Saturday, December 27, 2008

Antike is Brilliant

Antike is, in my humble opinion, the next generation of game after both Risk (too much luck and too much conflict) and Civlization (too long and too had to catch up).

It's got no luck, but lots of chaos. It's long enough to feel really meaty. It has a bit too much conflict for me, but enough to satisfy nearly any conflict-interested player. And you don't have to have the biggest area to win.

I played it two-player with the dual-color/one-nation variant to 15 cards. It worked very well with starting players Greece and Romans. I was Greece and lost. I concentrated on the knowledges and first level in all the other areas. My opponent got first to Currency and Democracy, but I got first to every other knowledge.

He also expanded much greater that I did. I never got above 11 cities, while he had 16 by midgame and then hit 20 near end-game. I was one card ahead of him throughout the game. But at 12 cards, I finally ran out of steam. My opponent was only at 10 cards but was poised to crush my remaining two temples. From there it was a quick step to take the bonus knowledge card and then additional city or seas cards. I, on the other hand, had the possibility of maybe taking out one more of his temples, but was nowhere near any other cards. So I conceded.

If the card requirement was just one or two cards less, then my less expansionist/less confrontational strategy might have worked. It also didn't help that I accidentally bought Wheel in the early game when I explicityly meant to buy Sailing. When I went to use my Sailing, I found that I didn't have it. Oops.

This was my second game, my first two-player. Two-player Antike includes a lot of ship and legion kamikaze that doesn't happen in multi-player. I'm looking forward to more multi-player experiences. Maybe if the card requirement is reduced by one, or the defense power is boosted by 1, less-combat strategies could be serious possible paths to victory. As it is, I'm not sure that they're possible. Which means you have to be careful not to run out of steam.


I played three games of It's Alive (one basic and two advanced) with my daughter and her friend, and lost them all. Still a great game.

I also taught my friend and his daighter Tichu. They are seriously the most difficult people to which to teach games; while very smart, they constantly interrupt. It took two rounds of play and they caught on well enough. Tichu is also still a great game.

1 comment:

Mikko said...

I think Antike is generally better if you reduce the victory conditions by one point.

As I see it, if the players are of equal skill, the game usually bogs down in the end and becomes annoying waiting game of seeing who makes a mistake first.

If the game is one point shorter, it is over at just about the right moment, before it gets boring.

I believe that playing for one point less is a designer-suggested variant for the three-player game, but I'd use with any other number as well.