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Alexandros
 
 
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Alexandros


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Product Awards:  
Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2005

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45 minutes 2-4

Designer(s): Leo Colovini

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Venice Connection

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Product Description

Alexander moves with army back and forth across Asia Minor, conquering the land as he passes. To bring peace to these newly conquered lands and to reward his generals, he gives them control of the new lands. The generals establish administration over the lands and levy taxes on the people living there. Naturally, each general tries to acquire the most productive lands for himself. With more productive lands, the general can levy higher taxes, show his worth to Alexander, and win the game!

Product Awards

Games Magazine Awards
Best Family Strategy Game, 2005

Product Information

Contents:

  • 1 game board
  • 1 Alexander figure
  • 16 guards in 4 colors
  • 55 cards with 5 symbols
  • 65 black boundary walls
  • 10 red boundary walls
  • 4 scoring discs
  • 1 rule booklet

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 
by Brian Robson
Counter Magazine Review
February 29, 2004

When you have access to a large number of games, some good, some bad, but in the main playable, what happens when a new tranche of games appear? Essen and Nuremberg stimulate the flow of games, but almost every week there are new games to buy and try. As a result competition for table time is furious and new games often get a smaller number of showings than they deserve.

Alexandros might be one of those games. It starts off brightly, as designer Colovini has established a sure fire reputation - Carolus Magnus, Clans, Magna Grecia and Cartagena immediately come to mind. All of these share an abstract feel and a mainly thin veneer of theme. I don't mind that, so long as I enjoy the game. Alexandros fits straight into this genre without any trouble at all.

The board shows a map of the near East split into triangles and Alexander begins his march on the tip of Turkey. Players move Alexander across the board and create a wall linking his old and current locations. Players can select two of the following options: capture empty enclosed areas (provinces); invest in resources (exposed cards or from the deck); capture opponent's areas; move a governor; or tax (score victory points for everyone).

The rules are written awkwardly, so moving Alexander is not as intuitive as it should be, but once everyone understands what is happening the game flows fairly smoothly. Alexander moves to the nearest triangle matching one of the two face-up coloured cards. When there is a choice and there often is, a player can select a triangle that is useful to him or one that spoils the situation for the next player. Half of the triangles on the board are coloured in one of 5 colours, and the deck of cards matches these colours. In order to capture a province you need to hand in cards that match these triangles. Your five governors (pieces) can be used to substitute for any you fall short in, but provinces with more than one governor are being suppressed and will not earn victory points when a player chooses to tax. A minimum of one governor is required to rule the province. The value of the province is the number of background-coloured triangles enclosed in the province.

One of the pleasing design aspects is that Alexander can be moved to cut through a large province. This is usually good for all players except the one who has a large province, but is a far cheaper way to spoil a province than capturing as the capture from another player involves handing the losing player a bunch of cards, which can be used later to threaten the conqueror. Another aspect I liked was that you can build up an enormous hand of cards. The downside is large in that you may not score many points when taxation takes place, but the upside is that a large province may be captured with these cards and it becomes very difficult for other players to retake this province. It also creates a feeling of power as you ponder when to strike. You then hope to score heavily in the remaining turns before the 100 points barrier is broken signalling the conclusion of the game.

So will Alexandros get its fair share of game play? I think that there is a chance. While the game only supports a maximum of 4 players (and I often have 5 players so limiting its chances), the turns are quick and there is not much down time, so the game has a certain pace to it. The options are nearly always pointed out by other players and these are not too hard to choose from. Sometimes the options are boring so the best thing to do is to get your turn over quickly. The longer term plans in the game suggest that you have to decide when to make your move, or steadily score points to build an unassailable lead. I have seen both work and fail. All of which tends to suggest that there is a reasonable amount going on in this game and its table time will be close to what it deserves.

Alexandros plays well with two, but better with four. It is abstract, but fairly fast and a good opener or mid session game to play to warm up your brain.

Other Resources for Alexandros:

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