English language edition
List Price: $24.95
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(Worth 1,999 Funagain Points!)
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In the land of ancient Greece, called Hellas, the people waged power struggles for control of the many valuable islands. The combatants faced each other over land and across the seas. In these battles with sail and sword, the combatants venture forth to discover new islands to fight over. To aid them in their battles, the combatants often seek the favor of the Gods.
I almost ignored this one. It reminds me of Kniza's two player games in which Lost Cities got most of the press when Schotten-totten was in fact the masterpiece. I love this game. Yes, luck plays a role, but there is plenty of rome for tactics on clever gameplay. Well produced, it is also replayable. Deserves much more attention. Unfortunately, this game doesn't have a niche in less you like simple conflict games with the feel of a wargame, but the fun of a family game. Count me in.
Okay, okay, so its a war game. But its middleweight and lucky. And its sort of like Battle Cry meets Carcassonne. Are you a light gamer that doesnt like war games? Read on Are you a wargamer who doesnt like light games? You too, read on This game is very interesting.
Players represent two different Greek city-states embarking on voyages to try and discover, settle, and (sometimes) conquer new islands. Each player is given a supply of ships and soldiers, and a very handy reference card, and one each of the 3 types of special action cards. The map is (or rather, will be) made up of a group of hexagons that the players put together. The hexes depicting islands or fragments of land that will group together and be settled, with each tile depicting a town, and both players trying to be the first player to occupy ten towns.
On a turn a player may take one of the three following actions: Burst of Strength, Voyage, Battle. Also, a player may play any number of special action cards as well. Burst of Strength allows a player to place new soldiers into one of his cities, or place new ships beside any of his cities. or take more action cards. Voyage allows a player (providing they have ships) to discover new land by revealing a new hexagon, and adding it to the board legally (a la Carcassonne), wherever he has a previous hex with a majority of ships. Battle allows the player to attack one adjacent enemy city.
It sounds very straightforward, but there are a bunch of neat surprises in store. Many of the special action cards modify the regular actions allowing such surprises as an attack across the board, or two Voyage turns in a row, or an extra soldier who pops out of nowhere to join in battle! This added element of surprise, and the ability of some of the cards to be played defensively, allowing for some back and forth action modification makes for some neat one-upmanship and clever cardplay. It also adds luck to the game. Also, because the game is just as much (if not more) about discovery as it is about battle, it isnt as 'wargamey' as you might think. Burst of Strength can be used to dissuade potential attacks, and the cap on the number of soldiers you may have in a city (only 3!) and how few you have in your supply require careful distribution in this game and prevent it from being a pure wargame. And yet many playings of this will hinge on several important battles, so it is inevitable that battle will happen sooner or later.
This game certainly has war elements the whole theme is based around it but isnt just a war game. This game sort of squiggles away from being either a war game, or a non-war game, and therefore, I suspect, has had a hard time finding an audience. First of all let me say that wargamers should like it a lot. A wargame, very theme-heavy, playable in 45 minutes, that has a lot in common with Battle Cry, and has a modular board. Pure genius.
But for you who may generally shy away from wargames, take note: this is not a wargame not purely at any rate. This game is just as much (if not more) about clever voyaging and tile placement, careful use (and sometimes sacrifice or non-play) of action cards, and all sorts of clever play including good defensive moves. There will be combat, but it is up to the players how much combat there will be. Honestly, this game deserves a wider audience, and despite its war theme, is very much a German game with lots of choices (often very difficult), tactics, strategies, and replayability. Its relatively short, and very interesting to play. Its not an out-of-the-park home run (unless you love wargames) but it is very good, very clever, and very well designed and is a fantastic and very different addition to the Kosmos 2-player line.
We've played (and enjoyed) the majority of the Rio Grande/Kosmos 2-player games. Hellas comes out of the box more than the rest combined.
It's well-suited to adding extra 'soldiers', adding a different flavor to the game. Although we, admittedly, look foolish adding standard green 'army men' to the mix . . . it makes for a fun extension of the game.
Guard the dolphin spaces!