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Grow and expand in the old world; Area ship movement and point to point land movement; Maximize commerce; Conquer the opposition; Yadda yadda yadda. Been there, done that, right? Wrong! Minos is an unrenowned entry into the popular conquer-the-ancient-world genre that is unmatched enough to make a difference, and is a definite contender to beat them all.
Two to four players vie for economic dominance around the Mediterranean by improving your colonies harbors, housing, trade, and city fortifications. Two things set this game above the rest: The player turn mechanism, and the gut wrenching decisions to be made.
The driving force to the game are the six special dice, with each possibly resulting in six different actions: collecting income, movement, a combat ring, build points, a plus one to any other die, and a joker (your choice). Now, lest you think this is simply a dice-fest with a very heavy luck factor, the luck is greatly supplanted by strategic selection of rerolls. You may reroll your choice of dice up to three times to maximize the actions you want to perform during your current turn. But, of course, there are no guarantees. Combat has a similar system, with each symbol representing a certain number of hit points, but rerolls here are not free. Each combat reroll costs a combat ring, or ten talents (money).
The decision of what to build on a colony is difficult, since you always need everything, and the amount of talents that your colonies produce determine the winner. Harbors build ships, housing builds troops, trade houses provide a higher income, and city walls double the income of the colony. However, the cost to have multiple buildings at the same colony increases substantially.
Position of your colonies on the board is also extremely important, since areas of the map can be blockaded off by an astute player. The game ends when all twenty-eight colonies have been settled and any two of them have been developed into towns. Come from behind victories are very possible, so you are always in the game.
Not as encompassing as Civilization or Age of Renaissance, but more in the category of Serenissima or Vinci. The only knock I can see is that if only two players are playing, much of the interaction, and fun, is lost. Nevertheless, if your cup of tea is maneuver, economics, combat, a large dose of strategy, and first rate components, Minos is a sure thing.