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Subject: The Six Heroes With the Single Face rss

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chris carleton
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bon accord
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When we first got this game there were things not to like about it. There were some problems with the bits, and after about five plays, my wife declared it to be a stupid game that she would never play again. She also said we should leave it at the cabin in which we were staying in the Rockies.

Well, we just couldn't do that because we try to play a game 12 times before passing a final judgement.

I wasn't overly impressed either, but after realizing that we had a couple of rules wrong, we played it some more and changed our minds. It is a light game with an interesting mechanism, but bluffing is its forte.

Bits:

Hector and Achilles is a card game, in which Trojans fight Greeks, winning battles through soldiers' strength with the assistance of heoroes and divine favour. The cards are of good quality, but there isn't much variety in the artwork: the Greek and Trojan soldiers look exactly alike, as do the six heroes for each side. You get 48 troop cards, 12 each of values 1-4, and six hero cards, valued 3-6.

There are three different types of tiles in this game, all of which are nice and thick. The fate tiles are the largest and are double-sided, which is odd because their identity is supposed to be secret. We put them under the box lid, but a bag, or one sided tiles, would have been good here. The other two types of tiles, divine favour and shame markers, are circular.

The box insert is enigmatic. There are spaces for six dice, but there are no dice in the game. There is room for two decks of cards, which are in the game, and two spaces for . . . something. I'm not sure because none of the tiles fit conveniently in these spaces.

Also included are two boards that mainly serve to help you organize your cards.

Set Up:

Set up is pretty quick. Your troop cards need to be divided up into four piles of twelve and placed in three piles on the front of your board, representing the front line in a battle, and one pile behind the other three, representing your reserve troops.

You hero cards are placed on the same board with your divine favour markers, and the shame markers are placed near your board.

Rules/Play:

The battle begins with the attacker drawing a card from any of his stacks, front line or reserve, and placing it in the space between the two players. This card's value, known as the vangaurd, determines from which stack all further troop cards will be drawn. Each player then draws four troop cards and a hero card. If the vanguard is a 4, the attacker can freely choose which stack will be used.

Before the defender plays its vanguard, the attacker draws and places a fate tile between the two players. The fate tile consists of four sides, each coloured differently, and during the ensuing battle can be rotated so that a different colour faces you. The fate tile and its movement is very important to the outcome of a battle because after five troop cards have been played, only cards of the colour facing you and cards the colour of your hero's colour will count towards winning the battle.

Each player may take an optional action and then must play a troop card, numerical values are totaled, and whoever has the highest value gets to turn the fate tile. If numerical values are tied, the fate tile remains in its current orientation.

There are five optional moves, of which you can only do one before playing a troop card:

Discard and Draw: You can discard a troop card and draw a new one from the stack in play. Discarded cards are irretrievable, so you have to be selective about your discards.

Change Hero: There are six different colours of troops, and six matching heroes. As only cards matching the fate tile or your hero card count at the end of the battle, it is often worthwhile to exchange heroes if your current one doesn't match your cards.

Deploy Hero: To play a hero, you place it on top of a troop card, and that card no longer counts. The hero's numerical value now contributes to your score for controlling fate.

Boost Army: You can play a divine favour marker on one of your troop cards to boost its score by one, only if you have already deployed your hero.

Retreat: Discretion is the better part of valour. If you choose to retreat, you only get to keep what cards are in your hand, and you get a shame marker, which means that the next time you retreat you will have to also discard a card from the active stack. If you have two shame markers, you discard two; if you have three, you discard three.

After the fifth troop card is played, you check once more to see who controls fate, then do a victory check. If you haven't deployed your hero, then it is played after the final fate check.

Now all that matters is the cards that are the same colour as your hero, and those that are the same colour as the edge of the fate tile facing you.

Whoever has the highest score is the winner and gets to keep all of the cards and divine favour markers they have played. The loser discards all of their cards and divine favour markers, but may save their hero if they discard a divine favour marker.

If there is a tie, both players get to keep their cards (ties are not as rare as the rules state).

After each battle you need to check to see if any stacks have less than five cards in them. If any of the front line stacks have less than five, then those cards are shuffled back into the reserve pile. If a player has to play from a stack in the front line that is empty, he uses his reserve stack instead.

A player loses when he has either no stacks left in his front line, or fewer than five cards in his reserve stack.

Strategy and Tactics:

The more we played this game, the more tactics and bluffing we found.

If you deploy your hero, you get the advantage of boosting your score because you usually cover a low card with it, and you get the opportunity to place divine favour markers to further boost your score.
However, if you don't deploy your hero, you keep your opponent in doubt about what cards you have played will count in the end. In some battles it is hard to say what your opponent is up to if she hasn't deployed her hero until the end, or near the end, of the battle. Sometimes by withholding your hero, your opponent might even retreat on the assumption that you have a hero to match all those cards.

Similarly, it is advantageous to win the fate tests to get the tile turned towards you; however, it can be equally useful to let your opponent turn the tile for you. Sometimes by him turning the colour he need towards himself, the colour you need will now be facing you.

Other times, it is worthwhile to hold on to your high cards until the end of the battle and, hopefully, turn fate against your opponent in the final showdown.

Of course, your opponent may be bluffing you as well.

All of the optional moves have their place, especially retreat. Your first retreat is not penalized, and your second not heavily, so if it is a lost cause, it is definitely good to get out before you lose good cards or your hero.

Making use of the battle line can win you the game, especially when you draw a 4 as the vanguard. You can choose a stack which has proven to be weak for your opponent, or choose a stack of his that is already depleted, and then hopefully reduce or deplete his reserve stack. As in real battle, you need to exploit your opponent's weaknesses.

After a few battles, you may find a stack that is particularly strong, so when you draw a four you might want to choose that stack.

Divine favour can help with your bluffing, but you have to be careful with them. If your opponent still has all three of his, while you have lost two, or all of them, you can be at a real disadvantage.

Conclusion:

This is not a deep game, but the fate tile mechanism and the deployment of your hero allow for some interesting choices and bluffing. There is a poker-like feel to this game--not like Battle Line with three of a kinds, flushes, etc., but in the sense of calculated risk. More precisely, you often have to decide whether or not your cards are good enough to bluff with when you don't have a very strong hand.

Aside from bluffing there are a lot of just plain old close battles where you can't be certain who has won until the dust settles.

So this is a good couples game if your looking something light but with a very solid bluffing component. I give this game a 7.

Edit: typos
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Dan Fielding
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Your troop cards need to be divided up into four piles of twelve and placed in three piles on the front of your board, representing the front line in a battle, and one pile behind the other three, representing your reserve troops.
>>>

Randomly? Or do you create the 4 stacks as you wish, hopefully with a plan in mind?
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chris carleton
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bon accord
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Randomly, but you soon discover what section of your army is the strongest, and what section of your opponenent's is the weakest, and exploit accordingly.
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Sotiris
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hello chris your review is very good really, but you made a mistake the Trojans fight Achaians.. not Greeks, because they were both Greeks.. keep up the good work!
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Magali Le Roux
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Thank you for your review. I first played one game of Hector and Achilles and didn't like it. I thought there was too much luck. I was going to get rid of the game, but then went to BGG and read your review. I understood there was more depth to the game than was I had initially thought. I now love this game.
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