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The undersea city of Atlanteon is under attack! Take command of an army of aquatic warriors, powerful wizards, and fantastic water beasts as you battle to control the capital of the deep. Send your forces to capture the Emperor's palace, Neptune's palace, and the Sea Hag's tower -- but beware! If your king is captured, you'll lose the game.
When you open the box you find a two piece 'jig saw game board, a multi language rule book, a sheet of 'punch out' tiles and a bag of wooden markers, 11 blue, 11 white and three castles, 2 white and one black.
The set-up is very straightforward; players alternate setting-up the castles first then play begins. The aim is to exert influence over other 'tiles' by surrounding them (yours and your opponents) orthogonally. The player with the highest numbered 'tiles' wins and places one of his markers on it. Sounds all too simple...but as with most games by Doctor K that's how the fun starts. There are Castles and Kings to be captured and always more options than actions and of course when it comes down to the final scoring you get points from the markers that you opponent was unable to play.
The game-play is more challenging than it first appears and after several games I still want to play again. Give it a try.
Atlanteon was a pleasant surprise after playing FFG's other two lame summer releases, Quicksand and Magdar. Though Atlanteon is made up of FFG's usual flimsy cardboard counters and board, the art is decent and the game itself is fun enough to make up for a mediocre presentation.
First and foremost, Atlanteon is an abstract game, probably more so than any of Knizia's other board games. Adapting it to combat in Atlantis is such a far stretch that I can only imagine FFG must have been looking for a different setting than their usual castles and dragons backdrop. That aside, the game is a brain cramper for lover's of Chess, Go, Othello, etc.. It takes about 3-4 games before you appreciate the depth of the game, but you realize after one play that careless placement of even one tile can cost you the game. I thought I had one game plotted out perfectly. Then I placed my last tile, the King, and realized my opponent was able to capture it because of my oversight regarding the other two optional ways to win. There are three ways to win but players generally focus on winning with control markers. However, the fact that players can sneak in a quick win by capturing three castles or a king keeps you on your toes so you don't dare get careless. As there is no luck involved Atlanteon does require two players of equal experience to have a real challenging game. (By the way, the variant is highly recommended after you have played a few games. It's actually an advanced version. We also use their suggestion that players play both sides before tallying the score as there are different advantages to castle placement and being the first player.)
Yes this game would probably 'feel' much nicer if it was made of wood, felt, and porcelain like other classy abstract games, but it is still one of Knizia's best two-player games to date, second only to his highly esteemed LOTR: the Confrontation. If the components were of higher quality Atlanteon would easily be a 5-star.
The list of Reiner Knizia games for exactly 2 players may not be long, but it must, since it includes Lost Cities, be considered distinguished! In Revolution, an easily learned game of taking turns placing a very few tiles, we have a worthy and highly playable addition to the list.
This game, in which a 5x5 board represents the city of Paris, has an intriguing bit of tangency with Liberte, Martin Wallace's excellent though far more complex game which is also allegedly themed around the France of 1789. In Revolution as in Liberte, besides the main ending condition, there are two other possible ways the game can end, and you have to keep a sharp eye on those to make sure you don't give away an easy win while wending your way toward the ordinary 'victory point' conclusion of the game.
In Revolution each player has tiles numbered from 0 to 9 to play plus a flag in his own color. When you play a number in a square, the number counts for you in that square as well as in the four squares abutting it horizontally or vertically. (Fewer, of course, if it's on an edge of the board.) When it's impossible for your opponent to play a number high enough to take a particular square away from you, you put one of your 12 claiming markers onto it. Victory is achieved by the first player to claim 12 squares.
Meanwhile, don't forget about those pesky 'other' victory conditions! First, if your opponent claims the square your flag is on, you lose immediately. The other way the game can end involves the three 'buildings' that occupy squares on the board. You take turns placing these buildings at the beginning of the game, so they're not on the same spots in every game. If one player controls all three buildings, he wins the game. Interestingly, ONE of the three buildings (Notre Dame) is controlled, unlike every other square on the board, by the player with the LOWER total of his number tiles in the surrounding squares.
The game works slick as a whistle. The one spot where you have to lowball creates just enough counterflow in the placement game, and the different ending conditions require just enough tactical vigilance, to imbue the 20-minute march to claiming 12 spots with a gratifying number of interesting choices and opportunities for clever play. In a two-player game with no hidden information and no dice to roll or cards to draw, this is quite a nifty accomplishment.
Randomly place two White Towers and one Black Tower on the 5x5 board. Your 11 tiles feature your King (value 0) and warriors (values 0 to 9). Place any tile on a vacant space each turn. Score any surrounded tile by adding the values of each player's surrounding tiles. The person with the higher total places a marker in his color on the surrounded tile. A surrounded White Tower is removed by the player with the higher value, but when the Black Tower is surrounded, it's removed by the player with the lower value.
Win by placing 11 markers with your King in play, by surrounding the enemy King with tiles of greater value than the opponent has on those spaces, or by capturing all the Towers. Knizia's wide range of victory conditions adds wonderfully to our vexation!