Dale Yu: Review of Akropolis

Akropolis

  • Designer: Jules Messaud
  • Publisher: Gigamic
  • Players: 2/4  (that’s what the box says.  BGG clarifies this as 2-4)
  • Age: 8+
  • Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Played with review copy provided by Hachette USA

akropolis

Akropolis is a game from a designer who is completely unknown to me, Jules Messaud.  BGG has 2 games credited to him, both 2022 releases, and I have not played the other.  From the short description on the ‘Geek:

 

The most talented architects in ancient Greece stand ready to achieve this goal. Build housing, temples, markets, gardens and barracks, so you can grow your city and ensure it triumphs over the others. Raise its prestige with harmonious planning that conforms to specific rules, and enhance it by building plazas.

Stone is an essential resource, so make sure you do not neglect it. You’ll need enough quarries so you can build higher up, making your city stretch towards the sky.

  1. Choose a tile from the construction site
  2. Arrange it in your city to unlock each district’s full potential
  3. Build on higher levels, increase the value of your districts and win the game

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100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe (Part IV: #26 to #1)

Today’s article is the conclusion of our 100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe series.

For the uninitiated, a board game cafe usually serves food and drink, with some being more like coffee shops and others more like bars. But one component all of them I’ve been to has in common is a game library, consisting of several hundred titles that guests can check out and play with their friends. 

A friend of mine is opening a game cafe soon, and he asked me for a list of about 100 games that I thought should be included in his library. I could have easily listed a hundred games on my own, but I thought getting votes from all of the OG-ers would have been a more interesting exercise. 

This series is split into four parts. Part I included games 76-100 on the list.  Part II included games 51-75. Part III included games 26-50. This, Part IV, is the conclusion.  This article not only has the top games, but also some OG commentary on the list overall, so check that out below.  

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Spiel 2022 Preview of Pathogen

Designer: Kuan Chen

Publisher: Kolor Deep Studio

Player Count: 2 player

Time: 15-30 minutes

Age: 12+ 

Pathogen is a new 2 player abstract game that will be released at Essen Spiel this year after a successful crowdfunding in Taiwan. I have only played online so I can’t speak as to the final production components but the prototype components look functional and quite nice. The board is modular. 

The Goal: Be the first player to connect from one side of the main board to the other via orthogonally adjacent player tokens of your color or be the first player to have a settlement in each of the 4 quadrants of the main board.

How to Play:

One player has the Doctor and Angel (Blue) and one has the Plague and Demon (Red). Player abilities are asymmetrical. Players take turns moving one of their two pieces, the Doctor and Angel or the Plague and Demon. Doctor/Plague pieces will only move on the white squares of humanity and the Angel/Demon only on black squares of the underworld. The pieces skip squares of the opposite color when counting movement. Movement is orthogonal and determined by the Movement panel. Red starts with 4 tokens on the board.

The movement panel stands in as a smaller area of the main board. It has a token for each player and you use the opponent’s token as the representative starting space for one of your pieces and then place your token in relation to that for your movement. You choose the shortest orthogonal path between the two tokens as your movement. This is also where the asymmetrical abilities come into play. The Red Plague player’s ability is to use the outer edge of the movement panel. The Blue Doctor player has an ability where they are allowed to change the orientation of the movement panel thus altering their choice of movement by playing in the center square and in addition this limits the red player to using only the inner squares on their next turn. 

After moving one of your pieces you must place tokens along your path. You also remove your opponent’s tokens along the path. For each opponent token you remove, you place one less of your own. Blue is allowed to place 5 tokens, first removing any red tokens they then distribute any remaining blue tokens. Red places only 4 tokens and must distribute them as evenly as possible (removal of a token counts as part of the distribution number).

Settlements are built if a stack of tokens reaches 6. Settlements prevent your opponent’s piece of the matching board color from passing through or landing on that square. They cannot be removed. Each player may only build one settlement per quadrant.

Screenshot

My First Impressions:

I have a fondness for abstract games and when I first heard about Pathogen I was intrigued, especially when someone described it as brain burning. I am really happy to say that my first games of Pathogen have met and even exceeded my expectations (not an easy thing to do with this jaded ol’ gamer!). I like the modular board and variable set up. I am a great fan of asymmetrical powers and happy to see it balances out nicely here. 

At first I was skeptical of the movement panel but it works much better and more smoothly than I imagined. It’s also really a challenge for your spatial abilities not only in figuring your own moves but trying to mentally picture your opponents options will melt your brain in a good way. I am excited to try and master using the blue player’s ability better.

The two end game goals are really a nice touch. Often in 2 player games you can reach a kind of stalemate where the game stalls and I could see that happening with the connection goal but by adding in the settlement goal you have nice options. 

Possible downsides for some: Pathogen is abstract with a thin veneer of theme with the plague spreading disease and the doctor combating it. It can take a bit to wrap your head around the movement panel so it may have a steeper learning curve for some. I’m also guessing for some folks there may be an AP issue.

Pathogen had me thinking a lot about it after I played, a good sign! – really looking forward to my next play.

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100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe (Part III: #50 to #26)

Today’s article is the second part of our 100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe series, which we started on Monday. 

For the uninitiated, a board game cafe usually serves food and drink, with some being more like coffee shops and others more like bars. But one component all of them I’ve been to has in common is a game library, consisting of several hundred titles that guests can check out and play with their friends. 

A friend of mine is opening a game cafe soon, and he asked me for a list of about 100 games that I thought should be included in his library. I could have easily listed a hundred games on my own, but I thought getting votes from all of the OG-ers would have been a more interesting exercise. 

This series is split into four parts. Part I included games 76-100 on the list.  Part II included games 51-75. This is Part III, which includes games 26-50. And Part IV, publishing tomorrow, includes the top 25, plus comments from the OG-er on the list in general.  

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100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe (Part II: #75 to #51)

Today’s article is the second part of our 100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe series, which we started yesterday

For the uninitiated, a board game cafe usually serves food and drink, with some being more like coffee shops and others more like bars. But one component all of them I’ve been to has in common is a game library, consisting of several hundred titles that guests can check out and play with their friends. 

A friend of mine is opening a game cafe soon, and he asked me for a list of about 100 games that I thought should be included in his library. I could have easily listed a hundred games on my own, but I thought getting votes from all of the OG-ers would have been a more interesting exercise. 

This series is split into four parts. Part I included games 76-100 on the list.  This is Part II and includes games 51-75. Part III, publishing Thursday, includes games 26-50. And Part IV, publishing Friday, includes the top 25, plus comments from the OG-er on the list in general.  

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100 Games for the Aspiring Board Game Cafe (Part I: #100 to #76)

Gaming cafes are becoming more common. I’m from Kansas City, and a few years ago, our region’s first one (Pawn and Pint) opened. A few others have followed, with varying degrees of amenities. I had no experience with game cafes before that, but in the past few years, I’ve made a point of stopping at quite a few, including what is arguably the most famous one, Snakes and Lattes in Toronto.  

For the uninitiated, a gaming cafe usually serves food and drink. Some are more like coffee shops; some are more like bars. But one component all of them I’ve been to has in common is a game library, consisting of several hundred titles that guests can check out and play with their friends.  In my experience, a game cafe is a great place to meet up with friends, and the game library is a great way to try new games.  

A friend of mine is opening a game cafe soon, and he asked me for a list of about 100 games that I thought should be included. I could have easily listed a hundred games on my own, but I thought getting votes from all of the OG-ers would have been a more interesting exercise.

Today’s article is sort of an extended part of our “10 Great” series, which features 10 great games in a given subcategory.  I pick a mechanic, theme, publisher, etc.  In this case, I picked as a theme the 100 games we’d recommend that a game cafe stock in their library.  We here at the Opinionated Gamers then all vote behind the scenes to create a list that meets the criteria. 

This series is being split into four parts. Part I includes games 76-100 on the list.  Part II, publishing Wednesday, includes games 51-75. Part III, publishing Thursday, includes games 26-50. And Part IV, publishing Friday, includes the top 25, plus comments from the OG-er on the list in general.

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