|2-5 Players||2-6 hours
Mythological gods influence
the ancient world as ancient races battle for domination.
Players begin by selecting a
color to represent their race. The board is set in the center of the
table, and the underworld board placed in an accessible
location. In addition, four decks of miracle cards are shuffled
and placed within reach of the players. A deck of territory
cards is shuffled, and the top four cards are revealed -- the
territories depicted on the card each receive a plague marker.
The four cards are replaced, the territory deck is reshuffled, and the
territory cards are dealt out to the players.
Players begin by counting
out the number of starting armies that the rules state that they should
be given (for a three player game this is 35). Players place 1 army on
each territory that they have the corresponding Territory card.
After all of the territories have one army, then players take turns
placing 3 armies at a time upon the territories they control (the
armies do not have to be placed in the same territory). Once this
is done, players place 1 temple and their god of War on territories
they control. Players are given an initial quantity of faith chips (31).
The game is played in five
turns, called epochs. Each player will go through the same turn
actions during an epoch, in the same order. At the start of each
epoch, players may spend faith chips to determine who goes first.
This is done by all players simultaneously revealing the chips they are
spending. The player who spends the most plays first -- ties are
broken by rolling dice. Faith chips used for turn order are
returned to the "bank" area. Once the turn order is specified,
players are given a marker to remind them of the turn order.
On each player's turn, they
do the following in order:
Raising armies simply means
counting the territories you control and checking a chart to determine
the number of armies you receive. Like RISK,
you also collect
armies for controlling entire continents. Armies may be placed in any
territory you control. In addition, territories that contain a
temple will gain 1 additional army. Players receive the same
number of faith chips as armies they raised.
Additional armies may be brought
from the underworld if you control a crypt and a temple.
Gods each have special
abilities that aid your armies in battle. To summon a god, you
must spend 3 faith chips for each god you summon. Every players' gods
have the same abilities: War = when attacking ties go to the attacker;
Death = when attacking your opponent's lost armies don't go to their
heaven; Magic = whenever you roll a 1, reroll that die; Sky = add an
extra die to your Godswar total. It is important to have your
gods in play, because you cannot receive the corresponding miracle
cards unless the god is in play.
Temples cost 5 faith chips
and may be placed on a territory you control. When a territory
with a temple is attacked, the defender may reroll any die that is
a 1. In addition, temples allow you to gain extra armies each
time you raise troops.
Miracle cards may be
purchased for 2 faith chips each. But, you must have the
appropriate god in play in order to acquire one. The main catch
to this is that you must buy all of the miracle cards at once -- and
then you can look at them at the same time. Miracle cards can
only be played during the "Play miracle cards" phase
of your turn, unless they specify otherwise. Typically, the
miracle cards for Magic are equipment, like the golden fleece, and are
played immediately; Miracle cards for Sky are responses to other
players' actions (e.g. played when you are attacked); Miracle cards for
War summon more armies in general; and miracle cards for Death cause
devastation (like sinking Atlantis, or reducing all armies in a
continent by 50%).
You may also complete
special tasks, called labors, during your turn to collect additional
miracle cards. The labor for a each type of miracle card differs
-- War: capture three territories on your turn (one miracle card
limit); Death: control a crypt at the end of your turn; Magic: roll 3
of the same number at any time on the same roll; Sky: defeat an
When players suffer plague,
half of your armies in a territory with a plague marker die (rounding
down). One army will not be killed by the plague. Any gods
in the plagued territory are removed from play.
Invading territories is the
main phase of your turn. Armies from one territory may invade any
adjacent territory. This mechanic is identical to the original Risk game, the only exceptions to this are
when you have gods participating in the battle. Any armies that
die are placed in that player's heaven on the underworld board.
You can't attack over a mountain
If you invade and you have a
god accompanying your forces, you may use the god's powers in battle.
(Remember, the god of War allows the Attacker
to win any ties of dice rolls.) If an army with gods attacks
another army with gods, a Godswar ensues. In this case, the gods
battle first -- players roll 3 dice and add the dice totals, then the
number of armies you control in this battle is added to your total; The
highest total wins the Godswar. The god that lost the godswar is
removed from the map. If there are no more gods on one side of
the battle, then the armies battle as normal.
If your invasion is
successful, you must move your armies (including gods that joined in
the attack) into the captured territory. One army must remain
behind in the original territory. If the attacker had no gods,
but the defender did, and the defender lost his last army, the
defending god is removed form the board as the last army dies.
If you invaded a territory with a
plague marker, half of your invading forces immediately die and any
attacking gods are removed from the board as well.
After you have invaded all
the territories you care to on the main map, you may fortify your
position by moving armies from one territory to another that you
control. Usually this is limited to an adjacent territory, but if
you control a large number of territories that form an unbroken chain,
you can send your fortifying armies from one end of the chain to the
other. You may only fortify from one location to one destination
Any armies in your heaven
may now embark from heaven to a gate room, or to another territory that
you already control in the underworld.
Armies in the underworld may
invade underworld spaces with the same rules as the main map... but no
gods or miracles can affect the outcome, and lost armies are removed
from the board. There are two types of spaces in the underworld
that are of value: altars and crypts. Controlling an altar gives
you an extra die whenever you participate in a Godswar.
Controlling a crypt allows you to bring a single army back to a temple
at the start of your next turn.
Once you have completed your
underworld invasion your turn ends.
After all players have
played their turn in the fifth epoch. Victory points are counted
-- one point per territory controlled; one point per crypt or altar
controlled in the underworld; continent bonus is added if a player
controls an entire continent. The player with the most points
classic game takes a lot of nerve -- but this update is a worthy
effort. By utilizing the well known mechanics of the original,
this update is quick to learn if you ever played RISK
before. Two of our reviewers are avid fans of RISK,
and this game merited their approval.
The most significant updates
to the original that we noticed are: limiting the game to five turns;
changing the defense-wins-ties rules; eliminating the trading of
territory cards; and using miracle cards for special effects. We
also found that the economics of your faith tokens is very important --
especially in determining play order for each epoch and purchasing
miracle cards. It certainly added several layers of complexity to
the game, and mostly for the better. We liked the army pieces
they selected... war elephants are much cooler than roman numerals.
Of course, having relied upon the classic battle rules from RISK, this game also falls prey to the same flaws. Bad dice rolls will destroy the plans of the best tactician, and expect to have each player make massive assaults that capture half of the board every turn. If you dislike the original for these reasons, you'll dislike this one, too. There are a few other minor flaws in the game's construction, for instance, there is only one card (plus the rule book) that lists the turn order, and two of the armies' colors (tan & reddish-brown) are so close in hue that players must strain to tell them apart.
We played this game on two separate occasions. In both instances, it took an extremely long time to play (over 6 hours). We expect that if we played it more often, the game would get marginally faster, but the turns become very long because players know that there are only a few turns to play -- aggression is very important and leaving too little room for a defensive buffer guarantees your elimination. If the game designers had omitted the underworld aspects (and thus remove the gods of death), turns would be shortened significantly. Except for a few victory points, there aren't too many good reasons to control the underworld -- and in our games, there were so many armies in the underworld that the small board couldn't contain the forces there.
Strategically, we found that purchasing the miracle cards worked much better than trying to perform labors. Also, most of the miracles for Death struck random continents or armies -- thus making them better self destruct devices than strategic weapons. In fact, I wiped out most of my own forces by using a Death miracle -- it took me 2 epochs to recover. Effective use of the god of War became very important in our games, when ties go to the attacker, it is difficult to stop a high rolling player.
We recommend this game to any fan of RISK. This game stands well on its own as well. It doesn't replace the classic, but it is worthy of being named like it. The game is pricey, but the construction of the pieces merits the cost. After you get used to the strategies that the new rules present, you'll like this as much as you liked the original.
Where to buy:
Check your local game store
or toy store -- it
costs about US $45.
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