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Subject: A daimyo amongst fillers rss

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Andy
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Age of War is a quick-playing dice-rolling game, designed by the well-regarded Reiner Knizia and released in 2014.
In the game, players roll dice to wrestle control of castles in feudal Japan from those available on the table, and sometimes from each other.

What you get
The box itself is perfectly proportioned and wastes little space. It contains a simple instruction sheet, colour-grouped cards for each of the Japanese castles and seven dice with custom symbols representing bows, swords of varying quantity, daimyo and cavalry.

How it works
On a player's turn seven dice are rolled and symbols on these dice are matched to lines on the laid out castle cards. After matching dice to a line, players continue to re-roll any remaining dice in the hope that their luck will hold and they'll fulfill every line for that castle. Should a player re-roll without matching a line they roll one fewer dice until it not possible to continue, when the dice are passed to the next player.

Matching all lines on a card results in you taking control of that castle. Should you be attempting to take control of a castle that is already claimed by another player, you must match an extra daimyo to seize control. Once all castles of a colour group are controlled by one player, they are turned over and cannot be seized for the duration of the game.

Play continues until all castles are controlled by players and then the points values are totalled and the player with the highest total is victorious.

Worth it?
To judge this game, it is worth remembering that at it's heart it is a push-your-luck dice-chucker. Don't look for deep deep strategy as you'll be disappointed. Please don't think that's a bad thing though - the game does not simply proceed to its conclusion without player thought. You need to think about which castles are easiest to fulfill, which give the best points return for the risk you take and is it worth stealing from another player (and potentially starting a grudge that'll consume the two of you whilst everyone else cleans up)?

The dice are a large part of the appeal. As with all gambling, there is a part of the human psyche that revels in watching someone throw dice and waiting for the outcome and this game will have you watching and hoping, both on your rolls and your opponents.

Mechanically, there is little to bind to the theme. You can argue that the push-your-luck and dice-rolling match to the gambles of warfare but in my opinion that's a bit tenuous. Having said that, the art is pretty and does a good job of bridging this gap. The fact you are constantly looking at the Japanese themed symbols on the dice and cards draws you in, should you be a fan of that period of history and it's aesthetic.

The game can run on if one card is left and players have an unusual line of bad rolls, but this is still one of my favourite fillers. I wouldn't play it all evening but it definitely has a place in my collection for when I want a simpler, luck-driven gamble and some good laughs with friends.
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Mark Gilbertson
United States
Duluth
Minnesota
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... perfect palette cleanser between games too, or just to get your mind right before the main course game of the evening! Great review for a neat little game, Thanks!
 
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Andy
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Grim Norsefury wrote:
... perfect palette cleanser between games too, or just to get your mind right before the main course game of the evening! Great review for a neat little game, Thanks!

Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your kind words
 
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David B
United States
Chesapeake
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Well written thoughts about the game. But the tendency of the game to get "stuck" and drag is a bit off putting to me. Knizia has done better dice fillers IMO. Ra: The Dice Game and Sushizock im Gockelwok are both better as neither of them have a tendency to get stuck and instead proceed nicely to a conclusion. Both also have enough thought required to be interesting yet still squarely in filler territory.
 
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Andy
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pfctsqr wrote:
Well written thoughts about the game ...
Knizia has done better dice fillers IMO. Ra: The Dice Game and Sushizock im Gockelwok are both better as neither of them have a tendency to get stuck and instead proceed nicely to a conclusion.

Thanks, I agree that the 'dragging-on' is the game's biggest flaw. I'd love to find a 'fix' for this so I shall give your suggestions a try.
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Jeff Binning
United States
Rollinsville
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We're enjoying Age of War as an end of night closer. Another great Knizia dice game, if you can find it is Excape.
 
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Andy
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Colorado_Jeff wrote:
Another great Knizia dice game, if you can find it is Excape.

Thanks, I'll add it to to the try list!
 
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