Thursday, January 26, 2017

Agamemnon (Osprey Games)

We are all familiar with the story of the Iliad. In this epic by Homer, we see the final weeks of the Trojan War. Osprey Games has taken this tale and created a two-player game called Agamemnon. In Agamemnon, players will take on the roles of the Greek gods trying to influence the war and help ensure their side is victorious. The game plays two players, age 12+. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes to play and retails for $24.
Setup
1. Lay out the game board with the side up labeled Agamemnon.
2. Place all the String Tiles on the board that match their color/pattern.
3. Give each player a set of Playing Tiles, turning them all face down and mixing them up randomly, and a card labelled Greeks or Trojans.

Each circular space on the board is connected to multiple Strings of Fate (String Tiles). There are three types of String Tiles - Strength, Leadership, and Force, which are won different ways. Additionally, there are four types of Playing Tiles - Warriors, Leaders, and Weavers (which are subdivided into Warp and Weft). Each of these tiles contribute different things such as strength or rank.

Game Play
The starting player flips over one Playing Tile face up and places it on an available space on the board. After this, players flips two Playing Tiles and place them on any available spaces on the board. The final turn involves the second player placing his last Playing Tile on one of the three available spaces left. Two empty spaces will remain on the board. (Note: If you play a Weaver during your first two turns, you can replace them with another tile.)

Scoring
Score each String of Fate individually. A string is considered to be any connected path of the same String Tile that hasn't been split by a blank space or a Weaver. Whichever player controls a string receives all of those String Tiles to put in their scoring pile. If there is a tie, no one get those tiles, and they are removed from the game. The player with the most Strings of Fate wins.

Review
Agamemnon is an abstract game that relies on area majority. The game is all about tactics and trying to make sure you either have the most strength or sheer numbers. However, you also need to know when to cut a string. Since playing tiles are revealed randomly, you might feel like you don't have complete control over the game, but there is a variant where you can play with those tiles face up, but it can add to length of the game due to analysis paralysis. On the back of the game is a different board with different tiles, so this will add some variability to your game.

The unfortunate part of this game is the theme. I really enjoy the story of the Iliad, so I was excited to try this game, but the theme did not come through at all. That said, the game play is solid. It is fast playing and you can feel the tension mount as you play more tiles. There is nothing more frustrating in this game to commit some warriors to a string and then have that string taken out from under your nose the next turn. Luckily, the game plays quickly, so if you are defeated, you can quickly play another game with your opponent. Overall, this is a solid game and a decent way to introduce your kids to classic literature.

This game was provided to me for free by Osprey Games in exchange for an honest review.