- Designers: Sebastian Pauchon
- Publisher: Days of Wonder
- Players: 2-4
- Ages: 8+
- Time: 20 minutes
- Plays: 6, with review copy provided by Days of Wonder
Corinth is a re-make of an old 2006 classic, Yspahan (if you are unfamiliar with this gem, look at this review by OG’er Greg Schloesser: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/592668/review-yspahan ). The game had a signature mechanism of grouping dice on a chart, and this same idea is used as the core of a roll-and-write game; thus updating it for the 2019 market.
In the game, each player gets his own scoresheet and a pen. There is a board with six rows on it that is placed on the center of the table. Each of these rows corresponds to a different possible action. There are 9 white dice which are rolled each round by the active player and grouped by number. (It is also possible that yellow dice are rolled, but more on this later…) The highest rank is placed on the topmost row of the chart (next to the gold coins). Then, starting at the bottom of the chart, the lowest rank is placed on the lowest row and so on until all the dice have been placed.
Now, starting with the rolling player, a row of dice is chosen and an action is taken. The chosen dice are removed from the board and the next player gets to choose from what is left behind. (Also, after the rolling player has chosen their action, any yellow dice still on the board are removed.) This continues until all players have had a chance to choose a row and take an action. At this point, the dice are collected and the next player in turn order gets to roll the dice.
So what are the actions?
The top (gold) and bottom (goats) actions are the easiest. You get one gold/goat per die in the row that you choose. You mark this on the scoring sheet by circling the appropriate number of objects. As you spend them, you cross them out.
The middle four actions allow you to either deliver the depicted good or move your steward on the city map in the upper right. You allocate all the dice to one of these two options. If you choose to deliver goods, you cross out a number of goods in that color equal to the number dice that were in your row. You can mark out any goods you wish. If you mark out all the goods in a small box, you can circle the bonus point shown at the top of the area. If you are the first person to complete all the boxes in that row, you circle the bonus in the upper left corner of that row. All other players cross out the same bonus mark as they cannot get it now.
If you choose to move your steward, you must move him a number of spaces equal to the number of dice in the row, though you can spend a gold to modify the movement number by one space for each gold spent. Draw a line from the steward’s current location through the spaces until you stop, and then circle the space where you stop. You can take the action shown by the icon in that space. The steward cannot cross his path nor stop at the same space twice. If you stop in the corner spaces, you can score points – dependent on how many stops you had made previously in the market.
In the somewhat rare event that there aren’t enough rows of dice for players, all players who cannot choose dice are given a Move the Steward one space action as a consolation.
Once you have taken your die action, you also have the opportunity to take an optional action of building. There are four buildings in the bottom right of your player board, and if you spend the right amount of gold and/or goats, you circle the building. Each of the buildings comes with a bonus that is in effect for you for the rest of the game.
The game continues to the end of a specified number of rounds – 4 rounds for 4p, 6 rounds for 2p/3p. At that point, it’s time to tally up the scores – which can be done in the center row of the player sheet. You score for any circled points for the four goods. You tally up the three possible scoring areas in the market. You score 1VP per 2 unused gold and 1VP per 2 unused goats. Finally, if you have built the VP building, you score 3VP per built building. The player with the most points wins. Ties are broken by the higher number of Gold left over at the end of the game.
My thoughts on the game
Corinth does a good job of taking the feel of Yspahan and putting into a smaller format and converting the game into a more modern genre. Is this a roll-and-write? I guess it depends how strictly you define the genre. Must a Roll-and-Write game cause all players to use the same dice rolls (or at least a majority of the same)? Here, each player chooses a different set of dice – so it’s a little different. For me, I don’t get caught up on the semantics… we roll dice, we write stuff down; therefore, it’s a roll-and-write.
Like many games with action selection, there is a little bit of planning and little bit of luck needed to do well. When it’s your turn to roll, hopefully the dice line up well for you to choose the line that you want with the most possible dice. When you’re last in order, hopefully there’s just something left for you that you actually want! I think the game has a decent mechanism to prevent too many wasted turns – namely, being able to move the steward with any of the goods rows… Depending on where you can move, you can often get a very useful action out of the steward movement, and additionally, if you move the Steward a lot, you can really generate high scores for the three steward stops in the market. In my first few games, I really didn’t use the Steward much, and each time, I ended up losing because my score for the market was so low!
Though this is a short game and fairly light in complexity, there are a few important decision points that help keep this interesting. First is trying to decide when to use a goods row action for the goods versus when to use the Steward. Second is deciding on which buildings to go for, and at what point in the game to get them (generally, earlier is better). Having an advantage such as +1 to every goods delivery or being able to modify the Steward roll by up to two in either direction can be a huge boon – but it takes a little bit of time to collect the necessary gold/goats for this; so while you’re working towards getting the right resources, you might not be doing much towards scoring in any other area… Third is trying to decide when it is worthwhile to add the yellow dice to your roll. I often find myself doing this in the last round (or last two!) as I’m trying to get the yellow goods all delivered!
I have liked this enough to laminate a few sheets to include in my traveling roll-and-write kit. Additionally, this has starred in at least one rendition of my Roll-and-write heptathlon! See here for more details on this crazy scheme – https://opinionatedgamers.com/2019/03/20/dale-janate-roll-with-it-the-opinionated-gamers-roll-and-write-decathlon/
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y, James Nathan
- Neutral. Brandon K
- Not for me…
Once again, I missed commenting in the official thread… I like Corinth – it reminds me of how much I like Yspahan and that I should have bought a copy of it years ago. While I appreciate the whole roll/write genre, the lack of tactile pieces seems like a bit of loss to me.