Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Iliad: Heroes of Troy

The Iliad is one of the most famous works of ancient literature. It is an epic poem written by Homer, which is set during the Trojan War. The main characters in it are Hector, Paris, Agamemnon, Achilles, and of course Helen. It is also here that we see the Trojan Horse. Partnering with Escape Velocity Games, Angelo Nikolau has created a card game based on this epic poem and entitled it Iliad: Heroes of TroyIliad: Heroes of Troy is a 2-4 player card game currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. It is designed for players aged 12+ and a pledge of $13 ($9 + $4 shipping) will get you the base game or a pledge of $20 ($14 + $6 shipping) will get you the deluxe version. Let's setup the game for three players.

1. Each player chooses their Faction at random - Greek, Trojan, or god
2. Shuffle the 32 cards (30 character cards and 2 special cards) to form a draw pile.
3. Deal each player 10 cards. Each player will keep 7 and discard 3.
4. Reshuffle all the discards to reform the draw pile.
5. Place the top card from the draw pile next to the deck face up. This is the starting card.
6. Greeks go first.
Game Play
1. Play a card - Choose a character card (not a special card) from your hand and place it on top of the play pile. This card becomes the active card and will be used for determining faction and scoring.
2. Check faction - See which faction is displayed on the active card. (Note: If you are Team Greek and play a Trojan card, the Trojan team will score points, not you.)
3. Score points - The player/team who faction is on the active card scores 1 point for each matching trait between the active card and the previous card on top. (Note: Traits that can be matched include Faction, King, Wise, Strong, Sneaky, Tough, Brave, Battle Expert, Charismatic, and Pious).
4. Use trait - Use one of the traits on the active cards to perform an action, i.e., stealing cards or playing another card. (Note: If you play another card, you can earn more points, but cannot use another trait.)
5. The round ends when a player has no more cards in their hand. That player receives one points. Points are then scored for the special cards.
6. The game ends when one player/team has won two rounds.

At first blush, you might think that this game is merely a filler, given that it's comprised of only 32 cards. You will be quite mistaken though. This game is a delicate balance of knowing when to play your cards, so that you score the maximum number of points, and your opponent scores the minimum. Add to that, the special traits on the cards, and each turn becomes an excruciating decision. "Do I steal a card or steal a point? And if I steal something, which of my opponents do I want to steal from?" Playing with three people, really makes this game a delicate balancing act of who to attack and who to ignore each turn. If you focus too heavily on one opponent, and they begin to retaliate against you, you will find that the third person skulked their way to victory. There are several things I like about this game, including the portability and ease of learning the game, but if I had to pick what I liked best, it would be the theme. There are too many games about zombies and Cthulhu, so to see a game that draws inspiration from classic literature is a thing of beauty. By choosing this theme, we have opened up more potential with this game's reach. We now have the ability to enter a Literature classroom or a homeschool setting. That's a step in the right direction for this hobby. So if you are like me, and have a love for board games and the Classics, you'll want to back Iliad: Heroes of Troy on Kickstarter.