Deus: A Game of Tributes, Takeover and Tableaus
A Game for 2—4 Players
Hello Civilization Game Fans! This one is a light but fun one! If you like Terra Mystica, Clash of Cultures and are into medium-light games, this one may just scratch that itch! In the game of Deus, you start off with a meager civilization, and through expansion, you will eventually spread over the map, trying to conquer barbarian villages and crowd out the other players. The game plays in about an hour and change and is pretty easy to teach and to understand as well.
Is it pretty? (Art and Iconography)
I’ve read a few reviews of this and I found that people have bashed this game for being “ugly.” While I don’t find it to be the best looking or even close to being one of the better looking games in my quickly expanding collection, it’s not a total eyesore. The cards have decent if not generic artwork. The hexes on the board are colorful and clear. The iconography on the player boards are a bit confusing as to what the actions do when discarding cards, but after a few playthroughs, it will sink in. Overall verdict is that the game is decent looking enough, but the cards or hexes are not something you’d want to frame and put on your wall.
Artwork Score: 6.5/10.
What's in the box?
One of the things I loved about this game was that it gave you a LOT of bags, so many in fact that I have extras that I’ve used for some of the games that are far less generous with their bags. Besides the bags, there are lots of wooden pieces in four odd colors (no yellow!!!) Each player gets a set of buildings, 5 of each type for a total of 5 types. There are wooden temples, there are a bunch of cards, little foldout player boards to start the player’s tableau. There are discs that represent the various resources. There are oddly colored coins (They’re green). The game has a decent amount of bits and they’re pretty nice looking.
Components Score: 7/10
The game doesn’t take a huge amount of time to setup. Each player is given a starting hand of 6 cards, some money, some victory points, and they can put two of each of their buildings on their player boards. Set up hexes that are appropriate to the number of players, making sure that barbarian villages are never next to one another. For every barbarian village, put one victory token for each region surrounding it. A random starting player is determined, and then the game begins.
What's it Like to Play?
The game begins with players doing one of two actions:
Playing a card or discarding cards and paying tribute to one of the gods.
Playing a Card:
Every card has a cost in the upper left hand corner, either some resources, some money, or a mix. At any point, a player can pay 4 money in lieu of one of the resources. When a player builds a building, they have to adhere to a couple of rules:
1) If it’s their first building, it should be built at the edge of the board.
2) From there, players can add another building to a region adjacent to one they have already, or they can put another building in a region they already occupy, provided that the building is not identical to one there already.
3) Players must have that building available on their board. Each player can only build a max of 5 of each building type by the end of the game
4) The only type of building that can be built on the sea is the boat.
When a player plays a card, they put the corresponding building on the board, then add that card to their tableau. They then can activate all of the FANTASTIC abilities on the bottom of the cards. The five categories all give you unique bonuses. The blue cards (marine) tend to give you bonuses based on trading resources. The green buildings (production) give you resources. The yellow buildings tend to give you a variety of different bonuses. The pink are military buildings and allow you to often move your soldiers or sometimes get money or record points based on the locations of your soliders. And the orange buildings also have varied bonuses.
Every time a player builds a building, and they add the card to their tableau, all of the previously played cards will activate, allowing a player to chain abilities.
If a player completely surrounded a barbarian camp while building, as long as one of the tiles contains a soldier, the village is “defeated” and that player claims VP. If there is a tie, the player who has the most buildings will win the tie.
One of the unique buildings is the temple. The temples require one of each of the four resources. In addition, the first temple a player builds doesn’t have any other requirements, but once a player has built their first temple, the second temple requires a player to have one of every type of building, and the third temple requires two, etc. Temples are not color specific and must be placed in a region where you have a building already. The reason why temples are special is because they have end game scoring conditions. They usually have a max of how much VP they can claim.
Discarding a Card:
The second action is that you can discard any number of cards from your hand and gain a special ability. Each of the six colors of cards allows you to do a special action, which represents paying tribute to a particular god. The action you get will depend solely on the card that is on top of the cards you discard. For example, if you discard 4 cards, and you put the card that has the blue symbol on top, you will get to invoke the water god. For every card you discard, you get 2 coins. This means with this example, you will get 8 coins. The bonuses vary from getting more resources, getting some VP, getting to place more buildings on your board, or getting to draw more cards. Also, depending on which color card you discard, you will get to place one more of that building on your board from your general supply, allowing you to eventually build more of that type.
The game will end when one of two conditions occur: all of the temples for the player count are built, OR all of the barbarian villages have been destroyed. The current round will finish. At the end, players will score VP based on their VP tokens, the points from the temples, and finally, players who have the most of a particular good will get 2 VP.
The player with the most points..WINS!
Gameplay Score: 8.5/10
We have a modular board, which means that the setup will be different. In addition, players will of course be dealt different cards. The strategies of each game will be different. The game also offers some alternative setups, which makes the game pretty replayable.
I’ve played this game three times so far, twice with two, once with three. The game plays almost the same with more people. The game scales better than most games do, and this is something that I can definitely appreciate.
Deus is a pretty light game. It’s not my favorite game by any means but I can appreciate it. I like the gameplay, and I like the building aspect of the game, and think the tableau building aspect is cool, the way the cards combo make for fun and interesting gameplay. However, the game was a bit “Eh” for me. I like it, I don’t love it. It’s definitely not on my radar of games to trade but it’s not one that I would rush to play either.
Overall Score: 7/10
- Last edited Tue Mar 3, 2015 12:26 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Mar 2, 2015 9:37 pm
I probably like these kinds of games more than you do, so it's a winner for me. I love the chaining mechanism, and I always enjoy watching a civ grow!
Good review. FWIW, I think I agree with you - the game is a perfectly competent 7/10, with some minor annoyances and nothing that either spoils the experience or that rocks the world. It sits in my Big Box Of New Games surrounded by other 7/10 colleagues, each one wondering why I rarely choose them to take to games night, whereas my 8s and 9s are in the bag, packed and ready to go.
I’ve read a few reviews of this and I found that people have lauded this game as being “ugly.”
To laud means to praise - so you've just said that some people have praised the game for being ugly.
Thanks! I tried to use my vocabulary and failed miserably. Lauded now changed to bashed :-)