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A Cohort is a tactical unit of a Roman legion. THE Cohort is a light family game with a Roman theme from Jeremie Kletzkine and MAGE Company. Try to collect sets of cards with different abilities, but beware these abilities all work against you!
This is a copy of an As a Board Gamer (LINK) article
(July 25th, 2016)
You can find a geeklist of all my reviews HERE.
The idea of the game is this; you collect sets of different unit type, a completed set is called a cohort and once a player has completed three cohorts he is considered the winner of the game.
On your turn you will draw two cards from the draw deck. You take one in your hand and give the other to an oponent. Then you can play a card from your hand. You can start a cohort or you can add a card to an existing cohort in front of you. After you've played a card, or not, you discard cards from your hand until you have four.
There are several different unit types and every unit type needs a different amount of units to complete a cohort, plus it has a different ability. Once you've started a cohort, the ability of that unit applies. Once you've completed it, you can flip the cards and the ability is cancelled.
That is probably good news, because all abilities work against you. For instance the Sagitarri, which needs four to complete a cohort, lets you draw the first card at the beginning of your turn from the discard pile. The Velites, needs five of them to complete, lets you distribute an extra card to your opponents at the beginning of your turn. You also have units that let you play with an open hand, have a maximum hand size of two instead of four, forbid you to receive cards from other players, or give you the choice between using a card as a wild card, but having to give all your hand cards away, or using that same card to destroy a unit from another player.
This is a very cool idea. The abilities are all bad, but it makes you think about which ability you can handle right now and which not. In the beginning of the game you can decide not to play cards from your hand, because you don't have a clear idea on which unit type you want to focus on. This does mean that your hand will clog up with cards you might not want to play. So, it might be better to just play a card and see where it will take you.
This brings me to my next point. This game is very light. You read 'card abilities' and a see a mechanism that somewhat resembles drafting, and you might think going into this game that it's an incredibly tactical game. Well it's not. It's very luck driven and it really has that 'let's just play this card and see where it takes me' feel sometimes. The game does give you choices, like I described above, but you sometimes just draw or get multiple cards from the same type, and while it might not be the best idea for you to play that unit, you just have a lot of them and therefore you play it.
When you think of The Cohort a tactical card game you might be disappointed. When you consider this a quick, family-style, filler you might enjoy it. I know I quite enjoyed playing it.
I must point out that the rules are badly structured. Very bad. You open the rulebook and it starts with the additional rules and detailed explanation of the cards. Where's are basic rules? How do I play the game? On the back of the rulebook of course, where they always are. No, they are not. They should have been on the front or on the first page. This is just weird and confusing. Plus, there were still some grammatical errors in the rules. Bad, bad, bad. I mean, you are going to ask money for that game.
In the end, do not take the game too seriously. The Cohort is an incredibly light, but an enjoyable and quick card game. It can be played in fifteen minutes, so if you've lost, because you did not draw the right cards, play it again and maybe after that you can set up that strategic card game you've longed for.
The problem with the rulebook has been noted elsewhere. The pages have been printed in the wrong order.