English language edition
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In accordance with the farmer's rules of ancient Roman provinces, players settle the fertile land with their houses. However, even the most luxurious houses are worthless without a reliable water supply. If a player does not supply his houses with water before the region they are in is completely developed, the residents -- good or bad -- must leave and the house does not give the player any points. The player who best uses clever tactics – along with a little luck -- to place wells and canals at the right time while securing the best building spaces, will outmaneuver their opponents and win the game!
Frankly I hardly ever comment on the design choices a publisher makes when releasing a game. With "Aquadukt", published by Uberplay, I've decided to break that rule. When I first opened the box and saw the game board, I couldn't help but think how drab and uninteresting it looked. It's basically a dull shade of green, sectioned into little square areas. Now when you throw into the mix the blue glass gemstones, used as wells and the blue wooden border sticks, used as canals, and then throw in even more green, will the use of house tiles, one has to say: "What were they thinking!"
I feel better now, thanks. So with that out of the way, I still have to say there's a fun game in here.
"Aquadukt" is for 2-4 players
1) 20 sided die
5) Blue gemstones (Wells)
8) Mountain Tiles (only used in different game variants)
36) Canal sticks
112) House tiles that come in 4 color
The game board is split into 20 different areas, with each area containing 4,5, or 6 fields. Each player starts out with 22, 25 or 28 House tiles (depending on the number of players). Each tile depicts either 1,2,3 or 4 houses on it and each player sorts out 4 stacks of house tiles in front of themselves, with each stack containing a set number of houses. i.e.: 1 stack of 4 house titles, another of 3 house tiles, etc. The Wells and Canals are placed off to the side of the board.
The winner of the game is the player that builds the most houses AND supplies them with water.
On your turn you choose ONE of the following actions:
1) Build Houses
2) Place a Water Well
3) Build Canals
The player may roll the die up to 3 times per turn. For each roll, the player may place any house tile in the area number indicated by the die roll, provided there's a free space and the area isn't being supplied by water. If there isn't a free space in the area, the player may re-roll the die. If the space you'd like to place your house tile on is already being supplied by water, you must place your lowest number house title there. In other words, using a title from your 1 house stack or from your 2 house stack if all your 1 houses are gone, etc. If a player decides not to place a house tile after any of his 3 rolls, his turn is over.
PLACE A WATER WELL:
The player may place one Blue Gemstone (Water Well) on any intersecting line on the board, which are between fields, provided that they're no other Wells within five spaces of the one your placing.
Once there's at least one Well on the board, canals may be placed. You may place 1 or 2 canals with the following restrictions:
Canals are built in between the fields and are water sources for the houses adjacent to them. The canals have to be connected with exactly one Well at a time. Canals may change directions but may not branch off. From each well, there can only be a maximum of two canals leaving from it. There's also the possibility of creating a Double Canal, by placing a canal along side another already on the board. Double canals supply water to one extra space to either side of them, very much like a water sprinkler.
As soon as all the areas in a field are filled up with tiles, all the tiles that are not supplied with water, are removed from the board.
GAME END & SCORING:
In any given round when all players have taken their turns and all the canals have been placed, the game ends. Any house tiles on the board that are not being supplied with water are all removed. Now each player counts the number of houses they have that are being supplied with water and the player with the most houses wins. In the event of a tie, the player with the most house tiles being supplied with water wins.
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:
It's not covered in the rules but it makes sense to have to place at least 1 house tile when rolling the die to build houses. This prevents the players from basically being able to pass each turn and opens up the possibility of being forced to remove all the unwatered tiles in an area when there's one one free spot left.
"Aquadukt" is a game that anyone can play and enjoy. It's certainly not rocket science but nor does it have to be. Not everyone wants to sit down a play a game of "Go" on game night. By the same token, most probably most won't want to play tic-tac-toe either and there's much more to think about with this game. To sum up, "Aquadukt" is a fast strategy game, with enough interesting choices, so that the better player should win most of the time. They say "Beauty is only skin deep" and "Aquadukt" certainly proves that point.