English language edition
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from 9 customer reviews
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Each player oversees the building of his city-state. Temple, theater and oracle, a harbor with ships, vineyard with vintner, and many more must find space on the islands. Players must move fast to get the best land for themselves while blocking their opponents from good building spots. As building is expensive, players seek to save money by using the natural resources of the islands. Players also seek to organize their building in an order that gives them the best city-state.
Marcel-Andre Casasola Merkle
Manuel Casasola Merkle
Players: 2 - 4
Time: 60 minutes
Ages: 10 and up
Weight: 1,171 grams
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are printed in English. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.
- 22 board tiles
- 4 shrines
- 15 amphoras
- 4 storage boards
- 120 building tiles
- 60 landscape cards
- 1 rule booklet
Average Rating: 3.7 in 9 reviews
Attika is a great game. I've played it close to 100 times and I still enjoy every playing. It scales well from 2-4 players and it is deep in strategy. It does have a small learning curve though.
Very highly recommended for gamers and families.
1. Always keep plenty of cards in your hand. You don't want to get stuck placing to your mat very often since it slows down your speed in getting your thirty buildings down.
2. It is everybody's responsibility to stop a connection win. Don't rely on other players.
I couldn't give this game 3 stars because it is quite simple and deep. It really packs a punch in regards to strategy! But I couldn't give it 5 stars because it is quite dry and even boring at times. The truth is that this game is not that much fun to play. Well, it is fun in an intellectually interesting way, but it does not have a great theme and not much fun player interaction.
To sum it up, if you are looking for a FUN game, then look somewhere else. If you are looking for an interesting and deep game, this you'd probably like this one.
I introduced Attika to my wife and mother-in-law over Christmas, and it was a big hit. Suprisingly, my wife particularly liked it, and she now actually asks to play it two-player. The only other game she likes this much is Carcassonne.
Because I'd read that winning by connecting two temples was "too hard," I initially started with a larger board (4 player setup for 3 players, 3 player setup for 2 players). True enough, we found connection victories difficult even with the large board at first.
The obvious solution to the blocking problem is laying a new map piece to give yourself a new route. The problem is that the new map tile typically gives you a route that requires 2 spaces to complete. You only get 2 draw actions, and since you get a map tile after a draw action that finishes a stack, you usually can only place 1.
Unless, of course, you have an Amphora. If you complete a set of tiles and they're all connected, you get an Amphora, which you can spend at any time for an extra action. Thus, if you take draw actions, you can often get around a block with a draw finishing a stack, place a map tile, draw and place, pay an Amphora for a third draw action and place again.
Once we learned this, all of our victories were connection victories. Using the proper, smaller starting boards didn't change that. The key to winning the game by connection rather than exhausting your tiles is proper management of those extra map tiles you can place and taking care to earn amphoras. Of course you also have to have enough cards in hand to play any tiles you draw.
It's also possible to win from your mat after placing a map tile, but harder. Doing this requires that you carefully watch your opponents, and catch them when everyone else is short of cards, short enough that they can't play a block tile before you win next turn. This is obviously most practical with fewer players, particularly two players.
Attika is a fairly deep game. Besides the aforementioned key issues, you also have to constantly weigh how to play your tiles quickly and cheaply. Early in the game, you can play cheaply using the resource symbols on the map. As the game progresses those are covered or blocked, so you must rely on your hand.
It's cheaper in terms of actions to play a tile immediately as you draw it, but if that is expensive in terms of cards, it may be cheaper overall to place it on your mat for later free play via prerequisites, or when you expand into a new map tile with the right symbols. Sometimes though taking a key space is more important than conserving cards, or your opponent may destroy your cheap move by covering a map symbol.
Overall, I'd say it's very good.
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How many names does one man really need? And when such dark deeds are being done at the font, shouldn't some thought be given to the editor's typing finger?
For gamers Hans im Glck has long been established as the designer label and they invariably come up with something good for Essen. This year it was the latest instalment in the Carcassonne series and this interesting, tile laying and resource management game from the much named Herr Merkle.
The setting is ancient Greece and the players take on the roles of Athens, Sparta, Thebes and Corinth. Not that these names signify very much, for they are just labels to go with the usual blue, yellow, red and green. The aim of each player is to build a city, which they will do by placing round markers showing the pictures of buildings on to a `board' formed from snowflake-shaped tiles. (Put seven hexagons together as compactly as possible and you get the shape of a basic snowflake. These can then be pushed together in a variety of ways. That is what happens here.)
At the start of the game a number of tiles, equal to twice the number of players, is put together in a set shape to form the initial playing area. More will be added during the course of the game. At equidistant points round the perimeter shrines are then placed, one for each player. These are stand-up markers on hexagonal bases and so slot into the grid. The aim of the players is either to create a chain of buildings connecting two of these shrines or to get all of their buildings on to the board. First one to succeed wins.
Slightly more than half of the hexagons on the tiles are plain. Others show resource symbols in one of four types - wood, stone, etc., the sort of materials that you need to construct a building. These same four symbols are to be found on the cards of the resource deck. Each building marker shows, in addition to a picture and the name of the building, what resources are needed for its construction. For example, to construct the harbour you need 3 water and 1 wood. These resources can come from any combination of the hexagon on which the building is placed, vacant adjacent hexagons or resource cards. So finding a good spot for your building will reduce its cost significantly.
This idea of combining local resources (on or adjacent to the site) and imported ones (cards) is basic stuff - and none the worse for that, since it is also logical and appropriate to the theme. However, what gives the game its special flavour is that the price reductions don't end here, because in certain circumstances building becomes completely free. The buildings fall into groups and in each there are chains of dependency. One group consists of a quarry, a fortress and two towers. If you build the fortress directly adjacent to the quarry, it costs you nothing and if you go on to build either or both of the towers directly adjacent to the fortress, that is also free. Moral: try to get the quarry down first and in a spot that not only makes its construction cost low but which leaves space for the later, possible freebies.
At the start of the game your buildings are shuffled and then arranged into four stacks. One stack contains the ``master buildings'' (the stone quarry in the previous example) and the other three the rest. On your turn you do one of three things:
* draw three cards from the resource deck
* draw two building markers from your stacks
* build three of your previously drawn buildings
If you want to draw or build less than your entitlement, you make up the slack by drawing resource cards. When you draw a building marker, it is your choice which stack it comes from, but of course you don't know which building it is going to be. Once you have looked at it, you can either pay the cost to build it immediately or you can place it on your personal board, which has spaces for all the buildings and which shows the groups and the dependencies.
Whenever you exhaust one of your stacks, you draw and place a new land tile. It is your choice where it goes. There is also a bonus that comes if you complete a group of buildings and they form a contiguous block. This comes in the shape of an ``amphora'', which you can trade in either now or later for a slight extension to your turn - an extra draw or an extra build. This might not sound like a generous reward, but remember that this game is a race and small margins can prove critical.
And there you have it. The ``shrine to shrine'' route to victory is fairly easy to block. You just take it on yourself to guard one of them and rely on the other players to have the good sense to do the same. That being the case, when all the players are experienced enough to be able to spot and deal with the dangers, the game becomes a race to get all your buildings on to the board as quickly as possible. To achieve this you need to
1. minimise the number of turns you have to spend drawing resource cards by making maximum use of good sites and the free builds that come from placing buildings next to their ``feudal superiors'';
2. save vital time by making as much use as you can of your right to construct a building as soon as you draw it.
Of course, all this is easier to say than to do or there wouldn't be much of a game.
I like Attika and am happy to add it to my list of Essen recommendations, though I don't expect that in five years time we shall be hailing it as a classic. This is because I strongly suspect that there is a ``route one'' strategy and that once everyone has figured it out, the difference between victory and defeat will turn on who draws the most favourable tiles and whose building markers come out in the right order. But I can live with that. There are a lot of games that turn out to depend as much on good luck as good management and provided the game play is enjoyable I don't mind. This game is enjoyable.