This is a summary of a two-person game between
played on Sunday January 19 2014. The Hebrew player had played it once before solitaire while the Heathen player was completely new and had not even read the rules. Explaining the rules took about ten minutes.
The game seems to have been a development of Ragnar Brothers' earlier History of the World, while the Artifacts seem to have been inspired by the tokens in Struggle of Empires. Any player familiar with Small World or History of the Roman Empire would also recognise many game mechanics.
The components are very attractive and well designed.
Replayability is high since the cards and the random placement of Artifacts and counters on the Kingdom and Royal tracks changes the strategic choices between every game.
The deck of cards is divided in Books One to Three, with early game dominated by strong Hebrew cards and the later game dominated by strong Heathen cards. A strong card means more army tokens to place on the mapboard, while a weaker card gives more points when calculating victory. Regions are conquered by calculating their defensive strength and sacrificing the number of army tokens called for. An army token of the active player is placed in the newly conquered territory to show the new owner.
Points are not scored by occupation of land as such, but by fulfilling certain conditions stated on the Kingdom track, such as Occupy Three Plains, Destroy or Build Two Cities, or Possess the Ark. This means that conquests must be planned strategically several cards ahead to maximise advance on the Kingdom track, since only actions taken during the current card counts. Occupation of territory also allows the player to place their Patriarchs, which are necessary for the collection of coins, and to build cities and temples, which gives defensive and Revenue advantages. The optimal placement of Patriarchs is important since they provide the coins necessary to buy Artifacts and the advancement of the Royal track. In the endgame the Heathen player must also strive to remove as many Hebrew Patriarchs as possible since their presence on the mapboard awards the Hebrew player with victory points.
Coins allow the players to buy Artifacts, tokens that provide advantages, monetary or military, and points.
To advance on the Royal track the player only needs to pay the stated amount and combination of coins. Advances on the Royal track also gives the player new advantages.
Above is shown the set up with all six Heathen Patriarchs placed. We decided to use the diceless combat system to reduce the risk of lucky or unlucky dierolls.
The Hebrew player started strongly with three cards in a row. His position after these is shown above. Five out out six Hebrew Patriarchs are placed and he has advanced two positions on the Kingdom track.
The Heathen player had his four cards in a row, but the Book One cards are weak and there was an uphill struggle. Still, he managed to advance on both the Kingdom and Royal tracks.
The game continued into Book Two. The Hebrew player continued with the David cards, allowing him further advance on the Kingdom track.
After the Hebrew expansion the Heathen player did not occupy much land, making it difficult to advance on the Kingdom track, but the Patriarchs still provided enough Revenue to allow him to buy advances on the Royal track.
The Heathen cards were still weak, and the Hebrew got both the David cards. Almost pushing the Heathens off the map, which allowed the Hebrew player to fulfill several more conditions on the Kingdom track.
The Heathen player finally could play the Egyptian card, giving him seven army tokens and some real offensive capability. The Heathen player used it to take the Ark, and spirit it away to Egypt, and to fulfill some conditions to allow him to advance on the Kingdom track. However, he now had dangerously few Patriarchs on the mapboard.
Gameplay now entered into the Book Three phase where the Heathen player gets their strong cards and the Hebrew player is limited to defend what he has and to do limited counterstrikes. The first one allowed him to retake the Ark from the Egyptians. The Ark provides a defensive bonus to the Hebrew player but has a negative effect on the Heathen player. Possession of the Ark has a small effect on victory points.
The position of the Hebrew player after the playing or his last card. It was this lead the Heathen player had to catch up and surpass to win. He had only three cards to attempt it, and the Hebrew player had two Treaty Artifacts to counter with. A Treaty Artifact prevents attacks on a region for the duration of the card in play. The Heathen comeback only started slowly with the recapture of the Ark.
Game end. The Heathen player had the three strong Assyrian and Babylonian cards in a row together with two Reinforce Artifacts, which provided even more army tokens. The Hebrew player used the Treaty Artifacts to prevent conquests in vital areas needed to allow advance on the Kingdom track. The Treaty Artifact is expended after use, but their use made the Heathen player run out of time. All the Heathen player could do was to remove some of the Hebrew Patriarchs and score full points on the Royal track.
However, even had the Heathen player been able to achieve parity with the Hebrew player on the Kingdom track it would have been negated by the enormous lead the Hebrew player had in points from Artifacts - forty to the Heathen player's sixteen. While the Heathen player had been buying tokens for the military advantage they provided the Hebrew player had also been buying tokens for their point value, and he had also bought many more of them. His Artifacts also allowed him to be very active during the play of the last three Heathen cards instead of just passively sitting while the Heathen player conquered his territories.
Self-respect forbids the author of this session report to admit which side he played.
Both players greatly enjoyed the game. The rules are quite clear and straight-forward, with very little going back to the rule book for clarification, allowing the players to focus on the game.
While the game mechanics are very straightforward and actual game play deceptively simple the game provides the players with interesting and complex choices of strategy. In our game the Hebrew player decisively won by his strategic buying of Artifacts, optimising both immediate military and monetary gain and future point value.
- Last edited Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:54 pm (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:20 pm
edit: My neck
hurts... feels better
But excellent session report!!!!
Looking forward to getting this to the table.
- Last edited Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:35 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:47 pm