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Discworld: Ankh-Morpork

sean johnson
United States
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We had some money that we had set aside and budgeted to buy a new game. The original plan was to purchase Assault on Galactus Prime, which is a game that I have wanted for a while. However, when it came time to purchase a game, I decided that instead of getting a game that I wanted, I would rather get a game we both would enjoy. I researched a lot of games that came out in the past year, for a game that we would both like. In the end, I went with this game. I chose this game for several reasons. First, it has great components. Second, the game is all about card play, and we tend to like card games. Finally, we have greatly enjoyed all of the Martin Wallace games that we have played. So was this a good pick or did my attempt to surprise my wife fail?

Game Overview
As a caveat, we have only played this game once. So this is all based on our first impression, much more than most of the games we have played thus far. This also means there is a decent chance we played something wrong. Ankh-Morpork is an area control game. At the beginning of the game, each player is given a character. that has a unique victory condition. This condition is secret, and if a player has met it at the beginning of their turn they win the game. On a player's turn, they play a card. The vast majority of this game is all in the card play, and the different abilities that cards give players. The major things that cards do is give players money, allow them to place minions, or build buildings. Minions and buildings allow a player to gain control of an area, which is needed to complete many of the victory conditions. In order to build a building, a player must have a minion in a location that does not have opposing minions or trouble markers (trouble markers allow for nasty things to happen like assassinations). The advantage to building buildings is they help establish control of an area, and give the player the location card which has powerful abilities and is worth victory points. Cards can also trigger game changing special events assassinate opposing minions, or even be played as interrupts on other players turns. If no one wins by completing their victory conditions, then the game ends when the deck of cards runs out. Whoever has the most victory points acquired from buildings will then be the winner.

The Game We Played
We both drew a character that had the same victory condition. We had to control seven areas of the boards 12 areas to win. I began by focusing on the southern portion of the map, and put a lot of resources into buildings. My wife used minions to establish control of a territory. To have control of a territory a player needs to have more minions and buildings in a territory than any other player. I had control of five territories, and by the end of one of her turns she had control of seven territories. This led to back and forth fight. My wife kept using assassination cards to remove my minions, and I kept playing cards to put my minions back in to territories to keep control from being established. To break this back and forth, my wife had a plan that involved playing multiple cards on her turn (one of the abilities that some of the cards have). She took a loan to get money, and then moved my minions, and assassinated two of them to clear out territories. However, I played an interrupt card that allowed me to put one of my just assassinated minions back in play. In doing so, I blocked the territory she had planned building in. I was able to get a foot up in one of the contested territories and this gave both of us control of six territories. I had a perfect storm of cards come my way that allowed me to draw cards, and keep playing cards with various abilities. In doing this, I was able to gain control of a seventh territory. I ended this by trading hands with my wife,and I gave a hand of cards that were unable to move minions. This meant when it came back to my turn, I won because I controlled seven of the territories.

Our Thoughts
My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: While we have only played it once, I really liked this game. I liked the back and forth play, as well as the interesting interaction the cards created. I am not very familiar with Discworld, but I felt the game was very evocative of the theme. I felt like I was competing for control of this weird city by utilizing the skills of odd denizens and establishments. I am very much looking forward to playing this game more.

Her Rating: 3.5 (it's OK)
Her Thoughts: I liked the game, but I disliked having my plans ruined. I found the game to be as equally frustrating as fun.

Combined Rating: 7.5

I may not have hit a home run with this game pick, but I did not strike out either. This game has a fairly strong "take that" aspect. My wife has a love/hate relationship with these kind of games. She has fun messing with other people, but can be a little thin skinned when people mess with her stuff. Based on this initial play though, I think this game will come down on the love side with more plays.
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