This week’s Monday Night Gaming / MNG: Age of War
It’s been a while since I did one of these. Between moving and my event schedule, I haven’t done a ton of gaming lately. My apologies for the delay.
Publisher: Reiner Knizia
# of Players: 2-6
Best with: 2-3 players
Playing Time: Varies based on # of players. With two of us, it was about 40 minutes.
# of Expansions: No official ones
Age of War is a game of conquest that plays rather quickly once you adjust to the play mechanics. It’s surprising how many strategies come into play in this game.
General Mechanics: In the game setup, players lay 14 cards across the game space. Each one shows 1 castle and symbols necessary to “conquer the castle.” These symbols are separated into battle lines as well to further complicate what would otherwise be a simple dice rolling game. Each castle belongs to a clan, which also adds to the strategy.
Players begin by rolling 7 dice, whose sides show daimyo (this odd Japanese mask/face), swords or infantry (1-3 of them), horses or cavalry, and bows or archery. The player then selects a card to attempt to “conquer” and uses the symbols rolled to fill in one of the battle lines. If they succeed with that line, they then roll the remaining dice in an attempt to conquer another line. If the player can’t conquer a line, they remove one die from play and continue rolling. This continues until all lines are either conquered and thus the castle beat or until the player can no longer roll.
What makes this tricky is that some symbols are fewer in number and thus harder to roll, making it a strategic risk on whether to conquer a battle line or reroll with 1 fewer die. Castles conquered move from the center of the game area to in front of the conquering player. Conquered castles can be stolen by other players, but the player must conquer an additional daimyo line to do so.
Each card is worth a certain number of victory points, and with most games of this type, the harder the castle is to conquer, the more points it is worth. If a player owns all the castles in a particular plan, the castles are flipped over for additional points and can’t be stolen.
How to Win/Lose: When the last card is claimed, players add up their points. Whoever has the highest score wins.
What I Liked: This game was deceptively simple and required more strategy and thought than I initially expected.
What I Didn’t Like: The dice rolling makes the game a bit more luck based than some gamers like, but that’s typical of a dice game.
Overall Rating/Impression: It was a fun, Japanese-themed game. 8/10