Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rise of Augustus: A review

Number of players: 2-6
Time: 15-30 minutes
Complexity: Low
Style of game: Set collection/press your luck

The game is often described as gamer's Bingo which is a fairly accurate description.  Each player receives objective cards that they attempt to complete by placing meeples.  Each objective card requires various symbols to be able to be completed.  The objective cards provide various bonuses to the player who completes them.  They provide victory points, to be scored at the end of the game.

Victory points are also given out by various bonus tiles that are in the middle.  A player can take a bonus tile for completing a number of pink, orange, or green tiles; completing one of every type of tile; or, completing a number of Senator objective tiles.  If your objective tile depicts gold or wheat, you may be entitled to take the gold or wheat bonus tile, respectively.  You have to be the first one to complete an objective with gold or wheat or have completed more of these tiles than your opponents.  The final way to take a bonus tile is to take a tile based on the number of objectives you completed.  You can only take one of these tiles so you have to time it out right so that you score the most points for your objectives being completed.  After you've completed one objective, you can take a new objective to complete from a shared row.

The gameplay is very similar to Bingo.  You try to match the objects that are drawn out of the bag to what is on your objectives.  Some items are rarer than others so if you're waiting on a dagger to complete your objective, you might be waiting a while.  If the tile drawn from the bag matches what is on your objective card, you can choose to place one of your meeples on the item covering it up.  Fortunately, for strategy's sake, you only have a limited amount of meeples to place.  Once you place them, you can only move them laterally, meaning that you can only move it to an identical item on another objective if that item was drawn.

The game ends when a player reaches his or her 6th objective completed (sorry if that's wrong, it's been a while since I've played, I'd recommend looking at the rules).

Pros: It is pretty easy to learn.  The mechanics of the game are similar to bingo, so it's not that difficult to explain how to play.  There is some element of strategy in the game which it makes it a little bit better than playing bingo.  The objective tiles/cards are interesting to look at, at the very least.  After a few plays, you begin to see where the strategy comes in.  For instance, do you want to load up on Senators to get the bonus tile for the Senators and for completing your tiles quickly or do you want to risk being able to complete all of the different types of objectives to score more points.

Cons: It's heavy in luck; your starting tiles may give one of your opponents the ability to complete an objective with gold and no other gold tiles are in play the rest of the game.  As a 2 person game, it seems like it's just a race to be able to draw the right items out of the bag.  With more than 2, there was a little bit more interaction.

Overall: We bought this game during the Cyber Monday/Black Friday deals off of Amazon and have played a couple of times with 2 players and once with 4.  Despite the relative easiness of the game, my parents still didn't quite take to it.  That's unfortunate because I feel like it would be better with more than two people.

While it is a step up above bingo, it's just that, a step.  There's a lot of luck with very little room for strategy.  I enjoy playing the game because, well I like most games, but this is definitely a game that stays on the shelf.  Perhaps when the little one is a little bit older, we an start playing with her.  If you're looking for a similarly weighted game, I feel like I would point you elsewhere quickly.

Rating: 65/100

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