By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
Sometimes a game doesn't have to be 100 percent full of new ideas to be brilliant in design and execution. Rise of Augustus from Hurrican Games is just such a creation.
The game, which is being distributed in the U.S. by Asmodee, was created by Paolo Mori.
The single part that can be traced back to a past creation is the vague similarity to Bingo. But this is so far removed from that concept that people who hate Bingo or who have never played are more likely to love this game than fans of Bingo.
Gamers play the part of representatives of Augustus. In order to become Consul of the Senate, it is important to have the support of influential senators and to control key provinces to make that dream a reality. The one who does those things the best will win the game.
There are objectives in the game that are either provinces or senators. To claim influence or any one of them, mobilization tokens must be identified and brought to bear. These tokens come in the form of Double Swords, Shields, Chariots, Catapults, Standards and Daggers. Each of those in that list are less common than the ones before it.
There are 23 of these cardboard tokens and they are placed in a cloth bag and drawn out by players who rotate through the role of town crier. Each objective is a card with a number of these tokens listed down the right hand side of that card. Each player is given seven wooden pieces that represent legions who do the player's bidding. Those legions are used to cover the token symbols on the card until they are all covered. Once that happens, the player calls out “Ave Cesar.” That player then controls that objective. Once one player controls seven objectives, the game ends.
Each objective is worth victory points and some objectives also bestow a special ability. At game's end, the winner is the one with the most victory points and not necessarily the one who got to seven objectives first.
There are bonus rewards available for reaching goals such as having groups of senators or provinces and just being the first to have a set number of objectives under their control.
The game is from 2 to 6 players and can be played in 30 minutes by players age 8 and up.
Because there are 88 objectives, only a portion of those will be used each game, making the replay variety of this game extremely high. The components are all of extremely high quality. The card abilities are icon driven rather than word driven so the game isn;t language dependent.
I have to say this is one of my favorite games of the year. It plays quickly and there's nearly zero downtime because each player is trying to fill his objective cards at the same time. There are many meaningful choices to be made throughout the game but those choice fail to make the game complicated or too weighty. The price point is spectacular as well, listing at $39.99.
Rise of Augustus will come to power on your tabletop and that reign might be long indeed.
For more information about the game go to: http://us.asmodee.com/ressources/jeux_versions/augustus_3.php