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One civilization declines, another awakes! With their God‘s blessings, each civilization experiences its own great flowering. The surrounding civilizations offer rich booty and the Gods support those who worship them and build great monuments to their glory. In PANTHEON, 8 ancient civilizations emerge, but not always the Romans after the Persians and the Egyptians before the Greeks. Each civilization has its own unique characteristics and good players will use these to their best advantage.
Pantheon is a 2011 release by Bernd Brunnhofer, alias Michael Tummelhofer who is best known as the designer of Stone Age and Saint Petersburg. In this 2-4 player game, you’re collecting raw materials over six rounds, in an effort to help your Mediterranean people worship their gods, and of course earn points.
Pantheon has a solid pedigree in Stone Age and St Petersburg, two other great games from designer Brunnhofer, although not everyone agrees that Pantheon lives up to the high standards of its two esteemed and successful Brunnhofer predecessors. In many respects it fits the definition of a classic euro game. The theme in Pantheon isn’t very meaningful or strong, and the gameplay itself is arguably quite abstract. Furthermore the gameplay consists of a blend of mechanics which are mostly derivative, but they combine in an interesting manner, although some gamers will find the mix of mechanics too bland and unsuccessful. Overall the components are quite pleasing, although not everyone will share this positive assessment of the production values.
There is a fairly significant element of luck, which will prove frustrating to more serious gamers. But despite the luck factor, there are lots of possible strategies to explore for those willing to give it a chance. Particularly the element of timing and pacing is important. The role of luck in relation to the amount of decisions does mean that Pantheon is more suitable as a family strategy game than as a more serious strategy game for gamers, and some will find that it has the potential to drag on a little too long given the luck factor.
Pantheon is certainly not for everyone, and the amount of randomness given the game’s length plus the somewhat thin theme means it won’t quite match the heights of success achieved by Brunnhofer’s Stone Age and St Petersburg. However it does feature a pleasant mix of mechanics that - while not strikingly innovative - does have the potential to please those willing to approach it less seriously and as a family friendly or more casual medium weight game.