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Subject: First impressions rss

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Loren Cadelinia
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I played 2 back-to-back 4-player games tonight. This was all of our first time playing. 1st game ended with 5 temples, 2nd game ended with 2 lands.

For reference, other area control games I enjoy are Eclipse, Clash of Cultures, Scythe, 878 Vikings.





Wow, I am impressed!

Fun factor: There is tension and excitement from the start. It doesn’t feel like a slow build up like 4x or civ games do; you’ve got monsters, quests, and your opponents are grabbing territory and building up their armies quite quickly. The battles were all exciting as you play the attrition game and cringe as your opponents reveal their cards one by one.

Hunting monsters - super fun in itself as the hunter, but everyone has some interest in the end result; not to mention killing 3 monsters is a victory condition, but even if you are not the hunter yourself, you have a vested interest in the fate of this monster.

You might be playing the monsters attack cards preventing this player from winning. You might be perfectly content that someone is finally killing this monster that has been terrorizing your hoplites. You may want to snipe this monster for yourself if it isn’t fully killed. Maybe what you fear is this player gaining a glory token, or maybe you fear losing your glory token to this hunter... and more importantly what this player plans to do with the glory token after he slays the monster!



Gameplay: After 2 games, I can see how everything weaves together. The heros, the monuments, the blessing cards, the endgame conditions, the strategies feel balanced and interwoven. Turns are quick, by the middle of the 1st game, we were zipping right through; a few regular actions, then end your turn with a special action. It’s elegant, but the decision tree is deep and you have to pay close attention to everything your opponents are doing.
The blessing draft is an excellent example of some critical decision making, that again, doesn’t necessarily happen on your turn. You are forced to be engaged all the time.

Variable “round” length - this is great mechanic. Individual players decide when to build a monument and reset the special actions, reset the artifacts, start the monster phase, and new event is added. There are profound implications and changes in game state for everyone at the table if a monument was built a turn too soon or a turn too late. There’s awesome tension as you sit and hope other players don’t build a monument when you want to do so badly on your turn!

Replayability: I don’t have long term personal experience after just two games, but something should be said about the variable set up.
- which monsters start
- starting locations of the monsters
- which quests are available at the start
- heroes you and your opponents chose
- starting locations you choose to place your heroes
- Temple card, which determines blessing drafts and oracle of Delphi bonus
- starting combat card
- starting artifact for Helen

With all of the above, you will likely never have the same starting setup. Combine that with the fact that there are 4 different victory conditions, a ton of blessing cards, new quests and monsters that pop during the game, variable “round” length... even a similar starting set up would yield you permutations upon permutations of different game progressions and experiences.

Visuals: Artwork is good, sculpts of the monuments and the monsters are stunning. Hoplites and hero details are decent for their small size. The board is colorful and fairly clear, though I wish the brown land outline was more distinct from the yellow land outline. I have the Terrain expansion, and while I don’t think it is a must, you can quickly see the gamestate regarding which regions have cities much easier than finding them printed on the board. It does make Sparta and Oracle of Dephi really pop and stand out from regular cities and temples. And it’s just gorgeous (mine were sundropped, and I’m not a painter).




Negatives: rule book could have been organized a bit better, though I can understand the challenge of explaining a bunch of interwoven mechanics when terms are touched upon, but then later explained in detail.

Also, it is difficult to keep track of all the blessing cards and artifacts that your opponents have. This is open information, but you’d have to get up and read your opponents cards to see their special and unique abilities are. More plays should reduce this as you familiarize yourself with the cards, but there are a lot of cards.

Due to having 4 win conditions, for new players its possible to have an “anti-climactic” ending if one player sneaks in a win while others are tunnelvisioned elsewhere. Though, I imagine the more you play, this will likely decrease, and the metagame will require more creativity to sneak away with an awesome turn and win the game.


Conclusion: So far, great game that thrusts you into the action. You are engaged from beginning to end. It is beautiful to look at. I can’t wait for the expansions to arrive, more monsters, more monuments, more heros, and look forward to see how it all meshes together.

Happy gaming!
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Tom Lam
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Thank you for the review, looks amazing in your pics. Now I wish mine would arrive.
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John Gallant
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Dartmouth
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were you happy with the sundrop? some people are complaining its not done well
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Loren Cadelinia
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Cheeseburger wrote:
were you happy with the sundrop? some people are complaining its not done well


Take this with a grain of salt, since I’m not a painter.

At first I was a bit disappointed. The look was such that it was obvious these weren’t painted individually with the brush. However, on the table, on the board, they looked great. I think without sundrop the primary colors for the player pieces would be too bright. It also gave uniqueness to individual hoplites; if I was a painter, I think I would be too anal to have them look different.

The cities, temples, and monuments look great imo. I think sundrop looks great on things that are meant to be stone. It looks provides shadow, and those intricate details get highlighted, rather than just blending in.
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Salvador Bernadó
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Gavà
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Thanks for the quick review.
Have those orange hoplites received the sundrop treatment?
They look different to the other hoplites on the photos.
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Loren Cadelinia
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Bernado wrote:
Thanks for the quick review.
Have those orange hoplites received the sundrop treatment?
They look different to the other hoplites on the photos.


So that’s actually yellow. The sundrop makes them look less yellowish.
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