original German edition
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Migration of the Germanic tribes!
In 375 AD, Attila's mounted Huns overran Europe causing the Germanic tribes in their path to flee and penetrate the outer provinces of the declining Roman empire.
In Attila, the players control the migrations of the Germanic tribes to the Roman empire. The players move Goths, Teutons, Vandals and other tribes into the Roman provinces. When the Germanic population of a province grows too large, there is conflict. The result of the conflict is a reduction of population, but peace for those tribes that remain.
As they migrate the tribes, the players compete to have the greatest influence in the tribes' affairs. At the end of each century, the tribes score points for the players who have had the most influence on their affairs
Naturally, the more successful tribes score more points for their visionary advisors than the weaker tribes. Thus, the winner is the player who has offered the most successful tribes the advantage of his great vision.
All six 'tribes' start equally, with nothing on the board and each player getting six random cards. When you play a card, that tribe goes onto the map, thus increasing its value, and at the same time your own marker goes up on the 'influence' track for that tribe, thus getting you into the race for first and second.
When a province reaches a population of five, it is considered overcrowded and an innovative winnowing process occurs. The least numerous tribe will be eliminated from the province, thus decreasing its value, but only after each player has the chance to 'support' the tribes with cards from the hand. Then the province is frozen for the rest of the game (i.e., no more tribal markers may be placed in it). There's a lot of strategy in trying to position yourself to be the one to trigger these provincial shakedowns, because they, in turn, trigger the scoring rounds--and it's advantageous to make the last advance before the scoring round on the influence tracks.
This of course is quite a contrast to Union Pacific, where the scoring rounds occur at random, according to when the dividend card is turned up. So that's one bit of gameplay you won't blame on luck in Attila.
To cover all the innovations in the game would take rather a long essay, so I'll refer you to the other reviews and simply say that all the mechanisms work together very smoothly in a finished game of great subtlety and charm. It'll probably take you two or three games to get used to all the different 'tricks' you can pull off--but the learning curve is fun, and it doesn't stop being fun after everybody is playing it down to brass tacks. And as other reviewers have also mentioned, you enjoy a close, hard fought contest won by skill, guile, and putting yourself into the right place at the right time, all in under an hour!
Of course, this can't be considered a war game unless you really stretch the definition, so don't let the 'Attila' name fool you into thinking you'll be ordering units of horse and spear around at each other or anything like that. It is instead a worthy addition to the Acquire - Union Pacific - El Grande - Web of Power - San Marco family of first and second place payoff games--possibly the most elegant of them all.
Attila is another great game of the type which our gaming circle loves! Nice map, components, and rules. Clear simple rules but a subtle and challenging game on every turn. Competing for influence in the tribes reminded me of the commodity battles in Merchants of Amsterdam.
If you like Web of Power you'll like Attila. Playable in well under an hour.
Good News #1: Everyone at our table thought this game was gorgeous. And once we got started, we had no problems working the scoring system. 'In blue, advance white one. In green, advance red one.' All the players very quickly adopted this format of reporting scores and the scorekeeper never had a problem.
Good News #2: One of the ways of getting cards out of your hand that you don't want to put into play is to start a conflict in a territory that has the colors you want to eliminate. You can play as many cards from your hand as you want as long as they are colors that are part of the conflict. So what if your hand size is diminished until the end of your next turn? You weren't going to play those cards anyway and now you get to replace them. Try it and you'll see that there are other benefits that go along with this action.
Good News #3: Euphrat & Tigris! El Grande? Not bad comparisons for a game at this price. I don't know that I see it or what the point is. This is a fun and engaging game that is simple to learn, has sufficient depth with regards to its playing time and a great bargin at the price. We played Taj Mahal just before this one, and while it is somewhat lighter fare than TM, it was no less enjoyable. I have no problem recommending this one.
I never played Acquire, so I cannot appreciate whether this game is really a ripoff of it. However the two main criticisms stated of it are really nits. If you really have problems telling the red player from the red tribe, take paint from wherever, and paint the 7 little red cubes--it's not that big a deal. And for those steamed by the fact that Attila has no bloodshed: so it doesn't--go get Battle Cry.
What does it have? Fairly tense game play. Quality components. An instructions manual that sets the standard.
A guy I game with at work described Attila as a 'stock market' game (proven by the beating I was taking in the game, as I can't seem to win these types of games). In fact, instead of Germanic tribes, we could have been bidding for orange futures or copper. True--but is that so bad? The game has quite a bit of depth, and it allows people getting killed at first to use the first round as a learning round, and then come back and fight for first place.
Playing it with four players, you get the sense that your strategic goals are at the mercy of fate, much like a foursome in [page scan/se=0874/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Tigris & Euphrates--by the time it's your turn again, the board has changed a bit. But it's a rush watching it change and modifying your strategy along the way, while you await your turn.
My group prefers Ra to it, but we will keep playing it and it's worth the money. And if you get Serenissima and Axis & Allies: Europe, you'll now own three good maps of Europe at different epochs. How can you go wrong? :-)
This game is a wonderful blend of [page scan/se=0172/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Medici, [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande, and Civilization.
The mechanic is simple, and the method of conflict resolution somewhat unique. The options for both advancing your own designs and thwarting those of others is rich. In playing this game twice at Gen Con, I rapidly realized the cost/benefit balance of playing tribes where you already hold sway vs. interfering with other players' tribes (usually by playing them into ruinous conflicts).
Overall, the 'thought complexity' may be slightly lower than El Grande, but the strategy implications may be as rich. And the quicker game time, along with the easier to follow rules, makes it a great choice.
Of course, the only question is why the developers chose primary colors for both the players and the tribes. A primary/pastel mix a la [page scan/se=0630/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Through the Desert would have served better.
Attila has several things going for it. It has gorgeous components: a lush, attractive main board, a nice influence track board, nice lacquered wooden playing pieces, and nice, high-quality-stock cards.
But, beyond the aesthetics, Attila is actually a great little game. It's a rather abstract 'influence-taking' game, and is a little derivative of games past, but its great quality is that it's a remarkably fast game. A game of Attila can take as much as 1/2 or 1/3 the time of a 'bigger' influence-taking game, and there are some fairly deep strategies than can be developed and executed in Attila. The theme is a bit questionable (it's not extremely integral to the gameplay, but that shouldn't come as a surprise for a German game), but the game succeeds anyway. Worth a purchase if you want a slightly lighter, and much faster 'influencing game' than the ones already in your cabinet.
This is a very good game with a lot of possibilities. The beginning is rather slow, and has usually used to determine the player's overall strategy. Then, things start happening very fast, with the end game being quite tense. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and players must consider how best to adapt to the whims of the cards. Overall, a good challenge in a simple, easily learned framework. The only problem is the graphics--with an overlapping of the tribe colors with the players' colors, things can get confusing, and some games have gravitated toward some of the players favoring the color of their pieces.
For those who like the two hour and under games this is a must!
You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful, fast playing game with interesting scoring mechanics and player interaction. Players gain influence in various invading tribes through cardplay. Then, after a set number of conflicts, players with the most and second most influence gain points for the number of tribes and territories occupied. The interaction occurs when a fifth tribe marker enters a province, and players play cards to support their chosen tribe. Then why the disdainful heading? Unless I'm missing something, the strategies will be identical for each player for every game. Build up the tribes you have cards for, use one of your two special action chits to bump you up the influence chart, cause enough conflicts to end the century, and score. There is a definite limit to the number of decisions to be made, and affecting a player in the lead is virtually nil. There are no brain burning decisions to be made as in many other great games, such as El Grande, Medici, Aladdin's Dragons, Carolus Magnus, etc. Attila is still a fine game, and I'll play it again, but don't expect more than it is.
The theme of the Huns, the Goths, and the Vandals sacking Rome has led to some classic games. Unfortunately this one shows the best and worst influence of the German games. First of all, the pieces and the presentation of the game are excellent. You want to love this game. This genre calls for slash and burn combat and cutthroat diplomacy; instead you get influence points, actions cards, and to steal from the movie Animal House 'Double Secret Probation' depending on the epoch you're in. (Of course I'm being a wise a--) These and other rules turn the game into a subtle waltz rather than a bareknuckle brawl. While this works in some games, it feels a bit silly here. If this was a different format or presentation I might think just the opposite, but the feel of this game is all wrong. In El Grande, these type of tactics make sense, for the diplomacy and intrigue between nobles and kings are legendary. (Watch the movie Braveheart.) With the raids on Rome you want blood and guts, not a round of whist.
Yet another German influence game. The game represents 6 groups of people moving into the Roman provinces during the time of Attila the Hun. Players have a hand of cards, each one of 6 colors. Each turn, players draw a card, choose a card to play, place a figure of that color onto the board, and move the influence marker of that color up. If the figure added was the 5th in the province, conflict ensues; whichever color (or colors) is least present in the provinces are removed (players may play cards of colors involved to increase their presence in the conflict) and a piece marker is placed in the province. As conflicts resolve, the game changes epochs which affects the influence value when adding figures to provinces. Before the first conflict, all figures placed are worth one influence point; before the 3rd conflict, each placement is worth two influence, etc. After four epochs, the game ends. Players are allowed three special actions during the game (refreshing their hands, extra influence, and double placement). The game system is pretty clean and clever, but the card draw makes having the colors you want too random. The biggest problem is the confusion between the colors of the groups of people and the colors representing the players ('Green gets two influence in Blue', etc.).
Attila the Hun wouldn't like 'Attila' the Game. Why? The Hun was a blood-thirsty conqueror. The Game is focused on 'influence.' No one conquers in this game. Rather, each player scrambles to influence the right tribes at the right time.
The title fooled me. I was excited about a new game of conquest. Then, when I saw the components I was even more excited--they are among the best I've seen for a game!
However, I was initially disappointed in the play--no 'blood and guts.' The mechanics of the game are reminescent of 'election' games in which you try to bring the most influence to the States with the most electoral votes.
I started to return the game to the store after a solitaire trial run. However, I held onto it until I could get three players to give it a trial run (still not punching out the markers so I could sell it as an unpunched game)!
However, after about 15 minutes of play I realized that though the game doesn't live up to the aura of its name, it is nonetheless a good strategy game, the bloody Attila not-withstanding.
If you want to enjoy this game, forget the title, and forget conquering! The tales of Attila charging across the steppes of Eastern Europe is only a thinly veiled theme for a very nice strategy game. And as a strategy game this is a good one (on par with Web of Power). As an Attila the Hun wargame it is a bust.
Our group, after playing it said, 'It's a keeper.' All three of us said, 'We probably won't choose it over our other favorites (Settlers, Cities & Knights, Lord of the Rings, Ohne Furcht und Adel, Team Battle Cry, and Euphrat & Tigris), but it's too good to return!' The components alone make me want to play it again!
The mechanics are simple. You hold a hand of six cards. Each turn you do four things:
Then, the next player takes his turn. That's it until... someone's tribe placement in a province causes that province to have more than 5 tribe markers. In that case the province is at war.
War is settled by eliminating the weakest tribe in the province (count the tribe markers for each color present, add any 'supporting color cards' the players want to add). The tribe with the least total (+1 for each tribe marker of that color, +1 for each/any 'supporting card' played by the players) is removed, and a peace marker is placed in the provence. No other tokens may be placed in that province the rest of the game.
Scoring takes place when a 'century' ends. The first century ends immediately following the first 'war.' The second century ends after two additional 'wars' are settled. The third century ends when three additional 'wars' are settled. The fourth and last century ends when four more 'wars' are settled.
As each century ends, points are counted by checking each tribe in turn: Franks (blue), Huns (black), Goths (yellow), Saxons (green), Teutons (purple), Vandals (red). The person with the most influence on the Franks scores 1 point for each Frank tribe on the board. The person who has the second most influence on the Franks scores one point for each province in which one or more Franks reside. As points are scored the respective player's scoring marker advances on the scoring track which surrounds the game board. After the Franks are scored, the Huns are scored; then the Goths, Saxons, Teutons, and Vandals are scored. Scores from the previous centuries are carried over to the next century. When the fourth century is completed and scored, the player with the most points wins.
A beautiful game, simple mechanics, decent strategy, short playing time! I give it a 3, but am leaning toward a 4 if I can just forget this is not a war game! Perhaps more games will raise it to a 4 star.
No--Attila the Hun probably wouldn't like a game of 'influence' bearing his name. But if you enjoy 'lighter' strategy games, you just might like Attila the game.
Well, it's a good news-bad news thing for Attila, I'm afraid. The good news is it's a pretty decent little game. Juggling your influence among the 6 tribes is reasonably challenging and the trade-offs and hand management decisions keep you engaged.
Bad news #1 is that this is probably the most aesthetically challenging game I've played in a while. With six colors of tribes and 5 colors of players, and a 4-color overlap (but with no relationship between a tribe and player color), the color situation is wildly out of hand. Tracking the influence of each player on the various tribes is rather more complicated than seems reasonable.
Bad news #2 is that the game seems a bit too luck-driven in a bad kind of way. You have a hand of 6 cards, and you play only one per turn. It's easily possible, especially later in the game, for this to diminish your options to only one or two reasonable choices--and you only have one chance per game to clear dead cards. After that, dead cards can rarely be purged, which can potentially leave you feeling backed into a corner. This is such a common failing in games, it's always a bit depressing to see it rear its ugly head again.
Bad news #3 is probably the most crucial, though, in that this game really just feels like a shadow of better games that have gone before. It seems to feel like a hugely stripped down El Grande, Tigris & Euphrates, or maybe Carolus Magnus, like so many of the rather generic compete-for-areas games do (Tikal and Web of Power/Kardinal & Knig being good examples). Without the versitility, variety, and strength of the El Grande design, it just seems rather dull. The depth, and with it the replayability, obviously just isn't there.
For somthing in the neighborhood of $20, it's hard to knock it too hard; it is a reasonably decent little game. I'm giving it 3 stars, which means I think it's about average, maybe a little better. But there are certainly a lot of better games out there, which makes Attila hard to recommend.
I like a lot influence games (like [page scan/se=0040/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]El Grande), but this one is simply confusing.
I still have to find a good way to "block" your opponents; everyone simply tries to make his race.
The option "move a second piece instead of gaining influence" isnt rewarding at all (except very rare occasions). With 6 tribes, 4 players, colours meaning one thing on the board and another on the influence track, its not easy to understand the situation after a few turns.
If you like "influence games" go for El Grande. If you like strategic games not related to influence, go for [page scan/se=0899/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Princes of Florence. If you are looking for a family game, go for something else. In any case, forget Attila.
I really wanted to like this game. The box is just outstanding. Just seeing it on the shelf, it begs to be handled. Handling it and lifing the box, it begs 'take me home'. Open the box, and look at the short length of rules and neat little rows of blocks, it shouts 'play me'. So it was with guilty anticipation that we played our first game and....
We were disappointed. This is an influence style game that strongly reminds me of El Grande. But as some one once said, 'I knew El Grande... and you're no El Grande.' This is an ordinary game that has no theme. No way could I envision a hun trying to gain influence in 'Europe'.
Another annoyance is the tracking of influence points. Each person is a color, but the pawns on the board are also colored, but do not represent players' pieces. The tracking of influence is really annoying.
Other people may like this game, and as I said I really wanted to like Attila. Too bad. But as with all things, beauty is in the eye of the beholder....
Each tribe is represented by nine cards of its color. Discard cards to place tribal markers in provinces, or to increase your influence in a tribe over a period of centuries. War starts in overpopulated provinces, with discarded cards supporting the belligerents. The weakest tribe is removed, and the province denied to others forever! At the end of each century's final conflict, score all tribes. Players most influential in each tribe score for all its markers on the board. Action Tiles, playable one time only, gain you free placements or influence. Highest score after the last conflict wins. Players don't need to be fierce warriors--just ingenious investors who must balance current gains against long-term income.
And so the ole' Prodigal returns, after a two-year hiatus in a New Orleans bar as guitarist for Hans and the Moskitos. And what have we been missing? Well, if you consider Herr Schmiel the Patron Saint of German game design (I do), then the man behind Die Macher, Tyranno Ex and Was Sticht could not get back soon enough. His new game may not be quite as revelatory as previous titles, but it certainly crams in a gamut of gaming possibilities in an expeditious hour (or less).
Attila allows players the opportunity to claim and conquer territory with six different armies. Although these tribes will not be under your individual control, you will need to have progressed up the Influence ladder in each (like Medici) in order to score points. And it is here that the only element of confusion rises, because the player colours match those of the armies. Cries of "Yellow player up two on the Red Track" abound.
In order to placate our venerable editor, who demanded "a long review, please!!!", let's start with the contents within the medium-sized box (stock card, excellent stacker). The main board shows most of Europe and a smidgen of North Africa; the barbarian armies--Franks, Huns, Goths, Saxons, Teutons and Vandals--arrive via the Steppes to the North. A supplementary board records the current levels of influence that players have with the various nationalities.
Armies are depicted by wooden "head and shoulder" pieces (beech, non-beveled, light lacquer), and clearly illustrated on the accompanying card deck (recycled Jacaranda bark), which allows their introduction and expansion. The package is completed by a handful of die cut counters (four point guillotine) portraying a peace symbol (when hostilities in a country must cease) and additional actions (three, single use only) for each player. These are: An extra turn, a bonus move up the Influence Track and the chance to exchange cards (normally vital in the later stages of the contest).
Attila moves along at a fair old pace. In turn, players may play a card from their hand (six in the first deal) in order to place an army on vacant or occupied land. The restrictions are: In the first turn, these armies must arrive from The Steppes and be placed on any of the six bordering domains. On subsequent turns, they may expand into adjacent regions but can ALWAYS enter through the Steppes. There are four distinct phases of the game. In the first, each placement earns one influence point, in the second it earns two and so on up to four in the fourth. These are recorded each time an army is introduced. And here the fun starts.
Each domain has a natural maximum capacity of four armies. The placement of a fifth initiates war. This is resolved by totaling the armies in place and adding cards from hand to build attack values. An example: Southern Italy is currently hosting two Frank units (blue) and a single army from each of the Goths (yellow) and Vandals (red). A second red is placed, triggering a conflict. All players may now simultaneously support any of the protagonists. If Smoking Joe has an interest in red and blue (noting his position on the Influence Track), he may play any number of cards to supplement the existing totals. Let's assume he opts for blue (one card). Cassius is desperate for yellow to prevail and plays two (yellow) cards. Lennox is disinterested, but would like to relinquish a couple of blue cards, which are of no use to him (his interest in the Franks is minimal). Rocky completes the round by dispatching a single yellow card to the battleground. The totals are: Blue 5 (2+3), Yellow 4 (1+3) and Red 2 (their army in situ). The weakest race is vanquished, and their dobbers are returned to the stockpile.
This simple resolution is particularly adroit. It allows bluff and double bluff, it purges the weak, and provides an opportunity to re-jig a hand. I should point out that cards are NOT replenished until after a player's turn. When a territory has been subjected to conflict, a peace marker is removed from the holding section on the board and placed under the victorious armies. At the start of the game, peace markers are allocated to each phase and a phase ends when all its peace markers have been placed on the map. As each peace section is emptied, the Influence for armies being placed increases. One intriguing aspect of territorial consolidation (and a bit of design wizardry to boot) means that if one colour dominates an area, a fifth army of the same colour will trigger war (civil?), and the process is settled as above. This can, of course, stop an army in its tracks.
The end of each phase triggers a scoring round (as in El Grande). The best player on each of the six tracks earns the TOTAL of specific armies in play, the runner-up the number of territories occupied by that tribe. For example: Jersey Joe heads the Saxon (green) track. They have nine armies in play, and he advances that number of squares on the board. Floyd is just behind Jersey Joe, but the Saxons have dug in rather than expanded and occupy just three territories. His efforts earn three points. Clearly, it is unwise to spread armies too thinly on the map if your influence over a tribe prevails.
As influence increases it possible to look despairingly at the board and rue missed opportunities and the unlikelihood of catching up. But this is entirely possible, particularly when points are earned at four per army in the later stages of the game.
The three action markers distributed at the start give you the freedom to make tactical manoeuvres at crucial times. The double move can lull a player into a false sense of security, particularly during the early sorties. The exchange of cards (which can be made at the beginning of a player's turn) can be a godsend. There you are, heading the Saxons, Vandals and Huns, but with a hand of Goths and Franks. Their sacrifice is paramount. The two-stage bonus has bought much debate. Played early, it will sneak a player ahead during the early, and confused stages of the game. But it can also prise a player loose when the points are at their most valuable. Your choice.
The game ends in one of three ways:
Although Attila moves along at a cracking pace, the final stages slow somewhat as participants ponder their position, decidedly so when a game-ending move is at hand, and the points need re-counting. Nonetheless, the game will be finished at between 45 minutes (as stated on the box) or the usual one hour.
This is remarkable given the scale of events and the time taken by similarly themed games like Risk and El Grande. But that is, I suppose, the element that elevates Schmiel above most of his contemporaries.