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



Ignacy Trzewiczek


No. of Players:
2 - 4



Games using different factions with special abilities or card decks always have an in-built option for future expansions, and in case of Ignacy Trzewiczek's Imperial Settlers it was a simple matter of time until a new faction would supplement the Roman, Egypt, Japanese and Barbarian factions of the base game. And indeed, for the first major expansion Ignacy has chosen another ancient civilization to join the parade, but this time the background of the chosen Atlanteans is slightly more mythological. Equipped with some mysterious technology which could have come right from the Disney movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the Atlanteans strive to build up a functioning new Empire before their civilization gets lost, and as you might expect the new faction offers some new features which provide a quite unique playing experience.

Like every other faction, the Atlanteans possess their own deck of Faction cards which can only be used by the Atlantean player. However, to simulate the sinking of Atlantis beneath the waves of the ocean, the Atlantean Faction buildings will not count for Victory Points when the game is over. This actually is quite different to the Faction buildings of all other factions, since usually the Faction buildings have a value of 2 Victory Points, in contrast to the generally available Common Buildings which only count for one Victory Point.

In effect, this situation will challenge the Atlantean player to earn a high amount of Victory Points during the game by setting up and using buildings which offer features allowing in-game scorings, and so the Atlanteans must be played with an even stronger focus on creating a functioning economy. However, this is the place where Atlantean technology comes into the spotlight, since many of the Atlantean Faction buildings allow the player to produce a range of Basic and Advanced Technology tokens. These tokens greatly enhance the production capacities and other abilities of Common buildings acquired by the Atlantean player.

Both types of Technology tokens share the common feat that the Atlantean player simply has to place them onto a building. This can be done in addition to the player's normal action, and once placed the tokens will stay there until the building is razed or used to pay the building costs of another building. However, there is a limitation in so far as each type of token can only be placed once on an individual building, and so a building's capacities cannot be increased more and more by placement of identical Technology tokens.

Basic Technology tokens can be used to double the production or the feature effect of any building, or, in case the building is used for an optional action, to take the action an additional time. Due to these multiple functions the Atlantean player does not just use the tokens to generate additional resources, but he can also create additional possibilities to use the resources, and so the Basic Technology tokens form an important backbone for the Atlantean's efforts to improve their economy.

The two types of Advanced Technology tokens on the other hand are used for a fixed purpose. Defense Technology tokens have the same effect as regular Defense tokens, offering some protection against attacks for the building on which they have been placed. Scoring Technology tokens on the other hand will give the Atlantean player a Victory Point whenever the effect of building on which they have been placed is used.

As a result, a combination of the different types of Technology tokens can be used to create some nice windfall effects, e.g. a Basic Technology token allows the Atlantean player to take a building's action twice, whereas an also present Scoring Technology token will grant the player one Victory Point each time he performs the building's action. As you can imagine, these effects can be enhanced even more by using well corresponding Common cards like an Acting Troupe, and so the Atlantean player has to look at the game from a quite different angle, keeping an eye on discovering new card combos and good possibilities to use Technology tokens.

But what about the other players. Well, just like the Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends? expansion, this expansion set contains a set of 10 new cards for the deck of each other faction, plus another 28 Common buildings. These new cards actually give the other players some access to Atlantean Technology tokens, but they cannot use them to improve their Common buildings like the Atlanteans. Instead, these factions can use the tokens only to activate the effects of certain locations, and this rule is necessary because otherwise the faction-specific technological advantage of the Atlanteans would be nullified. However, there are more than enough cards which will give the other factions at least some feeling of modern comforts, and these cards range from Stargate-like Mystic Pyramids to crazy Barbarian gadgets like the Mechanical Horse or Trak's Flying Machine.

To keep the game playable and to prevent the Faction decks from growing too big, the expansion repeats the Tournament rules which have first been stated in Imperial Settlers: Why Can't We Be Friends?. So, each player only may use cards from the base game plus one expansion for his Faction deck, and in addition certain deck building rules concerning the frequency of each card and a maximum deck size of 30 cards also must be observed.

In essence, Imperial Settlers: Atlanteans is a rather well constructed expansion set which does not simply add additional flavor to the game by adding a new, cute faction. Instead, any player who tries to lead the Atlanteans to victory will quickly discover that he will have to adapt his playing style to the specific abilities and drawbacks of his faction, and this will give seasoned Imperial Settlers something to chew on. Complete with cards for all other factions, this expansion certainly can be recommended without reservations to all fans of the basic game!

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Copyright & copy; 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany