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Subject: Rushed Review of Archon: Glory & Machination (Smoothsmith) rss

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Chris Smith
United Kingdom
Solihull
West Midlands
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Welcome to my short(ish) review! I decided to review every game I own, and seeing as that takes a while, they're kinda rushed! I tried to break things down nonetheless, and I hope you enjoy the review!

Rushed Reviews Of All My Games

(Note: I've traded Archon away!)

Components:
- Worker Cards (Poker Size)
- Science/Religion Cards (Mini Size)
- Kings Demand Cards (Mini Size)
- Action Space Cards (Mini Size, not sure the official name)
- Resource Cubes in 4 Types
- Player Pieces in 4 'Colours'
- Cardboard Coins, Recruit Tokens and Space-Covers (Same Size Circular Tokens)
- 1 Main Board

A poor showing here, with the resource cubes & player pieces being in 4 shades that are difficult to distinguish and don't accurately match the colours they're shown in on the board/cards (Black, Grey, White, Blank[Unpainted]). Before I could get a full game in I had to do some editing - I painted the faces of the player pieces in green, purple, orange & light-blue, and replaced some resource pieces with nicer to see bits (Paper-bits, Silver-cubes for Silver instead of grey and black discs for iron, stayed with white cubes for stone). This helps, but the over-ly bright board is still hard to play with, being quite an overload for the human brain =P At least the bits are decent quality, if poor on colour-choices.

1/5

Setup:
1. Place Cardboard Tokens & Resource Cubes/Bits in the spaces provided on the board (Repository, Armoury & Treasury)
2. Place Building Tokens in the spaces for them on the board.
3. Place the Special-Worker Cards off Board, but in reach of players.
4. Shuffle the Kings Demand Cards, placing the 3 being used in the spaces on the board.
5. Shuffle the Action Space Cards, & Draw/place the ones as needed (Depends on #players)
6. Place the Action-Blocking Tokens (Depends on #Players)
7. Place Player Score Markers & Guild Markers

Not the quichest, but it's a fairly straightforward setup. It's a bit of a pain to put the buildings out if you don't keep them organised in the box.

4/5

Gameplay:

This is a worker-placement game, and follows the fairly straightforward formula of having a number of years/rounds where you take turns to place workers and retrieve at the end ready for the following year. The spanner thrown in here is speciality workers, of which there are 4 types. Everyone has 5 workers/round and can't get more during the game, but you can swap out your standard workers (Courtesans) for one of the 4 special types at a cost, to get extra resources (Merchant), Double-Plays (Scribe), Interactive (Tax-Collector) or unblockable (Cleric) abilities on placement of them.

To get points in the game you construct buildings, upgrade workers to special ones, and vie for majorities in a number of categories - Science, Religion and Defense. Science/Religion gain no benefit other than points, while defense helps to fend off usually-pitiful attacks at the end of each 3 rounds. The buildings in the game seem far too strong, some giving benefits such as a resource every round (9 rounds total), which is like having an extra worker that can't be blocked (The game is quite tight so you often can't get what you need, which is fine except it means that the buildings are too strong). Still, I found it to be an ok experience, you just can't let someone monopolise the buildings.

6/10

Theme:

I don't really have much to say on this topic. In the game, players are powerful Archons, working to meet the kings demands each year (Each 3 rounds/seasons). This is where the majority's come in, as the king will have a focus on say, science, and that will be where most of the points are that particular year.

While the theme certainly fits, as you're working to build defenses, practise religion/science and expand the city through buildings, while educating courtesans to become merchants, clerics, etc, it all feels a little bland imo(Although I've felt the same with every 'running a kingdom' game I've played to be fair). I do like the art and love that it shares a Universe with Shadows over the Empire but it's a bit of a thematic miss for me.

6/10

Conclusion:

I find Archon to be a decidedly average game, which I'd play if asked but never have much motivation to get to the table. Unfortunately the biggest contributor to my not wishing to play this more is that the very...white..colouring to the board makes it difficult to look at for too long - Even bigger a shame because it was thanks to its' kickstarter backers that it ended up that way (It could have had a dark-green 'grass' background, which from the art in the ks update I've seen it in made the spaces to go to pop out, which is far better than having them blend in so you have to stare closely to tell where things are.

In addition, the pieces themselves weren't coloured well, and it took painting/replacing pieces to get the game so I could even get people to play the whole way through. It was fun, but I shouldn't have needed to do that and just can't rate it particularly highly as a result.

My BGG Rating: 7/10

Overall: 6/10
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