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Friday, 19 August 2016

Another off the shelve - Britannia

Sometimes simple things affect how a game gets to the table. A lack of grip bags, a busy work life and lack of energy left this classic on the 'must try' relegation pile. Well, having read the rules at a glance, and played my first three, Roman dominated, turns, here are some initial thoughts.

I think the idea of a grand sweeping, epic story of the formative history of Great Britain is a clear pull. Well known characters, such as Arthur and Boudicca add to the glory of the tale. When it comes down to it though, it's still quite a head scratching, deep strategic process where knowledge of the map is crucial. Seeing who is leading the race to game dominance is difficult as victory points are not evenly distributed across each player and their player controlled factions. For instance Rome gains two points for taking over a territory, whilst different tribes gain different levels of points for killing units - 6 points for the Belgaie for instance.

This inconsistent approach to point scoring is then made even more complicated to follow by having different tribes entering the game in later turns, each with their own differing victory conditions. All of this isn't a problem if you are prepared to spend time learning the map and each of the differing faction's.success factors. For me personally, I could quite get into the sweeping story telling, reminiscent of the historic film epics of the forties and fifties; for the others that I game with (mum and dad for instance), I don't see the initial rewards outweighing the learning curve...although I would like to think that I am wrong.

Alternative thoughts on this is that if you are looking for a quicker, similar experience (even though it is a fantasy setting) 'Smallworld' would be a better option; it uses similar concepts of conquest and combat, but with a much simpler approach.

 

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