Private session session. 2-player Age of Mythology.
Players were Nancy, myself. New players to the game were: Nancy, myself. Nancy had the first turn.
We spent 30 minutes going over the rules and setting up the game.
Age of Mythology is a resource-management war-game.
Well, what happens when you mix up resource management of Settlers of Catan, building tiles of Puerto Rico and dice rolling of Risk?
The game is played in turns which are broken down into phases. Each turn is kicked off by the starting player, which rotates at the end of the turn. The phases are:
Players distribute victory points onto four victory point cards. There are three cards (Largest Army, Most Buildings, Built Wonder) which are scored at the end of the game, and one card (Won Last Battle) which is scored at the end of a battle. This mechanic serves two purposes. 1. Players get to decide what victory conditions are more valuable during the course of the game. 2. When all the victory points are distributed, this serves as a game-end condition.
Players replenish their hand to four action cards. The hand size gets bigger as the player advances into each of the three additional ages. There is a set of seven permanent cards that could be selected from every turn. This allows the player to be able to do what he wants every turn. Also, there is a random deck which could be selected from for the remainder of needed cards. This offers more powerful cards which may or may not be useful each turn.
One at a time, starting with the starting player, play a card. Cards allow players to explore (add resource bearing terrain to his territory), build (add buildings that give additional benefits to his city), recruit (add units to his army), attack (fight the same number of units of opposing army), gather (collect resources from appropriate terrain), advance an age, or trade (exchange resources with resource pool). Each player plays three cards before advancing to the next phase.
Players account for spoilage of resources.
Players discard unwanted cards.
Rotate starting player.
Attacks are made on cities, terrain, or resources. Battles are fought by first selecting units to participate in the battle. Then, one unit is selected in secret to fight the first battle against the opponent's secretly chosen unit. Units have a fixed number of dice to roll, plus a modifier against certain units. Each player rolls the dice and counts up 6's. The highest number of 6's wins. The battle continues until opposing units are eliminated or a player retreats. If the attack wins, he gets to destroy a building, terrain or resources.
The game ends when either the final victory point is placed (then the last turn is played out) or as soon as a player builds a wonder.
The player with the most victory points wins.
Nancy played the Greeks and I played the Norse.
Nancy started out adding victory points to most buildings and largest army. I started out adding victory points to largest army and wonder.
After each of us built up a few buildings that give additional resources, I built up an army and attacked. Nancy lost a couple units and retreated and I ended up with a victory point. She was building up resources for some reason so I reduced that possibility.
Then we avoided battle and worked towards building an army and building buildings without challenging each other at all.
I wasn't going to get a wonder, because I spent time building buildings to catch up to Nancy. I wanted a total victory.
The last turn, I pointed out to Nancy that she was going to lose, because both of us had a full compliment of buildings, so no one will get those victory points. Also, I had the largest army, so I would win those victory points. Neither one of us had enough resources to build a wonder, so no one would get those victory points. (I could have won staying quiet, but I wanted to keep things interesting.)
Nancy attacked my city. I didn't pay attention to the units she had. She selected a heroic hero among her units. If the heroic hero defeats a hero, the opponent retreats immediately. Unfortunately, I selected a hero to face that hero. Needless to say, Nancy won the battle and destroyed a building and she won three victory points.
Now things were desperate, because with largest army alone, I could not win the game. So I attacked her city in the hopes of eliminating the most buildings victory from her sights. Unfortunately, I kept losing each battle because she ended up with more dice against me. Even though there was a lot of ties and a couple victories on my side, Nancy had more wins and won the battle.
Interestingly, towards the end, exploring was fruitless because only one of us could find a tile that was useful, and it was usually the opponent. So, we both had about five empty terrains. Also, Norse has an advantage with mountains, but mountain resource-producing terrain never showed up during the game. Not that resource-shortage was ever a problem except for trying to produce a wonder.
Overall, the game was engaging in terms of strategy, production, and imaginative miniatures representing units. However, the battles become a dice-fest, and luck plays a great deal in the outcome of battles, as these things go.
It's interesting that this 2-player game played out in four hours. I read that a three-player game played out in three hours. I wonder if that's the cap for the amount of time it takes to play the game given that the number of victory points distributed caps the length of the game. (One less victory point is distributed for a two-player game than for any other number of players. However, I don't see the value in this because it only lengthens game time.)
There was a SOG session restricted to three-players because the players were afraid of balance issues, but I don't think there would be a problem. Sure, one player would duplicate the units of another player, but that seems more an aesthetic issue than a game balance issue.
I wonder how a three- through six-player game would play out.
Caption: Nancy gloats in her victory.
Game lasted 240 minutes. Final scores were:
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