Editor’s Note: My full review of Angkor will appear in the upcoming issue of Counter magazine.
OK … so the subtitle of this new Schmidt Spiele game is NOT “Jungle of Doom”. But, hey … it was Fright Night, so we had to tie the game into the theme somehow!
Angkor is actually set in the jungles of the Far East, with players attempting to construct temples and protect them from the ever-encroaching jungle. The components and theme were attractive enough to cause me to purchase the game without first playing it, or even hearing any other commentary. My bad.
While the 3-D player boards are attractive, the game is far less so. Players place temple and water tiles onto their board, while placing jungle tiles onto their opponents’ boards. The idea is to develop a collection of temples, while at the same time attempting to cover your opponents’ temples with jungle tiles. Temples can be protected somewhat with water tiles, as well as the three wooden tokens – tiger, dwelling, and statue – each player possesses.
Players place two tiles and/or figures per turn, then re-fill their hand to five tiles. When the fifth princess tile is earned, the game ends and players tally points for temples (1, 2 or 3 points apiece) and for their tokens, depending upon their connection to certain land types. One of the problems is that the game simply ends too quickly. While odds would suggest that the fifth and final princess tile wouldn’t be drawn until most of the tiles had been selected, this certainly isn’t a guarantee, and it could occur very quickly. There isn’t enough time to properly plan a long-term strategy. Further, placing jungle tiles to hinder your opponent’s progress means that you have lost the opportunity to place a tile to benefit yourself. With the game being so short, the opportunity cost is simply too high. The real strategy here seems to be to place as many “scoring” tiles on your own board as quickly as you can, and only mess with your opponents when you have no other choice.
The game SOUNDS good, but it is just too limiting. Due to the brevity of the proceedings, the only real strategy is to place point-bearing tiles onto your own board. Group your temple and water tiles together so you can place the appropriate tokens to earn additional points. Only place jungle tiles onto your opponents’ boards when you have no more beneficial option. The lack of real choices and strategy options is very disappointing.
So, once again we have a game that turns out to be all show, with no real substance. It is one of those games wherein clever folks could likely devise a better game using the pretty components. As is, in spite of its attractive, three-dimensional board, game play is decidedly one-dimensional. My advice is to stay out of this jungle.
Chris, Rhonda, Gail and I developed our temples and tried to protect them from our nasty opponents. Most of us quickly realized the futility of concentrating on placing jungle tiles on our opponents’ boards. Thus, the game became a race to place temples, which was really just a matter of who drew the best tiles. It was me … and I won.
Finals: Temples Statues Dwellings Total
Greg 26 3 3 32
Chris 20 5 3 28
Rhonda 23 5 28
Gail 14 1 2 17
No tigers were placed.
Ratings: Rhonda 6, Greg 5, Gail 5, Chris 3