clans in anatolia
As a Neolithic clan you settle in a valley, together with four other clans, and slowly clans develop specific abilities, settlements grow, new building are erected on the ruins of ones and you come up with the replica of a Neolithic settlement, complete with ovens, shrines and cattle pens.
The five clans are very different – The Ders are aggressive against everything you and do not share their lands gladly with outers. The Sneerg have affiliated themselves to the land and grow their natural wealth. The Oleyli are envious of all that is owned by others and therefore attack other clans and steal from them. The Ruples are religious and their daily routine follows a mysterious ceremony from dawn to dusk. The Lebu are Healers, the are looking for remedies and therapies and follow their Shaman. Those characteristics result in a special ability for each clan that is, as we will see later, not easy to activate.
You choose a clan and take its 25 houses and put the score marker on the track. The game features a total of 24 catastrophes and at the start you decide on the game mode that you want to play and thus on the catastrophes. In the Basic game 12 catastrophes are taken into play, and the remaining components like Aspect cards and Construction Cardboards, are made ready.
Then you play in rounds, which comprise four phases:
- Construction, 2x
- Catastrophes, first in Round 2
- Aspect cards
- End of Round
In the Construction phase each player is dealt a Construction Cardboard that is displayed openly; such a Cardboard indicates three elements for you that you build – houses - or two elements and a Wild Card, which gives you the choice of building one more house or an oven or a pen or a shrine. When all the building is done, you are dealt another Construction Cardboard and again build what is depicted on it. Of course, there are rules for this building – houses can stand alone or in groups, houses in groups must be adjacent along an edge of the tile. Pens are built next to houses, the open side points at the corresponding house, and a pen can never be completely enclosed, you can only place buildings at three sides of it. Ovens and shrines are placed on top of houses. Houses that have been ruined are turned over, top levels and pens go off the board, ovens and shrines are deemed to be ruined, too.
In this Basic game mode there are also rules for Families and Blocks and Ruins; Families are adjacent buildings of the same color; Blocks are adjacent houses, pens and ruined houses. This is supplemented in the Basic game by building stories, you can build a second level on a house.
In the Catastrophe phase the top card from the stack is drawn; the starting player applies the effect first and can decide on which of his properties he will let the effect happen. In turn, all other players also resolve the effect on their properties; those effects always hit one or several blocks and cause loss of houses or loss of Aspect cards.
In the Aspect Card phase all blocks are being scored – you determine and score for majorities in ovens, shrines and pens. If you have the majority you receive an Aspect card from the corresponding stack. In case of a tie in a majority the level of buildings decides. Aspect cards can be used to build additional elements or to acquire victory points, you can play them at the start of any phase.
In the End-of-the-Round phase the stacks of Aspect cards are replenished, which means that all Aspect cards that were played go underneath their stacks.
If someone builds his 25th house, the game ends at the end of the current round; if you built your last house you can build other elements till the end. Then all players score one victory point for each Aspect cards and the village is scored one last time: If you have the biggest family in a block you score one point for each of your own houses.
As I have already mentioned, you can play the game in several different levels of difficulty; there is the basic game including families and two-storied houses. Then there is the Medium game in which Aspect cards for houses and height of houses are introduced. In the Advanced game mode the game is extended with cattle for the pens and villagers for the houses as well as a Shaman and the special abilities of the individual clans. To use those special abilities does, as I have already mentioned, require special efforts: You must first collect five Aspect cards featuring an identic symbol, must then discard those cards in order to score 12 points and, when you have acquired those points, you are allowed to use the special ability of your clan – The Ders destroy a house of another player and build a house of their own there; the Sneerg take a pen and a cattle piece and place them on the board; the Lebu take and place a pen and a villager; the Oleyli steal two elements – not houses – from any player of their choice, and the Ruples build a house and place the Shaman on it.
Well, well, I seem to have a mixed opinion on this somewhat mixed game – graphics and component put the topic across very nicely, the mechanism itself is rather abstract. The openly displayed Construction Cardboards introduce tactic, you see what other players can do; yet the catastrophes in turn introduce an intense element of chance. You labor tactically for majorities and must live with randomly assigned Aspect cards as a reward for those labors. Something that needs to be especially mentioned is the clever and unusual mechanism for the starting player, who is determined by the starting player of the last round.
All in all and all the same an attractive game, the mix of tactic and chance can be nicely managed and in the Advanced Game at the latest the dominance goes to strategy and tactics.
Dagmar de Cassan
Designer: Pierre Canuel
Artist: Anthony Cournoyer
Price: ca. 35 Euro
Publisher: Mage Company 2014
Genre: Development, tile placement
Users: With friends
Rules: de en fr
In-game text: no
Good components, suiting the topic
Simple basic rules
Unusual mix of chance, strategy and tactic
Basic mechanics rather abstract
First game with this mix of mechanisms
My rating: 5
Dagmar de Cassan
Lots of tactic despite some chance and some astonishingly simple rules make for an interesting game with a range, depending on the chosen level of difficulty, ranges from families with a bit of gaming experience to experiences frequent players.
Chance (pink): 2
Tactic (turquoise): 3
Strategy (blue): 1
Creativity (dark blue): 0
Knowledge (yellow): 0
Memory (orange): 0
Communication (red): 0
Interaction (brown): 2
Dexterity (green): 0
Action (dark green): 0