Age of Mythology: The Boardgame
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Age of Mythology, the tremendously popular real-time strategy game from Ensemble Studios and Microsoft, gets the Eagle Games treatment!
Age of Mythology: the Board game takes the popular computer game and enhances it by including three hundred miniatures in thirty-eight sculpts. With literally piles of different mythological creatures and warriors, players create huge armies to conquer their neighbors. The game is not simply all about combat, as players must build up cities with a variety of buildings and resources that they produce each turn. Players must make raids against each other, attempting to destroy buildings, capture territories, and steal victory points. All of this combines with the stunning components to make a balanced, interesting game for two to four players.
The ultimate real-time strategy game jumps off the screen and onto your tabletop! A game of epic proportions...
- 38 Unique Sculptures
- 300 Stunning Miniatures
- 3 Cultures (Greek, Egyptian, Norse)
- 150 Wooden Resource Cubes
- Easy to Learn Game System
- Deep, Flexible Strategies
In Age of Mythology, you will:
- Explore the world, claiming production sites (farms, gold mines, lumber camps & temples)
- Gather resources
- Build structures that give you advantages in production or battle
- Recruit armies of mortal warriors, mythic creatures and heroes
- Face off against other cultures in epic battles
- 1 rules manual
- 6 player boards
- 6 plastic runners of pieces
- 150 wooden cubes
- 3 decks of cards
- 4 victory cards
- 1 sheet of building and terrain tiles
- 8 dice
- 1 reference card
Average Rating: 3.6 in 14 reviews
For those who like a great theme attached to their strategy games, Age of Mythology will be hard to beat.
The components are worth having in their own right, with 6 sets of detailed miniatures, and superb artwork on the boards and cards.
Add to this an original blend of resource management, City Building and evolving mortal and mythical creatures in battle (coupled with plenty of divine intervention from each race) and you have the perfect recipe for a great nights entertainment.
I know there will be some pure strategists that may shy away from the luck elements of the battle dice but the science of probabilities can be a considered strategy in it's own right. My personal preference has been to reduce the luck element by including the 5 and the 6's as hits and this generally ensures that the stronger units win through.
A particularly interesting element to the game is the 4 Victory objectives. On each turn, the Players allocate victory points to each or any of the games objectives: Largest Army/Most Buildings/The Wonder/Winning the last battle. This ensures that there is no perfect gameplan to guarantee a win and keeps you alert to the ever changing possiblities.
Above all, Age of Mythology is a rewarding and entertaining game and should appeal to a broad spectrum of gamers who have a couple of hours to spare.
One small caveat that I have is that it is possible for inexperienced players to get wiped out early in the game. Don't let this put you off the game as there are strategies to prevent this happening. A little advice from a more experienced player should be a pre-requisite for any beginner.
A great game and great addition to the list of American games by American designers. This game is a mix of resource management, empire building, and conquest. Like any great games, there are more than one way to acheive victory with many tough decisions to be made along the way. Each player starts out as the ruler of a civilization based on its mythology (Greeks, Norse, or Egyptian). Also, each player has their own game board divided into gridded areas for a city, land development, and army units. Each civilization has its own unique flavored units and terrain though all the buildings for cities are the same for all. Creatures are divided into mortal, mythical, and heroic, each having special abilities that benefit them in combat. Players will progress through 4 eras beginning with the archaic and ending with the mythical. In each round of play, each player will select a hand of cards based on the actions they wish to perform during the round. You begin with the selection of 4 cards in the 1st era and may choose an additional card for each era, so if you progress to the final era, you will be able to choose 7 cards for your hand. From this hand, you will only be able to play 3 cards in any given round. The start player will rotate each round. Obviously, it's better to progress your civilization along to acquire more cards and have more choices for play in a round. The objective is to gain the most victory point cubes by the end of the game. An interesting mechanism is how victory points are obtained. There are 4 cards on which victory points accumulate. They are: Largest Army, Largest City, Building the Wonder, and Winning the most recent battle. Of the 4, all are won at the end of the game except Winning the most recent battle. In each round, the first 3 players in turn place one victory point on a card of their choice. Right from the start, the decision is yours on deciding what to strive towards. If you have a weaker army, it would be best to go for the largest city win and place your victory points there (and so on). There are only 30 victory point cubes in the game, so at 3 cubes a turn, you're sure that the game will never exceed 10 turns. There are other ways to get victory points as well such as building a Temple building that allows you to convert certain resources (favor cubes) into victory points. Other than the battle sequence, interaction is constant and downtime for players is minimized. Certain actions such as explore and harvest will affect all other players as well. During the game, it's best to play cards that give you an advantage and hinder your opponents.
Combat involves deciding whether to attack an opponent's city (to destroy a building), land (to steal a resource tile), or reserves (to raid their cubes). Each player selects a number of units of their choice (usually 4) and then fight the units one on one in turn. Here's where the dice rolling comes in and can slow the game a bit. The player rolling the most 6's in a battle eliminates the other unit. The units are well balanced and provide a number of special abilities from adding extra dice to your rolls, to resurrecting or stealing opponent's units. Certain units can only be purchased if you have progressed to a more advanced era. In a four or more player game, combat is limited to attacking only the neighbor to your left or right. This eliminates some of the ganging up on the leader syndrome. You have the option to play as teams with an even number of players though ultimately there will be one winner.
Building your city involves the purchase of buildings that also provide special abilities. Storage facilities allow you to store more resources at the end of a turn to avoid spoilage, walls and towers add extra dice in battles, and armories give you extra units in battle. There are 14 different buildings though it's unlikely you'll be able to build every one of them. Again, the choice is yours on which ones to build that will aid your objectives.
So what about the bits you ask? Fabulous and plentiful. There are hundreds of minatures from the mundane builder and archer to the mysterious wadjets, mummies, medusa and more oh my! Not to mention the hero units. There's wood in the box! Plenty of wooden cubes to represent the resources. There's dice (though you'll probably want more). There's colorful game boards for up to 6 players, though to play with 5-8 players, you'll have to order some extra cubes and building tiles. I liked this aspect since most people will probably play with 3-4 players and you don't have to shell out more money for something you might not use. The rules are very well written and tight. There's not much that can be misconstrued. For that matter, if you want to read the rules before purchasing the game, trot over to the Eagle Games web site and they have them there for you to download and read. There's lots of examples including a walkthrough of a battle sequence. Definately a very low fart factor once everything is placed in the box and definately a great bits to bucks value.
Ultimately what we have is a game that has borrowed elements from the likes of great games such as Settlers, Civilization (AH version), and Puerto Rico or Way out West. The designer has even admitted to influence from some of the afore mentioned games. However, the game has managed to achieve its own unique flavor and distinguishes itself as a unique game, not revolutionary, but evolutionary in nature. It has the elements of a good game. There are plenty of decisions to be made about what actions to take since you can't do everything you want in a turn. There are multiple ways to achieve victory. There's a built in time limit. There's plenty of interaction and nobody is permanently knocked out of the game. It's truly a game that bridges the best elements of Euro and American type board games.
So what's not to like? Well it's certainly not the real time, build and combat computer game that it was based on. If you're expecting the computer game you need not purchase or play this one. There is combat and dice rolling, though combat is only one small element of the game. So if fighting is against your ethics, best stay away and stick to Settlers. It will take you at least 2 hours to play and possibly up to 3+ if it's your first time learning the game and you have a full compliment of 4 or more players. So if you want the Euro game that clocks in under 90 minutes, steer clear. On the other hand, you won't be playing Risk until 4am either.
So should you buy it? Well, I could probably go into another 2 pages of explaining the game and praising the number of choices to be made along with strategies for changing situations. There's plenty more depth to the game than I care to paraphrase here. My suggestion is purchase the game. I would certainly rank it in my top 10 of this year's choices. It's screaming a loud 95 db on the Mulder Meter. But at the very least, read the rules at the publisher's website, then balance it with reviews posted here to make your own decision. Cheers, I'm off to build the wonder.
I just got back from a major gaming con, and i played in 4 games of age of mythology with 3 other
players each, and all of the players LOVED IT.
its ez to play and lots of fun. it does take about
4 hrs per game. i was attacked and lost my first 3 battles, but guess what i still one. all you have to do is use some tactics. witch is half the fun.
and all the sides are = they just have there own tactics you need to use.
Okay, I love this game, maybe it's because I love history and the computer series and this comes pretty close to capturing the gaming fun, but with really cool looking pieces and real life human opponents! Imagine Puerto Rico, Settlers of Catan, and Risk/Attack all mixed into one fun, easy to start, quick game. The board, cards, and pieces are beautiful. I picked it up at a sneak peek at the Eagle both at the 2003 Chicago Gaming Convention. And the price is just to die for, get this game, I'll review in more detail as I play the game in all number of opponents.
The most pleasant gaming surprise of the last few years. A really well-written mix of euro and american gaming rules that makes for a totally first-rate game (especially with 3 players).
The victory point wagering is a great game mechanism as is the mix of actions based on fixed and random card draws. Throw in some very nice components (the plastic figures are first rate and the cardboard bits are nearly german quality although the cardstock for the decks feels a tad thin) and simple yet deep gameplay and this one is a winner.
It runs a bit on the long side but that can be treated by modifying the amount of victory points in play.
Euro-gaming meets American gaming. That is what I thought when I first read the online preview rules on the manufacturer's website. But a little background is in order before getting to the game review.
My experience with Eagle Games is a mixed one as many seem to have had. To briefly explain my view on this issue, I have all of Eagle's games and was unimpressed with their first 2 offerings (ACW and War!AoI) although we did have fun with the few games we played. Then, I was blown away by Napoleon in Europe. It is far from a perfect game out of the box but with some house rules, what a game! Not for the faint at heart though. Then came Civilization. This was a love it or hate it proposition. Believe it or not, I fell in the middle with this one. Depending on who I would play with I would either have a good or a bad experience. But in the end, I was underwhelmed and the rules still had problems, which seemed to be an Eagle Games trademark. Finally came Attack! and I just loved the game for what it was. And the rules were very well written this time around. So to make a long story short, I believe that Eagle's games have gotten progressively better.
Well, Age of Mythology is simply put one of the best games I have played recently. It is clearly inspired by Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan, both of which I love, with the American style combat and player interaction thrown in and it really works. I will not go into a detailed description of the game as the rules can easily be accessed on Eagle's website. Let's just say that if you like the games it is inspired from, you will like this game.
The componants are just short of incredible and for the price, this is a steal. The minis are very well made and the myth units are huge! The player boards and the artwork in general is beautiful. The only drawbacks I can see with the game are the rather bland building tiles and that sometimes, the game seemed to end just when things got really tense.
We have played 6 4-player games now and I can say the the strategy vs. luck factor is just right for us. Some have commented that the combat system makes it too easy for David to beat Goliath. This results from the fact that you throw a number of dice for each unit and the one that rolls the most 6s wins. Now statistically, this means that the unit throwing the most dice has a better chance to win but it is not one-sided; The other unit will have a good chance to beat you, especially if the difference in dice is 3-4 or less. Our group did not mind the system as is and we plan on continuig using it. But for those who prefer a little less luck, it has been suggested in various forums to use a variant where you hit on a 5 or 6. This reduces the luck factor while still making it possible for David to beat Goliath.
All in all, a very, very good game. This is going to hit the table quite a bit. Highly recommended.
The really positive points about this game are:
- unique way of betting on what is important to win. This makes each end of game different.
- combination of attack and building all based on management of resources.
Surely there are bad points that can be corrected:
- attacks with 'n' dice are slow and luck prone. We now play just two dice each side, summing up to the the side's power (original number of dice to be thrown).
- preparation for attack/defense is too slow. Changed: now one goes to battle with all the armies one has.
- tie on buiding makes two sides loose. Spliting the victory points makes much more sense.
All this made the game even better and provided us countless hours of fun.
Imagine Puerto Rico combined with Axis & Allies and you get a feel for what this game is like. We played our first game with 3 players using the 5/6 hit rule. There were seven battles and the game took 5 hours to complete, which includes set up and teaching everyone the rules. While this is rather long for a typical game these days, we quite enjoyed it. There were plenty of tough decisions to be made and the different capabilities of each culture added a nice flavor. Also the fact that you can be attacked at anytime enhances the dramatic tension. Simple game mechanics/complex decisions, easy to explain rules and nice pieces are some of the positive aspects of the game. Negatives include bland city chits, poor time scaling with multiple players (a 6-player game probably would have taken us 8 hours) and having to pay for 6 player pieces while only having cubes for 4 (you can buy the additional parts from the Eagle web site). There may also be some play balance issues, but we will need to try it a few more times to know for sure. Nevertheless, I recommend this game for 3 to 4 players particularly if you're interested in games combining the German game style ('more choices than you can do' deterministic resource management) with the English game style (stochastic warfare). We will definitely play this one again. Btw - the Egyptians won.
This game started off as a favourite of mine, but it does have a couple of weaknesses that need mending in order for it to reach the top.
1) An original game, with a high war aspect
Although comparisons to other games exist, I think it's fair to look upon this game as something of its own. There is both resource gathering and building involved, but the game differs a lot from Puerto Rico (that has almost no element of conflict) and Settlers of Catan (where luck often makes or breaks your resource strategies), mostly when it comes to the war element. The scoring system forces players to fight over the same turfs, instead of building an island empire regardless of your neighbours' strategies.
The ability to launch attack on your enemies gives the game a bit of pulse. You can start off building units that work well against "Mortals" (the type of units that players have from the start), forcing enemies to respond with possible countermeasures to such a threat. The ability to choose what area to attack (buildings, resources, land) gives you more options than just choosing whom to attack. You can capitalize on gaining a lot of territory early on, or destroy enemy buildings in order to keep them down (a tactic that is probably better in a two-player game).
The nerve that is achieved by the constant threat of attacks makes this game very different from Settlers (where the only threat is a hyped "robber") or Puerto Rico (where there are no threats but competition). This does make the game more competitive and much less "peaceful" or "cosy". Also, there is no element of co-operation in this game, with the possible exception of more players ganging up on the leader. AoM is not a game for timid players, as these are likely to be trampled upon.
2) Pretty good theme/components
The mythical theme seems very nice, and is well supported by the components. Painting the miniatures makes them even more appealing, but given their relatively small size, this is not a task for beginners.
The cards are well designed as well, with illustrations matching their respective cultures. However, the difference between races is not that huge. They have different access to resources, but apart from that, they play almost exactly the same. The decks of cards and military units seem different, but are not very typical of their races. More could have been done to give each race its unique feel. To a large extent, each race has the same units, with only a few exceptions and variations in appearance.
A true downside is the fact that a four-player game forces two players to share a race. A fourth race should have been included; it would also provide more to choose from for a game of fewer players. In a four-player game there would even be one player that you could never attack, as you can only target players immediately next to you. So if your worst rival is sitting across the table, all you can do about it is punish those who fail to bring him down.
3) A rich building aspect
The colorful cubes look great, and represent their respective resources well. The menu of things to build is very large, especially when taking into account the various military units. Which buildings to go for first (or which to build at all) is often an open questions, with several strategies available).
4) A time-consuming battle system
The rich selection of military units seems interesting. However, this does much to complicate the game. With so many options, calculating which units to use can become a time-consuming process. Especially as you need to look at the enemy's stats in order to be able to make intelligent choices, and there is a shortage of the material that displays these stats.
Also, as has been noted by others, the ability to outwit your opponent in picking the right units is often irrelevant, as luck often plays too big a role. I have many times had a large dice advantage, only to have my expensive model wiped out by a lucky roll. Also, fighting one model against one takes a lot of time. The players not involved in a battle can only wait for those active to decide what to do. Not always that fun.
5) Some cards spoil the game
The luck factor steps in when it comes to the cards as well. Some cards are much more powerful than others. Knowing what cards exist is also a factor. For example, building the largest building possible is very risky. It costs two of each resource, and invites any player to destroy it solely by playing the right card. So much for building defences. If this card does appear, this large building is wasted. If you're lucky enough to have it not appear, having this building can generate you victory points. Again; a possible strategy is rendered risky due to an over-powered card. Strategy loses to luck.
Some people have suggested adjustments to improve this game, and they have probably done well in doing so. I believe that using some of them could address several of the problems mentioned. But this is really the job of the playtesters. More testing and a bit more effort in development could have made this a 5-star game for me.
This game gave me a good experience, but I don't think I'll ever play it again using the standard rules. There are too many things that need mending for that, and too many other games that don't have these problems.
I saw two 5 star ratings for this game. People should be, IMHO, hesitant to give a game 5 stars. Such should be reserved for the all time greats. Age of Mythology isn't one.
Depending on how the people play the game, it can bog down. One game I played recently with 4 players went over 5 hours, and the game STILL wasn't finished. The group had a lot of combat involved in the game, and the decision making bogged things down. Puerto Rico, which Age of Mythology borrows from, has a lot less downtime and flows much better.
This being said, be warned this game could bog down a lot.
Played the game twice. First was a 2 player game, second was a 3 player game. I just don't care for the scoring mechanism first off. Games can be close, but it seems to fall into a 'It's possible to win IF everything goes my way...' trap. I found myself having a chance to win, but remote at best. There was no way to get a good mix of scoring chances if you get attacked and lose too much. It is easy to pick on a weaker opponent, and they just stay weak, or get weaker.
Luck of the random cards adds another problem I have with the game. Luck in a game is OK, but this leans a bit too much in the luck department. Definitely luck driven with the dice-fest combat system, which seems almost like a rocks-paper-scissors method. We all commented on this and were not too keen on it.
No doubt the bits are superb, and there are nice aspects of building up production, resources and cities, but no real flavor in doing so. Indeed, buliding some things, like walls and towers for protection are rendered usless by the opponenet building a seige engine, which cancels both towers and walls!
Lastly, it is far too long for what type of game it is. I found myself in both games wanting to just get it over with, no matter the results. If you have people who ponder moves, or analyze a lot, don't expect a game to last less than 3 hours.
In a strange way, I think the game tried to be several things- a combat game, a resouces-building game, a bit of mythology, but doen't succeed in any to make it a fun, interesting game.
All in all, I can only say the game looks great, but plays fair. Not real sure if I would want to play again just to see if I am overlooking some aspect that would make it a better game.
I was tempted to give it three stars, but feel for what it presented to me as a game, two is really the rating I think it deserves.
Well, I gave this one a try because of a recommendation, and man, oh man! 4 hours of sheer boredom! The mechanics are good, and the strategy is somewhat there, but it is way too long - and I don't see a fix for it...
I would never get my friends to play this again.
I don't think I have ever looked forward to a game more but been more disappointed.
Sadly, Age of Mythology is really just a dice rolling game of chance wrapped up in lots of pretty pieces. The actual strategy part is pretty shallow compared to the computer version and d-r-a-g-s.
Why the problems?
The game basically 'steals' a format from the popular German game Puerto Rico making AoM a not very original rip-off of a format. To tack on the all-important video game aspect of combat the next step is to play some cards and roll dice.
One of the worst problems for the game is it has a terrible first turn setup. A player can almost get knocked out of the game before they've even had a chance to respond to an attack. This problem has been outlined on the company website and even admitted by the designer.
What really got me was how everything just boils down to a dice roll on the last turn. Roll and roll and roll and roll and roll the dice. That's all the game seems to be.
I am sorry to be so disappointed, but it only rates one star.
I picked up this game because I like the PC version. I am disappointed. Once behind it is too difficult to catch up. If you lose a battle you are out of the game, especially in a 2-player game. My competitor won just a single battle and I could never build my army up again because he kept hitting me enough to stop all production. In the computer version you can fight back.
I wanted to like this more than I do. It looks great but all the small army pieces are too much alike and the information is on a single chart that you have to pass around. I've played a lot of WizKids games and they have a way better system of showing information right with the piece.
Age of Mythology isn't worth the money.
The latest miniatures game from Eagle is another computer port, this time involving the best selling game from Microsoft. Once again, Eagle has attempted to capture the flavour of the computer game in a boardgame. The computer game is a real time strategy (RTS) game with a multitude of actions underway at once. These include gathering resources of various types, erecting buildings, improving your army and then fighting enemy armies. There seem to be several objectives on following this path. Firstly, to attract people who know the computer game to boardgaming (good) and secondly to make the board game feel like the computer game. Does this work and does the boardgame simulate the computer game?
The first significant change from other Eagle designs is the lack of a giant board. In fact any main board at all. Instead each player receives their own player board, which is split into three areas. The first is a general holding area for resources and your armies; the second represents your city and is where you erect your buildings (as in Puerto Rico); and the third is where your mines are placed and crops sown. This is called your resource producing area and is similar but not identical to Puerto Rico's crops area. Each player board shows a map of the area they control, which is where the resource tiles are placed. These maps are different for the chosen cultures, so Egyptians have more desert tiles and a scattering of fertile areas, the Norse have more mountains and the Greeks have more hills.
The initial set up of the game sees a series of resource tiles available to be placed on this third area. These cover the five different types of resource that are available but not in any direct relationship, so fertile tiles come in flavours that produce green resources (food), brown (wood), yellow (gold), and blue (favour of the gods). Mountains (one of the other types of terrain) produce mainly gold while deserts mainly produce favour. The initial drawing of these tiles allows players to place the resources one at a time on their player boards, but only on the terrain shown on their maps. This means that you can often ensure that you get the resources that can only be played on your player board and may provide a slight advantage in the set-up.
Clearly it was not possible to include the real-time aspect. It has been replaced by a simultaneous choice of action cards which determine what you can do each round. This works rather well, as each player has a fixed set of cards as well as the option of getting better cards from a face-down pack. The fixed set contains
Gathering (resources are produced from the resource tiles) - this affects all players;
Exploring (get more resource tiles to add to the player boards) - this also affects all players;
Building (allows constriction of buildings);
Trading (swapping resources with the bank);
Recruiting (build armies and pay resources for these);
Attacking (other players)'
Moving to a new age (access to better and more powerful units and more cards in your hand).
Each round players decide how many cards to take from the fixed deck (initially, up to 4), and the balance comes from the random face-down deck. These cards are always better than the fixed deck, but you may not get the one you like. As you may have spotted, there are 7 types of action and only 4 cards to choose. Do you want to guarantee an action? Then you have to choose from the fixed deck. As only 3 of these cards will be used in a round, there is some flexibility in what you do, but if you take a random card it may not be the one you want. At the end of playing and acting upon the three cards, the remaining cards are either held in the hand or discarded. The fixed deck is always available, so the issue is whether to retain any random cards for the next round. This system works very well and is one of the best aspects of the game.
Initially play focuses around getting more resources. These are then translated into buildings (which mainly add higher levels of resource gathering, such as the granary, which allows an extra 2 grain to be received when the player gathers resources). Houses can be built which confer no special advantage in the building, but add a worker, who can be assigned to a resource tile and increases the amount of resource gathered on that tile by one.
There are a number of nice touches that feel right in the game. One such is the gather option, which allows the player who plays the cards to choose what type of resources can be collected. This will either be to receive resources from a terrain type (say, desert) in which you have an advantage or a particular resource type (say green, which is food) from all terrains producing food. The choice is dependent on the situation the player sees themselves in and what they need to buy with their resources. If several players play gather in a row, it is likely that the stock of resources will run low and mean that players who receive their resources late in a turn receive fewer of one type than they are due to get. But that's part of the game.
The random card that increases gathering is a ``gather all'', which means that every resource tile is used to gather resources. This often causes stock-outs in some resources.
The two actions that distinguish the different cultures are recruiting and fighting. Each player has access to a range of sculpted plastic models that represent the troop types of each culture. Initially these are mortal units, and fairly weak, but later on the game heroes and mythical beasts are available.
Which leads nicely to the combat. This takes place when a player uses an attack card, which shows the number of units used by each player. These are chosen in secret and then each player shows the composition of their army. For each different type of unit, the player takes a card of that type, such as an elephant, archer or hydra. Each player selects a unit to fight the first of the battles which are always one-on-one confrontations. Dice are rolled based on the strength of the unit and the winner is the unit that gets the most 6's. All OK so far. Obviously you put your best (strongest) units out first. But the game then introduces big benefits for getting the right match ups. These can cause huge swings in the number of dice thrown. For example, the Greek Cyclops (a giant Myth unit) is +4 dice against Mortals - basic cavalry and warriors - but the Norse dwarf is +7 dice against Giants. So if the Norse army includes cavalry and dwarves, while the Greek army includes Cyclops and a Greek hero (+4 against Myth units), the Greek player cannot risk the Cyclops as the dwarf may get played, while the Norse player doesn't want to risk the dwarf (a myth unit) against the Greek hero. Someone will guess wrong and gain a significant advantage. (and in armies with 7 different troop types, the guessing is even harder to make out.
This makes the selection of your fighters more of a lottery. Either you will accept the ups and downs of this system or you'll not. My own view is that the battle resolution detracts from the general level of strategy that the rest of the game offers. This is a pity as I like the rest of the game's systems and in particular the card and resource systems.
How does the combat compare to the computer game? In RTS games the number of units has a major bearing on the outcome. In the board game, the numbers of units are usually the same, so the game has a different feel to its computer based cousin.
Victory conditions are set using a novel system. Each turn red victory point cubes are allocated by players to four areas:
* the player with largest army at the end of the game
* the player with most buildings at the end of the game
* the player who builds a wonder
* the winner of the last battle
As these accumulate, the different areas become more attractive. Players can only afford to focus on one or two of these as they will not have the resources to cover more areas. The apparent logic of these areas can force players into specific courses of action.
In a three player game, if player A and player B fight and weaken one another, then the beneficiary of this is player C. This person can now dominate the army side by building a bigger army faster than the other players. While A and B might challenge player C on army building, they have to play catch-up and realising this, will choose instead to focus on erecting buildings. This situation can arise after the initial build up phase and seems to be caused by the way in which victory points are earned. The only short term goal is to earn victory points for battles. Given the uncertainty over battles, this cannot be at all assured. So missing from the game are any mid-game goals, which either lead to or earn victory points themselves.
So where does that leave Age of Mythology? I like the early build up, the card system and the how resources are earned. I don't mind the randomness of using dice in battles but the lottery over match-ups is not enjoyable. Despite this, the game overcomes these downsides and still produces a game that I'll play again, but it is not the rounded product that the computer game has become in its own environment.