In this segment we will be giving our first impressions of a game on our first play. This is subject to change as we play the game further and find the elements that can only come from several plays. I like to at least play a game 5 times before I solidify my final and full review of a game. Hopefully this will help to see what is coming down the road for our game group and to see if a game is a good fit for your game group.
I must say that Ryan Laukat has done it again with The Ancient World. I’m a big fan of City of Iron and Above & Below and this one doesn’t disappoint. This one is another empire builder from designer/artist/publisher Ryan Laukat but this game does a familiar theme a little differently than his other games. This one is a worker placement game that has each player trying to defeat titans that plague the world that he so beautifully created. You are doing so by building armies and buildings that will aid you in the fight. The end game is to collect different colored banners that will create sets and award you victory points.
Ryan Laukat seems to latch onto a game mechanic that he has not really worked with yet and flesh it out into an elegant design. Everything seems to flow very well. The armies that you acquire have a very interesting mechanic that seemed tedious at first but in practice makes for a very rewarding process. As your particular army becomes more seasoned in battle they also become more expensive to fund which may force you to retire the army. They then mentor the new army that replaces them and provides some latent benefit that will cause a snowball effect. Each subsequent army will be stronger than the last which greatly enhances the excitement of the build late game. The actual mechanic of placing your workers is quite interesting as well. Each worker carries a skill level that is rated from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest skill. This comes into play with the placement of each worker on an action location. Some action spaces require a worker of higher skill to be placed than the previous worker placed which can cause someone to effectively lock down a space on the board. I thought this to be a very aggressive mechanic that could potentially put some players off but I’ve come to expect this from this designer. (A.K.A. City of Iron). I’m a little anxious to see what my opinion will be with more plays as I can see the potential for frustration.
I cannot end this first glance review without talking about the artwork on this game. It has such a beautiful and ethereal quality that really draws you in and makes you want to live there. Obviously the titans would make life difficult but at least you would get a nice view. I’m utterly amazed that he is able to create such a masterpiece of artwork along with the task of creating such a great game.
Overall, I must say that this game might have solidified Ryan Laukat as my favorite designer with yet another solid design and stellar art design. I’m sold on almost any future game from him.
Traverse City Board Gamers Opinion
Amanda Stevenson –
The Ancient World was simple enough for all types of players while still being challenging enough to keep your attention. You can take your time to plan out your next turn and one player can quickly change your route which is a lot of fun. The story keeps throughout the whole game and new elements reveal themselves at different times making each round’s strategy a little different. All in all it was an entertaining game that has good replay value and creates just the right amount of competitiveness between players.
Sophia Masotti –
I liked the game a lot. I think all the mechanics worked together nicely. I really liked how we ran out of the easy monsters (Level 1 Titans) pretty fast and which left harder ones forcing ourselves to build up an army. I do feel there is too little end game bonuses like in many other games. Though this does make the game move quickly and ends pretty quickly as well. Overall it is another very good game. The art is amazing and the idea is also very good.