Age of Mythology
Glenn Drover, Eagle Games, 2003
AASGC Game Review
Tim Smith, Annapolis-Area Strategy Gaming Club
‘Age of Mythology’ (AoM) ranks with ‘Axis & Allies’ as the favorite game of the AASGC crew. When we have it on the docket, we double our usual turn out. It is an abstract, semi-historical strategy game that offers value to youths of an unusually wide range of age and experience (from elementary to high school – and as club leader, I can attest that it never grows old). It offers one vitally important benefit to any game coach: its rules are well-organized and clear. The rules are errata-free and the game needs no modifications.
‘Age of Mythology’, Eagle Games’ ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization’ and ‘History of the World’ provide complementary discovery-learning experiences by emphasizing different historical dynamics. AASGC treats them as a unit, commencing each fall semester with the three in succession.
AoM is a civilization-building game disguised as a battle of heroes & titans. Players explore for new land and resources, building value-multiplying resource-processing capacity in villages/cities while preparing defenses in the form of armies of mortals, heroes, and mythic creatures, each with different strengths/weaknesses (‘rock-paper-scissors’). The game materials present a splendid array of data that successful players must integrate and evaluate; it hits the ‘zone of proximal development’ for a wide range of age-experience levels. It features masterful minis and associated cards, some of the best in the industry. The lads love ‘em, and closely study and compare their properties.
The game, moreover, provides a very powerful tool for skills development in situation assessment and forecasting, resource-management, course-of-action development, and insight into the minds of others. Players can choose alternative defensive vs. offensive strategies (wealth through investment vs. plunder through conquest) – the game, in fact, is a morality play in a box. Swords-into-ploughshares or vice-versa? – every player must decide. Patience and prudence usually win over the long haul, but the game tempts lads to squander resources on exciting battles and pay the price down the road – a memorable lesson in the costs of indulgence. Multi-player diplomacy fosters socially interactive experiential learning, for managing both conflict and cooperation.
AoM provides a captivating evocation of the spirit of ancient myths, legends, and pantheons (Egyptian, Greek, Norse). Should stimulate interest in epic literature from Gilgamesh, Odysseus and Herakles to Beowulf and Gandalf.
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory
while it technically does not need errata, I find it to play better with a few small changes. first is the official variant that you get hits on either 5 or 6 instead of just 6. second is a tweak that changes what happens when you get a draw. As written, those two units stay in battle, the variant removes them from your active army instead. So you can use them in the next battle but not the current one.