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Jason M. Brown
United Kingdom
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Agora is a neat little territory building game in which players are building shops in an ancient Greek marketplace. Having just been to an ancient Agora in Athens, this game seemed to be right up my street...

Players start with 10 coins (points) each. On each turn, players first collect income from their shops, then draw a card. Certain cards cause effects such as fire, flood and festivals to happen before it is laid. After laying the card the player can then buy a shop, the price of which is determined by its current theoretical income. Play then passes to the next player, and the first to 50 coins (points) wins.

The rules are simple, easy to follow and quick to digest, as is the norm with the Cheapass and Hip Pocket titles. The effects add a welcome element of chaos which force players to think about the sizes of their shops - as fire and flood affect only the largest shop (or no shops at all if it is a tie for the largest), it is often a good strategy to increase an opponent's shop to make his/hers the largest.

Due to the open layout of the tiles, Agora is refreshingly free from restraints, with only a few rules for laying cards next to each other (ie if cards touch, their grid patterns must match, otherwise place your shop wherever you please!).

The humour that is apparent in most Cheapass games is rather lacking from Agora, although this doesn't hurt it in the slightest. It is a hugely enjoyable and fast paced diversion from more weighty fare, and immense value for it's small, Hip Pocket sized price. Highly recommended.
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