Sunday, September 30, 2012

Review of Discworld Ankh-Morpork

I would probably be blogging, but instead I'm writing an article for The Gazebo, where I write boardgames reviews. So I thought I'd treat you all to a previous review I did. Originally published in The Gazebo, issue 1, here's a review of the excellent Discworld Ankh-Morpork boardgame.

Discworld Ankh-Morpork is a rare breed, a themed boardgame which is both a great game
and true to its theme.

The plot of the game is that the Patrician has disappeared. The players take on secret
personalities, each with a specific objective. For example, Chrysoprase the mobster troll
needs to amass a certain amount of wealth and Commander Vimes wins by stopping
everyone else winning until the cards run out.

The board is a map of Ankh-Morpork. Each area can hold one building, which will give its
owner a specific ability. The more expensive the area, the better the ability. The cards are
familiar characters and locations from the stories. Flavour text is unnecessary because the
personality of the card is exposed through mechanics. Be careful when playing any
magicians, because doing so causes random magic events. Any member of the Watch will
remove trouble from the board, except Nobby Nobbs, who just collects money. Watch out
for someone playing the Fire Brigade on you, they'll burn down your building if you don't
give them money. And so on.  The game is delightfully full of in jokes and references, but is
still great if you don't get any of them.

Some cards are better than others, and some more suited to certain personalities than
others. Moist Von Lipvig might be said to be a bit too powerful, and the Peeled Nuts really get in the way. But unless you're very unlucky, you're likely to have some card in your hand
that will help your cause on any given turn.

Four of the seven possible personalities have the same goal, and playing those guys can get a
little tedious. And I've heard it argued that if everyone plays optimally, Vimes always wins,
but either we don't play optimally, or this just isn't true!

This is a really great game that plays quite differently depending on who’s playing and what
personalities they get.  It's not unusual to finish the game wanting to play again. Thankfully,
since it plays in about an hour, this is often possible.

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