Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Author: Marcel-Andre
Casasola Merkle

Publisher: Hans im Glück 2003



The new game Attika takes us back in time to the golden era of Greek City States, where culture was blooming and mankind had a high tide for science and building.

In this game, the players become leaders of different cities of Greece, and they will compete to be the first player who has either the biggest possible city or who has the largest influence on the Gods of Olympus by having connected two Sacred Places to one of their settlements.

The first thing which will be done at the beginning of the game will be the setup of the gameboard. The gameboard consists of hexgonal landscape tiles, each of which in turn displays six small hexagonal spaces. A "gameboard" will be created by putting a few of these tiles together - their number depending on how many players are participating in the game. Also, a number Sacred Places will be placed evenly distributed around the outer border of this gameboard.

Next, the players will receive their starting "equipment", and this will be a total of 30 building markers in their colour and furthermore some resource cards. There exist 4 basic resources in the game: Water, Woods, Hills and Mountains. The buildings of a player will be randomly mixed, and each player will have to create 4 even piles of face-down building markers which will form his drawing stock.

In essence, the most important action which a player may take is the placing of buildings on the gameboard. During his turn, the active player is offered two options:

  • the player may either decide to draw two new buildings from his drawing stock. He draws one building after the other, and once he has drawn a building he may turn it over and decide whether he already wants to build it. If he does not want to build it, then the building will go onto his display chart (a reference sheet with all buildings displayed);
  • or the player may decide to build up to three buildings which he already has placed onto his display chart.
If a player does not want to take both drawing options or all three building options, then he may draw a random resource card for each option he decides to pass on.

The placement of buildings and paying their costs is the tricky part of the game. Basically, each building has its building costs (in resources) printed on it. These costs must be paid by a player in form of resource cards if he wants to place the building on the gameboard. However, a number of special options may be of influence on the final price of a building. On the one hand, the price of a building may be lowered by resource symbols on the gameboard. Some of the spaces on the gameboard show resource symbols, and if a building is placed next to such a space, then the costs of that building a lowered by that resource (provided it is a resource which is needed for that building). If there is a fitting space, a building may be erected at a space bordering two or even three such resource symbols, and this in turn will lower the building costs considerably.

However, there even is an option which allows the players to build for free: the display chart of each player is not only used to placed buildings there - it is also a reference for which buildings belong to theme-groups and it may also be used to find out sensible building orders. A sensible building order is, for example, that a player should first build a Harbour before he should build any ships. If the player keeps that order and is able to place a Ship on a free space next to his Harbour, then he may build this Ship for free! In principle, all different buildings belong to sensible building orders, and keeping this order can save a player a lot of resource cards. However, he should not wait too long for specific buildings, since this might give another player enough time and space to win the game.

One or more adjacent buildings of a player qualify as a Settlement. A new Settlement is founded if a building is placed at a space where no other building of that player is adjacent. Sometimes the founding of a new Settlement is unavoidable, but it will be harder and harder for a player to found new Settlements, since to be allowed to found a new Settlement a player always has to pay as many resource cards to the bank as he already has Settlements on the board.

The theme-groups of buildings displayed on the display-chart serve one further purpose in the game. If a player succeeds to build all buildings of a theme-group adjacent to each other, then the player will receive an Amphora-token which he may redeem at any time during the course of the game to make an additional turn.

If a player has exploited one of his four piles of face-down building markers, then he is allowed to enlarge the gameboard by placing one additional landscape-tile next to the existing board, the providing for new building space.

The game ends if a player either succeeds in getting all 30 of his building markers onto the gameboard or if a player succeeds to enlarge one of his Settlements so much that it gets adjacent to two Sacred Places.

Attika offers a clever new playing mechanism with a good balance between luck and skill. A player always has to decide whether to build from his display-chart or to reveal new buildings from his piles of building markers. If he waits long enough he may find buildings which he can build for free using sensible building orders, but if he waits too long other players might get too far in the lead or even be able to build a large Settlement between two Sacred Places. Although there is no direct player interaction, the players will constantly have to watch the progress of each other and decide on which strategy they should follow.

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany