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Subject: A first play rss

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Bruce Murphy
Australia
Pyrmont
NSW
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As I have a magical FLGS with an unimaginably great range, several of us in the group were able to pick up copies of Antiquity since we're (Duck dealer aside) all big Splotter fans. We decided to pull it out today for a 3-player game that quickly became 4-player. I was the only brand new player, playing black.

I chose starting position last and was handed a moderately nice area, that had no easy external-facing water and not much wood. Other players had fairly average areas except Blue with a huge forest and little stone. All players charged ahead to start producing food and carts (exploring all nearby areas to get seed crops). Blue suffered early in not building a granary since everyone else pushed the famine level up by exploring.

Everyone bar yellow chose St Maria on the second-round cathedral build. The building rearrangement and unlimited storage in particular seemed like too good a special power to pass up.

Red and Blue leapt out to explore new territory across the top part of the board. They both reached the central mountain and starting mining and agriculural settlements. Black and Blue both built dumps to reduce their own pollution and more importantly prevent other players from dumping pollution near their cities.

Black started fairly intensive farming and agriculture including a push into Red's unused home-hex forests via inns and water, both keeping all three constructed cities fairly close to the first. This was a generally non-aggressive strategy and may have worked out better with more careful planning.

Yellow, in contrast, while juggling the problem of storage and being unable to rearrange buildings managed to build one of the odd-shaped forced labour buildings and ended up using that to build up the necessary resources start a snowball-like new mine and inn.

Here's a late-game picture showing the endless tide of pollution marching across the board, mostly from the Yellow player's slash and burn strategy of forced-labour extraction of as many different sites as possible.



By this point red was still pottering along, while Black and Blue were forced to use Alchemy to remove as much pollution as possible to continue farming. Yellow's entire quarter of the board was a seething mass of pollution resulting from the rapid expansion of forced-labour camps. Blue and Yellow both started pushing chains of inns towards the vulnerable red, while Black mostly tried to juggle resources.

By the end of the game, the player-order was completely fixed as red never had more than 2 carts active (part of the reason for loss) while yellow was consistently using 6 to try to dump Inns. Yellow actually placed his last Inn token to win the game.

The winner was yellow who had completely subsumed red's zone of control. Blue with St Maria was perhaps 1 turn behind doing the same (and having all buildings built). Black was at least two turns away from getting all required goods together to meet that end condition, but already had all buildings.

There's a delicate balance to be had in the game, it's entirely unclear that St Maria confers a huge advantage because of the double winning condion. A careful player can move faster and win (As yellow did here). The different winning options don't seem especially balanced, but it'll take more plays to really establish this.

The slow (or later fast) crawl of pollution across the landscape is a nice touch. A great deal of the game revolves around balancing pollutions effects on both avoiding graves and trying to renew productive areas. It's cute that you can make use of placed pollution to carefully resize areas of the board so they're exactly a 3 spaces big to avoid a wasted turn with forced labour.

The development of the board is terrific. It's amazing how so many chits and pieces can be slowly pushed out into the board without becoming too fiddly. The graphic appeal is immense and the game is continually interesting because so much of the play is largely simultaneous. Anyone with an opportunity to buy this who can ever find time for 2-3 hour games should go get a copy.
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It sounds great. I sure wish that I could find a reasonably priced copy. With the prices this game is commanding, maybe Splotter will decide to do another print run.
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Wurtsboro
NY
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Riptcord wrote:
It sounds great. I sure wish that I could find a reasonably priced copy. With the prices this game is commanding, maybe Splotter will decide to do another print run.


Having taken the plunge recently myself, I know what you mean about the price tag. I just paid off my student loan (10 years out of college), so I let myself splurge a little.
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I still have my loans. yuk Buying Antiquity is a good way to celebrate paying them off.laugh
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