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Subject: Review of Akrotiri after two plays rss

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J H
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Designers: Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Players: 2
Length: 30-45 minutes
Age: 13+

Akrotiri is a game about excavating ancient Greek temples around the island of Thera. It is a tile placement game that is a quite a bit more brain burning that I expected. The object of the game is to score the most victory points by excavating temples (completing map cards) and completing hidden goals.

Components

I would say the components are average. The wooden player boats, temples, and resource cubes are standard quality. I had two cubes (a red and gray) that were stuck together when I opened the box. Separating them caused a big chunk to come out of one of the cubes. Not a huge deal, just a pain. I guess the paint wasn't completely dry when the cubes were put into the bag. The player and resource boards are rather thin and flimsy. Not a big issue, but they are already showing some wear on the corners. The tiles on the other hand are a bit thicker and will probably hold up well. The cards are of average quality. I sleeve, so thinner cards don't bother me. The money is cardboard in denominations of 1 and 5 drachmas and I find the 1 coins to be rather small. People with larger fingers might have some trouble with these smaller pieces. The art is good and the iconography is clear on the cards, the tiles, and the player boards. The rulebook is well done and follows the flow of play well. The goal cards are all explained in the appendix at the back of the rulebook which is something all rulebooks should have.

Gameplay

The game is played over several turns with each player placing a tile, seeding the tile with 2 resources (one mandatory type, one optional), and then performing actions. I won't go into all the rules or how the game is played, but know that the tile placement is really the heart of the game. Paying attention to what your map cards require, watching what your opponent is doing to take advantage of his tile placements, and working the resource market to make enough money to excavate are really key. Maintaining shipping lanes to minimize the number of move actions required is also important.

What do I think?

I have played this twice and really enjoy the game. It starts out a bit slow and feels like it might be longer than expected, but quickly ramps up and you find yourself placing temples (and getting more actions) almost every turn in the later part of the game. As I mentioned before, it is a bit more brain burning than I expected due to the spatial nature of the map cards. You want to place your tiles in such a way to maximize the benefit of your map cards, but doing that sometimes blocks your path to the island where you need to excavate. It took a few rounds to get my head around the map cards, but if you take them for exactly what they are thematically, it really makes sense. I like to think of the map cards as the old pirate maps you see in the movies. "X" marks the spot. The "X" was west of the volcano, south of the lake, and east of the mountains. In this case, the "X" is your excavation spot where you can place your temple.

If you enjoy 2-player games with tile placement, hidden goals, some pick-up and deliver elements, and spatial awareness, Akrotiri might be for you. I give it a strong 7.5 out of 10.
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Bill Eldard
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Excellent review, Blue. I've only played it once, but I rate it about the same.

As you note, the key is the map cards, and first time players may be a bit confused at first regarding the relative positionings. What we realized is that one has to ignore the seams between tiles and look strictly at the dotted lines. Then, it becomes pretty easy.
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J H
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Played this again last night and enjoyed it again very much. It was a new player who enjoys heavier games and they were really surprised by how much thought has to be put into the tile placement. I think he enjoyed it quite a bit (especially since he won). I finished my sixth temple and thought I had the win but he had completed a hard map and his bonus cards took him over the top. Great game.
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Dennis Ku
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At first glance, it looks like such a simple game, but there is a large amount of depth. My head was hurting after our first game, and the puzzle element is delicious. I can also see every game being so different depending on the islands and tile placement. Looking forward to exploring this game this year.
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Dennis Ku
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Havox wrote:
Played this again last night and enjoyed it again very much. It was a new player who enjoys heavier games and they were really surprised by how much thought has to be put into the tile placement. I think he enjoyed it quite a bit (especially since he won). I finished my sixth temple and thought I had the win but he had completed a hard map and his bonus cards took him over the top. Great game.


See, the fact that you completed your 6th temple and still LOST makes me like the game even more. I would worry if the race to finish your last temple was overwhelmingly stronger as a strategy.
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Kyle A
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Played a game last night where my opponent excavated her 6th temple before me. Since she went first I was able to have one last turn, which I kinda rushed because I thought I was losing bad. Bonehead me places the tile such that I cant excavate a temple on my last turn, and I end up losing by 1 point...

It was a really quick game, and there were no other available islands.

I am liking this more and more as I play it.
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