate a poor draw with by a compensatory mechanism, e.g. if one had already dug at a site, and in that previous draw pulled mostly "dirt" tiles, this would be recorded, and on any fresh dig there one would not count a certain (small) number of dirt tiles towards the number allowed - simulating knowing where *not* to dig :-) ; or allowing a discount in weeks taken on the dig for pulling a majority (or totality) of dirt tiles - simulating it being quicker to dig through an area with no finds, as one doesn't have to be so careful, record everything, etc. However, I do like the game very much as it is, and it may over-complicate things to add more weight.

One thing: So far the exhibitions haven't seemed to play a major part, but maybe I need to think about how to use them more carefully.
2007-05-17*
Pete
Australia
Hobart
Tasmania
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8
May 2007*
2005 acquisition. By far the most complex game we've tried and both of us enjoyed it. To me, it has the right amount of luck with the drawing of the cards and it really fits the theme well. You'll have to use the optional rules as the city cards really do stick around if no one wants to pick it up.

Our most complex game played together is now Reef Encounter.
2009-05-05
Owned
Jeroen van der Valk
Netherlands
Rotterdam
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8
Feb 2011
What a great game this is, with outstanding production values, combining beauty with function. Some cool mechanisms and somewhat thematic, this is dynamic and fun. You can have bad luck, but just fire up a new session and try again, I say!
2007-07-21*
Doug Adams
Australia
Oakleigh
Victoria
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8
Jul 2007*
Players spend time (weeks, basically money) acquiring knowledge and equipment to outfit their archaeological expedition to up to five ancient sites. The sites are represented by five decks of "treasure" cards, that are also filled with a lot of dirt! Time spent on site allows cards to be flipped and hopefully treasure found. Points at the end of the game come from treasure, winning exhibitions, attending congresses (collecting a type of card during the game), and knowledge gained. Belongs in the same category of "experience" games such as Safe Return Doubtful and Legend of the Lost Dutchman. Very good, and really enjoyable game. Played with "clear the board", "lots of treasure", and "hard excavation table" variants.

Queen Edition: stunning, lovely job. Cleaned up some of the slightly messy bits - exhibitions are cleaner (no weeks offset or battle, just a sliding track and first there claims it); single assistants and shovels now do something; bonus for first dig at each site, etc. Great game.
2007-07-17*
david karasick
United States
Gladwyne
Pennsylvania
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8
Mar 2010
Treasure trove or bust!
2010-03-29
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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8
Jul 2007*
A really nifty exploration game with similarities to Around the World In 80 Days.

My hopes have been realized - Queen/Rio Grande are reprinting this (are there any changes?!) in July 2007. Yippee!
2007-07-18*
Kevin Nunn
United States
Houston
Texas
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8
Jul 2007*
Dispite a prominent luck factor, this game was a delight to play. Noteworthy is the designer's remarkably clever movement/action system.
2007-07-18*
Paul Abrahamse
United States
Ypsilanti
Michigan
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8
Jul 2007*
Coolest 2004 Essen game I've tried. If I ever get the chance, I will buy it. Fortunately, there is talk of a second edition.
2007-07-19*
Owned
richard glanzer
United States
forest hills
NY
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8
Dec 2009*
Thebes ed.
2008-04-12*

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