"Blow up the damned ship, Jean-Luc!"
I've discovered I enjoy building road/track on a hex board so when I saw Magna Grecia I was drawn to it. And the use of the player turn/action cards seemed an interesting ingredient.
THE SET UP for this game is quick and easy:
1-Put the scoring markers on the score track. This varies according to the number of players. For 2 players, place the marker on 10 points; for 3 players, on 12 points; for 4 players, on 15 points.
2-Players take a summary card and place 4 city and 4 road tiles and all of their markets on it as their supply. The remaining tiles are in reserve.
3-The player turn/action cards are shuffled according to directions which will give a fairly equitable distribution of turn positions. These cards show a color strip which shows the turn order and the number of tiles of each kind that a player may play or move from reserve to supply on his turn. The stack of cards are then placed face up near the board.
4-Oracles are placed "randomly" on the villages that do not have a green outline. The green outline villages are the start positions. We originally placed the oracles in an even distribution around the board but later decided to take turns placing them and found that this could add a bit a strategy and some interesting set ups.
THE PLAY begins with the first player taking the top action card, which reveals the next card and helps you make decisions for this turn. Now the player can do 2 of the 3 actions on the card, up do the number shown. (If the card shows you can place 3 city tiles, you may decide to only place 2.) If you decide to resupply, this is the 2nd action you may take; you cannot resupply roads and then build them. Or you may decide to do an Enhanced Action, which is to take only 1 of the 3 actions using the next number up on the card.
1-Build road. It costs nothing to build roads but they must be placed adjacent to one of your cities, an opponent's city,or an oracle or village that you've already connected to.
2-Found or expand a city. You may only found 1 new city a turn but you may expand any of your cities. A city is founded on either one of the green outlined cities, or a village which you have run roads to. It costs 1 point to lay a city tile. A market is placed on your newly found city for free.
3-Resupply. You may move tiles from the reserve to your supply in any combination you need.
To finish your turn, you may either build a market or sell a market. Building a market on a village costs 1 point for the market and 1 for each market already there. Building a market in someone else's city costs 1 point for each tile in the city, and 1 for each market already there. You may only sell an Active Market; this is a market on your own city or in a village or opponent's city which is directly connected to one of your cities by road of any color. The value of an active market is equal to the number of roads of any color that directly lead to different places, either cities, villages or oracles.
Now the card passes to the next player. A game may consist of either 8 or 12 rounds. At the end of the game, you count points for your markets that are active and for each Oracle which one of your cities has attracted the attention of. The attention of the oracle is attracted to the city with the most importance, meaning the one which has the most roads leading directly to different places. Each oracle you've attracted is worth 4 points.
We found this game to be very addictive and interesting. There are enough different ways for your roads and cities to grow to keep you constantly planning and reassessing the growing board. The game moves quickly and there is plenty of opportunity to step on someone else's plans, which we think makes an interesting game. I like that you don't always know who's ahead till the scoring, some people would rather know constantly who's in the lead so this could be a drawback for some. We played a 3-player game in roughly 45 minutes, which seemed to fly past as we immersed ourselves in our plots....um, plans. If you like these kinds of games, I highly recommend this one.