Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Board Game: Cyclades

We were supposed to play Spark the other night, but schedules conflicted and we wound up playing a board game instead.

The Game: Cyclades
The Publisher: Asmodee
Time: An hour, more or less
Players: Me, +Michelle Lyons-McFarland+Cheyenne Rae Grimes+John Mathys+Matthew Karafa

Setting up Greece.
Cyclades has players trying to conquer the Greek island, currying the favor of the gods and building various structures toward making a Metropolis. First player to two Metropoli wins!

Every turn, you get some money based on how many island you own. You can then bid on how much money you want to spend sacrificing to a god of your choice, but other folks can outbid you. Money totals are kept hidden behind a screen, so you can't ever be sure how much money everyone is packing (unless, y'know, you pay close attention to what everyone spends and what they take in).

Different gods have different favors. Poseidon gives you ships and lets you move your fleet.

This Poseidon, though, just brings you shoes. 
Ares gives you troops, Athena gives you philosophers (which can be traded in for a Metropolis, if you get enough of them), Zeus gives you priests, and if you can't manage to bid on anyone else, you can make a sacrifice to Apollo, who doesn't cost anything and gives you more money back.

The Known World.
Into the mix we have monsters. Every turn, a new monster comes out, and during your turn you can "buy" them. They have various effects - some hang around and fight for you (more on that in a moment), some let you move troops or other resources. But the order of the gods changes every turn, so you've got to be aware of what the monsters are and whether you can buy them, and in what order you can act based on what god you bid on .

There's a lot that goes into this game, including battle - troops fight troops, ships fight ships, it works much like Risk. But you win by building (or conquering) Metropolis. Since what you can do on a given turn is limited by what god you can buy, though, what seems to be a forgone conclusion about victory really isn't. We thought John was going to win because he completed a Metropolis first, but then we didn't him build the second one and Matt and Michelle wound up tying for the win.

Our victors, the Thebans and the...Bingy-bangians. 
Opinions: This was actually a lot of fun. It's a game you have to pay attention to - lots of moving parts, and yet once you know the flow it goes very easily. In a less-than-five-player game, you don't get every god every turn, and it would be interesting to see how that changes the dynamic (can't just say "oh, well, I'll bid on Athena next turn" since she might not be there next turn).

The game itself is also really pretty - the troops and ships are little plastic figures, and some of the monsters (the ones that do things on the board) have plastic figures, too.

Look carefully, you'll see the Minotaur on my island in the top right.
Keep? Heck, yes. There's an expansion, too, that I might pick up.