Oh, yes. AT fan. I'm tired of bidding for improvements for a crappy medieval town.
I fight for the users!
I bought "Age of Mythology" a few months ago, but haven't had the opportunity to play it. Finally, last Friday I had the time for a small gaming session with my friend Alex Cobo. So we decided to play "AoM".
Since it was a learning play (first time for both of us), we played slowly at first, reading the rules and re-reading when in doubt. It was also a non-competitive game (not in the usual violent and aggressive fashion we play), but instead a session with the objective of learning and evaluating the game. I took the Egyptians and Alex took the Greeks.
We followed the same strategy as in these types of computer game. Alex went for exploration; I preferred to gather and build some buildings and a house. After a couple of turns, I had plenty of food, but was lacking gold and favor; so I went for a Monument and a Gold Mint. Alex instead built a Wall for some protection.
After a few turns, I tried the first attack. I sent some elephants (counting with their ability for ignoring walls), but they were defeated by the Toxotes and Hoplites (and a bunch of bad dice rolls). After two unsuccessful attacks, Alex was ahead with 8 victory cubes (taken from the "won last battle" card) and no hope for me.
I changed strategy and went for "Most buildings", so I got a market, a wall and the "Great Temple". I also started to recruit some myths (I got scorpion men, a mummy, and a couple of phoenixes); finally, I advanced to next age and got a priest.
I managed a good game the following turns. Having an extra card over my opponent (for being an age ahead) really gave me an advantage. I was usually gathering like 15 or more resource cubes a turn, so I could create a supposedly awesome army.
I went then for another attack, but I suffered the punishment of a really nice Greek unit: the Cyclops. Besides the bunch of jokes we said about the "One-eyed monster", its ability to throw enemies away from battle is amazing. Yes, my phoenixes didn't died (I was able to resurrect them anyway), but were put out of battle. Even the scorpion men, which cannot be thrown by the Cyclops, were defeated thanks to what seemed to me a real boycott of the dice against me. Another two lost battles, another 3 victory cubes for Alex.
At that time, I decided to go for "Most buildings", since the card already had a lot of cubes. So, next turns I put the red cube at this card, and started to recruit other units for having also the "Largest army" cubes. Alex fast advanced up to the mythic era (wasting valuable turns in my opinion). I built a store (I was getting a lot of resources, so spoilage started to be a problem), and the great siege engine workshop. My intentions were to destroy Alex's buildings and got those cubes for most buildings.
And the strategy worked! My attacks this time were successful, based on mummies (Oh, yes! Mummies!). The Cyclops died, and that was the real milestone. The next battles were like a trip to the park. At the end, I made my last attack against the holding area, in order to keep him from building the Wonder.
The game finished. I got the cubes of both cards ("Largest army" and "Most buildings"). I won 14-11. The game was about 3 hours and a half, roughly about two hours of real play (ignoring the time we spent reading the rules and understanding the game.)
First impressions of the game:
- We didn't find the villagers very useful. I got only one, and helped at the beginning, but I got far more resources from the buildings like the granary and the gold mint (are we applying the wrong rule?) We also reviewed the rules: we thought that you needed a villager on a tile in order to get resources from it (like in the computer game) but no, it only gives an extra cube. Maybe in a three-player game, when the game can turn into a resource war, the villagers could be useful.
- Even when the combat system is heavily luck-driven, we don't think that it really could define the game. A defending, resource oriented strategy could work (it is at least more stable, since in combat you cannot really trust in a bigger or more powerful army).
- Now, about trade cards. In the rules is not clear how it works, so we didn't know if you can trade any cubes of any color, or only cubes of one chosen resource (for the same amount of any color cubes, this last part is clear in the rules). Also, the market makes the trade cards from the random deck useless.
- God powers are nice, and give flavor to the game. Unfortunately, they seem a little unbalanced: some powers are very useful at times, others look worthless (hey, we are talking about "divine intervention"! I was expecting a lot more from a god!)
- Building tiles are ugly. We really have preferred tiles with a small image of the building (maybe even a set of building tiles for each culture, with their corresponding architecture). A player aid for each player and more information is also missed.
- The miniatures is possibly the best part of the game; they are really cool, and I must recognize I bought the game because of these. But I also think they are superfluous: a deck of cards should be enough, and would allow keeping a somewhat hidden army (an interesting twist).
Overall, I liked the game and certainly would play again in a three-player game, to see how the game changes and what new strategies appear.
(Disclaimer: please forgive any orthographic and/or grammatical mistakes made from someone whose native language is not English... thanks.)
Very nice write-up Francisco. My apologies for commenting on your write-up 7-1/2 years late. I was looking at this game again on the Geek because my nephew discovered a copy I'd bought for my sister-in-law about ten years ago. He'd never seen the game before and immediately became intrigued. He's already punched/cut out the beautiful pieces and is reading up on the rules. We may be playing it in a week or two, depending on schedules and such, so I'm boning up on the game by reading a few reviews.
Anyway, thanks again for the nice review.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
I have to say that this quickly became one of my favorite games.... although it does have a few balance issues... the biggest one is that the siege engine workshop is OP...