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Thorsten Gimmler




Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Settled in ancient Thebes, the game Aton brings two players to adopt the roles of archpriests in old Egypt. Standing for their gods Aton and Amun, both archpriests fight to try to get the upper hand in the four big temples of Thebes.

Correspondingly, the gameboard shows the four temples that each consists of 12 spaces for influence markers of the two archpriests. During the game the two players try to place their influence markers on these temples until a scoring takes place.


Each player has his own identical deck of cards with values from 1 to 4 from which he draws new cards during the game. A turn in the game is divided into four phases, and at the beginning of each turn the players draw 4 cards from their deck and allocates these cards to the four phases by placing them face down on spaces for the four phases on the board. In each of theses phases the cards of both players are turned over simultaneously, and the difference between the values of the cards decides the resulting action in each specific phase.

  • In the first phase the player with the higher card value receives double the difference between the cards as direct victory points.
  • The second phase has two effects: on the one hand the player with the lower cards becomes start player for the rest of the turn, and on the other hand the card value minus 2 determines how many influence markers of the opponent a player may remove from the temples. If however the result of the addition is -1 the player must take away one of his own influence markers.
  • The next phase determines in which temple(s) influence markers can be placed or removed. All temples that have a smaller or equal number as the card of this phase may be used.
  • Finally, the card of the last phase defines the number of influence markers a player may place on the temple(s) determined in the last phase.

All influence markers that are removed or cannot be placed on the board in phase 4 come to the Realm of Dead. The Realm of Dead is a special place on the board where up to eight influence markers can be held. Once this place is full, a scoring takes place.


This scoring is the centrepiece of the game and is structured in a rather interesting way. Thus, the scoring is evaluated differently for each temple, so that in the first temple the player with the most influence gets the difference in influence as victory points, in the second the leading player gets a fixed 5 victory points and in the third the leading player gets victory points corresponding to his total influence there. The fourth temple is special, since here victory points are awarded for occupying special spaces in the other temples. Thus, not only the difference in the scoring of the four temples demands of the players a great deal of tactics. There are also extra victory points for special influences that are spread on all four temples. So it is always a difficult task to decide where to place the influence markers. The game is won, if a player has reached 40 victory points or has fulfilled various special conditions in the four temples (e.g. influence markers on all green spaces).

With Aton Thorsten Gimmler has created a fascinating new two player game. Although luck is a factor during the game (drawing the right cards is pure luck), it is reduced due to the fixed decks of the players and thus tactics dominate the game. The scoring mechanism of the game is very important and must be fully understood before the tactical elements can be used most effective. However, after the second time of playing, the game becomes really interesting and rather challenging since many options are open to the players which must be observed to keep chances to win. Still, a player does not get lost in the rules and despite of the fact that I possess a lot of other two player games, Aton definitely will be one of my favourites in the next months.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany